Introduction: How to Make a Colt Western Pistol in 3-4 Hours

Picture of How to Make a Colt Western Pistol in 3-4 Hours

This is how I made a 1860-inspired Colt for my Son. NOTE: The intention was not to make an exact replica, but to make a robust wooden toy with enough details to be interesting.

Step 1:

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1. step was to make a drawing of the pistol, cut it out and use it as a template to draw a cut line on 18 mm plywood. I Chose 18 mm plywood because it is easy, to remove one or two layers to make some details.

Step 2:

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2. Step was to cut out the handle and half of the stock cylinder.

Step 3:

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3. This step shows the pistol after cut out and what it looks like after I glue the handle and the cylinder parts on to the body. Note also, how I have removed some layers of the plywood to ad details.

Step 4:

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4. After sanding I painted the pistol. First black all over so there would be no unpainted spots. After this, I experimented with a pure "iron" version, but settled with a "iron" and "brass" version.

Tool and material: Electric jigsaw, rasp, sanding paper, carving iron, drill, glue, acrylic paint, varnish, 18 and 3 mm plywood, 40 mm round stick

Time spend all in all: 3-4 hours. Have fun!


Phil B (author)2012-08-12

I can remember being 10 years old and wanting something like this. The only power tool at my disposal was an electric drill, though. Toy guns like this that I made were not nearly as nice as this, but I was still probably the only kid in our one-room K-8 country school who made any of his own toy guns for our shootouts at recess. Thank you for publishing this.

inspiredwood (author)Phil B2012-08-12

Guns are such good toys. The kids get to run around using their imagination. I have made around 40 different guns by now. Infortunately I didn't know Instructables then, so I haven't got any documentation of the proces to post, but I could add a couple of pictures of the finished result. They are all made the same way as in this example...

Phil B (author)inspiredwood2012-08-12

A number of Instructables were done "after the fact." Make close-up photos of the detail you are explaining in each step and mention that you are making the Instructable now, even though you made the actual project some years ago. Or, I have also made a second copy of the item and documented the steps for making it. Thank you for pictures of your other toy gun projects.

When I was 10 years old there was a national Davy Crockett craze. I made my own Davy Crockett rifle from a broomstick (the barrel), a piece of porch railing we were replacing (stock), some odd pieces of steel I shaped (lock and trigger guard), tin can pieces folded (barrel bands), and some nails. We still have it almost 56 years later. We just turned it over to my daughter and her husband for our new grandson.

Digthatwood made it! (author)2017-05-29

Thanks, this is a great instructable!

Colonel Hogan (author)2015-09-26

Don't forget the blaze orange tip! You don't want your kid to get shot by a cop who thinks this is a real gun.

Thanks Colonel Hogan! That's a valid reminder!

ClassicPepper (author)2015-08-07

Hello, I know this is an old post, But I have a question: How did You remove the layers of the plywood?

blackholeseeker (author)2015-01-14

make sure to put a bright orange band around the barrell for saftey!

Michael21541 (author)2014-11-17

I am new and have never worked with wood, how did you make the cylinder half,did you layer it and how

Cutting a cylindrical wooden stick in half is always the hard part. I did it with a hand saw, sanded it and glued one piece on each side of the gun. In order for the cylinder to look right, you have to make to cuts about 8 mm apart from each other...

Michael21541 (author)2014-11-17

I am new and have never worked with wood, how did you make the cylinder half,did you layer it and how

Michael21541 (author)2014-11-17

I am new and have never worked with wood, how did you make the cylinder half,did you layer it and how

NoelC1 (author)2014-08-25

I think you guys would love the handguns that I make then... ahah

Patty Boy (author)2014-07-28

Is there a way so the barrel can reload?

inspiredwood (author)Patty Boy2014-07-28

Actually after I did the gun, I googled something like wooden Navy Colt and found a guy, who had been a real gun maker. When he retired, he started making wooden functioning replica colts.
Search for "Robert A. Talbot colt" and be amazed!!!

Biff Riddler (author)2013-03-30

For some reason it the Captcha won't activate when I'm replying to a comment. The over/under is quite nice. Are the layers in order? Also how did you learn how to make the guns like this?

Biff Riddler (author)2013-03-29

I would love to see how you made that double-barrel shotgun. It'd be a nice prop for videos.

Sorry Biff! I don't have the drawings any more and it is a bit fragile so, I won't disassemble it for now. But maybe this drawing of a over/under Beretta can inspire you...

