Custom ice auger adaptor for cordless drill.

These things are popular right now, with the high torque long battery life of modern cordless drills, its verry easy to drill ice holes with them.

Several companies make dedicated augers for this(a friend just got a 6″ K-Drill, works great!).

Also popular are these adaptors to run augers off of hand augers.

I figured the large 8″ auger off my new gas unit was probably heavier than the 8″ hand units, and definitely heavier than the 6″ hand units. But I also figured it should still work, maybe as fast as the others, but if the drill had the torqe to turn it, I’d still have holes!

Adaptors for the hand augers run around $25. But as far as I could tell, the shaft size was different than the gas augers.

And besides that, $25 for something I could turn myself on the lathe? Yup 😉

So, auger in hand, in the shop, and a couple hours later I had this;

Before and after, it’s turned from solid 1.5″ aluminum.

And then I decided it needed a side handle for stability. 1st version with a roller bearing between ring and shaft failed… Accidentally ended up too narrow to drill and tap for thd handle stud. Oops!

Second try I left out the bearing to save time and work, I figured if the whole concept works, I can do it later.

Opposing stud is for an added safety catch, the works can’t drop through the ice… Technically if the drill comes off though, the auger itself can– Considering the drill can’t got through a 8″ hole when on the auger, I kinda missed the boat on thst feature. Lol.

Need to re-mount this or similar below the connection to the auger…

But anyway, there she is!

Tried it yesterday, and it does work, it will crank it in the ice, and drill holes!

But its pretty slow.

Faster and easier than a hand auger, for sure. But the work needed isn’t something I’d want to subject this drill to very often.

We tried it on my buddies bigger drill, and it ate through pretty dang fast. Not as fast as the 6″ K-Drill, but very respectable!

Faster/more powerful drill than what I have, and it’d be perfectly fine.

So yeah, it works. But I won’t be using it. Bigger drill would be a couple hundred minimum. Smaller lighter auger bit, about $60. But since I have the nice 43cc gas motor for this one, I really can’t justify any of the cost.

I’ll shelf it. If I end up with a more powerful drill, or a hand auger, I’ll have the option to try it again.

If nothing else, it was a fun project for the lathe, I enjoyed it. 🙂

Categories: Aluminum, Custom, custom-made-tools, Customized, Fabrication, Field gear, Fishing, Ice Fishing, Improviser, Lathe, Modifications, Prototypes, tool mods

Spruce burls anyone?

Several years ago, a buddy bought a house here, and this was left in the garage by the previous owners. A Hat/coat rack made from a spruce tree with several burls on it, set into another Huge burl as a base.

Great concept, just not done the best way.. they’d drilled holes in the burls and stuck 3/8″ dowels in them for the hanger pegs… Not to mention it never had a finish applied to it so it was dry and dull. 

He thought it was the ugliest thing ever… I didn’t think it was that ugly, but not real gorgeous either… just not real practical the way it was made, and the space it’d take up. He was gonna trash it. I took it home.

I intended to cut it up, to get the burls for woodworking… Today, over 6 years later, it was still standing in a corner of My garage… ;):oops:😒

So I finally got around to cutting it up. 


It stood about 6′ tall. For scale, that is a standard milk crate, and the Husky saw is a 440 with a 18″ bar.  It is now in the form of several separate burls, waiting to be delegated projects. 

Got a bowl, a few kuksas (cups) and some knife handles planned from the small ones. No idea yet about the behemoth that was the base(and I swear that sucker weighs at least 75lbs, even dry and seasoned like it is!).

I went ahead and used the husky to split one of the smallest of those burls down from the center trunk, so I can start carving something. Thinking maybe a small kuksa .


Categories: Alaska-Life, chainsaws, Lathe, Outdoors, wood processing, Woods tools, Woodwork

A sling swivel stud.

A simple item you’d say… It is. Verry simple. A rounded headed bolt with a cross hole. Very simple.

Until you decide you can machine one of your own.

The back story being, that I’ve been cleaning up an old rifle, a Marlin model 39A .22. Its old and worn, rusty and rough. And is a tack driver in accuracy, fantastic to shoot, a great vintage piece made in 1952.

The plan has bee a grouse hunting excursion with a friend, hiking through the back country.. So the gun would need to be slung to carry. One hitch being that in its 64 years of life, its never had a sling on it, becasue there were no studs on it. (OK, maybe it had a barrel band stud at one time, and one in the original butt stock, but not having them now, I have no way of knowing).

