Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sin City Woodworkers

Before I get into the design process of the pistol case I need to give credit to Philip Popurka of Bison Studio here in Las Vegas.  He makes quality tools for the people who work with ceramics and gave me all kinds of background information regarding pistol boxes.  I was introduced to him by Jamie Yocono of Wood It Is which is her shop here in Las Vegas. Jamie is the driving force behind the Sin City Woodworkers and we meet once a month at her shop.  It's a great way to get together with other woodworkers and "talk wood".  You can find out more information about the group on Meet Up.
Anyway, back to Philip.  He was good enough to let me come to his studio and showed me examples of the work he has done with the fitted gun case.  When I explained to him what my ideas were for the one I'm designing he pointed out the authentic way it was done, which explains why these custom cases start at about $600.00 and go into the thousands on the web.  I think we agreed that the design I suggested should be called a contemporary pistol case.  He told me that other box makers have been known to try to fool the public by making an inferior box and  then try to pass it off as authentic.  The level of knowledge and information he has is impressive!  
The pistol case I'm building will also be used for taking the pistol from the house to the shooting event.  It will resemble a brief case and be lined with leather to stand up to the oil and gun powder residue.  Traditional boxes were mitered but mine will use finger joints for strength and have floating panels for the top and bottom.  Since there is the possibility of two more cases for identical pistols I've made a pattern to fit the pistol and the powder horn. That was quite a time consuming step for this projcet, I'll add a picture of it in my next post.

Monday, September 28, 2009

French Fit Pistol Case

The first project that I will be sharing with you is a commission  I just received and am pretty excited about.  I'll get into the details later and just give an overview now.  This commission could lead to two more pistol cases if the client is satisfied with the first one.  Obviously, my goal is to give him more than he expected -- that's something I do all of the time anyway.  For a one man shop word of mouth advertising is the best thing to have.  If you look at my website ( you can see some of the work I've turned out in the past 25 years or so.  In any case, let's talk about the pistol cases.
There are essentially two methods of fitting a pistol into a case.  The French Fit method is to form your wood so that it matches the outline of the pistol exactly.  The English Fit method utilizes a method that makes compartments that are roughly the shape of the pistol and any other items needed.  These might be a  powder horn, cleaning tools, balls, caps, etc.  What I'll be constructing is a contemporary version that will be used to not only store the pistol but also as a carrying case for it and it's accouterments.  The plans are drawn, the client has paid the deposit, so the stage is set -- More later, John