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Pistol Display Box in Black Walnut - Log to Box

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Project by Nick_R posted 01-29-2014 12:11 AM 1576 views 5 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a very special project for me since it was requested by a local artist/engraver for a pair of Colt 1911 Series 70 pistols. I know nothing about guns, but apparently these are pretty special.

He wanted the case to be made from a black walnut tree he has on his property in Georgia. He had a large limb cut down several years ago and it has been “aging” in his barn. He brought them to me (1000 mile round trip) bark and all and said do what you can.

His only request was that the box be all wood and look like an old time box and no hardware showing. He also wanted a false bottom so the gun tray could lift out and have some storage underneath.

With no promises made because of warping, rotting, twisting etc I started into the log.

The wood is very hard. The chainsaw blade actually sparked when cutting. No nails or screws were found. It burned up a brand new Timber Wolf resaw blade after I made all the cuts.

Lots of rot and cracks.. not much twisting but I was thinking we are good to go.

After the boards were cut – varying lengths about 3/4” think, I sent them through my planer. Little bits at a time and it cleaned up nice. Several pieces were too brittle and did not make it to the final cut. :)

I planed all the pieces I could to a 1/2” thickness. Then to the table saw to even out the widths. I ended up buying a new blade for my saw because the old one just did not want to work that hard.

The initial though was to dovetail the ends, but the wood is very sensitive and split on the end. So I went with 45’s and rounded the corners with a router and sander. I think the look was good.

Mortised lock, lid stop and hinges! This was more than just nerve wracking. i would do the mortise work differently next time but I managed to pull it off.

The gun tray is all walnut with cutouts for the guns to sit. I did not want them sitting to low because it hides the engraving.. (which is by far the real star here).

Also.. In the middle of the gun tray is an oval inlay for a metal Colt plaque. It is not shown because it was not finished.. :)

I added more pictures below to show the process.. I hope you jocks like it…

Oh yea.. about 20 coats of spray lacquer too..

-- Hope for the best but plan for the worst. - 7 finger Nick :)





15 comments so far

View gwolfe1977's profile

gwolfe1977

227 posts in 556 days


#1 posted 01-29-2014 12:27 AM

Well done! All of your hard work really paid off! Thanks for the extra pics and thanks for sharing. Very nice looking pair of pistols as well!

-- Gary,Nebraska

View skiler's profile

skiler

39 posts in 701 days


#2 posted 01-29-2014 12:30 AM

The pistols are impressive but that box is a work of art! and from a log at that!

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11495 posts in 1436 days


#3 posted 01-29-2014 01:05 AM

An amazing engraving job on those pistols. (yes, they are very special).

Great job on the case! That walnut looks and acted a lot like mesquite. Are you sure it was walnut? The smell should be definitive.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

1917 posts in 936 days


#4 posted 01-29-2014 01:42 AM

Nice work, great box build and project description.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View larryw's profile

larryw

302 posts in 1408 days


#5 posted 01-29-2014 02:44 AM

Very nice Nick!, I’m actually in the process of building a box/case and grips for a S&W .38 to present to my dad on his birthday. Again, awesome work, and if I may ask, what type of hinges did you use ?. Thanks for sharing.

-- "everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it" ~confucius-551-449 b.c.~

View Nick_R's profile

Nick_R

141 posts in 895 days


#6 posted 01-29-2014 03:17 AM

Thanks Larry. Those are called barrel hinges. You can get them most places like rockler or woodcraft

-- Hope for the best but plan for the worst. - 7 finger Nick :)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15065 posts in 2422 days


#7 posted 01-29-2014 04:16 AM

Very nice work. sounds like you have more tied up in new blades than the guns are worth ;-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Eric in central Florida's profile

Eric in central Florida

3672 posts in 2321 days


#8 posted 01-29-2014 05:03 AM

Beautiful job.
Your pictorial will certainly be useful to those trying to duplicate your nice work.

-- All glory comes from daring to begin.

View Dwacki's profile

Dwacki

35 posts in 700 days


#9 posted 01-29-2014 09:09 AM

Great looking box!!! Better looking guns lol

-- Dennis, South Bend ( Go Irish) Indiana

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

16033 posts in 1612 days


#10 posted 01-29-2014 02:36 PM

It’s a beautiful box and nice and practical. Well done.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Avg_Joe's profile

Avg_Joe

66 posts in 485 days


#11 posted 01-29-2014 03:25 PM

Very very cool! And I love the story and pictures. So nice of you to create such a special box for your artist friend. Really special!! Well done Nick!

View Rickterscale's profile

Rickterscale

151 posts in 1107 days


#12 posted 01-29-2014 06:00 PM

Nice job. And those sure are some pimped out 1911’s!

View Roger's profile

Roger

15269 posts in 1550 days


#13 posted 02-01-2014 01:25 AM

Beautifully done. It don’t get any fresher than this. A fine case for a pair of fine pistols.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7934 posts in 2798 days


#14 posted 02-03-2014 08:00 PM

Beautiful COOL piece of work!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View lightcs1776's profile

lightcs1776

3794 posts in 400 days


#15 posted 03-13-2014 02:13 AM

Fantastic shots of how you milled the lumber. Beautiful job completing the box.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

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