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Old 06-04-2018, 12:48 PM   #1
md.banks
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Join Date: Mar 2017
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First Build: 62” Bluewater

https://photos.app.goo.gl/24NXtd1w7daPMCGH6


Okay everyone, so here goes my first gun build!! Sorry for the long post in advance, however I hope you can appreciate the background story.

I want to start off by thanking WoodGuy for the amazing work he did with the mechanism, track, and other essential components of the gun, and for his continued help and advice with the thousands of questions I had/have.

This journey started in 2017 when some money fell into my hands when I won a raffle and I decided I’d use it to buy a custom wooden speargun. However, the money slipped right thru my fingers just as quickly a couple months later when I fell victim to a scammer. There went that plan.

So I thought, why not just build my own? I started by buying a teak blank here on spearboard but when it came it was slightly different than advertised. It was a shorter, narrower and was missing epoxy in most of the joint. Not only that, but I realized that all I had was a nice looking piece of wood and no idea where to even start. So I did what any spearfishing enthusiast would do and bought a case of Red Bull and stayed up for several long nights reading posts about gun building. In a couple weeks I contacted WoodGuy and what started out as “where do I start,” turned into “where do I send this blank to?”
And to make a long story short, what I received back in the mail after a couple months of planning, sketching, and testing variables was pure awesomeness!! It came back exactly how I wanted it... better actually! The dimensions were 62” long, 3-1/8” wide, 2” high. My initial blank was split in two and added to the outside of an existing one (pics should be in chronological order).

So now that the impossible-to-install components were in, all I had to do was shape and sand it. Easy right? No.. not really actually.
From my sketches (which changed daily), I knew exactly what I wanted the gun to look like. I just didn’t know how to accomplish that look. And I’d be damned if I spent a fortune to build a gun and it came out looking like a block of wood with rounded over edges, or some sort of generic “DIY gun build.”

So after months of searching, I finally I found a guy near me that has a mill shop.. Dave. We sat down and went over what I wanted, and what would be the easiest and safest way to achieve those results. And with that in mind, we put the blade to the blank.


Here are the tools/methods used to create the primary shape:

For the bottom of the gun he ran it thru a shaper machine with a 15 degree angled bevel shaper bit. This gave it the U-boat shape when sanded. He also managed to stop and start the cutting at various points on the blank and at various depths, instead of just running it all the way thru. This is how we achieved the taper that gives it a belly towards the handle, and that extra wood under the muzzle. (I’m mentioning this because it’s extremely difficult to wield a teak blank this big thru the shaper machine like that. Hats off to Dave!)

For the recessed band grooves we made a jig with a piece of wood to guide the plunge router, and ran the router with the gun sitting on the side. We ran a straight bit 3/4” deep into the side of the wood and started at 1/2” at the muzzle and tapered to 0 near the rest tab. Then we ran a ball bit after that to 1-1/8” deep to give it the “cove” shape on the top for the bands to sit in nicely. (When I say 3/4” and 1-1/8” deep, it’s the depth of the cut measuring from the side of the stock towards the middle of the track. So this is actually the horizontal depth cut from the width of the gun. Because the gun is so wide I had 1-1/4” of wood on each side of the track. The vertical depth of the band grooves tapers from 1/2” deep at the muzzle to flush just behind the rest tab).

Those were basically the two hardest tasks to accomplish when shaping the gun. The added difficulty came after we shaped the bottom of the gun and realized that now it would rock from side to side because the flat bottom was gone. The other cuts around the handle and the taper on the sides of the gun were done with a band saw. Everything else was done with a rotary tool and sanding drums, as well as just hand sanding. Oh and by the way, the work I did at home was done in the dressing room of my 1-bed apt because I live in Chicago and it was still too cold to go outside haha. I ditched that plan after 2 days because the weather warmed up a little; and quite frankly, I couldn’t breathe anymore at night with all the dust floating around my apt.

