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Consider my signature line before replying . . . .
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Gents,

Blending the parts and pieces of a 1911 together has never been in Zoid's bag of tricks. "Close enough" has always been "close enough" for me.

However I recently wanted to change out the mainspring housing in a Champion I own from a checkered version to a chainlink version. The original checkered mainspring housing was fit and blended very well to the frame. The chainlink from Ed Brown sits a little proud of the frame.

My question: what files, sandpaper, methods, or toolage would you use to get this MSH blended a little better? Photos below.



This is how the original checkered MSH looks. Not seamless, but it follows the frame pretty well.

upload_2020-4-15_11-45-26.png


upload_2020-4-15_11-46-40.png





And this is how the replacement looks.

upload_2020-4-15_11-47-39.png


upload_2020-4-15_11-48-12.png


upload_2020-4-15_11-49-12.png





I really only want to fit / even out the areas in yellow above. I don't need to go above the radius of the bobtail, I am happy with that area.

How would you guys approach this? Know that I am a total noob in this and have never filed on a frame other than to fit a slide. For that I used abrasive stones, and I don't think I will live long enough to tackle this job with Arkansas stones.

Thanks in advance.

Z

@TheCollector , @wrmiller , any advice?
 
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I've never attempted that type of work. A few pieces of information that come to mind are:

A grip maker once told me he uses the thick silver HVAC type of duct tape to protect grip frames.

Take a look at Nicholson files. Don't think I'd trust sand paper.
 

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I have a file that I used with the kart xact fit barrels. It a fine Swiss pattern I believe. Kart sells it. I used that to take the metal down and then used sand paper on a sanding block. I went in increments of 400grit, 600 800 until it was where I wanted. The only issue you may have is the bead blast finish. If you or someone you know can do that then you should be fine.
 

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1911 Pistol Smith
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Shouldn't have to touch the frame. Use a #4 Nicholson file. Put the mainspring housing in a vice and file the existing contour completely from one side to the other across the radius in other words. You can score the edges of the housing. Or you can stop and check every so often. 220 grit paper to remove file marks and 400 to finish sand..
 

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The first rule I've learned about blending is to sneak up on the final blend. Start coarse, get medium, and then go fine.

I think I'd start with a #4 flat file and see if I could get the taper from the round of the MSH to flow down past the seam just barely into the frame. If that overall shape looked to be what I wanted, and the difference in height was getting small, I'd shift to a #2 file. If there was any doubt in my mind, I'd switch the the #2 sooner.

Once things were looking more or less "right," I'd go after it with a ½" diameter 120 grit flap wheel on a Dremel. And then 240 grit. No flap wheel? Maybe Cratex coarse and then fine.

After I was pretty much there, I'd get rid of any remaining grit marks with some 240 or 320 sandpaper.

Getting the resulting finish to match the rest of the frame might be a trick, though. Can you glass bead blast the whole thing to blend the finish, too?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Shouldn't have to touch the frame. Use a #4 Nicholson file. Put the mainspring housing in a vice and file the existing contour completely from one side to the other across the radius in other words. You can score the edges of the housing. Or you can stop and check every so often. 220 grit paper to remove file marks and 400 to finish sand..
I'mma guessing that none of these will do the trick . . . . . . .

upload_2020-4-15_12-23-46.png
 
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The Tinker
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I have (and use) flat and half-round #2 and #4 Swiss cut files that I use for stuff like that. Then I use an assortment of different grade sanding sticks to smooth things out.

Then I'd probably grab my #2 and #4 jewelers files and fix the back of that mag opening. :D
 
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Consider my signature line before replying . . . .
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Discussion Starter #10
The first rule I've learned about blending is to sneak up on the final blend. Start coarse, get medium, and then go fine.

I think I'd start with a #4 flat file and see if I could get the taper from the round of the MSH to flow down past the seam just barely into the frame. If that overall shape looked to be what I wanted, and the difference in height was getting small, I'd shift to a #2 file. If there was any doubt in my mind, I'd switch the the #2 sooner.

