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Posted: 12/19/2005 6:32:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/19/2005 6:38:32 PM EDT by Joe_Blacke]
Took the day off, and figured I'd waste most of it adding crap to one of my Kimbers. So in the fine tradition of Wiley E. Coyote School of Gunsmithing, I grabed my dremel and headed for the garage. It took me several hours, but now my old Series I Kimber has a new bevertail (blended of course), thumb safety, and a blended S&A magwell. For whatever reason, the new thumb safety wouldn't fit into the recess in the slide when the pistol is in battery. It took me nearly an hour with a Swiss Pattern file to recountour the safety to fit in the slide when it is engaged.

Tomorrow, according to UPS, the checkering files should be here. I'll spend the remainder of the year messing up a couple frontstraps while learning to checker. After that is done, I'll blast them, repark, and send them off for new sights.


Okay, here are a few pics. My camera takes pretty amazing pictures, but since the frame is very reflective it makes it hard to focus. Also, in the details there are several items which appear to be deep scratches/gouges, but they are really just very faint lines that the cratex leaves. Also, those areas that look like "flat spots" (particularly in the magwell area) are just reflections of the flash.

Also, the grip safety was proud of the frame tangs by about 1/16" on each side. I had to grind it flush with the frame. Additionally, the beavertail was such a high grip that when I blended the lower portion of the frame it created a very sharp angle in the grip area. I tried to radius it a bit, and now the grip is very comfortable. I'm going to have to do some blending to make it match the angles on the lower portion of the frame.

Although this is only my second beavertail/thumb safety/magwell install, I think it came out pretty nice.















Link Posted: 12/19/2005 8:27:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/19/2005 8:30:36 PM EDT by ALPHAGHOST]
damn, that is some nice, meticulous work

cant wait on the final!
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 2:17:34 AM EDT
Nice work, especially for DIY!

What exact bits did you use in the Dremel? Stones, sandpaper rolls, cratex?

I always though a magwell needed blending with a mill for best effect, but it's obvious by the time yours is refinished it'll look just as nice by using just a Dremel. Any tips you can provide for magwell blending?

What tool did you use to radius the frame tangs?
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 4:28:57 AM EDT
Kimbers have a .250 radius already, so I didn't need to grind the tangs to make the safety fit. I just needed to blend the top, bottom and sides. To blend the beavertail, I used a 120 grit sandpaper roll for most of the work. When I got closer, I switched to a old, worn, sanpaper roll. It makes it easier to control the work, smooth out the imperfections, and start the blending process. Finally, when I was satisfied with the blending, I switched to Cratex to smooth everything up.

For the magwell, I used 60, 12, and 240 grit tapered rolls. I actually went through 10 of each grit in the blending of this magwell (30 rolls in all). I finally finished with some Cratex.

One thing about the magwell that I didn't like is the two front "teeth", where they extend toward the frontstrap. They were both different lengths, so I had to grind them until they were the same length. I also wanted to set them back from the recessed cutout in the frontstrap by about 1/8".
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:39:40 AM EDT
you guys are costing my lots of money, I've broken down and order some cratex and a bevertail, time for some W.E.C.S.O.G. of my own. and that looks like a great job
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:01:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 9:02:44 AM EDT by Joe_Blacke]
Some new pics:






I'll repost some final pics after checkering and refinishing.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 4:46:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 5:36:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 5:42:54 PM EDT by Subzero]
I have a Kimber, a new beavertail and a Dremel. I don't have the guts to put them together like that though. Not without any metal-putting-back-on tools, anyway

Nice work. Can't wait to see the finished product.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:27:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SGB:
Nice work in progress.

+1 But to be completely honest, your thread title scared the bejeezus outta me!
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:45:17 PM EDT
The first time I tried this, I was scared shitless. Thankfully, Hobbs was there to walk me through the fitting of the parts and blending of a beavertail. I remember holding the dremel in my hand, and just as I was about to start grinding I pulled away. I was certain I was going to destroy a nice Kimber.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 10:53:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 10:54:57 PM EDT by SIMPLYDYNAMIC]
Hey Joe,
Im actually doing my S&A mag well like you did tomorrow, what kind of attachment heads on the dremal did you use? what was your whole process for the mag well if you dont mind posting it...