Gun Specs:
Length: 62”
Width: (1-1/2”) at very front tapered to (2-5/8”) at muzzle/band slot with various taper to (3-1/8”) at belly/widest part; handle section (2-3/8”)
Thickness: muzzle (1-3/4”), just behind muzzle (1-1/2”) tapered to belly (2”); handle section (1-1/4”)
Band Slot: the band slot was cut with a 5 degree incline so that the bands will line up perfectly without overlap. I will have a better pic of this when the gun is fully finished. (I tried to load 2 of the 3 bands at home to get a good picture but I forgot to put the handle frame on so the trigger was fully exposed. Long story short the gun fired and the shaft flew straight thru my portable fan, and about 3 inches into the baseboard/ceiling of my neighbors below me. Mind you, this was the threaded shaft with no tip on. Almost took my finger with it too so I won’t be trying that again till I get in some water.) The band grooves extend about 3/4 of the way down the stock as it “tapers” to the flush level near the shark fins (I was going for the Abellan look)
Gun Butt Ballast: the slot in the butt of the gun behind the butt pad can hold (3) 19g weights for a total of 57g
Under track ballast: one of the coolest features about this gun is the removable track. It’s the UHMW enclosed track from neptonics except we cut the top off so it’s an open track. The track slides out to reveal a pocket for weights that runs the entire length of the gun. At the muzzle the weight slot is slightly thinner and 1/4” deep, whereas the slot opens slightly wider near the belly and is 1/2” deep (can accommodate 2 stacks of weights). All the weights are completely removable which makes it infinitely modifiable whether you’re using a reel or floatline. (I might epoxy the first stack of weights in the belly section because I figured I will always need these there).
Weight: 2.4kg wood alone; 1.1kg of removable weights; 0.72kg shaft; 0.66kg handle and handle frame
Shaft: Hunt 8.5mm tri-cut double offset flopper shaft 170cm and/or Hunt 8.5mm threaded shaft with sliptip 170cm
Bands: (3) 15mm small ID primeline, or maybe 14mm?
Bandstretch: 104cm to rest tab, 129cm to first fin, 132cm to second fin, 135cm to last fin
Mech: Ermes Sub double roller mech


All in all, this has been the most rewarding project I’ve ever taken on in my life!! It did cost a lot more than I anticipated, and I attribute a lot of that to it being my first build, a lot of trial and error, and my perfectionist personality; however I wouldn’t do it any differently if I had another chance. The only thing more rewarding than building this gun will be cracking the spine of a monster wahoo with it! (Wahoo are my arch nemesis since I’ve never landed one before and the only one I’ve ever shot tore off)

Question..

1. How do I preserve the artwork on the bottom of my gun? I was out shopping and came across a wood burning tool kit (soldering kit). I bought it immediately and decided to draw something unique on my gun. I want to cover the whole bottom in a sort of art mural but I thought I’d check in with the pros before I did any more. I figure it doesn’t really damage the wood, because the burn is superficial and can be sanded off pretty easily. My question is probably an obvious one, but would epoxy or teak oil finish be best? I’ve never worked with either, but from reading I figured the oil is way easier. I also figured the artwork would rub off in a couple months or so and I really don’t want that either.. so now I’m leaning towards epoxy. Can anyone walk me through a thorough epoxy process? I mean, ALL the details to get a near perfect epoxy finish with no bubbles or blemishes. What epoxy and resin? What kind of special sponge? Etc etc.. Or does anyone want to epoxy it for me for cheap? Im a full time medical student and I’ve literally exhausted all of my resources on this build. Any help is greatly appreciated!



Of course, Spearboard won’t let me upload pic.. so here is a link

Pictures!! The video is what it looks like currently!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/24NXtd1w7daPMCGH6
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Old 06-04-2018, 01:53 PM   #2
Behslayer
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

Excellent looking gun. Congrats.
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Old 06-04-2018, 04:45 PM   #3
grouperdown
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

Looks good, like the taper on the front.
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:21 AM   #4
doyenofcastle
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

nice work really ,if u go for epoxy make sure the trigger slot little wider before application ,just use search bar and write epoxy finish u ll get many post here .
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Old 06-05-2018, 06:41 AM   #5
md.banks
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

Quote:
Originally Posted by doyenofcastle View Post
nice work really ,if u go for epoxy make sure the trigger slot little wider before application ,just use search bar and write epoxy finish u ll get many post here .
Thanks everyone!

And yeah, I’ve been reading them all.. I think I’m gonna go with the 205/209 west systems
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Old 06-05-2018, 10:39 AM   #6
Mikel_24
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

Looking good!

