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Old 06-18-13, 12:34 PM   #1
oyster
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Default Engraving a shotgun

In my quest to create the finest fly rods, I have come, over the years, to spend a large portion of my time at the engraving vice. Engraving reel seats, and ferrules is a daily occurrence for me. However, since the day I first began to study the engraving arts, there has always been a canvas that I've sought to decorate... the double barrel shotgun. Recently I've set about making this dream into a reality and thought I'd share my experience...

I've learned through the years that nothing beats the guidance of an expert instructor, so despite my years of engraving experience, I loaded up my bike (Jed Clampit style) and headed to my regular engraving school in central Kansas to see what there was to learn about the mysterious world of gun engraving.


1,000 miles and 24 hours later I rolled up to my classroom still buzzing inside my head. The first two days of the weeklong course were basically reviews of engraving styles, border cutting options, tool sharpening etc. Out came the practice plates and we set about making cuts.

First, we practiced the various repetitive patterns used to frame out areas - "border cuts".


We also practiced various styles of scroll work to provide the majority of the coverage. I chose English scroll because it isn't a style I get to practice very often on my fly rods. While almost too fine for the small parts of a fly rod, it is extremely popular, and gives a rich look to guns. You can see that this style doesn't require background removal, but instead is made up of tiny scroll loops and leaves which are so tightly compacted that no real background space remains visible. These scrolls are arranged into various patterns to cover or highlight the shape of the gun.
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Old 06-18-13, 12:48 PM   #2
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I know I'm going to enjoy this thread! Can't wait to see the final piece!
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Old 06-18-13, 01:07 PM   #3
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Great stuff Bill! As you know, I am a sucker for engraved double barrels! BTW, I stll have that old AYA Model 100 boxlock that I will gladly donate for you to practice on.
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Old 06-18-13, 01:20 PM   #4
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Looking forward to following this!
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Old 06-18-13, 04:03 PM   #5
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I can hardly wait!
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Old 06-18-13, 10:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for the rod tip. Wish you would have showed me your gun today. Hat's a comming
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Old 06-19-13, 11:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck Henry View Post
Great stuff Bill! As you know, I am a sucker for engraved double barrels! BTW, I stll have that old AYA Model 100 boxlock that I will gladly donate for you to practice on.
That's an awfully tempting canvas. Those big blank spaces are just begging to tell a story.

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Thanks for the rod tip. Wish you would have showed me your gun today. Hat's a comming
No problem. I always like to get people back on the water. This gun is still under development. Everyone on this board is going to get to see it come together as it happens!
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Old 06-19-13, 11:25 AM   #8
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Default To the gun

So, as day two is drawing to a close and I'm itching to put away the practice plates, we finally pull out the guns. For this class, we were all required to bring the same gun. The idea was to find an engraveable gun which everyone could afford, AND potentially afford to screw up, since it was a first for everyone in the class. It wasn't typically the sort of piece that would warrant $5,000 worth of engraving, but it would help break the ice and give us some "real world" experience. The model the instructor chose for us was the Stoeger Uplander. I brought a 28 gauge, double trigger version.
(image stolen from Google since I forgot to take a "before" pic)


The first thing that had to be done was to disassemble (completely) the guns. A former classmate of mine was the instructing gunsmith, and the whirlwind demonstration to follow was enough to confuse everyone... but hey, getting things apart has always been a strongpoint of mine. Putting them back together again, well...


Once the guns were dismantled we used a chemical stripper to remove the bluing from the areas that were to be engraved. Then we jumped into the hours of metal prep which began with files to remove any laser writing, followed by thousands of passes with a sanding block from 220 grit, to 400. We even used punches and burnishing tools to re-bed steel where it was raised around screw holes and to fill in scratches. It's amazing the amount of flaws you can find when "perfection" is the goal. Now was the time to fix them, or forever hold your peace. Eventually, after a lot of sweating, cursing, and a few band-aids a matt grey canvas was revealed.
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Old 06-19-13, 11:50 AM   #9
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And here we go! Excellent calibre choice I do say.
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Old 06-19-13, 03:46 PM   #10
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Hot diggity!

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Excellent calibre choice I do say.
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