So, where Marlin now puts that stud on the new rifles(yes, these are still in production, the same basic design is THE longest running .22 rifle design still in production, dating back to the original design in 1897!), is on the bottom of the foreend stock cap. A new replacement part for a new rifle is about $25+shipping.


I figured I can drill and tap the cap I have, and add a off the shelf stud. Probably about $5 to $7 for a stud set.

Sure. But that takes a trip to town to do it, and the spare cash to do it, and honestly, its just a fancy headed bolt as I said above… And I have this shop full of tools, including a lathe, that excells at making shiny round metal objects…

SO, I set out to make a swivel stud for the rifle.

4 hours later I had one.

It was entertaining.

Removing the cap, and drilling it, then tapping it was easy. The drill wondered a little(I need to get a set of bits with those fancy 35deg split points that don’t wander!), but its OK, the rifle is far from perfect anyway.





(Yes, this rifle has some rust issues… a LOT of them… I’ll be giving it a good cleaning soon.)



I chose a 10–32 thread and bolt size.  In the space I had available in the cap, and of the newest sharpest taps I have, it was either 8 or 10 size, and I figured to lathe cut the threads, but if I had to, I had sharp dies in those sizes. Or so I thought. More on that in a minute. I went with the 10, for the largest to support the rifle weight, and 32, a fine thread, to get as many threads as possible in the ~approx 3/16” cap wall thickness. I also happened to have a verry sharp 4 flute tap in that threadto use ;).

Pulled all my measurements from cross reff, and off the cap etc, made sure I had all my info…   Double checked my tools.

A standard stud off another rifle measured 3/8” diameter on the “head”, a little narrower on the two flat sides that the cross hole connects. Perfect! I could start with a 3/8” bolt shank and save some machining down to size.

So, dug a bolt out of the bin and went to it. It took about an hour to cut the head off, true the outer dia, mark intervals for stud length, head length, thread area etc, then turn down the thread area to the propper dia to cut the threads, pre bevel the tom of the “head” for later rounding, and I was ready to thread it.

Unfortunetally, I got into it at this point and forgot to take machining pics. Sorry!



Got ready to set the lathe gears for the threading process and realized that this sucker won’t cut 32tpi..(which is WEIRD, since 32 tpi is a really, really common machine screw thread!) 

 EEK!  Apparently I didn’t double check my tools close enough!!

OK, well, I did make sure I had a die for hand threading when I started, I’ll do it that way.

No go. Would. Not. Start on that stud. At all.

Re-checked and double, triple checked all my measurements, the die etc. Made sure I was using the over sized starting side of the die. 

Put the thing back in the lathe and cut a hard taper on the tip.

Still no go!

Oiled the ever loving hell out of it.


I was actually already 0.005” under spec, but I took a little more off, in increments til the die would barely start.  It was Hard to thread. Got done, and cleaned everything.

Cranked it into the cap. REALLY loose! ANd then it bottomed, and just a light turn stripped the top 3 or 4 threads on the stud.

GAHHH!  I’d cut it too small, to get it to thread, and the threads were not engaging deep enough. OK. I had a process down at least. So, I took another hour and did it all again.

And yes, I forgot to take any pics this time around too.

Same story, at spec, and I was closer this time, only about 0.002” under, die would not start.   So, I took a little bit off at a time, again.

But the firt time, I had cut that shank off to the length I needed Before threading, about 0.200”. This time I left it about 0.75”, and when I was cutting it down in increments, testing the die each time, every 0.001” to 0.002”, I was only doing the first 3/8” of it.

That way, if I took too muck off again, or otherwise messed up, I could cut it down, and not have to do All the machining down from the full 3/8” dia again.

I finally got the die to start, on a beveled end, on a good diameter. Slowly, carefully cut the threads down till it stopped at the dia increase. Put it back in the lathe, that was left at its last setting, and took the rest of the length to the head down to that dia.  Unfortunetally, the bolt not being perfect, nor the lathe, I was slightly out of alignment having taken the item out of the chuck and replaced it… so it took a touch off the top of the threads I cut at the same time. Grr.

Anyway, cut the rest of the threads on down to the head, checked the fit in the cap and it was nice and tight! GREAT!

 Re chucked in the lathe, and cut to the lenghth I needed, then cleaned the end threads again. Perfect.









