Resurrecting Old Frames?

Discussion in '1911 Gunsmithing' started by Scuffy, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. Scuffy

    Scuffy New Member

    Dec 4, 2018
    Several years ago I found a pair of 1911 frames on a table at a local show and they had been de-milled. Never found out why exactly but they were cut in half. Most that I've seen pictures of or heard stories of have been cleaved in half with anything from an angle grinder to a chop saw. These appear to have been separated using a band saw. The cuts are very clean and a minimum of material was lost but the are UGLY as far as frame finish goes! When I bought these I had aspirations of using them for other projects but curiosity got the better of me and I have been wondering about the possibility of saving them and putting them back in service. I realize they are pretty ugly and have seen a lot of abuse but then again I'm not looking for beauty pageant winners- just something to practice on and have fun with as shop projects.

    Both have a stamp on them that makes them fairly nifty- one is stamped "FJA" for Frank J. Atwell, a Col in the military that acted as inspector during part of WW2. The other is what I have found to be the mark of the Army Ordnance Corps. So at least one of them was born in the 40's. Worth anything- absolutely not. Other than the fact they are that darned old!

    Next up is the question of the best way to mate the pairs up. It seems like there is enough mass to do a careful TIG job with and then go back to clean it up afterwards. In reading here and elsewhere across the interwebs I've found that a nickel blend TIG rod is recommended to other such firearm repairs- namely the 3.5% nickel rod that Brownell's sells. My problem being that Brownell's is out of the larger diameter rod (0.094") and only has the much smaller diameter (0.045") in stock. While the cuts in the frame appear to be negligible I don't think that the thinner rod would be what I need. Searching the internet to the end and back does not yield any other supplier that carries such electrodes. Which brings me to my next quandary... is going with rods with a higher nickel content unwise? I'm trying to do things as correctly as possible while providing the most support allowable without being too brittle or too soft.

    I have a basic military slide that I bought from Sarco for another project that would be perfect to act as a possible jig to hold the pieces stable while starting the initial welds. I have the standard 1911 blueprints so I can use the measurements and dimensions to stage the parts the correct distance away from each other. And on the note of cleaning up the final product I do have a jig and correct cutter that I purchased for an 80% project last winter.

    I realize this is probably not the most wise idea- resurrecting these frames, as there are affordable frames out there in a number of places. But I like the challenge of doing things like this. It's more about learning than it is the end result. And besides... the pair cost me a whopping $13 so if they turn out looking like a pair of ugly ducklings or its too difficult to do the finish work on them I'm not exactly out a lot of money.

    So with that I humbly ask if anyone may have any answers to these goofy questions. I'd like to learn!! Thanks so much guys!!

    Attached Files:

    xerts1191 likes this.
  2. Karsten

    Karsten Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2013
    Shadow Box Frame them and be done with it....Most likely Illegal to put them back together like the old De Milled M-14 Receivers....That said I never heard of them De Milling 1911's back then.

    azpoolguy and FWoo45 like this.

  3. FWoo45

    FWoo45 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2017
    Why would anybody do this to those frames?
  4. Scaramouche

    Scaramouche Student of the Columbian Exchange Supporting Addict

    Sep 15, 2015
  5. Greg Derr

    Greg Derr Custom Pistolsmith Supporting Addict

    Oct 3, 2011
    Pullman Arms for welding.
    ZoidMeister likes this.
  6. Colorado Sonny

    Colorado Sonny Deo Volente Supporting Addict

    Sep 25, 2015
  7. Scuffy

    Scuffy New Member

    Dec 4, 2018
    Figures.... well, as an update to this post....

    On a whim I went back to Brownell's and now they have them back in stock. Literally checked a few hours ago and no such luck.

    At any rate- if the situation ever arises where I'm unable to find this nickel/steel blend would a higher nickel content rod be something that would work or should I avoid them? This specific percentage/blend is still something I cannot find anywhere else on the internet.
  8. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    I would trust the advice @Greg Derr gave you above . . . . . ^^^

    Just in case your Google-Fu is low on fuel . . . . . .

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