Author Topic: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools  (Read 12788 times)

Offline Curtis

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Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« on: December 17, 2013, 07:12:30 AM »
I guess if you put this and Eric's front sight tutorial together you would have a set......   :D

I needed a rear sight for a rifle I am working on and taking some inspiration from Buchelle's book I decided to make one.  I didn't have any properly sized steel stock but rummaging through the scrap pile I picked up a Railroad spike and thought hmmm.... this may work.  All the work was done with files and hand saws except I cheated and used the drill press for the hole.  The pictures pretty much show how it was done.

Sawing Spike... use a few drops of oil and your hack saw blades will last longer.



Sections of spike - I cut the back of the sight at an angle:



3/16" hole drilled with center drill, eyeballed approximate angle to match slant of sight back:



Bulk of stock removed with a hack saw:



Design doodles:



Using round file:





Using triangular file with safe edge:



Cutting dovetails with triangular file with safe edge:



I filed the sides of the sight body with a mill file, also cleaned up edges and did some contouring with the mill file and shortened sight back:



Cut slot with jewelers saw and then a file, polished with some emery cloth:



Here it is pretty much finished:





I will have to do some touch up and final tweeking when I get ready to put it on the rifle barrel, but the hard part is done.  Glad you took the time to look!

Curtis

« Last Edit: February 01, 2020, 02:52:55 AM by Curtis »
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
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Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline obsidian

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2013, 08:19:08 AM »
Always gratifying when something of beauty is made from scrap.  Nice job!  The more components one fabricates, the more the gun is valued and treasured.  Is this a historical layout or something you created? 
Best to you,
Rich
Rich S

Online smylee grouch

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2013, 02:51:28 PM »
Curtis- nice job on the sight and nice job of showing us how you did it.

Offline Tom Currie

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 03:35:51 PM »
Thanks for posting your work. I make all my rear sights from a RR spike chucked upright in a vice. 

Offline Curtis

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 05:21:09 PM »
Thanks for the comments guys.  Rich, I am not really certain if it is historical in design, I just opened one of the Track catalogues I had in the shop an used a couple of pictures as guidelines for the pattern.  Tom, does that mean you use the square profile for your sights?

Curtis
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
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Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Online Bob Roller

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2013, 05:27:15 PM »
I mill the bridle blanks for my locks in strips and there is almost always an odd length
left over that rear sights can be made from easily. They are 3/4"end to end and random widths
and are free of charge.
As an odd thought from my past,I remember an old guy here named George Killen that filed
lock tumblers from rail and barge spikes.I am not sure he ever perceived the value of round materials.

Bob Roller

Offline Jerry V Lape

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2013, 07:39:28 PM »
I like your sight and method.  Need to make one myself and will certainly review your process before beginning.  One comment - I would think before you are done mounting this sight you will want to thin further the rear of the sight so the notch is through almost a razor blade thickness at the rear of the drilled area.  A long notch will give you reflective surfaces inside the notch making it harder to see positioning especially on brighter days.  That is my experience for whatever it may be worth.

Offline whitebear

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2013, 08:00:00 PM »
Curtis I like that rear sight.  One of my future builds will be a .50 X 15/16 X 35" flintlock on a walnut stock, I am determined to make as much as possible myself and may well use this tutorial to make the rear sight.

Everything that I am doing now and in the near future is practice for my dream rifle.  A nice curly maple full stock Lancaster flintlock 15/16 X .54 X 42 brass mounted.
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Offline t.caster

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2013, 08:30:25 PM »
Good hard work pays off again! I'm not a machinist, so it's very rewarding to create something like that by hand, from scraps! Kudos!
Tom C.

Offline hortonstn

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 08:53:01 PM »
thanks curtis, i think i purchased my last rear sight
paul

Offline bgf

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2013, 09:08:06 PM »
Curtis,
That is the way to do it, although I agree with JVL that the notch needs to be a little thinner; I would file at an angle from the back with a flat file. 

When I did one, I used a split section of C-channel that eliminated much of the cutting.  A 4 ft. section of c-channel provides a lifetime of rear sights; each piece provides 2 sights :)!

Online Gaeckle

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2013, 09:11:44 PM »
That is really clever...........


HEY, did you guys hear about the train wreck not to far from where Curtis lives? ;D

Offline E.vonAschwege

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2013, 09:31:15 PM »
Curtis,
   Fantastic tutorial - it's great to show how to make a quality sight from a block of rusty steel.  Thanks for sharing!
-Eric
Former Gunsmith, Colonial Williamsburg www.vonaschwegeflintlocks.com

Offline Glenn

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 11:13:11 PM »
BRILLIANT ... GOOD JOB !!!
Many of them cried; "Me no Alamo - Me no Goliad", and for most of them these were the last words they spoke.

Offline mountainman70

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2013, 01:16:24 AM »
That is really clever...........

Let's not De-rail this thread,y'all hahahha Great job,Curtis,been wanting to make some like that myself.btw,we have LOTS of railroads around here.lol,Merry Christmas fellows.Dave ;D
HEY, did you guys hear about the train wreck not to far from where Curtis lives? ;D

Offline Curtis

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2013, 07:11:03 PM »
Thanks for all the input!  I will take special note of the suggestions to thin out the rear of the sight on either side of the slot... when I widen the slot to match the front sight I will probably open it up with an angle that gets wider at the front.  I am glad that a couple of you mentioned that, 'cause I hadn't thought of it that's for certain!

Also I am glad if I inspired some of you to try and make your own!  It is not very cost effective but is can be quite rewarding.   ;D

Thanks,  Curtis
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline Sawatis

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2013, 12:12:29 AM »
Nice ! Its these little touches that make a handmade rifle unique!
 Out of curiosity, what is the height of the sight?
John

Offline shortbarrel

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2013, 01:54:04 AM »
I got about two 5 gal. buckets of wrought iron spikes i picked up years ago,when they were tearing out the tracks on an old railroad line. Made locks, set triggers, trigger guards and much more out of them. Still got a gal. and half left. Even forged them out to make ramrod pipes.  Good source of supply.

Offline Curtis

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2013, 02:52:25 AM »
Out of curiosity, what is the height of the sight?
John

Sawatis, at the back it is almost 3/8", it will likely need to be shortened a bit when I put it on the gun.

Curtis
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline Sawatis

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2013, 06:59:05 PM »
Thanks Curtis
That gives me a bit of the proportions...like I said...a nice sight!
John

Offline Curtis

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2013, 09:00:29 AM »
I decided I wanted a more petite sight for my current project, so I made this little brother from the cutout of the larger sight (the inside of the "L").... why waste anything, eh?





Curtis

« Last Edit: February 01, 2020, 02:55:05 AM by Curtis »
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline dogcreek

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2013, 03:49:42 AM »
Thanks, Curtis. This is helpful to those of us who don't have a milling machine and want to create a sight from scratch. Nice work.

Offline Old Ford2

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2013, 04:02:46 AM »
Thank you for a great tutorial.
Gives us ideas to make our own guns more personal.
Thank you.
Fred
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Let the Lord pick the good from the bad!

Offline Curtis

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2014, 04:16:08 AM »
Here is the smaller one on the barrel:




Curtis
« Last Edit: February 01, 2020, 02:57:31 AM by Curtis »
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline A.Merrill

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Re: Rear Sight From a Railroad Spike, made with hand tools
« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2014, 07:48:46 AM »
    That sight came out looking good, nice work. I like the finish on the barrel to. Would mined tell us how you did that?? Did you finish the lock the same way??    AL
Alan K. Merrill