Cranked it down tight in the cap so I’d have a handle to hold/clamp, and put it to the grinder, and flattened the two left and right sides.  Over to the dril press, sellect a appropriate drill to match the cross pin on a sling swivel, and drill across.  Drill went half way and stopped.. Harder core to the both than the outer dia. SLightly smaller higher quality bit punched all the way through, and then opened up with a bigger bit.

Original bit had wandered again, hole off center, and angled. GRRRR. (REALLY, REALLY NEED to get some good split point bits!!!!)

Meh. Gone this far, and the cap hole was off center anyway, and as I said none of the rifle is perfectly clean… It’ll work.

Re-installed it in the cap, and tightened it…. Hole/flats come out the wrong angle. AAAAHHHH!!!

Go ahead and laugh. It is hillarious at this point, although at the time I could have Killed the inventor of the sling stud, or anything or anyone else dumb enough to get near me… 😉

So, it was a combo of it not being as tight as I though it was the first time when I cut the flats, and also I now believe in hindsight, of it starting to strip the threads…  I backed it out to where it was lined up right, and it was a slight gap, found a couple lock washers the right diameter, and used them as spacers, tightened it down and it was perfect.

Took it apart, got out the locktite, and reassembled it. TIghtened it down. 

And the little bugger stripped the top threads again!!!

No, I didn’t pitch it accross the shop, but it was awfully tempting!! 

It only stripped the top couple threads, the bottoms were fine, but I didn’t trust them to hold it, nor leave it free spinning, even though it took a lot of pressure outward to get it to catch and thread out..  It’d thread out while carrying on the trail. 

I cheated. I went and dug around and got a nut the right size, and tightened it up on the inside(good thing I’d designed this to have some bolt sticking through the inside!!), and CAREFULLY torqued it down.

I finally won! But boy, oh boy was that a long hard battle!

After that I just had to put it to the sander and round the end radus so a swivel on it would, well, swivel. 😉 And then cut a clearance for the radius in the wood forestock end, and reassemble the rifle.






Like I said before, its not on there perfectly straight, but its not off far either. Its fine… I don’t care, at least its on there! 😉





Depending on how I refinish the rifle(IF I ever get that far… lol) I’ll buff/plish the stud and match it. For now, I’ll hit it with a little bit of cold blueing to take the shine off and call it good.

Now, the interesting part is… I have to do this all over, again. Most of it anyway; You need two of these studs on a gun to use a sling.  And at this point, where I have decided that its a simple item to make, and its not worth buying, and have then made one, I am naturally commited to make the second, on principal alone. (damn it!)

Yes, I could cry at this point.

BUT, one redeaming point here, is that it will be a wood screw shank, and it doesn’t have to mate to anything I will tap threads in! I can cut whatever course deep thread I want to with the lathe, making a wood screw/lag bolt shank, taper the point, pilot drill the stock, and install… no matting of two threaded parts, and no matching of threads; verry importantly, NO HAND CUTTING THREADS!!

Should be a LOT easier compared to this Adventure!

And, I end with Two items for my shopping list; A new die for 10–32 threads, since I believe a lot of my trouble was probably this one being duller than dish water… And a set of bits with the no-wander, easy start, split point. At least a few in some common sizes; I can drill undersize holes close to the size I need, and once they are there and straight, its easy to enlarge them with almost any bit. 


Categories: Custom, custom-made-tools, Guns, Gunsmithing, Lathe

Scopes and sights and things.

(warning, this is a long, long read!)

I basically just need to type/talk this out to clear it out in order in my mind… But I do also like sharring my projects as I go, so I hope someone enjoys the read, even if it is a bit long winded and rambling as I make some conclusions.

 So, hunting this year was a bit different than last year, more ridding and less hiking.

But what little hiking I did do, was a pain in the butt… Not literally, and the hiking itself was fine. The problem was with what i had to carry; My rifle.  Not the rifle itself. It just felt wrong, and was hard to carry; Gone was the great ballance, light weight, and ability to go through the brush with no fear… 

The reason? I put a scope on the rifle again. 

The rifle with the scope on it;



Last year becasue the scope had messed up, I ran just the open iron sights. And it was great! I mean yes scopes are durrable, but it really is a pain going through woods and brush with one, trying not to scrape and catchit on things… and even with lens covers, I’ve scraped them off in thick brush..

But not only that, even if I stop worrying about dammaging it, it sits right above the best place to grab the gun to carry it, right around the reciever. It adds weight. It screws with the ballance and feel.

