Recycling shotgun cartridges
The pile of leather off cuts grows over the years so, rather than go to waste, periodically some of the pile is turned into small items such as key rings. To add a bit of interest, the plan is to incorporate a shotgun ferrel/casing insert. Fortunately there’s a number of local shooters so there’s a plentiful supply of spent cartridges.
!A minute on a hot iron at full wack softens the plastic case so it can be pulled cleanly from the brass plated end cap. Any longer and the plastic melts into a sticky mess, making the separation more troublesome.
The primer can just be punched out, thereby enabling the casing to be used to punch a hole into the leather. The hole is obviously slightly undersized due to the lip on the casing. However there’s usually sufficient give in the leather to accommodate it. An alternative, if I had one, would be a 22mm punch for the 12 bore cartridges.
The primer needs to be cut down to the thickness of the leather (1.5-2mm) with a Dremel before being reinserted and superglued back into the brass casing. The photo shows a before and after primer in its casing. The circular leather piece punched out earlier can be used as padding once a 10mm hole is removed from its centre.
The centre section is skived to reduce the leather thickness to aid folding the fob in half
Cutting slots in the end casing creates tabs that can then be hammered over to secure it when the two sides of the fob are glued.
Edges trimmed with a No 1 edge beveler, before dying and burnishing.
Finished key fob with contrasting thread …. only another 100 or so cartridges to go!
Having proven the construction method, the card template used to make the prototype was discarded and replaced with more robust acrylic ones. Three different designs (oblong, bottle shaped and tear drop) created in a CAD package were cut out on the CNC cutting machine in 6mm acrylic sheet.
The casing cutout in the template allows the hole to be punched out of the leather with the casing then actng as an anchor point to cut out the fob shape, ensuring everything is kept symmetrical.
The first batch of samples in the three designs 6.5mm rifle bullet magazine cases
When the bag of spent shotgun cartridges was dropped off, Andy asked if I could make him a leather case to hold a magazine of 6.5mm rifle bullets with a suitable closing fitting. The magazines are supplied in cardboard boxes which, when not full, tend to allow the remaining magazines to rattle and alert flighty game. A leather case for a single magazine would avoid accidentally making a noise.
The case needs to hold a 10-round plastic magazine
The plan is to make a couple of prototype cases using different construction methods; wet moulding and traditional stitching with a gusset piece.
As the name suggests, wet moulding involves shaping wet leather by clamping it over a form. Generally the leather needs to be left soaking in water for around 30 minutes. The form was made from a piece of pine timber, cut to the dimensions of the magazine, screwed to a flat board. The frame was made from 6mm acrylic with a 2mm allowance for thickness of the leather.
The frame is then clamped to the form and left until the leather has dried.
After a few hours in the sun, the case had dried out. The wet moulding process stiffens the leather, giving once quite flexible leather a card-like stiffness
Leather was removed to create the open end while still on the form.
The open end was then shaped to provide better access to pull the cartridge out. i also decided to make a few cases as Andy thought his fellow shooters would be interested.
Several closing options were tried but a single Sam Browne stud seems to provide the best solution.
With the stud fitted and the top opening edge burnished, the two halves could be joined.
The two halves were bonded together using the strongest water based contacted adhesive.
Normally the line of stitching would be marked a set distance from the edge using a pair of dividers. However the edges could only be roughly cut, so the moulded edge had to be used for the reference line for the stitching.
One of the cases was made in a lighter leather for variety.
It was the first opportunity to try out my newly acquired Metallic Elephant KS4 hot press machine.
The machine came with some 8mm typeface but the local machine shop kindly knocked up a brass & aluminium holder for the ‘Hex n Hit’ 6mm typeface I’d acquired a few years back.
Some shotgun key fobs were made to match the cases.