Some people like to build ships in bottles as a hobby. I've always liked to repair and refinish old worn-out, cast aside, and obsolete firearms. Lately, I've been staying busy helping an old friend restore his flood-damaged gun collection. I had shown him the shop equipment I use to anodize or nickel plate guns while working on his old JC Higgins Model 30. One day he mentioned an old inoperative nickel-plated, single-shot, 12 gauge shotgun that had originally belonged to his grandfather. It had escaped the flood, but it was in extremely poor condition anyway. At a minimum it needed missing parts replaced and some stock repairs. I remembered seeing it five decades ago when we went hunting together as teenagers. It was pretty beat-up looking, even back then. I told him he was welcome to use my shop, nickel plating supplies, and equipment anytime he wanted - and that I'd be happy to help him out or simply do the work myself if needed. He didn't want it re-plated, but took me up on the offer to restore it for him.
I managed to mask-off and preserve all of the manufacturers markings. He explained that his father had always wanted to strip off the flakey nickel plating and simply have it blued and refinished. But his father ended up putting it in the back of the closet instead. He simply forgot about it, when it developed firing pin problems. One of his brothers had taken it apart years later, but gave up when he couldn't find the right parts to fix it. Somewhere along the way, the unusual takedown screw had been misplaced as well. He was aware of the fact that you could purchase new and used shotguns like it for less money than it would take to buy an hour or two of bench time or machine time from one of our local area gunsmiths. But this one had sentimental value for him and his brothers. So, I told him if he wasn't in any hurry I could find or fabricate the parts he needed and that I would de-nickel, repair, and refinish it in my spare time. Everyone was pleased with the way it turned out:
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