I like having the scope on it for shooting, its nice, honestly for the size of animal I’m going after(read as BIG kill zone), and the ranges the terrain offers shots at(150 to 200 yards Max 76 to 100 average), I don’t really Need a scope… Heck, I shoot a tighter group at 100 yards with the open sights than I do with the scope anyway! (no idea why… Except maybe I’m more steady holding the rifle without the scope on it, and maybe my form/cheek weld etc is better with the iron sights)

And then back to this years trip, the ridding… Nowhere where i rode, could I find a secure place to put a rifle where it was easy access, without the danger of bumping or soaking the scope. Truck cabs, and atv racks are not the most un abrasive places.. Neither are boats I’ve found.

And there is another point… soaking the scope, and boat rides. A wet lens is imposible to look through, so is fogged. The time to take to find something dry to wipe it with can slow down getting your gun tot he point of losing an animal.  You can scope dope the lenses agains water and fog, and use covers too, but I wonder about how water tight a scope is, about getting water IN one… And also, I have had scopes fog INSIDE on me bofore too… Which renders it useless till you can warm it up/dry it out.

There are several other little issues that I’ve come against, but any further here and it just seems like I’m looking for justifications to ditch it, looking for problems,,,

All of this basically boils down to my fear of the lack of durrability of a scope… its aluminim and glass… finely tuned glass in specific precission mountings… No matter how durrable you say it is, I’m still gonna be leary of busting it, or drowning it, or even just scratching the mens so I can’t see into it.

Couple that with the weight and handling changes that they provide to the rifle, and I’ve decded to heck with it for 90% of my hunting.

All that to say… the scope is comming off again.

Actually, it is off now.

I’m going to get my prefered sight style, an aperature sight to go on in its place. Thats quite easy to do, just pick a style, and go; the Rem 700 being an old design, and verry popular, there are several option. A big bonus too, being this is a older rifle, it is old enough that it was factory drilled and tapped along the left side for a side mount style sight, like the Williams 5D, or FP, and the Lyman sights. 

There are also a few top mount peep(aperture) sights out there that are made to go on the rear scope mount holes, or that can be easilly re-drilled to be made to fit this guns hole spacing.

But. (yeah, you had to know that was coming… nothing is ever simple. At least not around here.. 😉 )

 I want to keep the capability to easilly put the scope back on, quickly, in the field at the truck or in hunting camp if needed.  90% of my hunting is moose, in bottom land and along rivers… forrest or tundra, its a lot of brush and short ranges, shere a peep or open sight are quite addequate.  BUT There are also the days where you know you will end up above the tree line(especially if I go caribou hunting), or out in the fields, or headed to a specific river bank that affords a great 400 yard field of view…  Days where taking a couple minutes before heading out from camp to put the scope on for longer range safety would be fantastic.

The scope mount I have, a leupold twist lock front and windage rear, actually comes off and on rather easilly, yet locks up Tight.

The key to this will be to go shoot the rifle with the scope on, take it off, shoot, and put it back, shoot, and see if zero is the same in the scope..

IF that works, then all I have to do is find a way to mount my prefered style of open sight with the scope mounts in place.

Which rules out any sights that sit on the rear scope mount holes, AND the side mount ones too, since they wrap around the reciever and sit over that spot.


As to the scope mount, to take the scope off, you have to remove one of the rear windage adjustment/lock screws on the mount… which could be an issue. But, if I red locktite the other side screw in place, the scope/ring can be taken off, and put back on against it without it moving, and simply using the other screw as a hold down. Essentially fixing the windage adjustment in place permanently.(I didn;t use it to sight the scope anyway, its centered.)


So far, with out spending any money, I have a few somewhat easy options for that… and one kinda hard option.


Here is one thought I had, to simply drill and tap the scope base for a peep post… the post itself with a lock ring is the elevation adjustment, but this has no windage adjustment outside of drifting the front sight… I’d prefer to have a windage on the rear sight, so this while simple and easy, is out.




 Last year, I had bought a Skinner sight, to try on my Win94AE(.45Colt) Some of you might remember my posts about that mounting, I drilled and tapped the top of the bolt on that rifle to hold it.  In the year since I did that, I have yet to get it sighted in, or even shot once… No loss right now to take it back off. 😉





When I had bought that sight, I made sure that I got something that was also set up so I could add another mount hole to it, to match the hole spacing on the 700. (which is 0.600”) The mount holes on it are spaced between .500 and .600. Too close unfortunetally to .600 to use the rear hole and a new one next to the front one, the new hole would overlap the existing front hole. But as you can see, there is plenty of metal along the slope for adding a secong forward hole.


