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Thread: Rifle Case – French Fitting

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Adams View Post
    I lucked into a nice piece of high density foam from packing for electronics at work on the second iteration of my bow case:

    Attachment 351276

    It was a pain to cut, and I paired it w/ too thick plastic felt (after washing the felt w/ baking soda to neutralize the acid used in its manufacture) replacing the brown cloth shown in the photo --- it's okay, and what I'm using now, but the first iteration was better and I should've stuck w/ it.

    Before that, I was using two pieces of 1" thick insulating foam from the big box home center --- I laid the parts out, traced with a pen, cut out with a serrated knife (added finger cutouts to the upper layer using a suitably sized coffee cup), then cut a piece of cardboard to the same size, and sourced a remnant of black flannel from a fabric shop.

    I then sprayed everything w/ a spray adhesive meant for cloth, glued the two pieces of foam together, pushed the cloth into all the recesses, draping it as neatly as I could manage across the top --- I resprayed the adhesive at need, pulled extra cloth down under the foam, and pulled and re-arranged until I got a fairly even draping of the foam across the bottom, top, and down into the recesses. I then re-sprayed the bottom and the cardboard which provided a reasonable bit of structure to it and secured the cloth at the bottom.

    Attachment 351278

    The one change I would make would be to laminate the top of the foam w/ a second piece of cardboard (preferably something not corrugated --- it would add some needed structure and keep dents in the foam from occurring and telegraphing through the cloth).

    I considered the foam thing (the usual suggestion is to get a T-shirt or similar stretchy material to drape over the parts) but was concerned about the heat of the chemical reaction and the fumes affecting the finish and the glues used in the bow, esp. the limbs.


    Will,

    Thanks for sharing your work. I admire both your determination and the results achieved. The processes described for the French fitting sounds way over my head, but results for your arrow/bow look great – well done!

    Best, Mike

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Here is an alternative, I have not used this foam, but The Carpentry Way study group did for their tool box builds.

    http://www.carrycasesplus.com/custom-foam-inserts/
    Hey Brian,

    Thanks for the link – this is the good stuff - Milspec foam my buddies who are serious shooters use (FWIW, these guys spend more for long gun optics than I spent for my first car - again likely an analogy that's not very helpful – my bad).

    This is some of the material I was referencing when I mentioned that total costs for foam for these 2 rifle cases was around $400. That's probably misleading description by me – 2 cases to store 2 rifles each (total of 4 rifles) uses an extraordinary amount foam; 1" thick full surface area for the top and bottom of the case with 2" thick intermediate layer cut to the profile of the weapons.

    I'm no expert, but I'm thinking there are very few other French fitting applications that wouldn't require much less foam -YMMV.

    Best, Mike

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Mueller View Post
    Well done, Mike. I've never built a case, but when fitting foam I use an electric knife. Pretty good, clean results.

    Attachment 351299
    Phil, you are far too modest my friend – that case/foam looks like factoryDOD issue! Next time I try to do this, I'm definitely calling you first!

    Best, Mike

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Hi Mike

    Your work is wonderful, as always.

    I can understand that you are disappointed about the foam, since you clearly appreciated doing the best work you can, and you do set high standards.

    Firstly, you know that the boys will be thrilled with and appreciate anything you do for them - a lot of thought and effort went into this work.

    Secondly, if you are asking what else could you have done, did you consider French fitting in wood, white pine, for instance, and then flocking?

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Hi Derick,

    I appreciate your very kind comments. For those of us amateurs who build things primarily for people we care about, your insight about the relative importance of the thoughts/intent, versus any kind of technical execution is very wise indeed!

    Per your specific suggestion, based on my challenging experience with the foam, if I had it to do over again I would definitely use white pine. I'm certainly a lot more comfortable cutting/shaping white pine and the durability is clearly superior. The only thing I can't comment on is I don't know anything about "flocking". I'd appreciate any additional information/advice you think would be helpful.

    Cheers, Mike

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Allen1010 View Post
    Hey Brian,

    Thanks for the link – this is the good stuff - Milspec foam my buddies who are serious shooters use (FWIW, these guys spend more for long gun optics than I spent for my first car - again likely an analogy that's not very helpful – my bad).

