Now is the time to build up your workshop!

rookhawk

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With Covid killing the economy the deals on tools have never been better. And since we’re all home bored it’s a perfect time to take on projects.

Here are some of my projects I’ve done with my kids as we build out our gunsmith shop and reloading room.

Get on it and tool up for your self reliance and enjoyment! Restore first world vintage tools rather than buy Chinese junk!
 

rookhawk

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We found an American made Delta Rockwell drill press at a firm that used it for lead parts on radiology machines. I overpaid but it looked like a great machine to restore and it was going to be way better than a $1000 jet press from China for less money.

This one was stripped down to every nut and bolt, cleaned, lubricated, polished, and painted. Rewired the switch and motor. New belts. It purrs like the day it was made in 1962.

We tested the runout when done and it measures .0015” runout! More precise by orders of magnitude compared to $5000 Chinese current models.


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rookhawk

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Picked up a lathe we didn’t need when we bought the drill press as part of an impulse combo purchase. Cleaned it up for 3 days, listed it online and had it sold with multiple offers in three minutes. Used the cash to pay for three vintage maple top work benches, a stainless slop sink, small parts sonic washer, and gun stock finishing rack for the shop.

75A472A4-465D-416C-B13C-906298ADB9F3.jpeg
 

rookhawk

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Refinished some butcher block tables, organized some peg board, scored a vintage versa vise on eBay, and decided to create the least ugly black gun possible just to prove we could. (We don’t like modern guns and we don’t do plastic over here)

F5E9F70A-5281-48F0-AA3F-353DD2C7639B.jpeg
 

Bullthrower338

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You been busy Rookhawk!
 

sierraone

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Like it all....not that I would know how to use most of it...but that's ok! That hardwood tool chest must have cost a pretty penny also.
 

mdwest

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Get on it and tool up for your self reliance and enjoyment! Restore first world vintage tools rather than buy Chinese junk!

Yep!

Been scouring FB Marketplace and Craigslist for the past few months and picking up tools and equipment to improve the shop..

Got an AWESOME GE vaccuum pump... the "new" version would cost me about $250... picked up the "old" one (in perfect working condition) for $20...
 

rookhawk

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Found this beauty for only $200 and did a conservation on it. A 25 year old Wilton 4” bullet vise with smooth jaws! Made in America as such a thing should be! (Or the UK, Germany, or Sweden where good foundry work happens) I picked it 20 minutes later and the seller already had 5 buyers queued up. I got lucky.

Padded jaws and this will serve me well for most gunsmithing duties too big for a versa vise.


14ED76DE-5B9E-409F-B883-F0FB139AB881.jpeg
 

rookhawk

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Yep!

Been scouring FB Marketplace and Craigslist for the past few months and picking up tools and equipment to improve the shop..

Got an AWESOME GE vaccuum pump... the "new" version would cost me about $250... picked up the "old" one (in perfect working condition) for $20...


Well, let's see it! Does a vacuum pump have an application for gunsmithing? I know they are really useful for making glued inserts for dangerous game arrows.
 

mdwest

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no gunsmithing application that I am aware of...

I use a vacuum chamber and pump extensively on knife projects though.. I use it to "stabilize" wood...

Ill get some pics of my old, cheap, chinese made pump and the GE pump that I used to replace it when I get back to the shop this afternoon...
 

rookhawk

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no gunsmithing application that I am aware of...

I use a vacuum chamber and pump extensively on knife projects though.. I use it to "stabilize" wood...

Ill get some pics of my old, cheap, chinese made pump and the GE pump that I used to replace it when I get back to the shop this afternoon...


That's a great tool. So find frail wood of unique color/texture and impregnate it with resin to make it a viable material for knife handles? That's really, really cool.

Can't wait to see a picture and hopefully a few scales you made!
 

mdwest

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"stabilizing" is great for hardwoods like walnut and olive as well.. it makes the wood much less susceptible to water, heat, dry, cold, humid, etc conditions.. and also adds a considerable amount of weight and durability to it..

some woods (like walnut in particular I have found) are pretty hard to stabilize.. others, like leopard wood, orange osage, and cherry I have found to stabilize pretty easily..

