Intro: How to Make a Wooden "Pepperbox" Pistol Replica
This instructable is to show how I made, and therefore how you can make, a wooden replica of a pepperbox pistol like the one you see here. The pepperbox pistol was arguably the first "revolver" as it was the first pistol to use a rotating assortment of barrels to fire multiple shots. These pistols were very popular during the 18th century for self defense, law enforcement, and notorious "card sharks" and gamblers. Although they were effective in that they fired multiple rounds, they had very poor range, and as Mark Twain noted in "A Tramp Abroad," had the undesirable tendency to "fire all barrels off at once." These weapons were eventually superseded by Sam Colt's true "revolving pistol," the army-navy model, which had superior range and accuracy thanks to his design which turned the rotating barrels into a magazine cylinder with a barrel at the end for better effectiveness. So now that you've had a short history lesson, let's go build this thing.
Step 1: Cut Out the Pieces
The first step to making this prop is to cut out the component pieces. As you can see, I cut out the frame from a 2 inch thick pine board, and cut the cylinder from 2.5 inch wide PVC piping. Then Angled the jigsaw shoe and made some rough cuts of the sides.
Step 2: Whittle It Down
For 2 hours, I painstakingly whittled this thing down with nothing but a box cutter and some scrap sandpaper. I recommend using better tools for this if you have them. As you can see, my jacket was covered in dust from the sanding.
Step 3: Stain the Grip
Ah yes, wood staining. I love this part because it really gives you an opportunity for some creative style. I used some walnut stain and a on old rag to get this result. If you don't know how to stain wood, you simply dip a cloth or rag in a bit of the stain, then smear it onto the wood, and with a dry part of the cloth, rub it around until all the desired wood is stained. The darkness of the stain will depend on how long you let it soak into the wood before you brush the stain away. If you decide to try wood-staining BE VERY CAREFUL. this stuff contains many harmful chemicals so do not breathe it or ingest it under any circumstance. It can KILL you.
Step 4: Cap Off the Cylinder
Cut out a circle from cardboard with 6 holes for simulated barrels to fit over the ends of the PVC pipe and glue them on as shown. You'll notice that the wooden barrel part at the end broke off. I just went with it and it turns out, it's not so bad without the barrel.
Step 5: Last Touches Before Painting
Cut a piece of cardboard to build up a fake receiver and glue it to the gun. Then cover it with tape to smooth everything out. Then make a cardboard trigger and guard and cover those in tape. I also took an eyelet-screw and drove it into the bottom of the grip like an old-fashioned lanyard loop you would find on some pepperbox pistols.
Step 6: Painting Time (Fun Part)
Now comes the best part, painting it to make it look real. First, I blocked off the grip with some duct tape so absolutely no paint would seep through. I don't usually have the luxury of masking off areas with duct tape, as it peels paint, but since I stained the grip instead of painting it, I could have the luxury of using duct tape, which worked well. I painted the rest of the gun with some rustoleum antique gold. It came out well, and no paint seeped into the grip at all. Once everything was dry, and I had removed the tape, I sprayed the replica with some Krylon clear coat which made the grip noticeably shinier.
Step 7: Some Final Touches
I took a calligraphy pen and made some markings on the gun that look like engravings as you would see on pistols of this era. Then, I drilled two holes in either side of the grip, took two nails, painted them gold, and used a rubber mallet to drive them in the grip. This concludes my tutorial on making a pepperbox. I hope you liked it, and please give me a like or a comment if you did. Thanks for viewing.