    This is some of the material I was referencing when I mentioned that total costs for foam for these 2 rifle cases was around $400. That's probably misleading description by me – 2 cases to store 2 rifles each (total of 4 rifles) uses an extraordinary amount foam; 1" thick full surface area for the top and bottom of the case with 2" thick intermediate layer cut to the profile of the weapons.

    I'm no expert, but I'm thinking there are very few other French fitting applications that wouldn't require much less foam -YMMV.

    Best, Mike
    Ah, I see why the expense now. That is a healthy portion of foam.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Fretwell View Post
    I would have built a smaller case with thick felt blocks glued to wood blocks then glued in the case. If you use cherry blocks and nice green thick felt it looks very sharp. You can line the inside of the case with leather or felt before you start and cut the leather out around the blocks. Remove the cut out piece and glue the block down. I use dumb bell weights to hold the blocks down while the glue dries.

    This method gives you more room in the case for a lidded space for a cleaning kit etc. You can get as fancy as you want.

    I'm not sure the hinges or latches are up to airport baggage handling. The handle seems to be on the short side; is it even possible to carry the case like that?

    Will, I appreciate your advice and suggestions. I don't have much experience working with leather or felt, but your suggestion makes a lot of sense. I'd love to see an example that helps me visualize how to do this.

    Regarding your very reasonable questions about the durability/practicality of hinges//latches and airport baggage handling, I have to say I'm not really sure. the joinery and hardware are solid, however ultimately in the interest of a manageable weight, the case is built out of pine which could be easily smashed under a boot. The pictures are little bit premature – I'm still waiting on delivery of some hardware which will include a handle and a key lock. I'm hopeful these will make the case easier to handle, but I realistically I can't know if that's true until those steps are finished.

    At the end of the day, your absolutely right,a Pelican/Halliburton is a much better practical solution. For personal reasons, I wanted to build something less practical but perhaps, hopefully more personal. FWIW, the older I get, the more I'm interested in personal/sentimental motivations and the less I care about practical considerations.


    All the best, Mike

  7. #22
    Thanks!

    It's way easier than it sounds

    Marking (I just used a black ballpoint pen on the white foam) and cutting the two pieces of insulating foam from the home center was pretty easy (just use a serrated knife) --- once the two pieces were laminated together, they were pretty sturdy. You don't strictly need to use the adhesive --- just tuck the cloth in loosely (ISTR George Wilson showing a beautiful piece thusly done using velvet). I'd just suggest the two extra pieces of cardboard top and bottom (or a third piece of foam for underneath if your case is thick enough).

    I did just work up a CNC tutorial for this sort of thing --- If you search for "shapeoko carbide create photo tracing" it should pop right up --- the specifics are for a tool for Nomads and Shapeoko 3s, but the basic concepts of it should work on any CNC machine.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Dean View Post
    Mike,

    May I ask what you used for the lettering? It came out really nice. Are they burned in place?
    Hey Jason.


    Thanks for your question. I hope I can provide a straightforward answer (and perhaps include a wee bit of background information that might be helpful for my fellow Neanders also interested in including some customized details into their work).


    The names on the rifle cases were actually fairly simple/easy to carve into the pine panels using a gouge I believe is typically described as a "Viener" (certainly the spelling is horribly off).-typically used to create the fine detail "veins" in floral carvings. The tool I use is #11 sweep, probably around 3/16" wide.Once it's sharp, it's very easy to cleanly cut both across and down grain elements of lettering, particularly in soft woods like pine.


    I would encourage any of my fellow Neanders interested in adding some details to their projects to give it a shot - most carving/inlay elements are easier than you think.


    All the best, Mike

  9. #24
    Another option besides paint for coating foam that I didn't see (but very well may have missed) in previous responses is the aerosol can of plasti-dip. It is void filling, builds up to a stout thickness with enough layers, remains soft enough to not damage the item being protected, comes in a few different colors (so if cutting multi-layered foam, you can have a red void for the item with a black final french-fit layer, etc) and since it is flexible, it won't chip off.

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