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OT: Best Restoration Service for early J-frame Airweight

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Post by Chase Turner on 11/16/2020, 8:10 pm

Hello,

I've inherited my Grandfather's early J-frame (pre model number days) Airweight (stamped on the barrel). It's seen some use and has been carried and used. I'd like to get it mechanically and cosmetically restored. Probably not a lot to do mechanically- slight end shake, maybe timing off a bit. That probably isn't the hard part, though. Since it was made from an aluminum frame and steel barrel and cylinder, I understand that finishing isn't just a simple as dunking all of it in one tank.

If this was your pistol and had a lot of sentimental value to you, who would you send it off to do all the work? Or would you part out the mechanics to one place and refinish to another? Or?

Recommendations welcome.

Thanks,
Chase

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Post by Thin Man on 11/16/2020, 8:21 pm

Ask this on smith-wessonforum.com

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Post by Wobbley on 11/16/2020, 9:10 pm

The Aluminum needs to be anodized after stripping the old off...possible, but in the airplane biz we were very reluctant to do that.

So my recommendation is to Cerakote it.  Might not be glossy black. But it’ll be a nice looking gun when your done and a good keepsake.
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Post by JIMPGOV on 11/17/2020, 12:16 am

TRUNBULL PERIOD. THE BEST THAT ALL OTHERS TRY TO COMPARE THEM SELF TO. EXPENSIVE? YES. WORTH IT? YES.

https://www.turnbullrestoration.com/product-category/the-showroom/

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Post by Outthere on 11/17/2020, 8:15 am

If it was mine, I'd leave the cosmetics alone. I like honest wear on a gun, gives it character. If it's mechanically unsound, I'd get that taken care of. 

Whatever road you take, don't send it to S&W.
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Post by "plq" on 11/17/2020, 7:19 pm

+ 1 on Thin Man's recommendation to inquire at the S&W forum as well. 

You'll typically need to source the refinishing separately from the mechanical work, as good refinishers tend to specialize in just that. 

Fords has a good reputation as well & should be able to tell you how closely they can match the original anodizing.  https://fordsguns.com/ 

- is it black anodized or clear?  - some of the clear were later coated and not anodized, which could make it simpler.

But I'd also give outhere's idea consideration - I don't mind a worn-in revolver either, especially if you know the history, and you don't have to fret about marring a new finish. Plus anodizing is more prone to wear than many other finishes - it'll show eventually if in use.

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Post by Gunsnjeeps on 11/28/2020, 3:35 pm

If it were mine I'd consider leaving the cosmetics and have a good gunsmith look at timing and lockup.  My thoughts are a classic firearm earned its looks, refinishing it erases its history.  That history is also family history in your case.

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