Guntails/ Lovetails/ Etc
Since there seems to be quite a lot of interest in these Guntails that I am making on my latest project, so I will try to explain in some detail how I do it. There is a lot of small details that make these special joints work, but it might be interesting to note that I learned to cut these kind of joints BEFORE I could cut handcut dovetails. Personally I think they are easier to make. More forgiving in some ways than dovetails...
The first part is to find a clip art image of whatever you want to use for a pin...in this case a pistol. I just do an image search, find a profile that is straight on then download it into my photo program. There I resize the image until its the true size I want for a pin. Then I print it off, both a regular verson and a mirror image version.
After its printed I do a bit of work on it. First I cut the paper so its a retangle. Then I find the center of the image. I then make crosshairs so that I can lay them out on the centerlines of the image. Finally I take a razor knife and cut out the image. This leaves me with the profile of the image I want.
Next I layout the socket board. I find the centerlines of where the pins are going to land, then use the centerline I put on the image and trace the outline. Now keep in mind some images must face a certain way. For instance gun safety says the pistols should point towards the wall and away from people who are looking at the case. That is the reason for the two images. The mirror image does the other socket board so if you look at it from the right, the pistoltails point to the wall. If you look at the case from the left, the pistoltails still point to the wall.
Now I go to my drill press and drill a small hole to put my scrollsaw blade through. I then go to my scrollsaw and cut out the socket boards. Use a sharp blade, take your time and be careful.
Now I clamp my pin boards onto something and put my socket board over them so I can layout out the pins just so. I clamp everything down so it does not move. Then I use a pen and trace around the sockets.
Now I work on the pins. I use my marking guage to figure out the length of the pins. Normally I use a short length because its hard to chisel an odd shape straightly down a long pin. After that its to my bandsaw. I cut as much away as I can with my bandsaw giving me a line to register my chisel against. Then I use a RAS to cut as much away of the op of the pins as I can. This leaves just a small area to chisel away. Now this is where it gets tedious. Using sharp chisels, carving tools, dovetail saws and mallet, I whittle away at the shape until I split the line. keep in mind the pin has to be straight from the end of the pin to the shoulder line or it will bind when you put the pins into the sockets.
Now I try my fit, paring away where needed. Now its just a matter of applying some glue and putting them together. Just be careful and go slow. You cannot force these guys together. The socket boards have a tendency to blow out on you so careful chiseling is the best approach. Take too much away and you end up with a sloppy looking joint. Too tight and you blow out the socket board.
Thats all there is too it. A little time on the computer, a lot of layout, some scrollsaw work, and a bit of tedious chiseling and you end up with whatever you want for Lovetails, Guntails, Bulldozertails, etc...
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"