What is the reason behind the modular handle (metal handle + removable handle)? You didn't trust a glued on wooden or syntethic handle? That could help you save weight and hopefully be able to remove some more wood from the gun stock... so it can actually move arround better underwater.

Other than that, it looks amazing.

And now a quick tip. If you want to do a flawless epoxy job, you should use a rottisiere system. You can put it together for very cheap if you buy the BBQ motor in China (say, Aliexpress, for example). They work great!

Keep us posted.
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Old 06-05-2018, 10:59 AM   #7
md.banks
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikel_24 View Post
Looking good!

What is the reason behind the modular handle (metal handle + removable handle)? You didn't trust a glued on wooden or syntethic handle? That could help you save weight and hopefully be able to remove some more wood from the gun stock... so it can actually move arround better underwater.

Other than that, it looks amazing.

And now a quick tip. If you want to do a flawless epoxy job, you should use a rottisiere system. You can put it together for very cheap if you buy the BBQ motor in China (say, Aliexpress, for example). They work great!

Keep us posted.

Hey Mikel,

The reason I went with the handle + handle frame is simply because this is the first gun I’ve ever built. This system makes it easy to change grips based on personal preference , and the gun will fit in a 4” pvc tube when traveling if I screw the handle off. And because I don’t live anywhere near ‘spearfishing waters’ I’ll have to take a plane every time I want to use it. I am, however, thinking of switching to the Andre handle frame with the ergo teak handle. Looks pretty dope! But I’d have to mod the pocket because their frame is longer than the AR frame.

I’ve never heard of this rotisserie method. Care to share? Or is there a post about it already?
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:06 AM   #8
Mikel_24
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

Quote:
Originally Posted by md.banks View Post
I’ve never heard of this rotisserie method. Care to share? Or is there a post about it already?
I do know that they use the rotisserie setup for epoxy coating fishing jigs quite often (home made, sometimes repurposing a microwave motor). And I recall seeing some pictures in this very same forum (wooden structure), but I don't know where.

Instead, you can have a look at two of my build threads in a Spanish forum. Even if you are not familiar with the language, the shitload of pictures should be self explanatory.

My first gun https://lapescasubmarina.com/ftopict-26940.html

In this post I put together the rotisserie thing. You can find it right after finishing the handle (uncoated). It is based in a portable (read, battery operated) bbq accesory. Red color, just in case. It works fine, and so far I have finished two guns with it, but I don't like it being battery operated. I ended up wiring two batteries in paralell to insure I didn't run out of juice when the epoxy was still runny.

As you can see I am more into metalworking than woodworking!

Video of a dry run in the shop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6JAJysbPKs

My second gun: https://lapescasubmarina.com/ftopict-27472.html

System in action after the carbon fiber skinning.

I have since upgraded and for the two builds I am working on, I will be using a direct 220 motor, bought of Aliexpress. Is this very same one:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/outd...27424c4dHOLJDt

Pretty sure they have 110v versions for the US. Maybe you can look arround and source it locally in any hardware store.

I hope this helps!

Mikel
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:26 PM   #9
md.banks
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

Nice looking guns! I like the use of fiberglass in that first one

Not sure I’ll be able to setup that rotisserie jig due to the amount of space I have to work with. It does make some nice results however
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:35 AM   #10
Mikel_24
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

Quote:
Originally Posted by md.banks View Post
Nice looking guns! I like the use of fiberglass in that first one
Well, actually that was not a wise choice. Fiberglass is not carbon fiber, so it doesn't add much ridgidity to the setup. Besides, with the shape and section (thickness) of the stock, it was not needed. It only added weight, which in my case, wasn't needed either. The central piece of wood was also a mistake. Waaaaaaaaay too dense. My gun was supposed to use a 7,5mm spear and that was unbearable, truly tip heavy. I started reducing diameter of the spear and ended up with a 6,75mm spear! But it was my first gun, and you learn from the mistakes.

