Cenobia, the Destruction Luster: a Steampunk Prop Revolver

About: Oh wow a lot can change in three years. can't say I forgot about this place but got pushed away from it a little.

Well, there's a convention coming up that my friends and I have been planning to go since the last one we managed to hit. I have a rifle in the works but with classes starting I didn't have time to devote to a larger project. At the same time I didn't want to be caught with something that looked like I grabbed it out of the shop before it was done so I set about making a much smaller prop.

I knocked this thing out in less than 12 hours of solid work over 3 days, and completely out of stuff I had laying around. As far as tools I had a powersander, a powerdrill, and everything else was by hand. Its not a terribly hard project and if someone has scrap wood and likes to build things it can be a fun weekend.

Step 1: Planning and Materials
Step 2: The Handle
Step 3: The Barrel and Tumbler
Step 4: Appearance, Paint, and Patina
Step 5: The Grip
Step 6: Finishing

Step 1: Step 1: Planning and Materials

I don't know about most people but I had this stuff laying around. Leftovers from other projects or stuff thats just been laying around since we remodeled the house.

Scrap wood, 2x6 and some smaller pieces
pvc, 2 inch and 1/2 inch
Assorted hardware, pipe hangers, doorstop, decorative hooks, spring, brass pipe fittings, upholstery nails, screws and nails, random bits and bobs
Leather for the handle, or fabric, or felt, or whatever.
Paints and patina's

Hand Saw
Coping Saw
Brushes, preferably disposable foam, the urathane will ruin it
Glue, glue gun, and glue sticks

Step 2: Step 2: the Handle

This was probably the most time consuming process. Wood always is. Without the right tools what would be a quick and easy task will take at least twice as long and its also fairly unforgiving. You can sand out a lot of little mistakes but its near impossible to add more wood if you take too much off. Be careful, work slow, and above all work safe.

Step 1: Transfer your sketch from paper to the wood you plan on using. For some people thats cut out the one on the paper and tape or glue it to the wood. For me that wasn't an option because I was trying to avoid a few huge knots in the wood so I just had to remeasure and redraw.

Step 2: Do some rough cuts. If you have a huge piece of wood knock it down to a more manageable size. From there take your coping saw, or a scroll saw, jig saw, band saw whatever you have and prefer, and get a blank of the gun, taking off the bigger chunks.

Step 3: This is actually slightly out of order, more of a step 2.5 Before I took too much wood off the blank I clamped the wood down and took the opportunity to drill the hole for the barrel before it got too weak in a few spots. I also too a file and widened the hole since the drill bit wasn't quite big enough to allow the pvc.

Step 4: Sanding. Probably my least favorite part and I did skimp on it a bit although its not really recommended. A lot of time and attention spent on this stage can result in an amazing final product. I'm just fairly impatient so I removed a lot of the tool marks from my files and saws and called it good enough. Also don't forget the other scrap. Its not required but I wanted something that looked a bit bigger, not to mention some additional support after I drilled the hole. Just make sure that you get the wood shaped to some extent before you glue it in place. It'll save time.

Step 5: Glue and clamp. If you have any other pieces of wood that you want to add for decoration or support now would be the time. Be liberal with the glue but try to avoid excess, or at least wipe up anything quickly as it will shield the wood from any stain or finish. Once you have the parts in place let it dry and cure and break out the sander again.

Step 6: While the gun is not functional and I can't even pull the trigger I did want the hammer to swing. I used a drill as it was all that I really had but just cut a channel that you can slide whatever you're using into and anchor it. I used a pin mounted doorstop because it had a pretty good shape and was laying around. Also, shiny brass.

Step 3: Step 3: the Barrel and Tumbler

Now compared to the stock, this step is approximately nothing.

Basically I took the two inch pvc and cut out the length I wanted the tumbler to be. From there I cut four lengths of the half inch pvc because thats what fit inside. I cut them a bit long, and arranged them inside, one edge flat, the other uneven and just started to secure them with hotglue. Once I had them all glued I took my trusty saw and trimmed them down flat.

The barrel was even easier, measure and cut.

Step 4: Step 4: Appearence, Paint, and Patina

Now, plain pvc is less than impressive and as much as I love shiny bits of copper they didn't seem to fit very well. So to fix up a few bits here and there here's what I did.

Pvc. Most people will paint this. There is nothing wrong with that. However I have an alternative I am absolutely in love with. I now share with Instructables the treatment that once got me asked if I was using welds when I had nothing more than pvc and epoxy. Foil tape. Its distinctly metallic, not like a silver paint which is just a little shiny. In addition to that it doesn't have a perfect finish, little folds and wrinkles here and there make it easy to look aged. Just dry brush some black paint and while it won't like to stick to smooth parts of the tape it will cling to these wrinkles and seams, simulating grime gathering in similar scratches and dents. Pair that with hot glue or epoxy and you get bubbly effects that simulate welds very well.

Now those copper bits I mentioned. I had half ring pipe mounts but I'm also known to use the long pipe hanging straps. I treat both of these the same way. Crank the grill up on high and toss them in. Wrapping them in foil will protect the finish so only the color warps a bit in the heat. Straight in the fire and they get scorched and blackened, making it look very dirty and well worn.

Step 5: Step 5: the Grip

For the grip I used what I've got laying around. If you have real bits and scraps of leather power and envy to you. I have a faux leather I found in a remnant bin when I got some buttons for a coat. It was a little thin so I padded it with a bit of felt beneath. To clarify, the felt was more to make it fit tightly over the wood than to pad the grip. Now instead of trying to do some fancy sewing to make it fit I took some upholstery nails from my local hardware store and just tacked it in place. Also took the leftover nails to try and make a bit of design.

Step 6: Step 6: Finishing

Now this is where I get all sorts of backwards and probably drove several people mad. No I did not forget to finish the wood although I have a bad habit of skipping that step. The method to my madness has to do with the finish itself though. I could've slapped the urathane on as soon as I was done sanding the wood but as I was constantly screwing and hammering things into it I didn't want to risk having to refinish it. The downside is you have to remove anything you added in the process but that was no big thing. Undoing a few screws and pulling nails with pliers.

Step 7: Finishing Up

This is where you do whatever you do to make it your own. I added a few gears, plastic off disposable cameras. Also my first addition of gears to a project for any steampunks keeping track and shaking their heads at me. I attached a spring to the screw mounting my tumbler and used it to make the hammer snap forward for some realism. After you add your personal touches done is done. Congrats and enjoy.



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    3 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Nice touch with the foil tape. This would seem to be easy to work with, and yet a solid appearance when finished.


    9 years ago on Step 7

    Epic. I made a revolver too. I greatly enjoy steampunk and guns, so +10 points. You won.