 So, easy solution, drill and tap the rear scope mount to match the Skinner sights holes.

Or, make a new hole in the skinner to match the rifles scope mount holes.






Actually mounting it low on the barrel, back where I would need to have the holes in it, it would have a clearance issue with the bolt. Could easilly be cut to clear, and I *Think* without taking too much metal off(ie,weakening the sight base in any way).



In a way really wish the Skinner was wider based, I could cut lock notches into it like the rear scope ring has, and simply mount it with the scope base windage screws.


How the skinner sits on the scope base, with different placements;








BUT.(yes, again! :p )  any of those options put that sight super high above the reciever, and a long ways above my front sight, making the distance/elevation setting at an extreme right off the batt.  

Plus the higher the thing sticks up, the harder it is to use from a comfortable shooting position/cheek to stock mount etc. 

AND, the higher it is, the more stuff it can snag on, get hit or caught against, and possibly get dammages. Lower is mor streamlined and protected.

 So far, the idea I like the best, is using the scope base windage screws as the main mounting, maybe drilling a couple holes in that base for locator pins to make sure the sight I use stays parralell to the barrel, or doesn’t cant to one side.   I mean, if those screw are solid enough to hold the scope in place, i can;t see why they cant be used for another sight.


The scope off, here you can sort of see the twist lock front mount, and the simple post rear that the windage screws clamp in place.


Detais of that post, what I will in theory be coppying on the base of a peep sight;




The clean rear base, the key item in all of this;



The trick, is getting a sight to go there that has the features I want, but doesn’t stick up horrendoulsy far.  And so far the only option I can see, is to build one from scratch. Thats the “hard” solution I mentioned above.

MY stock reat open sight is set at MPBR(maximum point blank range) for my hunting load. which is about 1.5” high at 100 yards, which gives max drop of another 1.5” out around 250(something like that, can’t remember for sure now, but you get the idea) so that I can shoot point of aim safely and be well within the kill zone from 50 to 250 yards…  no elevation compensation/hold over required.

So the height of that sight is what I will need, to be able to use the current front sight. Roughly. A touch higher couldn’t hurt too much.

As you can see, I can’t get too much higher than the scope bases, without having to get a taller front sight, and adjust the open sight up too;


There is another thought; the front sight. ANd why i want to keep it the height it is.

First off, I will be changing the front sight to a fiber optic unit for low light and dark target shooting. But I want to keep the same height if I can, so that it still fits under the protective sight hood. (although, Williams fire sights offer a hood for their front sights/ramps if I need it).

But also, I want to if at all possible KEEP the stock open v notch sight onthe gun, and functional… So if I do change the front sight for the peep sight, I have to make sure it will still sight properly to the open sight.

Why keep the stock open sight? It gives me a backup. Crap happens. Usually at the worst times.   Something happens to either the peep, or the scope, and they could be quickly and easilly taken off and the open sight used(yes, its field of view/height clears the bare scope bases.) 

See, I’m not considering the peep as a backup to the scope, but as a prefered main sight, that will have the option of being changed out for a scope when its needed.  ( a good comparison here is winter and summer tires. For the winter here, a lot of us run studded all terain tires, leaving some street treads for the summer. Well, when you change tire type for the seasons, you still carry a spare tire… the backup is always there regaurdless of the style of the main item in use.(And for those that know my truck, yes, your right, I don’t carry a spare tire, but the concept is still sound!!))


But, back to the concept at hand now; A low profile peep sight to mount to the windage screw rear scope base.


What really got me to thinking on this, and making a design, was realizing that the peep post and windage block from the Skinner sits so low, and compact on the scope base;





But unfortunetally, again, it is too narrow to just mount there as is. Turn it the other way and it fits great, except for the offset for it original lock down screw;






But you see how low and compact that is on there? It just looks good.  Its almost low enough to work with the current front sight height, and honestly I think its about right, if I go a little higher with the front sight, and notch up the open sight, it can work out close enough. 

That got me to thinking, that If I simply make a block that general size, but cut a normal 3/8” dovetail across it for a windage adjustment, mount a peep post in the top of a piece to slide in that dovetail, a screw up/down elevation adjustment, some simple lock screws, and notches cut in the sides for the scope base windage screw to lock into, and Bingo!

So, I fired up the modeler, and threw together a rough draft. I eyeballed the angles etc, none of this is exact/right. I can re-do it later with Perfect dimensions if I need to blueprint it before making it.



