Rehabilitating my Type 14

 

Before photo:

 

After photos:

 

 

            When I bought this gun it had several problems. The grips and safety were missing, the magazine retention spring was broken, and most of the finish had been removed in apparent preparation for a reblueing that never happened. However, it was mechanically very sound. The magazine retention spring is not strictly a necessity, and in any case there was enough of it left inside to do its job, even if the outer part was completely broken away. The safety is not really needed either if one is just going to load it and shoot it right away at a the firing line of an indoor range. I therefore focused on making a set of grips to make it shootable and applying a new finish to protect it against corrosion.

            To refinish the gun I used Birchwood Casey products: first Cleaner-Degreaser and then Blue and Rust Remover to prepare the surface, then five applications of Perma Blue liquid gun blue with rinsing and polishing with 0000 steel wool in between. The finish came up better than expected. The only places that still had any of the original finish left were the interior surfaces (such as the ridge on the trigger group that slides into the frame slot) and the right side of the receiver behind the line scribed by the arc of the safety. I left that finish intact for comparison and so that no one can suggest I was trying to reblue it and pass it off as the original finish (therefs enough pitting on it that someone should realize itfs reblued anyway, but not everyone notices these things). The finish came up better than I expected.

            To make grips I went to the local Lee Valley store (a chain that specializes in neat woodworking stuff) and bought a ¼h small panel of canary wood, a tropical hardwood from Africa. It seemed fairly light in colour, while most of the other hardwoods were very dark even before applying a stain. I made a pattern out of white bristol board (light cardboard), traced it onto the wood and then cut out a blank using a coping saw. I borrowed my husbandfs Unimat and used the circular saw like a router to remove material from the inside to get the right contour, then shaped the outside with a Dremel and sandpaper (125, 200 and then 600 grit). Using a razor saw and a plastic ruler as a straight edge I hand cut 17 grooves 3mm apart to simulate the look of the grip style that was supposed to have been applied to my gun originally (i.e. grooves half way up the grip rather than all the way; I had penciled in the lines first). Then I used a small triangular file to open the grooves up a bit and to make them fairly even at the edges. I scratched gREPRO 2003h into the interior surface of each one, again, to prevent anyone from trying to pass them off as originals). I applied one coat of Minwax Wood Finish #225 red mahogany stain, wiped off the excess, let them dry and then applied one coat of Armor Coat lacquer clear finish. Overall I was very pleased with them, though the fit on the bottom of both could be better (actually the fit at the top and bottom of the left side are both worse than on the right side). Anyway, I figured it was not bad since I hadnft attempted any real woodworking projects since Grade 7 shop class and had no original to work from (a friend in a nearby city did supply some helpful pictures, though, and I also scanned all four of my main reference books to get details). If you try this at home, be sure to do the fitting at the top (which is very tricky) before you do any final trimming at the bottom so you donft get a gap like I did.

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