SW1911 Ugly Lettering on slide - What can I do? - Pistolsmith

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Old 12-02-2004, 05:22 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2004
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SW1911 Ugly Lettering on slide - What can I do?

I want to make the slide on my SW1911 look a little better. It has the ugly, large 1911 SW on the side. I think it's baked on. Heck, it may be laser etched.

What can I do? Do I need to have it bead blasted or something?

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Old 12-03-2004, 06:56 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,141
I'm fairly certain it's laser etched. You might not be able to remove it with
just bead-blasting, it may take a little milling-which may be uglier than the
etching, which I agree is pretty gaudy.
Old 12-03-2004, 07:21 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 131
If it's laser etched, it's probably not very deep. I would try bead blasting first. If that doesn't totally get rid of it, you can draw file the side with the lettering. Set up the slide in a good padded vise with the side in question facing up. Get a 8 inch Mill Bastard file and holding file flat and perpendicular to slide (90 degrees) work the file back and forth length wise of the slide. This will take some good pressure to do. Basically you are 'scraping' or draw filing the lettering off. Note: Clean out file teeth often. After it diappears, go over it with some 120 or 220 paper on a sanding block. Note: Take care not to draw file the cocking serrations. Just evenly work on the area of the lettering. I have taken off many roll markings and stenciling this way. It removes the lettering while keeping the surface flat and true.

I hope this helps.
Old 12-03-2004, 07:43 AM   #4
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I did some work on a stainless S&W revolver that had laser etched printing on the side of the barrel. It was a used gun and the previous owner had polished out the lettering on the barrel up to about a 220 or 320 grit leaving a "brushed" finish. The lettering wasn't visible. I polished it to a higher grit and then bead blasted it with extra fine glass beads and the lettering became slightly visible again. (I think the metal under the etched lettering was slightly harder from the laser).

I'm just saying this to let you know that it might happen to you if you want a matte finish. The glass beads I used were finer than what is usually used for a matte finish so it may not be a problem. If the lettering appears again after bead blasting, just polish the sides of the slide like Chris suggested and that should take of it. The nice thing about stainless steel is that you can polish it or bead blast it without having to blue it or chrome it after you are done.
Old 12-03-2004, 08:55 AM   #5
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And please post photos ot the finished product if possible.....thanks and good
Old 02-19-2005, 10:52 PM   #6
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The laser etching runs between .002 & .003 inches deep, very little metal needs to be removed. If you get a flat surface, ( I use a piece of custom cut plate glass) and start out with 320 wet dry paper, cut in 3" wide strips length wise and tape firmly to the plate glass. Use honing oil on the paper and you will be able to get down to the bottom of the etching rather quickly. Move the slide in long straight strokes back and forth. Check your work often to see how far you have to go and add honing oil as needed. When you are almost there change to 400 or 600 grip paper and finish it off. You will have to lightly break the edges on the bottom o the slide as they will be very sharp.

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