Author Topic: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks  (Read 361 times)

Offline Dave T

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Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« on: July 25, 2020, 12:34:04 PM »
As I'm sure most everyone knows, the factory stocks on SAAs and many other 19th Century handguns were a hard rubber product called Gutta-Percha. The black, period looking stocks you get on 3rd Gen Colts and on USFA single actions are however made of plastic. Fine as far as that goes.

Enter guns from the sticky above, or what constitutes my problem, a USFA Gunslinger (I hate that name). The gun looks like it's already seen years of service and I confess I couldn't see the point when I first heard of them and other "aged" six-guns. Then I bought a 7.5" Gunslinger (did I mention how much I hate that name?).

I've really come to like the look and in fact bought a second one, this a 4.75" Colt and Smith&Wesson Special 38. Both of these revolvers have brand new, sharp as a tack, black plastic stocks. And they look so out of place.

I'm thinking about replacing one set with Giraffe bone that looks like old ivory, but I'd like to make the other set of these plastic stocks look like they rode the same trails and weathered the same storms the gun did. I'm sure most of you have either seen or handled an old Colt with worn almost smooth gutta-percha stocks. I'd like to give a set of these USFA plastic stocks the same look but I don't know if just having at them with sand paper will give me a worn, weathered appearance, or just make them look sanded down and bubbafied.

Anyone who's done this to a set of plastic stocks, please let me know how well it went and what steps you took to get it (them) to come out nice.

Dave

Offline Abilene

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2020, 02:29:01 PM »
I've not done that.  But I wonder if a buffing wheel might give a more rounded profile to the grip's checkering versus a flat top from sanding?

Offline Kent Shootwell

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2020, 03:52:15 PM »
I’d suggest a testing of techniques on cheaper easy to find plastic grips especially broken ones. The buffing would have to be with low speed to prevent melting. Maybe sand the points then a gentle buffing while looking at a good picture of an original.
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Offline Dave T

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2020, 04:43:59 PM »
The buffing wheel is a good idea. I didn't think of that. Thanks.

Dave

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2020, 04:49:38 PM »
You might consider media blasting with fine walnut shell or Soda Medium
when planets align...do the deal !

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #5 on: Today at 03:22:28 PM »

Offline Reverend P. Babcock Chase

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2020, 05:57:18 PM »
Howdy DT,

Some good suggestions here already, but don't forget to make the grips look like they shrunk. For a truly authentic look, chip off a corner at the heel of the grip.

Rev. Chase

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2020, 05:59:48 PM »
Since USFA has ascended to the "Gold Standard," I think attacking your OEM stocks to be a mistake.  I would actually suggest you put them in the boxes and source a set "replica" grips.  You might look at NC Ordinance for something not quite so valuable as your OEM stocks and then mess with them as opposed to ruining your OEM stocks.

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2020, 06:44:55 PM »
Since USFA has ascended to the "Gold Standard," I think attacking your OEM stocks to be a mistake.  I would actually suggest you put them in the boxes and source a set "replica" grips.  You might look at NC Ordinance for something not quite so valuable as your OEM stocks and then mess with them as opposed to ruining your OEM stocks.



That is wise sage stuff right there !
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Offline Abilene

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2020, 06:46:52 PM »
Howdy DT,

Some good suggestions here already, but don't forget to make the grips look like they shrunk. For a truly authentic look, chip off a corner at the heel of the grip.

Rev. Chase

I don't think Gutta Percha shrinks like wood.  At least, on my brother's 105-year-old Colt they still fit perfectly.

BTW, trivia: Gutta Percha is used to plug up the roots in a root canal.

Offline Dave T

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2020, 11:41:13 PM »
BTW, trivia: Gutta Percha is used to plug up the roots in a root canal.

I'll be darned, I had no idea!

Dave

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #10 on: Today at 03:22:28 PM »

Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2020, 10:02:09 AM »
Buff them with soft sewn wheel. Use a medium rouge don't get them too hot and make a last pass over them with pink no scratch rouge. You can get by with the brownells 555 white it's pretty fine.

Also you got to keep moving when buffing and in different angles so you don't streak them.

edit to add. What does and will happen is you are going to get a bunch of buffing compound in what's left of the textured areas depending on how aggressive you get on smoothing them. You'll have to play with removing that with an old soft toothbrush and warm water. I've never found a magic way to clean up rouge out of textured areas if someone knows of something that works easy please share.
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Offline Abilene

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2020, 02:11:54 PM »
Cliff, I wonder if a Water-Pik might blast the rouge out of those spots?

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Re: Aging "Hard Rubber" Stocks
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2020, 04:44:12 PM »
I use jewlers rouge extensive to buff jewelry (duh), antler, horn, and even leather sheaths and holsters I
make.  When used judiciously with a light hand It knocks the "new" off and polishes and burnishes leather edges. 
If I want to remove the rouger,  I have always used rubbing alcohol with a soft toothbrush to soften or dissolve &
remove the grease base of jewlers rouge.

Patience and multiple passes is the key. This has also worked extremely well at cleaning up old dirty
original gunstocks and the checkering on them. The alcohol dissolves the crap, oil, etc and does not cause
the wood to swell. The worn soft toothbrush gets into checkering nicely

Others recommend hot soapy water (but not on wood I should think), and one place suggests a very light
oil like baby oil or peanut oil.

I find that Baby oil works well at getting nasty stickum from labels off of nearly everything, then I
follow it up with alcohol...

BTW I would also agree with Coffin about getting "other" gutta percha grips to play with and leave the original USFA grips alone.

unless one actually enjoys the pain of devaluing an item with "customization"....

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