Friday, September 23, 2011

Feedback please

Looking at the stats page it seems my most popular posts are the ones about amature gunsmithing. My most popular post is over two years old and is still visited daily. I've started the one hour gunsmith label and I am wondering how many of my followers would like it to become a regular feature. I intend to make these projects low budget is in under $100. Also as the title implies projects will be able to be completed in one hour, or be able to be broken down into one hour or less stages.

I will still continue my regular "How to's" and homestead life posts. I will just use the "One hour gunsmith" as a means of keeping the blog posts more frequent.

Also, go recrute me some followers people. I intend to do give aways at the 50 and 100 follower marks.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The one hour gunsmith puts a new mainspring in a muzzleloader

The subject of todays project is a CVA Squirrel rifle that was built from a kit back in 1990. Over 20+ years the mainspring has gotten weak. Used only for target shooting witha 45 caliber barrel over those years a miss fire now and then was no big deal. This year I've decided it will be a squirrel killer and I have reinstalled the 32 barrel.

After making sure the gun isn't loaded, place the lock on half cock. Then partially loosen these two screws. when the screws are about half way out give them a light tap with the handle of your screwdriver. This loosens the lock from its mortise. When the lock is loose you can remove the screws completely.

Here is the backside of the lock showing the mainspring. Also shown is a replacement spring. Genuine CVA mainsprings bring $15 and up on ebay and you don't know thier history. The spring shown is a Traditions part. The Traditions spring is wider, but otherwise close enough to be an almost drop in part. It was also purchased at a gunshow new in it's package for under $6. The mainspring vice was borrowed from a friend.
After lowering the spring to it's fired position you can remove the spring. Here is the old spring in the vice. I've been told you should only use a proper mainspring vice to avoid breaking the spring. The new spring however had ideas of it's own. CVA left an oxide coating on thier spring and the vice was able to hold it quite well. The Traditions version was highly polished and between the extra strength and the polish it just kept slipping out of the vice. I ended up using a pair of needle nose locking pliers. Even using the pliers I had to use a file to roughen the surface so it wouldn't fly accross the room.
Here is the lock with the new spring installed. I got lucky and the inletting was sufficient to just reinstall the lock. The new spring was easily 30% wider than the old one. While I didn't have to make room for it, you may have to depending on your gun. Now it takes some serious effort to pull the hammer back. Thankfully this gun has set triggers otherwise I may have had to do some trigger work.
A gunsmith would have charged $30-$35 for this job. It cost me $6 and just over half an hours time.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flatheads Forever!!

Before there was a homesteader.

Long before there was a urban homesteader.

Right about the same time there was a long haired kid hiding out in the woods and fields with a gun or fish pole.

There was a kid hanging out in garages messing with all things with engines. At one point there was a Ford pickup truck that was 25 tears older than me. A truck powered by the most magic of engines.

I just found this video and it took me back in time. Kinda makes me think a 34-39 Ford pickup would fit in my life again


Saturday, September 10, 2011


I purchased this from a coworker a couple weeks ago. He cleans out old houses and garages for extra cash. Usually he scraps all the metal stuff. This was parked in the weeds along side a very very old Troy Built. Supposedly they both ran two years ago. The Troybuilt only needed a new spark plug and fresh gas to run. This one has compression. Plug wire is bad, so I haven't checked it for spark yet.
It's a David Bradley Handyman tractor made in the late 50's and early 60's. This one has the tiller attachment on it. Also available was a snow blower and the usual assortment of 2 wheel tractor attachments. It wasn't very popular and was dropped after 6 or so years. It's smaller than the usual DB. I've been looking for a Planet Junior tractor to restore for a few years now. The handyman is about the same size and much rarer. I would apreciate hearing of attachments for this one if anybody comes accross any. This baby will be a long term project.

More projects in the works. This week we will make some low budget, off grid security lights.

Also in the works is a new gun project. Back in the late 80's I built a CVA Squirrel rifle from a kit. It has developed a weak mainspring and we'll be replacing it with a new one. Also when this gun was built it came with two barrels. I browned the 32 barrel first. It didn't come out as planned, while the 45 barrel did. Later after hunting season we will fix the nasty finish on the 32 barrel.


Low budget billy

I found this at a local thrift store a few months ago. Nice and light. I figured for .89 cents I'd take a gamble.

Big enough inside to hold a esbit stove and fuel with room to spare for spices. Good enough to heat soup or some beans during a cold hunting season lunch hour. I plan to add a coffee pot style handle to the side opposite the pour spout. When your spouse is of carribean hispanic descent, you get used to drinking the occasional cup of boiled coffee.
The alcohol burner came from a neighbors trash after a garage sale. Somebody paid $5.00 for the chafing dish it went to and forgot the burner. You can't see the flame here, but it is burning. First I tried rubbing alcohol with no success, which I figured would be the case. Rubbing alcohol has too much water in it. Best results have been with isopropyl dry gas. The perforated metal is a piece I usually use in my forge to stabilize my lead pot when casting bullets. One of these days I plan on building a hobo stove that will be able to use either the alcohol burner or twigs.