(I used brass and aluminum color in the render for clarity/contrast of parts. Actualy unit will be all one material, as such yet to be determined.)

The big key here in building this sight will be measurements. If Iknow my sight radius, and how much the point of impact moves at 100 or 200 yards for every increment, say .002” at the rear sight(and actually, it would be what ever 1/2 turn of the threaded adjuster nets in movement), along with my intended MPBR setting that will be standard, I can know exactly how high or short I can make the mount.  

And know exactly how much adjustment I will need on the apperature post, counted per thread of adjustment, to give a safe buffer for re-sighting to different loads/ammos for hunting.  If I know where it will be at most of the time, ahead of time, then I won’t need to build in a lot of adjustment above or below that point, thus removing unnessicary base/post height.  And keeping the sight low and compact in the process.

So, thats the end of my little story for now, and where I am at now…

Unless I come up with something easier, or simpler, I’ll be trying to find some shop time this week, and start machining. 

And yes, a warmer/dryer day to go shoot the rifle with the scope, remove it, then put it back to shoot and check zero…  But honestly, I’m not too worried about that. I’m 99% sure it will work out as I need it to, and hold zero when reattached.  And, if not, I won’t have lost much, just time and effort, and had some fun making a rear sight that I can still use. Will just have tog o back to the drawing board for being able to quick change the scope too. 🙂

Thoughts? Coomments?  🙂

Categories: Custom, Guns, Gunsmithing, Hunting, Lathe, Modifications, Outdoors, Winter

Revolving Carbine Pt3 (purpose for locking hinge)

So, that hinge came about for this rifle…

I fit the forestock(roughly…) to the barrel, and around the ejector housing. I wanted it fit back against the frame and around the housing, instead of out past the housing leaving a big gap…

Please ignore the temporary mounting hardware :p










Yes I know that channel is pretty rough… I free handed it in first with chissels, then the router… At that point the other fittment around the ejector and actually the original fit to the barrel was pretty bad anyway, I knew I needed a new stock piece… But I could keep going and fit this one as a proof of concept.


SO, the only real problem with this is that it puts the handle for the ejector right in the middle of the place you need to put your hand on the stock to shoot… Even with a low profile handle, its gonna be a lump in your grip.



Test handle…



So, what if it were to fold out of the way?





And thus started the designing of that hinge!  Yes, its a folding, recessed, locking extended ejector handle!


 The rod itself took about 6 tries to get the right size of rod, length, and all the bends in place an right, at the right lengths… And then threaded on the end.



In position to be used;












(with the spring removed. The srping pressure cams it open, so at this point it has to be held down/folded.)





So, in the final version, it will fold dow the oposite direction toward the muzzle, into a recess fit to the final handle/knob shape, with a latch to keep it folded… (yes, another mechanism to design and build!)  And the chanel for use will be a T shape, as slim/small as possible, the main chanel about 3/16” wide to just clear the lock collar sleeves travel stop(last piece under the hinge on the end of the rod) that will be turned down to that dia.

Then the top cross of the “T” shape will be the width of the knurled stop collar. (and that collar will end us as narrow as I can get it, but still be able to grip good to use.)   Plus with a slightly fatter, more contoured forestock that will sit a little higher, it will fold down completely recessed.


Ejector in use;




Overall shot, so far;





As a side note, you will also notice the frame mounted rear peep sight, previously designed for my Win94… And only slightly moddified to mount on here, I might add… It will still mount on the 94!




Proposed front sight;



Categories: Custom, Guns, Gunsmithing, Lathe, Woodwork

Custom locking hinge

You guys should enjoy seeing this one;

I needed a lock for a(very)small hinge that I could lock in the straight position, and be easily released, preferably under spring tension, for part of another project… With mounts for a large knob on one side, and a small rod on the other.. That had to be as small as possible, roughly 1/4″ dia by about 1″ max length including the end knob, and the end of the attaching smaller rod..

Some Background; I was designing a mechanism for the other project, and a hinge became the best solution when I remembered that I had these small brass barrel hinges(made as small wood box hinges) that are about 5/32” in dia…  Another problem along with needing a lock was that they are designed to press into a hole drilled in wood; No attachments.  


So… Some other parts and hardware, along with some brass stock, and the lathe… and some taps, dies, and Time;


And 3.5 hours of engineering and machine work later, I have a spring loaded stop collar on a hinge, that locks it straight, and pulls back to let it hinge;

The worst of it was the design/”will this even bloody work or not” stage… The worst of the physical work was the tedious turning down of one outer end to take 8–32 threads, and the drilling into the other end to take 4–36 threads…. FUN.









