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GUNS Magazine Digital February 2011 - Page 16
• H A M I L T O N S . B O W E N • It’s necessary, not so hard on the wallet and adds the final touch. ll the parts, painstakingly polished and prepared, are A fresh out of the bluing tanks. The receiver, resplendent in color case hardening from Turnbull Restorations, fairly glows. Carefully, you assemble the revolver’s bits and pieces and now you install the original grips. Aw heck, this thing looks like crap now. It’s those dang grips! Sure enough, the old grips are missing half the finish, covered with dings and nicks and missing half the paint in the medallions. This will never do. Refinishing the grips seems like the obvious course until visions of days spent waiting for each coating of stock finish to dry leave you crouching in the corner, hoping for a brighter tomorrow. Cheer up! How does working a few minutes here and there over the course of a day sound to refinish a set of grips? There is a down and dirty way to get a job out the door, freshen up a gun to bring top dollar at the gun show or put a better face on the contents of your gun cabinet. Before I do anything to the grips, I’ll want to protect any medallions QuiCkie handGun GriP refinishinG that might be present. Lay a piece of masking tape over the medallion, mashing it down for good adhesion. Then, cut around the edges with a sharp X-acto knife and peel away the excess. A couple layers won’t hurt a thing. This will minimize damage from scrapers, sandpaper, etc. Get it off Quickest way to remove the builtup production finish on most factory grips is to scrape it off. My scraper is a piece of spring steel about 2"x6", around, .050" thick, which is kept If you don’t have refinishing supplies under the sink, everything can be found at any good hardware store. The appearance of a nicely restored gun would be jeopardized by seedy grips. razor sharp with the resident belt grinder. Held just past perpendicular and gently and carefully dragged over the grip panel contours will have all finish off in about two minutes. Once done, I’ll carefully sand the grips, backing up the paper with blocks, files or dowels to help preserve edges and contours. Start with 100/120, going to 150/180 and finishing with 220 or thereabouts. Wet down the panels, let them dry for an hour or so and re-sand to de-whisker. Once the wood is dry, we take out the secret weapon: hardware store lowgloss spray lacquer. Most of these will squirt and dry within minutes. I try to achieve a nice, smooth, filled finish so will apply at least three to four thin coats, 15 or 30 minutes between coats (or as directions advise). Once hard, I’ll carefully sand any runs or drips to get everything back to grade. The last step is to rub out the finish with 0000 dry steel wool. Take care not to cut through the finish. With a little practice and experimentation, 16 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM•FEBRUARY2011