From the workbench of bit maker Wilson Capron

In this these photos below bit and spur maker Wilson Capron shares with us the project he is crafting for the 2013 Cowboy Crossings showing a complete progression of his craft.

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This is the initial drawing of my TCAA 2013 Globe bit.  I first draw things out to secure my design before I start the metal work.


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The top shank has all the inlay cavities chiseled out with just the bottom section left on the bottom shank. After that I will complete the inlays in the rings and then start the mouthpiece.  When the mouthpiece is in place, I will then finish the rest of the inlaying.


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The inlays on the rings are in. With the exception of the one ring that is black in the photo, I have filed the inlays and now I’m in the process of file finishing the rings to a #6 Swiss cut. Next I will start the mouthpiece.


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Today I finished cleaning up the shanks, well to this stage of the game, and the mouthpiece just needs to be sized and then welded into the shanks. It should look like a bit tomorrow.


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It now is coming together. You see the bit and a couple of conchos to mount over the mouthpiece. I had to make a die for them. I have the die as well in the photo. I plan on finishing the fabrication of the conchos. Then the inlays will be completed.


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Today was a long day of making things right. Sometimes things go together without extra effort and them some don’t. I tend to learn more when they don’t. It was real tricky centering the conchos on the shank and then getting the TCAA logo to be pointed up after I screwed the conchos in place. This a new method of putting the conchos on so the kinks had to worked out. The inlays are now in as well and the clean up has started. Filing is finished so hand stoning will commence tomorrow.


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The bit now has reached its final polish. Everything is to an 800 grit polish. I tried a new method by using oil with wet/dry paper on the final step and I really like how it came out. The conchos are now finished as well. One is in place in the photo but only for the photo. The next step is to somehow attach 24 kt gold to the half moon areas that you see above and below the concho. The first method I tried on a practice plate was unsuccessful, so tomorrow will be educational.


I figured out how to get the gold in place this morning. It is called a raised wire inlay. Grooves are cut into the metal wide enough for the gold wire but not as deep as the thickness of the wire so that the gold will stick up above the surface. The difficulty was in the small area I gave myself to work with. Engraving has started as you can see. I lack the top ring and just the inside of the big bottom ring and then on to the other side.

I finished engraving the rings and was able to get the gold inlayed on the opposite side.



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Here is the progress on the engraving. Not to complain but I think if you straighten out the bottom ring it would be a foot long! It takes forever engraving the rope design on the inlay portion. I’m excited about the look so it’s worth it. Next I will finish up the engraving and then start the blueing. I plan to Nitre blue it and antique the silver.


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The blueing is complete. I antiqued the silver before I blued the bit, but I’m not sure how well it turned out. I will determine whether I need to highlight the silver with paint or not. If I do the paint will have to dry overnight and then I can take final photos. It’s getting real close to being finished now!

 

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I have come to the end!  I didn’t like the antiquing so I painted the engraving with an etching ink. The bit took take me a little longer than I expected, but that happens sometimes. I think it is most important to hold true to the integrity of the project and let the time take care of itself. I hope everyone enjoyed the progression. This bit will be displayed at the TCAA show at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in October. Please make plans to attend now and if you have any questions feel free to contact me.