Some of the most frustrating, and most challenging, but also the funnest work I’ve done lately!! And for all that work, its still just a small(literally and figuratively) part of a bigger project(more on that later, as it progresses).

One interesting part of this was that I didn’t know if this would work to fix the problem on the other project without having it in hand to try in place. But to do that I had to have it; To have it, I had to first design it, engineer it to work, and build it.. All in a shape and size that would fit into the other project; But not really knowing how I needed it to fit, without first having it to test fit it… Ahh, the wonders of catch 22s in design and implementation! 

Categories: Custom, Lathe, Modifications

Little something different… .22 Mag Carbine Pt1

So, I’m almost done with the first Rem. 25 rifle, its down to finishing the finishing  on the stock and metal… A couple more coats of oil for the stock, and the blueing.  But I didn’t work on it the last couple days. I’m tired of oiling that stock, and while I finally have everything needed to do the blueing, I’m still not shure thats what I want to do to it…

So I worked on something else last night.

The internet is a dangerous place. I was looking at some older cartridges, like the rare/almost obsolete 25–20, the 32–20, and the 218 bee… Then the .22 hornet, and some other wildcats from the turn of the last century… That led me to a revolver forum I used to frequent. I browsed around, and that showed me a coule black powder revolvers with conversion cylenders for cartridges(nothing new, I’d seen it before). That got me to thinging about the .36 cal Navy revolver that was Dads, and wondering if I could get a conversion for it.(yup… at $250!) Looking at conversions led me to some guns made between converted cap and ball revolvers, and the famous colt SAA; open top cartridge revolvers. And the modern replicas. And a dealers site led me to look up the manufacturers site… Which led me to a gun style I’d almost forgotten about;

I’ve always wanted one of these revolving carbines;


So, reseaching and reading about the cartridge for the other gun project, led me straight(more or less) into this project.


And, I just so happen to have a .22(Mag) revolver thats already a project gun, and a .22 barrel blank laying around… 😀  I already can’t shoot the revolver since the last time I worked on it, I ruined the ejector housing… SA guns are a pain to shoot without a easy way to eject fired cases. And the barrel blank is one my Dad bought cheap 10+ years ago for some small single shot pistol and rifle projects that we never got around to doing.

SO, if I mess this up, I’m not losing anything!


I’ve never understood exactly why short barreld rifles are illegal, and yet long barreld hand guns aren’t… I mount this barrel and leave the pistol grip, and I’ve made what they call a Buntline, usually sold with a 12” to 14” barrel….   But anything with a buttstock and less than 16” of barrel is a SBR, and requires a $200 fed tax stamp, and different registarion paperwork etc…   But the overall length/concealability comes out about the same give or take a few inches!   The biggest thing is you can’t have anything with a shoulder stock with a barrel less than 16”; Thus putting a shoulder stock on a pistol also being illegal. 


But anyway, to stay within legal specs of a shoulder fired firearm, I cut the barrel at 16”(OK, actually 17” in case I screwed up the first mounting attempt)

SO the final form of the gun is within all legal specs. Except the serial number is still from a pistol. If I find out that that still makes the gun illegal (regaurdless of actual applicable physical dimensions and handling), I’ll reverse this project and put it back down to a 5” or 6” barreled pistol.

UPDATE; I have been reading ATF regs and letters of law. Dirrectly from the ATF site archives too, to rule out any errors or misinterpretations by others.    As far as I can tell, and I am 95% certain of it; You Can NOT convert a firearm orginally made as a rifle to have less than 16” of barrel, or be less than 26” overall length with out NFA reclassification(as in illegal without the tax and registration/paperwork etc). You Can NOT have a pistol with a butt stock, IF it has a barrel less than 16”  without NFA reclasification.  YOU CAN however convert a reciever ORIGINALLY designed and sold as a Pistol into a rifle, with a butstock IF the barrel length meets the 16” requirement AND it meets the 26” overall length requirement.

The basics are you can’t convert a receiver designed and sold as a rifle into a pistol, but you CAN convert receiver designed and sold as a pistol into a rifle IF the legal lengths are maintained.

Which explains all the kits I’ve seen out there that come with a longer barrel and a stock that will mount on a 1911…  And everyone building legal AR pistols… Its legal if you buy an Pistol designated lower, and convert back and forth…. Not legal if its sold as a Rifle lower. 

