I had some spare time this weekend due to the power outage and what-not. Over the last 6 months, I've had lots of people wanting to buy my woodies ... but rather than sell them, I thought I would show you guys how to make your own. Warning to DSpin, shield your eyes brother.
I like to use the Aluminum ones although I've made them from old worn out Nickle plated brass. Those are a bit heavy for front shirt pocket carry but it's a matter of preference. On the old nickle ones, I prefer to have those silver plated. That will be another post later on.
First of all, many thanks to Imeo for dreaming these machines up. Truly works of perfection, they are the stealthiest non VV HV machines out there and I think the 16340 is probably my favorite battery due to the power and size.
These are not hogged out of solid wood, rather, I use wood veneer which is real wood, shaved paper thin by specialty wood shops. Veneer is about 1/16" thick and is stiff when it's dry. I try to use exotic wood like ebony or maple. I used Walnut Burl for this particular piece.
Here's a piece of the initial veneer. I wet it down so you could see the grain since dry wood cannot be fully appreciated.
This is a side shot so you can see how thin it is. It's brittle when dry so be careful
I put the veneer in a flat pan and pour hot water over it slowly letting it soak. This will make the veneer pliable and will allow you to cut it to size with normal scissors
I cut the veneer about 1/8 longer than the GGTB on either side. It's important to keep the veneer wet and gently roll the veneer a little at a time (it will crack if not fully softened and pliable) This is a labor of love, don't rush it.
Very important step here. Cut a small piece of tape and cover the inside of the button hole. You will use 2 part epoxy to glue the veneer on. The purpose of the tape is to create a "reservoir" for Vaseline to protect the threads from the epoxy. If you're not careful here, you will get epoxy in the threads and you will learn to curse in foreign languages.
Also use plenty of vaseline on the top and bottom threads. This shows a preliminary wrap of veneer and also the vaseline on the threads. Do not get vaseline on the wood as this will keep it from properly absorbing the epoxy
OK Dspin, look away now. The aluminum is very slick and must be roughed up with 150 grade sandpaper to create nooks and crannies for epoxy adhesion. Use long strokes and make sure the entire surface is roughed up with striations. You should be able to feel them with your fingernail.
Moisten the veneer again to soften it up but only damp, not too wet. The moisture will not affect the epoxy drying and if the wood is too dry it will crack, be gentle, remember your honeymoon here. I use 45 minute cure two part epoxy. You don't want something that will cure too quickly because you'll need time to manipulate the wood. Mix the epoxy well, give it a minute to blend
and apply very thoroughly on the inside surface of the veneer.
Make sure to coat the entire surface of the veneer but don't overdo it or it will squish out all over the place. We want to avoid getting epoxy on the outer surface of the wood. Now just gently roll the thing tightly on a flat surface making sure you don't have any gaps between the aluminum and the veneer. I usually cut the veneer so I get two full wraps of wood. You will sand about 1/2 of the top layer off to get it to size right and to smooth the finish so it should leave about 1.5 wraps of wood. When rolling this thing, just remember the 70's and it helps to listen to Pink Floyd whilst rolling.
Once the thing is completely rolled on and tight, I bind the hell out of it with rubber bands. The more the better. You will get some seepage of epoxy on the outside of the veneer but we'll sand that off. Some rubber bands will stick to the outside as well. That's why we have an extra half wrap of veneer, so we can sand all that out later.
This is the semi-finished product. If you notice, the wood is dry again so it looks like it has little grain. No worries, we'll make the grain come out when we apply the finish coat. Note the fire button hole. It looks like one hole but that's actually 4 or 5 tiny 1/16" holes. I use a drill press for this and gently knock out the walls of wood covering the button hole. I make the initial hole and then very very carefully, carve away at the hole until I hit the threads. Aluminum is soft and you can damage the threads. You want to carefully remove wood away without touching the aluminum. This is the riskiest part of the whole process. The tapped hole is metric and a hard to find tap in the US so I just chase the wood back by hand with an exacto knife
Here you can see the seam of the overlap. If the epoxy was properly done, you will get a nice stiff and well glued edge so you can just sand the seam away.
This is as far as I've gotten today. The finishing process is a project all to itself and I'll have to dedicate a second post to that. I'll leave you with some pictures of other finished woodies so you can see how they turn out.
Hope you enjoyed this thus far. I had a blast doing it and hopefully, you'll see after dedicating so much time and energy to this, I just can't part with them.
Here's an Ebony TB. The pistol is my Match Springfield. I made the Cocobolo grips on that thing as well
Same one, next to a TB Mini I cut back for airplane stealth vaping. Don't tell Capt Steve!!
This one is lighter Gaboon Striped Ebony, just finished up last spring
And here's the Gabbon next to pitch black Ebony side by side.
Hope Bruce gets some more SS tops and bottoms. I love them and they look great on the finished product
Cheers and Bye for now