Once things were looking more or less "right," I'd go after it with a ½" diameter 120 grit flap wheel on a Dremel. And then 240 grit. No flap wheel? Maybe Cratex coarse and then fine.

After I was pretty much there, I'd get rid of any remaining grit marks with some 240 or 320 sandpaper.

Getting the resulting finish to match the rest of the frame might be a trick, though. Can you glass bead blast the whole thing to blend the finish, too?

I'm less concerned with getting the finish to match exactly at this point. It isn't too far off right now, but where it ends up, that may become more of a concern.
 

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The Tinker
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Oh, and as you're new to this, I'd use a black sharpie and smear some color on those raised edges, remove the MSH and put in a small vise (if available) and sneak up on it. As you get close to making the black disappear, keep reinstalling the MSH and check progress. It's always easier to take a little bit more off than trying to put some back on...
 

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Consider my signature line before replying . . . .
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Discussion Starter #12
Oh, and as you're new to this, I'd use a black sharpie and smear some color on those raised edges, remove the MSH and put in a small vise (if available) and sneak up on it. As you get close to making the black disappear, keep reinstalling the MSH and check progress. It's always easier to take a little bit more off than trying to put some back on...

I hear you! When I was trying to learnt carpentry. I discovered that you can cut it, cut it again, and even cut it a third time and it will still come up too short . . . . . . .
 

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The Tinker
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If after you re-profile the MSH and are successful, you could try your hand at redoing that contour on the back of the frame where it sticks up above the MSH.

Too bad you're not close as I'd do this for you. And re-beadblast everything once done. ;)
 
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May be a little harsh on this job though.
To me, it's not the Dremel, it's what tool is in the Dremel. An extra-fine Cratex tip in a Dremel won't take you too far wrong.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Then I'd probably grab my #2 and #4 jewelers files and fix the back of that mag opening. :D
You know, I've never paid much attention to that opening, but I see what you are saying.

I got out my hammer and chisels :rolleyes: and think I made a bit of an improvement. First time hammering on a frame like this (seriously).

upload_2020-4-15_12-51-35.png



I've got to smooth things out with an abrasive stone and hit the other side. I've got a hammer track stone that should do the trick. Did this with some cheap needle files I got off Amazon a few years ago.

upload_2020-4-15_12-53-3.png




This might get ADDICTING . . . . . . .


Here is a "before" close up shot.

upload_2020-4-15_12-55-46.png




@wrmiller , how am I doing so far . . . . . .?


Z
 
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1911 Pistol Smith
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I'mma guessing that none of these will do the trick . . . . . . .

View attachment 462779
You can get #4 file on amazon pretty cheap #2 a little more pricey. I mean as long as they cut good and don't cut to deep. Nicholson imo make the best files out there though. They cut good and don't cut real deep. That's the biggest emphasis nothing to heavy patterned or You'll make cuts that go way deeper than you want.
 

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Too bad you're not close as I'd do this for you. And re-beadblast everything once done. ;)
An alternate method for the final finish....you could try using maroon and then light grey scotchbrite pads on the mainspring housing and the immediate adjacent area of the frame. This would be after the regiment of sandpaper.

Sent from my Redmi Note 5 using Tapatalk
 

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The Tinker
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You know, I've never paid much attention to that opening, but I see what you are saying.

I got out my hammer and chisels :rolleyes: and think I made a bit of an improvement. First time hammering on a frame like this (seriously).

View attachment 462831


I've got to smooth things out with an abrasive stone and hit the other side. I've got a hammer track stone that should do the trick. Did this with some cheap needle files I got off Amazon a few years ago.

View attachment 462837



This might get ADDICTING . . . . . . .


Here is a "before" close up shot.

View attachment 462839



@wrmiller , how am I doing so far . . . . . .?


Z
Doing good. Take that little radius you started to the corners, then extend the radius on the sides back to the corner and take a jeweler round and eliminate that square corner. Then you can use a half-round jeweler file to blend the rounded corner with the radius/fillet you put on the straight edges.

And yes, this stuff is fun and can be very addicting. :)
 
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