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Old 08-04-2017, 08:10 PM
ACORN ACORN is offline
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Default Sandpaper hand hammer on SS

I have a Mod 64 that has some scars on the topstrap and have read where some have used sandpaper and a hammer to restore the matte finish. What grit paper should I use? I'm a bit apprehensive to start whacking away at what otherwise is a nice 64.

Last edited by ACORN; 08-04-2017 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:02 PM
2152hq 2152hq is offline
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You can mimic a beadblasted finish with careful application of a hammered abrasive cloth on the metal surface.
It takes some experience and patience.
Best not to use a steel face hammer. That can leave marks in the metal surface if you get a little over agressive while tapping or tilt the hammer a bit and leave some cresent moon marks.
A brass or copper hammer or even a wooden or rawhide mallet is best.

The abrasive paper/cloth to use can be anything from garnet paper used for wood sanding to any of the metal polishing cloths or wet=or-dry papers. (Use everything dry).
Nothing but practice and experience will tell you what grit and what particular brand or cloth or paper will do the trick and match the existing beadblasted finish now on the gun.

The Garnet (or even flint) wood sanding papers wood well but break down rather quickly. Not a great disadvantage on some surfaces and finishes in that the smaller broken down particles still impart the necessary look when impacted. It could be an entirely different story on another job and look completely out of place.

The carborundum strip metal abrasive cloths work well. Tear off a piece and straighten out the tendency of it to roll back up.
Start hammering the back side of it with the cloth held just off the metal surface. Keep moving the cloth around as you hammer and keep feeding new cloth with new abrasive area under the hammer as you work.

Work from multiple directions to avoid a pattern to develop in your work. Start with the finer grit and end with the heavier to bring the look up to match the original. If you start heavy, it's hard to reduce the look back to a finer matte finish to match as you work.
During the process it helps to use a medium scotchbrite or even steel wool to lightly go over the worked area to cut down any heavier turned up burrs or spurrs from the particle hammering. These can be almost microscopic but will disturb the overall look and stand out plainly if not toned down.

Doing this type of work is kind of like fixing the little scratch in the wood finish of the stock. It starts out as a little fix-it,,then gets bigger as you try to blend it in better and before you know it you can have half the side being re-done trying to match everything in.

Go slow, go easy on the hammering and start with fine grit and work up to heavier to blend with the orig finish.

When in doubt...disassemble the gun,,mask off the area carefully. Take the frame to an auto body refinish shop and ask them to low psi glass beadblast the surface. Takes about 1min.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:01 PM
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Be sure to practice on some similar metal first and see what you get. (This would be the very last method I would ever use to refinish any firearm, like never).
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:34 PM
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I don't use it much to fix up damaged beadblasted surfaces but have done so,,I just don't run accross beadblasted surfaces much in my work.

Small damage can be fixed up quickly and efficiently using it.
If the area is large, worn or damaged extensively,,I'd simply mask and re-beadblast. It's the way it was done at the factory originally.

I do use it quite a lot to put the light rust pitting look back onto metal during restoration where needed.
It's not a one and done operation but instead a back and forth between the use of various finish techniques and the use of the abrasive technique described here.
Just the right look so the new part and/or (re)finish doesn't stand there and shout look how new I am.

FWIW, one of the pistol smiths from the 60's,,I think it was Clark,,used to matte finish the tops of the 1911 slides by the hammer technique.
But instead of using an abrasive cloth to imprint the surface he used a sharp fine cut mill file. Again altering the attack angle and being careful with the hammer blows so as not to create a pattern to the work nor leave dents from the edges of the file.

It's not too uncommon for some flat narrow top ribs on some older foreign shotguns to be seen lightly matted with this technique either.
But with CNC and all other sorts of machines doing the work these days,,those types of labor intensive techniques are not seen or used much anymore.

Hand cut filed rib matting or even florentine cut engraved rib matting are other ways to achive the right look on some older projects.
Background punches for engraving and other matting work can be made by simply punching the flat punch nose surface against a suitable flat file in 90* opposed directions leaving crisscrossed marks. Then harden it.

They cover the surface to be matted very quickly. A liner tool can also be used to create the crisscross marks. Lot's of different patterns fine and coarse can be made and shaping the face of the punch will allow it to get into corners and crowded areas between borders to complete the matting.
The top of the SxS frames on many Ithaca and some Fox shotguns that show extensive matting were done w/punches like that. Some fairly coarse.

Most 'gunsmiths' wouldn't even think about doing things that way. But if you are in to restoration and want things to look period correct and not necessarily 'shiny new' then that's what you do.

Just some thoughts.
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