I think @Von Gruff stabilizes a lot of the wood he uses as well... (his handles are a far superior product to what I've been able to achieve so far...)..

The other thing I like about it is that stabilization can really put an extra level of "pop" in a finish on a handle as the resin fills all the little micro holes, etc in wood.. and helps you get to a really nice, ultra smooth, almost glass like finish on a handle if you take it down to 2000 grit.. or can remain a little rough to the hand if thats desired if you stop around the 500 grit range..
 

Von Gruff

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Yes the stabilising from the vacuum tank makes a difference and allows the use of some woods that would otherise be unsuitable. Am looking to get a pressure tank as well to try some hybrid handles with casting resin.
Should have the helm hammer going by friday. Picking up a necessary drive belt today and the electrician is back friday to do the final wiring for the hammer, add another 1/2 dozen double power points to the shed and change the inpiut cable from 15 to 40 amp.
Looking for a table top mill and lathe so always on the lookout for good tools.
Love the tools that you have restored @rookhawk but that tool chest is a real beauty.
Unfortunately we dont have access to the wide range of good used tooling here with a much smaller market but I do want other than the usual harbour freight (topmaq for us) imports.
 

Newboomer

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Refinished some butcher block tables, organized some peg board, scored a vintage versa vise on eBay, and decided to create the least ugly black gun possible just to prove we could. (We don’t like modern guns and we don’t do plastic over here)

View attachment 355641

Now that is a nice looking piece. I hate plastic guns with all the garbage hanging off the front of them.
 

rookhawk

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Yes the stabilising from the vacuum tank makes a difference and allows the use of some woods that would otherise be unsuitable. Am looking to get a pressure tank as well to try some hybrid handles with casting resin.
Should have the helm hammer going by friday. Picking up a necessary drive belt today and the electrician is back friday to do the final wiring for the hammer, add another 1/2 dozen double power points to the shed and change the inpiut cable from 15 to 40 amp.
Looking for a table top mill and lathe so always on the lookout for good tools.
Love the tools that you have restored @rookhawk but that tool chest is a real beauty.
Unfortunately we dont have access to the wide range of good used tooling here with a much smaller market but I do want other than the usual harbour freight (topmaq for us) imports.

@Von Gruff I too covet a mill and spent a lot of time researching and nearly clicking order on milling equipment. What I came to learn from many high quality gunsmiths is that ALL of the Chinese mills are unsuitable for quality work in the tolerances we are contemplating.

The bridgeport is the gold standard for milling and they sell pristine in the USA for $2000-$3000 and often can be found FREE if you're willing to come get them and move them. (moving them being several thousand dollars).

So if you need a mill and can't manage to get a bridgeport due to space requirements or not having a floor strong enough to hold a 3 ton machine, or you lack the New Zealand power equivelant to what in the USA we call 480 Volt 3-phase, what then?

There are several "baby bridgeports" in existence for $3000 that are 1/3rd the weight and size, but still a totally stable mill. (e.g. 800 pounds, works with 220v power, 20-30 amp circuit) A good mill must have a knee and that leaves little Clausings and a few others as good professional options. Best part? These world class tools, although hard to find, cost not a penny more than the Chinese junk sold as Harbor Freight, Little Machine Shop, and Grizzly in America, and eventually sold as Topmaq in New Zealand.

I don't know about milling, only what not to do. :)
 

rookhawk

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Now that is a nice looking piece. I hate plastic guns with all the garbage hanging off the front of them.

Thanks. Funny thing is we have zero affection for tactical guns, semi-automatics, or "modern sporting rifles" whatsoever. Had the world not turned so crazy and pushed so hard against our 2nd amendment rights recently, we probably would never have owned one. We just did it to piss off the socialists and to exercise our liberties.
 

rinehart0050

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Great work expending your workshop and avoiding letting this downtime go to waste. Well done
 

rookhawk

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Great work expending your workshop and avoiding letting this downtime go to waste. Well done

Thanks!

Everyone, feel free to pile on the thread. I'd like to see what you're all working on in your shops. Recent picker activities where you scored a great tool? Making something outdoor activity related?
 

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