Thanks,
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 4:03:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 4:52:27 AM EDT by Joe_Blacke]
www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=8876&title=ABRASIVE+ROLLS%2fMANDREL&s=22022#22022

Get the tapered rolls in 60, 120, and 240 grit. Also, get the mandrel. It's the only way to securely hold the rapered rolls. I'll try to post some more info on what I did later on. Be forewarned, it was NOT easy. Trying to keep the magwell symetrical on both sides was a real pain. There is a reason most smiths use a mill.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 5:08:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 6:09:43 AM EDT by Joe_Blacke]
First, let me start of by saying that I have fit, and blended, exactly 2 magwells at this point. My advice may not be worth a damn.

That being said, let's get to it.

First, remove the beavertail, and put you new magwell in place. Check to make sure that the holes for the retaining pin line up. If it looks okay,try inserting the pin and check to make sure it fits. If it does fit, then try it again with the beavertail in place. You also want to check and make sure the beavertail moves freely, and without binding. The beavertail needs to extend far enough so that it is able to block the movement of the trigger when it is not depressed. You may find that the beavertail doesn't move without binding. If that is the case, you may need to file the top of the mainspring (go slow, and check your work often). If the beavertail doesn't move far enough to block the trigger, you can either file the mainspring, or the "finger" at the bottom of the beavertail. Before you choose a part to file on, consider what part could be visable, and what part is the least expensive to replace.

Once you have the magwell in place, and fit to work with the beavertail, check the magwell for movement. If you are able to wiggle it around, either from side-to-side, or front-to-back, it will make it very difficult for the blending job to go well. If you have any perceptible movement, insert the mainspring internals, and fire control parts and try again. Sometimes the pressure fromt he hammer is enough to keep the magwell in place.

Once you are satisfied with everything so far, go to Blindhogg's webiste and check how he peens the magwell to fit the frame. He has done an excellent job, so there is no reason for me to repeat him here.

All that is left to do now, is blend the magwell. This is a very good time for you to assess if you want to take this on or not. Blending has nothing to do with the function. It is purely cosmetic. If you aren't that concerned with looks, and don't want to possibly ruin a good frame, then blending may not be the best option.

I'm out of time for now, so I'll post another reply regarding the blending.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 5:18:21 AM EDT
Cool, looks good.

I'm on dialup this week visiting family. Man I miss broadband.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 7:49:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 7:53:33 AM EDT by Joe_Blacke]
Okay, if you want to start blending, this is how I do it. All my blending is done with the fire control parts, and mainspring internals, installed. That way the end result should look right. On my first one, I started to blend without the parts installed, and there was a noticeable difference in appearance when I installed the parts. Because of this, I had to do some extra blending.

First I check the front of the magwell fingers (I like to call them fangs, 'cause those suckers are SHARP) as they extend toward the frontstrap. Most likely, they won't be the same length. Pull the magwell off, and grind them to the desired length. I like the recess them from the magazine basepad notch by around 1/8".

The edges of the magwell should extend into the magazine tunnel. Rough estimate is around 1/4" on the left/right hand sides. The rear of the magazine well and the frame is usally much closer. I start with a 60 grit tapered roll, and begin grinding the lowest portion of the magwell (the part that overhangs the mag tunnel). Going slowly, I try to get it close to the edge of the frame. Also, don't just hold the dremel at a 90 degree angle (vertical). You can tilt it to the left and right as you blend. It worked well for me. Don't be concerned about creating your taper at this point. Keep the dremel moving smoothly as you grind down the overhang. You will probably use nearly all 10 rolls of the 60 grit paper before you begin to get close.

Once I get fairly close to the sides of the frame, I switch to the 120 grit. Now is when I try to work on blending the taper so that it flows smoothly, and matches any angle beveled on the frame. Make sure you keep the dremel moving, so that you don't create any flat spots. Also, try to keep both sides symetrical. You want to try and create nice clean lines, and smooth curves, to include the front portion of the magwell. Again, you will probably use up all 10 rolls here.

Next, move onto the 240 grit rolls. This is great for smoothing out small imperfections and trying to keep everything uniform and looking like it flows smoothly. I use the 240 grit to round off the top of the magwell, and creat a nice slope as it drops toward the front of the fangs. You don't want to create any sharp angles, or square anything that should be a nice smooth radius.

Finally, I break out the Cratex, and polish it up.