If you want to laminate with carbon fiber because you want more ridgidity in a thinner stock (better tracking) you can go this route. Gun still in the works, but it shows the idea I am talking about:

https://lapescasubmarina.com/ftopic-27432-next.html

It also shows the procedure I used to make my own anatomic handles out of PU resin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by md.banks View Post
Not sure I’ll be able to setup that rotisserie jig due to the amount of space I have to work with. It does make some nice results however
If you can source a plank of wood a couple feet longer than the lengh of your stock, you can set it on the dinning table. Cover everything with sharan wrap to avoid any drips on the forniture and you are good to to.

How is your gun going? Any progress?
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Old 06-09-2018, 01:55 AM   #11
doyenofcastle
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikel_24 View Post
I do know that they use the rotisserie setup for epoxy coating fishing jigs quite often (home made, sometimes repurposing a microwave motor). And I recall seeing some pictures in this very same forum (wooden structure), but I don't know where.

Instead, you can have a look at two of my build threads in a Spanish forum. Even if you are not familiar with the language, the shitload of pictures should be self explanatory.

My first gun https://lapescasubmarina.com/ftopict-26940.html

In this post I put together the rotisserie thing. You can find it right after finishing the handle (uncoated). It is based in a portable (read, battery operated) bbq accesory. Red color, just in case. It works fine, and so far I have finished two guns with it, but I don't like it being battery operated. I ended up wiring two batteries in paralell to insure I didn't run out of juice when the epoxy was still runny.

As you can see I am more into metalworking than woodworking!

Video of a dry run in the shop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6JAJysbPKs

My second gun: https://lapescasubmarina.com/ftopict-27472.html

System in action after the carbon fiber skinning.

I have since upgraded and for the two builds I am working on, I will be using a direct 220 motor, bought of Aliexpress. Is this very same one:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/outd...27424c4dHOLJDt

Pretty sure they have 110v versions for the US. Maybe you can look arround and source it locally in any hardware store.

I hope this helps!

Mikel
good guns ,material IROKO and sapelli only ?for muzzle I have better one if u interested .
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Old 06-11-2018, 06:11 AM   #12
Mikel_24
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

Quote:
Originally Posted by doyenofcastle View Post
good guns ,material IROKO and sapelli only ?
Thanks for the compliment!

The wood I used for the first gun was 6 pieces of Iroko and a central piece of Oak. BIG mistake. Someone much more experienced building guns than me once stated that, unless we are talking monster guns (like pretty much any BWH gun int he US), any wood with a density over 700kg/m3 is going to give trouble. And boy was he right!

Second gun was 4 pieces of Iroko only.

Third gun (in process) is Sapelli all the way. I couldn't source Iroko in that form format and buying a big plank, cutting, trueing, etc... required me outsourcing too many operations, which adds up to the cost... A LOT!

Quote:
Originally Posted by doyenofcastle View Post
for muzzle I have better one if u interested .
Good lookig muzzle!

HOWEVER a few constructive concerns regarding the muzzle:

- Mine started like yours but in my attempt to reduce muzzle weight I ended un cutting all the unnecesary horns. Once you know how are you going to route the lines, the redundancy is not neccesary. If this is a comercial item, makes sense to have all the options and leave it up to the customer to remove whatever is not needed.

- Horns and line guide (the circle a the tip of the bottom of the muzzle) when stamped/laser/plasma/waterjet cut, are sharp. And unless media tumbled, they require a fair amount of polishing to be smooth. The bending also raises the edges, making them more proud than when in unrolled position. That's why for my line guide I opted for U bent and tig welded 2mm stainless rod. Polishing is easy, with a piece of cord wetted with valve polishing compound (same I do with the holes in the shaft for the mono).

- Stock thickness. First versions of Abellan guns had too thin muzzles and were easily bent. Next generations went up in thickness. What thickness are you using for these muzzles?

Sorry for the highjack md.banks! Keep us posted! I am eager to see that gun in the water!

Mikel
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:27 AM   #13
Xylophone
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

I grabbed one of those muzzle cages from doyen and with 15 minutes and a set of gunsmith files the sharp edges were a non issue.
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:56 PM   #14
doyenofcastle
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Re: First Build: 62” Bluewater

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I grabbed one of those muzzle cages from doyen and with 15 minutes and a set of gunsmith files the sharp edges were a non issue.
man I was waiting this I am waiting to see the good results ,
2 mm 316 L plate is corrosion resistance + little soft for bending
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