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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've found that damaged grips cause drastic price drop. This was one of those I bid on and got it for $660. I had a pair of cheap K frame pearls with corners damaged that I fitted to it. It only took relocating the pin hole & re-shape around the lower portion. Turns out to be one of my favorite Old S&W .44-40 DA topbreaks.



This one has about 75% original blue, which is something of a rarity, most of the survivors seem to have been nickeled.
 

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I've done very well in the past with damaged goods. Oftentimes, one fairly obtainable part is all it takes. Especially nice when you can delete a Bubba with one five-dollar part. And, when you know it in advance, like before you buy...
 

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That is a nice looking revolver. You did a beautiful job on the grips. How did you work the pearl to adapt the K frame grip to the DA top break? I have a set of pearls that were made for a Police Positive Special that I would love to put on a Detective Special but don’t have a clue as to how to work on the pearl grips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
aris357 -- Thanks


If the pin hole has to be changed (& all of mine have) I locate it early on in the fitting process, see below.

To take off large or heavy areas I use my bench grinder. Depending on how rough the grinding, you may see fine chipping beyond the actual grind surface. Getting closer to the desired surface, change to a finer abrasive. First, usually the bench grinder, then as I get closer to finish I either use a file or an abrasive in my Foredom setup (a flex shaft outfit with a motor & foot treadle for speeds). My tooling uses little abrasive sleeves in various grits I use as it gets close to finish.

I have found pearl to be a pretty tough material with only issue its brittleness. Anything tending to strain it (as in not flat against the frame or pin hole distance against the frame) hazards a break. Finishing starts with maybe 400 wet or dry paper, then finer, with final finish a rag buff.

The pin hole I consider a hazard area. To locate the hole for the pin in the frame I punch out the pin, clamp the pearl in its proper place and start the hole by drilling thru the frame hole. Then take the pearl off & drill the hole a bit larger than a close fit to the pin. Be sure to drill deep enough that the pin doesn't bottom in the hole. If the hole is too big or off a bit, I wax the frame, the pin, & fill the hole with epoxy & assemble it in its desired position. When it is set up, you will have a proper fit. You may have to heat the frame some to free it the first time. Be sure to do only one pearl panel at a time.

Hope this helps. I tried to explain what works for me. You may figure out something better.
 

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I used to hear that said also ( "Pearl Dust is dangerous", etc ).

When I finally looked into it, it is apparently no more dangerous than 'dusts' of any inert kind...so, sure, wear a Dust Mask if working it on a Belt Sander or other High Speed Dust-Maker, but, otherwise, it seems to be pretty much mox-nix.

Unless anyone has any better info than this which is definite?
 

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He's earned the right to smoke it if it makes him happy ;) I suspect he know this, however :)

Great pearls Robert !!!!
That's the truth. Robert I hope you live to at least 100! I have another friend who turned 90 last year. WWII Veteran who fought the Japanese. He still travels back and forth from the US to Chartres France where he has lived since the 1960s probably twice a year and is still going strong!
 

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rhmc24,

Thank you for that very fine tutorial on working pearl grips. I always wondered about the “fragility” of pearl and you have answered my question. The revolver I intend to put the pearls on is a 60s era Detective Special that has a few mechanical issues I have to address prior to fitting the grips. The grips are a pair of pearls for a Police Positive Special frame which I bought at a gun show years ago for $30; at the time I had no DS but figured I would acquire one eventually. I have always hesitated about working the pearl fearful that I would break the grips. I will post a picture of the gun when I have completed it.


Thanks again for you very interesting posts and advice and I hope you are still guiding us youngsters for many years to come.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That's the truth. Robert I hope you live to at least 100! I have another friend who turned 90 last year. WWII Veteran who fought the Japanese. He still travels back and forth from the US to Chartres France where he has lived since the 1960s probably twice a year and is still going strong!
Being pretty much confined due to various treatments, I kind of envy other oldies who travel. OTOH 'in my day' I traveled some, 20 years, 100 days per year outside the U.S., pretty much been there, done that. Now I peck at the computer & do a little work in my shop to be useful at 90 fixing client's guns & mine.
 
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