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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2023 10:12 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 4:56 pm
Posts: 1417
Location: Mesa, AZ
A constant theme for my work is continual progression and I often joke that my goal in life is to make the wheel just a little bit more round. I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek but there is always an underlying desire to be better at what I do, even if it is just incrementally. I’d like to be better at checkering, at polishing, at running a file, at holding a part, at problem solving, or machining even the most mundane dovetail... if there is a way to be better I’d like to learn it and do it.

At the same time I recognize that I have a somewhat limited amount of work left that I can accomplish and improve through. Now don’t take this as some type of dire statement, but rather as a bit of a reality check. Think if it this way, at my current age of 47 if I get to build guns for 20 or 25 more years how many more opportunities will I get to improve? How many more chances will I really have to be better than the last? How many more attempts to make the wheel a bit more round?

I’m way to young to start contemplating retirement and the truth is I hope I’m never forced to. I’d like to build guns until I can’t, but I also understand that every gun I build is one closer to the finish line. As such I look at each gun as a new opportunity to be better than my last and to reimagine how something from my bench should be.

That’s not just limited to just the gun either. The reality is that no-one needs what I do and I am simply fortunate enough to be building things for people often times just for the sake of having them exist. I get to turn every commissioned work into passion project which concludes as a unique experience in steel, gold, wood, ivory, etc. The gun seen here is a fitting example of just what I’m talking about.


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This is the second project the client and I have worked together on, both have been unique and a collaborative effort to create something special. The base gun on this project is a 1968 Colt Slant-Groove Government Model in 45ACP, special and rare amongst Colts to begin with, this particular model presents a unique canvass on which to build. The overarching idea of the commission was based on the Decennial project that I had previously done. We wanted to hold to the same overall theme but with changes, some subtle and some not so subtle. This reimagined project quickly became the “New Decennial” and the magnificent Bert Edmonston was tasked with a special set of engraving to memorialize this.


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The rest of the details combine to make the project unique as well as give me the aforementioned opportunity to do it better. The rear sight is a bit of a departure, this is something I have done before on a few other guns and the client and I both agreed it would fit the overall look by helping to create a visual balance against the mag-well. The mag-well is the same base part I used on the original Decennial, this time the edges are polished to match the flats on the frame and slide. The thumb safety and beavertail are both from EGW, blended and modified to fit the classic nature of this gun.

Checkering fore and aft is done by me, by hand, and at 30lpi with the mag-release also checked by me but at 40lpi. I think the 40lpi checkering on the mag-release is both more functional for that part as well as being a better visual balance considering the size of the area to be checkered. It’s noteworthy to mention that over the years I have become even more picky about checkering files. I find that not only am I more selective about which files I will keep/use but that I tend to use them for fewer jobs, replacing them more frequently than I used to.

The barrel is a Kart and the EGW bushing is in carbon steel and finished with a polished face to match the rest of the gun. The trigger guard was left round, the slide stop was modified to retain a classic look, and I think the lack of ball-cuts and the “ring” Commander hammer have a good visual balance. While I don’t mind doing ball-cuts on the slide I tend to prefer the more subtle and classic stirrup cut on the slide. Same basic sentiment can be said of the gold bead front sight - it’s classic. Sights have always been a very personal choice on the guns, people simply like to see different things. It’s interesting for me to see that as my work has moved forward what the client wants in the front sight has steadily become more permanent, durable, and without the need for replacement... you could almost say timeless. This is in contrast to the tritium front sights that used to almost be standard-fare, I don’t remember the last time I was asked for a tritium vial in the sight.


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The details seem to never be lost on the people I am fortunate to interact with and build these commissions for. I recognize that the clients are just as enthusiastic in the overall crafting of these guns and a significant part of every build is to share the experience with the client, the Commission Reference seen in these photos allows me to do that. Each one is the story of their gun that is told through a collection of photos that culminates with the final build details. Each book is individually done and stores neatly inside the HP box that accompanies each finished commission. Enjoy!


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_________________
Heirloom Precision
http://www.heirloomprecision.com


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2023 10:58 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:15 pm
Posts: 596
Location: MI
OK, that's a detail i either never learned, or have forgotten over time. A slant-groove government model in .45ACP is rare, how?

Oh, and beautiful work by the way.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2023 12:12 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2004 7:15 pm
Posts: 434
Fabulous! I love it!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2023 7:59 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 5:30 pm
Posts: 4332
Location: MI
To the best of my knowledge there is not and has never been anything like this in the custom 1911 world. The perfection, the collaboration, the documentation.

In my shop the analog to your wonderful Commission Reference is a bunch of papers and sketches, crinkled notes and targets on recycled paper, three-hole-punched and stained with.... everything. Your way is the ultimate in class. I just don't see it being surpassed.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2023 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:25 pm
Posts: 44
Dang Jason,

That's truly a "gasp gun". One of those that, upon first seeing it, a person sucks air. Wow!

I can't imagine any finer merger of mechanical perfection and art. On the one hand, it ought to be mounted in a glass case in a museum. On the other, it'd be a shame not to shoot it, at least a little. You're making such a decision mighty tough.

And the accompanying "coffee table book" just adds to the overall execution.

Buzz

P.S. I have an example of one of "Ned's book". It blends nicely with his packaging material.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2023 9:43 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:15 pm
Posts: 596
Location: MI
Don't go dissing Ned, everything he ships arrived unharmed.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2023 4:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:25 pm
Posts: 44
Quote:
Don't go dissing Ned, everything he ships arrived unharmed.
Wouldn't do that. And the common carriers have proved you correct. Uniquely "armored" packaging. Great respect for Ned, and his recycling!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2023 7:59 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 4:56 pm
Posts: 1417
Location: Mesa, AZ
Thanks so much for the kind words fellas.

Projects like this (hell, every project I get to do) remind me how lucky I am to be doing this work and to be able to work with the clients I have. I get to make every project special and it makes me look forward to every day I have in the shop.

_________________
Heirloom Precision
http://www.heirloomprecision.com


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