GalaxyUniverse (author)2013-02-08

Well done inspired by wood!

iscott6 (author)2012-10-27

Do you happen to have any of the dimensions? length/ high? thankspr

inspiredwood (author)iscott62012-10-27

If you want it to have the original measures, check this link:, if it's for a kids hand, you could look for at picture where it is in someone's hand. then print it so the hand size matches that of the kids hand + a bit... Hope this helps...

codycnnn04 (author)2012-09-05

Not trying to nit pick or anything, but have you though about putting moving parts on the rest of your guns like in the winchester rifle?

inspiredwood (author)codycnnn042012-09-05

That's o.k. The AK-47 has a detachable magazine, the hunting shotgun, can bend for loading, and the SPAS has a moving load action handle. I try to keep the toys robust enough to actually function as toys... Some day, when I find the time, I will post an instructable on the shotgun...

codycnnn04 (author)inspiredwood2012-09-05

Very Nice!!

machoturtle (author)2012-08-23

here's the Colt 1911 I just finished, I tried to make it as similar to your style as I could. I still need to add the sights and possibly a trigger!

inspiredwood (author)machoturtle2012-08-23

Awesome!!! Excellent work. Hope you had fun :-) I normally leave out the sight for stability reasons – i do my guns for the kid. From time to time, i do more realistic ones as gits for my adult friends. Then I use ice sticks for the sight. Then I use a 1,5 mm drill to make several holes on a line so stick can be attached firmly... I don't know if this is the best method, maybe you can come up with something better...

machoturtle (author)2012-08-20

sweet guns! i've messed around with make wooden guns but none of mine have ever turned out that awesome! How many layers of wood are there in the final product?

inspiredwood (author)machoturtle2012-08-20

I usually use 12 or 18 mm plywood for the center piece. Sometimes I remove one ore two layers on each side, e.g. for the hammer or trigger guard. Normally I only ad one layer on each side. Except for small safety catches – they are extra... But I alter the thickness, So the "rubber" on the handle might be 3 mm hard masonite for the grip pattern, other elements might be 5 or 7 mm depending on the design of the original. Sometimes i cheat, so instead of going one extra layer out, i just remove the "detail" from the first layer – the resemblance is still striking and you save a lot of time... Just look at the original – it's mostly clear what would fit to which layer. (depending on the degree of accuracy)

machoturtle (author)inspiredwood2012-08-20

you've got so many awesome guns! you've gotta post one on making that lever action rifle you have!

inspiredwood (author)machoturtle2012-08-23

Well, her you go...
Have tun!

inspiredwood (author)machoturtle2012-08-21

I'll see what I can manage. The lever rifle is a bit complicated – the lever actually works. I will have to revers engineer the instructable based on the finished piece, which might damage some of the paintwork. But the rubber bands inside probably need replacing anyhow, so stay tuned...

machoturtle (author)inspiredwood2012-08-21

if it's gonna mess it up at all don't worry about it...but I would love to see how you made it

Dusk Shadows (author)2012-08-21

Or guns can be eased to kill people witch is also fun

Elliot Lord (author)2012-08-20

Sorry but I find it very disappointing that people still think that guns should be seen as toys. Yours are nicely made but guns are for killing and that isn't fun.

inspiredwood (author)Elliot Lord2012-08-20

I actually agree with you to some extend. You have to be careful. A danish psychology study however showed, that young kids spend most of the time during "gun play" to negotiate rules an imagine worlds. In the study, the testers taped hours of play and counted the different types of actions. The mane part was very constructive learning and planning. They discovered musical patterns as well.
When it comes to computer games on the other hand it seams that the realism an adrenalin rush can actually make people addicted...
So I normally keep an eye on, how the play is coming along. Also I involve my kids in the woodwork.

The Rambler (author)2012-08-20

Very nice. Right now I'm on a wooden sword kick, but I might have to try my hand at some guns next.

I have modified one of those toy flintlock pistols before though. That was fun. I replaced the barrel with a much larger steel pipe and added some other features. I'll have to do an instructable when I get the time.

inspiredwood (author)The Rambler2012-08-20

Yea! Steel barrels are nice – some of my guns have them...
Here are two of my latest flint locks...

l8nite (author)2012-08-19

Ive carved several hand guns from dimensional stock as well as shotguns and rifles, minimum details but they held up to many a battle. Now that my grandsons are growing up I may need to make a few more.. Nice project, thank you for sharing

mikeasaurus (author)2012-08-13

Looks great, a fun toy for a little guy into flighting baddies or imagining a Western showdown.

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