Final advice: Go slowly. You can always take more off, but it is not easy to put it back on. Keep the dremel moving smoothly. Don't let it rest in any one spot, unless you want to create a flat spot. Don't worry about creating the downward slope (taper) until it is time. It is much easier to grind the magwell close to the frame and then just blend in the taper. Use the tip of your index finger to feel for flat spots, bumps, and any areas that need additional work. Don't use a more agressive grit than necessary.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 6:14:15 PM EDT
Thanks Joe, I started mine today and will post pics when I am done.
cant wait to see the final results
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 7:32:34 PM EDT
That looks great so far! What do you have in mind for refinishing?
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 7:51:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SIMPLYDYNAMIC:
Thanks Joe, I started mine today and will post pics when I am done.
cant wait to see the final results



Good luck!
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 7:52:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Strazz:
That looks great so far! What do you have in mind for refinishing?



I'm going to try parkerizing.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 8:56:37 PM EDT
well its done ...but im not sure I want to post pics! haha... but I will post them tommorrow just for shits and giggles......it actually came out pretty well for the first time
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 3:16:00 PM EDT
well here it is...

done with a dremal with most of what Joe used + some small files and 250,320,600,1500 grit paper.
next stop is the polishing wheel.

Thanks again Joe-

Link Posted: 12/22/2005 3:17:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SIMPLYDYNAMIC:
well here it is...

done with a dremal with most of what Joe used + some small files and 250,320,600,1500 grit paper.
next stop is the polishing wheel.



That looks pretty good, I hope my beavertail project on my 1911 turns out as nice as that
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 4:24:39 PM EDT
That looks great!

Good for you.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 11:12:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Joe_Blacke:
That looks great!

Good for you.



thanks man, those corners turned out to be harder than I thought! and the receiver already had the bottom blended so I had to take a little more off.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 7:28:52 AM EDT
I really need to stop coming to the boards. Evertime I do it ends up costing me more money. Great work guys
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 11:04:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SIMPLYDYNAMIC:
Thanks Joe, I started mine today and will post pics when I am done.
cant wait to see the final results

Posted :: 12/21/2005 10:14:15 PM EST




two hours and 40 minutes later:



well its done ...but im not sure I want to post pics! haha... but I will post them tommorrow just for shits and giggles......it actually came out pretty well for the first time

Posted :: 12/22/2005 12:56:37 AM EST



You don't screw around do you Travis?

Link Posted: 12/23/2005 6:29:23 PM EDT
Good stuff. My 'blending' has all been reload practice based so far ;)
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 11:12:53 PM EDT

You don't screw around do you Travis?


hell no steve-O I tend to get a little dremal crazy!
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 3:55:46 AM EDT
About a year ago, I took a Dremel to my Sig GSR. I hated the grip safety so I bought a Wilsons. I wasn't so gentle as some and went straight to the grinding stones. I didn't get so careful as Joe_Black and didn't grind on the safety itself. I just relieved the frame so the safety would fit. It wasn't perfect, but it worked great and felt even better. The improvement in feel was dramatic. Had I kept the gun, I eventually would have had it finished "correctly", but I ended up selling it.






Link Posted: 12/24/2005 4:08:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/24/2005 4:08:56 AM EDT by lsmlax006]
Very nice work. Ive been working up to do some dremel work on mine. So far all i can say is i need a little more practice
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 2:10:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/24/2005 2:21:52 PM EDT by SIMPLYDYNAMIC]
This is my current project...all dremeled of course
old AMT hardballer

-Wilson combat beaver tail dremeled and blended to fit
-Smith & Alexander mag well blended with dremel
-rear slide dremeled for Doctor optic (very carefully) still working on this one
-front slide serations.......(dont try this with a dremal...currently seeking professional help)
-company logo......dont recommend this one either....but the bead blast will smoot that one out.
-Oh and last but not least, I took a old pair of kimber grips and sanded them down with the dremel and then grip taped them (look and feel just like burner grips)

-blended top ports on slide w/dremel
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 2:23:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/24/2005 2:27:52 PM EDT by lsmlax006]
WOW! Is that just for shits and giggles or actual service. And is the bushing a Wilson Multi-Comp Compensator. nice work
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 2:27:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By lsmlax006:
WOW! Is that just for shits and giggles or actual service. Nice work



Well im kinda building a tactical concept gun for myself....I figure why have my primary weapon system all tricked out with the tools of the trade and not my secondary? so now im in the building process. Also im in HI now and its a 10 round min no matter what the division your in for IPSC so I figured what the hell I might as well make my limited 10 gun an Open 10 gun!
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