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Old September 17th, 2010, 06:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Custom Shotgun Shell Knobs

Alright, I promised another member to post a shotgun shell knob thread.

This is how I go about making custom knobs from things like shotgun shells. However, you could adapt this technique to any kind of custom knob you want. The reason I do it this way is because I make knobs that easily go on and off the pots.

I looked through my ammunition drawer and dug out these two old turkey load twelve gauge shells.

These are not shells you want to go through by the box at the range, they pack quite a wallop!

I like to use my metal cutting bandsaw for small pieces like this for two reasons, 1) it has finer teeth, so it both cuts cleaners and won't rip things from your hand and 2) It cuts slower, so I can more accurately cut the brass from the plastic hulls.

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Old September 17th, 2010, 06:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It is important to clean all the powder residue from the shells, so the epoxy has a good place to bind. So I rinse and wash with DNA

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Old September 17th, 2010, 06:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I make sure the shells are flush by flattening the bottom on my small disc/belt sander.
These small disc sanders are outstanding for this detail work, because a large 12" disc sander will rip stuff from your hands, which will cause you to run your fingernail into the sand paper, and it will take it down to the quick in NO TIME!

In case you are wondering, I did this before I cleaned the shells. I just got ahead of myself posting.
Then using a 2 part putty epoxy, I fill the voids in the shells. I fill them proud, and avoid mushrooming the epoxy over the edges.



I fill the putty in there proud, so I can sand it down flush. That way all the voids will be filled, and the kneeding lines wont show making it look like gray matter on a cracked skull.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 06:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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After giving that ample time to dry, I once again use my small belt/disc sander to sand the epoxy flush and pretty.




Now comes the fun part, polishing! I use my bench grinder/buffer combo to buff all my metal projects. You have to watch these metal buffers, they make look harmless but if you angle the working piece wrong, go too low on the wheel, or press to hard the cloth wheel will grab the piece from your hand and fling it violently, which ussually results in a dented, scratched, dinged, or broken piece.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 06:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The end results are well worth the risk though. Just be careful! Take precautions!



Then I have to dissect the donor knobs. In this case, a pair of ugly creme WD strat knobs.

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Old September 17th, 2010, 06:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Here is the inner core I was after.

I clean it up in a similar manner.

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Old September 17th, 2010, 07:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Then I take my center finder square (well, that is what it is at the moment) and mark the centers. Since the knobs aren't perfect circles, I am taking the average.


Using my drill index I figure out what size hole I need to drill, 7/16".

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Old September 17th, 2010, 07:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Secure the pieces, set my depthstop, and drill!


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Old September 17th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Then I just glue the inserts in with my good ole CA glue.


If you go light on the glue, you can position the knob on the potentiometer and set it without any wobble and lined up nice and perpendicular. Then when it dries just pop it off, dress the bottom up if you want, and you are good to go!


Thanks for baring with me on this fairly tedious and boring thread.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nice!!
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Old September 17th, 2010, 07:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Let's see them on a guitar!!!!
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Old September 17th, 2010, 07:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Let's see them on a guitar!!!!
Well, I have to admit. I haven't finished these. I still need to dress up the bottom. But here is another set I built on a guitar.

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Old September 17th, 2010, 07:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Sweet, I'll have to fav. this for later
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Old September 17th, 2010, 08:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Can I add the obvious here, to make sure the shells you're going to cut up are shells that have been USED! (automatic "Mom" reaction)

(Just watching out for everyone here)
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Old September 17th, 2010, 08:44 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Can I add the obvious here, to make sure the shells you're going to cut up are shells that have been USED! (automatic "Mom" reaction)

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I would recommend spent shells, because cutting, grinding, and buffing live primers might not go so well.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 08:49 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Very cool and creative. Just wondering, does the brass (I assume it's brass) tarnish up after a while? Or do you lacquer them?

BTW, I have a grocery bag of used 12g shells in the attic if anyone wants them :)
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Old September 17th, 2010, 08:53 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Very cool and creative. Just wondering, does the brass (I assume it's brass) tarnish up after a while? Or do you lacquer them?

BTW, I have a grocery bag of used 12g shells in the attic if anyone wants them :)
That brass will tarnish and corrode very quickly touching them with your bare hands.

If you wanted to keep them shiny, I would recommend dipping them in some Boiled linseed oil or thinned lacquer. But I think part of the rustic appeal of using shot shell brass is the tarnishing factor.

You could also use low brass shells, which are generally silver colored and you could color coordinate withe the the plastic hulls.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 09:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Very cool and creative. How did the concentricity turn out?
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Old September 17th, 2010, 09:20 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Very cool and creative. How did the concentricity turn out?
One is a lil better than the other, but not too bad. I am happy with the way they turned out.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 09:38 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Can I add the obvious here, to make sure the shells you're going to cut up are shells that have been USED! (automatic "Mom" reaction)

(Just watching out for everyone here)
Aww Mommy. Just go for it. If your pickin is REAL HOT one night, the audience and band mates would think it was cool if the primer popped. Maybe it would self launch off the pot shaft!!!

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One is a lil better than the other, but not too bad. I am happy with the way they turned out.
Yea...hitting dead center of a circle is hard to do with any tool. If the knurled insert could be more "press fit" it would help too. I bet it's still better than a set screw knob on a split shaft pot!!
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