Or to quote someone more eloquent than I am(this is more understandable to me, more than my own wording above…lol…) 

“”The BATFE has made it very clear that once a receiver is built into a rifle, whether by a factory or by you, it is always a rifle and converting it to a pistol is illegal.

However, it is perfectly legal to build the receiver into a pistol first and then convert it to a rifle. If the receiver is built into a pistol first, you can configure it back and forth from handgun to rifle and back again as much as you want. However, you must be vigilant to ensure that the less than 16&Prime barrel is never on the receiver at the same time as a stock”” 



Remove barrel…



Short barrel revolver anyone?   Accuracy would no doubt suck, but its balanced nice, and feels/points great!







New barrel turned to fit, back tapered, and forcing cone cut;












This is a comparatively easy barrel mounting since its not threaded in, it slip fits, then has two cross pins. I mamnaged to break a drill off in the frame when drilling one cross hole, so I need to fix that somehow later, but the other pin went in perfectly.   I lucked out too, the outside diameter of the blank is Exactly the same os the original barrel, so it fits on there well, and I had enough material to turn the needed shoulder on the barrel.


The previous two barrel lengths this gun has had;




Its actually ironic if you think about it, originally I wanted a shorter gun so I took it down from 4–5/8” to 3–1/2”… Now I’m extending it to 17” 😉


Gonna need one heck of a long holster for this thing like this, and my fast draw is gonna need a LOT more practice!! 😉 😀



Carbine teaser; (remember the runined forestock from the 25–20? yup… it fits this barrel contour pretty good! )



Doing stock design and layout;





Categories: Custom, Guns, Gunsmithing, Lathe, Modifications

The Thor Pen

I now have a hammer, pen and 1/4” bit driver all in one!

I had an idea for a pen and decided to go ahead and try it as an add on to the one I already made last week. The idea was a cross section at the top to hold a 1/4” hex bit. 


First thing was seeing how small I could get a 1/4” hex driver turned down… Turned it as small as I could, then picked a close sied drill bit a couple thousadths under that and turned to to be about 0.001” to 0.0015” bigger for a press fit.




The head piece itself was going good till I miscalculated the bottom of the holes depth, and the dia for the center section to sit over the top hex on the pen… The plus side was I hit EXACTLY the same dia as the center hole for the insert. Cleaned up the ends and it slid tegether, just about 1/4” shorter than it had been.  I knew how to finsh it, but decided it wasn’t worth the work, and started anther head section.






Would have had to significantly shorted the insert and thuse the gripable depth of a hex bit too.



Version 2.0 came out a LOT longer, I gave myself plenty of material to work with for spacing the inserts hole, and the cross hole, offsets etc. Turned out too long for my tastes.










BUT, it all worked, proving the theory, and that I had the skill to do it…  only mistake was general spacing/length, and I sanded the insert too small to press fit, would have had to been epoxied in.

I went back and finished the 1st  one at this point, since it would be shorter.

I cross drilled it and pinned it together, then crossdrilled it for the pen shaft. It worked. Mostly. Not a clean look with the visible pin end, and the pin drifted and was a tad loose. Plus the shallow bit holder hole, and I decided not to use it.






I also crushed/mangled the insert when trimming it to length to fit the shorter 1st  head…  So, I made another insert from a 1/4” hex nut driver, and went back to the drawing board.

I fit the new insert to a super tight fit in the V2.0 head hole. Then trimmed both sides of that head down shorter, deepened the hole slightly, and press the sleeve in. Am verry proud of that, the precission turning that was needed to fit it! It can’t turn, and ain’t Ever comming out again!

So, the 3rd  and final version is actually the 2nd  one re-cut shorter.  It came out longer than the pinned 1st  version, but a lot shorter than it had started. I like it. Its semi press fit to the pen barrel, it can come off, but requies a bit of force, it won’t spin on it verry easily.   Had to shorten one of the pens outer sleeves/beads so it all goes together to the right length again.

There is no bit retension. I will go back later and center drill the bit holder pocket for a ~1/8” magnet to press in, IF it looks like I will actually use the driver more than once a year 😉 Otherwise its not worth the work at this point… I’ve already proved to myself that I could make what I started out to make. 😀 😉 

Anyway, I give you The Thor Pen! 










With the parts of the leftovers and misshaps;




Categories: Brass, Custom, custom-made-tools, Frigid-Metals, Lathe, Pens

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: