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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had a request to document this build, so I'm starting this thread to chronicle my first stamped AKM build. I've built 2 milled AKs (M70AB and M72B), but this is my first stamped kit and I know at least one other member picked one of these up at the same time I did, so hopefully this will help us both ;)

Build Tools: (Disclaimer - These are the tools I'm using, but I'm by no means stating you have to use these. Many are very capable machinist and have the ability to make their own tooling, and I admire you. However, the majority of us, especially beginners, aren't that capable, so when people like Curtis Sebring and Robert Forbus have put in the time and effort to design and make available such high quality tools that enable even us beginners to get the job done right, I don't mind supporting them one bit, as that also supports the build community at large.)

Import Note: I forgot to mention that I did not purchase all of these tools for this build, only the Rivet tool, trunnion drill fixture, and assorted bits. The other tools I used already on my 2 Yugo milled builds.
Reference videos: I will be taking photos but most of the video will be whatever reference I found on YouTube, unless I can't find a good one, then I might try to make one, just not setup for it. Instead of posting individual videos, I'm adding everything to the following playlist and just linking it below. I'll add to it as I go, but I'll try to keep the playlist in chronological order.

AKM Build Playlist

The Parts Kit: This kit came from Atlantic Firearms. I also purchased the Russian marked Childers receiver and GM AK-47 barrel with the kit.
Wood Trigger Air gun Office ruler Gun accessory


Additional Parts Purchased: In addition to what is pictured above, I purchased the following:
Cleaning and Demilling the Parts Kit
I wanted to try something new this time, so I purchased an ultrasonic cleaner from HF and cleaned the parts with a mixture of water and concentrated KrudCutter. I had already removed the barrel stub from the rear sight and front trunnion, and removed the rear trunnion, but I did clean the FS and GB before I removed them and I think it helped the pins come out easier.
Auto part Font Gun barrel Trigger Gun accessory


Prep for Drilling Trunnion Holes
I'm currently preparing to drill the trunnion holes in my receiver, so here's the prep I've done for that so far.

First, I had to separate my rivets from the AK-Builder rivet set. The long rivets are pretty obvious, lol, and the short one for the rear trigger guard hole, but the others you have to look at closely and find the 2 swell neck rivets for the front rear holes. I laid mine out upside down on some tape, then took a close up and used the pic to find them as my eyes just aren't that good to tell.
Black Blue Gas Electric blue Indoor games and sports


I then went thru each rivet and checked the diameters with a dial caliper. All were consistent and this helped me confirm which drill bits to use for each hole.
Blue Wood Gas Toy Machine


#1 - AK47 RECEIVER CHILDERS GUNS RUSSIAN MARKED
#2 - AK TRUNNION RIVET HOLE DRILLING FIXTURE
#3 - Demilled front trunnion, swell head rivets, and #21 drill bit
#4 - Demilled rear trunnion, long rivets, and #16 drill bit
#5 - Remaining rivets for front trunnion and front trigger guard holes
#6 - Short rivet for rear trigger guard hole

Next post will be once I have the front and rear trunnions riveted into the receiver. As you can probably see above, I had some mishaps during the demilling and also most of the paint is coming off, so I'll most likely end up refinishing the front trunnion and bolt carrier. I also had a mishap with the stock while getting the rear trunnion out, but was able to steam out the marks, however, now I have to also refinish the stock. This is a journey, hopefully with a happy ending ;)
 

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Looks like you have a good selection of tools for your build. It will make it much easier to do a good job. You can never take too many pictures as you go and please post them all. Those AK Builder screw machine drill bits are the shit for drilling the gas block and sight pins. Make sure you get some extras or get a Drill Doctor sharpener to keep them sharp. The AK Builder sight and gas block punch set is also very good, when it comes back in stock. I'll be following this thread to check on your progress.
 

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Wow, the parts do look much better after the cleaning, and I had labored over deciding on a cleaning process very similar using the ultrasonic cleaner and possibly simple green. This definitely helps.
It appears there are a few of us looking forward to your build. Thanks for deciding to document it. No Pressure. (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Wow, the parts do look much better after the cleaning, and I had labored over deciding on a cleaning process very similar using the ultrasonic cleaner and possibly simple green. This definitely helps.
It appears there are a few of us looking forward to your build. Thanks for deciding to document it. No Pressure. (y)
Once I dried them, I sprayed them down with Safari Charlie, rubbed them down, and put them in small bags. That lubed them up well without making them oily.

if you don’t have or have never used Safari Charlie, I highly recommend it. I literally buy the stuff by the case from the mfr., it’s amazing. It even cuts cosmoline like it’s nothing. That and a bore snake and your barrel will be shiny in no time, and surface rust just disappears…if I need added power then I spray it and clean with Big 45 Frontier pad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
STOCK PREP
So my plan today was to drill the rivet holes, but my 3 hour maintenance window last night ended up running 10 hours, so I've been up all night/day and not sure I trust myself to do the drilling, lol. Instead, I decided to strip the wood and fix my little mishap...


You can see where the stock dug into the vice while I was removing the rear trunnion...even though I had it padded...sigh. Also, looks like the wood got a little scorched whenever they cut the receiver, so I steamed out the vice marks and stripped the wood.

I use Zep PowerHouse floor stripper on all my stocks, it's amazing...just spray it on, wait about 10 mins, then scrub it with a small brass brush and some hot water. Once it dried I did a light sanding with some 220 grit fine. I think it looks pretty decent.

NOTE: That upper handguard was an absolute PITA to get off! I had to put the gas tube in the vice, then used a wood dowel and hammer to tap it around...it would NOT budge, lol...just twist if off my ass!

Once it's fitted, I'm going to try for an original Izhmash type finish...basically shellac but no pine tar. I've read and read and read and read....and read posts about how to get Russian colors, and I've decided to go with amber shellac tinted with Rit scarlet dye. I'm going to be loosely following the mix here. Unfortunately, there is not a can of shellac to be had in any store in my area, so I've ordered some from Amazon. I've got the Rit powdered dye, and I also picked up some chestnut acrylic paint that I may/may not use to help adjust the color.

Here's another good reference I found on using shellac on AKs with some pics of what I'm going for.
Reference Pic:
Wood Amber Everyday carry Gun accessory Air gun
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Finally got a chance to do a little more work today, so I repainted the front trunnion to fix where it slipped on the grinder and all the paint that was peeling off:
Rectangle Font Gun accessory Metal

Rectangle Composite material Aluminium Metal Auto part

I cleaned what little was left off with Citistrip, it came right off, and rinsed in hot water. Then dried it and cleaned again with DNA. I hung it up and sprayed a couple of light coats of krylon high temp paint, then baked it at 300 for 1.5 hrs. I think this is the only part I’ll need to paint.
 

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Interesting, and good work. Were the trunnions painted before install at the factory, or just park and then all visible surfaces painted after install? I guess the only way to know is take one out of a de-mil receiver stub and see if its bare under there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Interesting, and good work. Were the trunnions painted before install at the factory, or just park and then all visible surfaces painted after install? I guess the only way to know is take one out of a de-mil receiver stub and see if its bare under there.
Thanks! To me it definitely appeared it was parked before install and then painted after. The bottom originally had no paint, but did have some rust, so I decided to paint it all before install. To me it looks very much like the original paint that was on it.
 

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Wondering if anyone has a close up like your pic of the trunnion with Russian paint? Does the Russian paint look “greasy” like radiator paint except thinner?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)

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Wondering if anyone has a close up like your pic of the trunnion with Russian paint? Does the Russian paint look “greasy” like radiator paint except thinner?
I am highly suspicious that the 'Russian Paint' was the same as "Japanning" e.g. Japan Black Lacquer. It was used on a lot of cast antique tools and is time period appropriate. Medium glossy, deep black, reflects a lot of blue daylight when viewed outdoors
It was made from asphaltum, rosin, BLO and turpentine. They say it's very durable too. Don't take my word to heart though; again, it's a suspicion based on only those observations and I haven't experimented with it yet. Besides, there's no need- that russianpaint website claims to sell the genuine formulation and it looks the part, so you can avoid all that mess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
So I decided to experiment on my ZPAP92 handguards before doing anything on the Izhmash set...these were a dull, dark brown walnut finish to begin with. I didn't really like the finish from the factory, so I stripped them with the Zep...finish came off almost immediately, lol. I used the following process on these:
  • I used 2 old pickle jars, any jar that will seal and your brush will fit in should work.
  • Added 1 package of Rit Scarlett powder dye to jar #1
  • Added 5 oz of denatured alcohol (DNA) to jar #1
  • Swirled jar #1 several times over about 10 mins to help dissolve the Rit and extract pigment
  • Using a coffee filter to strain, poured 1 oz of dye from jar #1 into measuring cup
  • Poured dye from measuring cup into jar #2
  • Measured 10 oz of amber shellac and added to jar #2
  • Stirred jar #2 (DO NOT SHAKE!!!)
  • Applied 1st 3 coats with a brush but found it was difficult to get into small areas on lower handguard, so I switched to a foam brush.
  • After second coat, I went over both pieces with #00 steel wool to smooth out some high spots
  • Applied a total of 5 coats, waiting 1.5-2 hours between coats as they were thin coats and dried quickly
  • After final coat, buffed both pieces with #0000 steel wool to knock down the gloss slightly and smooth out any high spots.
From what I've seen of 1970 Izhmash finish, this looks pretty close...thoughts? Note, this is over walnut, so I'm thinking it'll be lighter on the birch. Under natural like it looks very red, but indoor light looks like what I want…but I’m wondering if I need to dilute the red a bit more?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Ok, so I was kinda stuck in the house with the kids today, so I decided to work on the Izhmash wood. After working on the ZPAP92 yesterday I decided to make some changes on how I did the Izhmash set.

Here's the stripped wood again for reference:
Wood Artifact Trunk Tree Font

After reading some info about how the Russians actually finished their stocks, I got the idea to start with a coat of BLO to give the wood a different base color prior to the shellac. This gave the wood a nice golden hue.
Yellow Wood Artifact Font Rectangle

Based on the reference pics I had for 1970 era Izhmash stocks, they did appear to have some red to them, so I did one coat of the amber shellac and scarlet dye that I used on the ZPAP92.
Wood Amber Artifact Rectangle Font

My thinking was that as I added additional coats of non-dyed amber shellac, they would melt with this first coat and the red color would blend and fade. Here's the first coat of non-dyed amber shellac.
Amber Wood Rectangle Artifact Metal

I went over the pieces with some #00 steel wool when this coat dried and then applied a second non-dyed coat of the amber shellac. I'm using a brush and trying to leave brush marks as I go for a more authentic look, fwiw.
Bullet Tin Wood Ammunition Rectangle

At this point, I was pretty happy with the color and the finish, so I just buffed it with some #0000 steel wool to knock down the gloss. I don't think I'll add any more layers, I like the color and with one coat of BLO and 3 coats of shellac, I think the wood is protected. The red isn't really showing well in these pics for some reason, I'm guessing it's the lighting, but it definitely has a reddish tint to it. Maybe I can get a pic in the sunlight tomorrow and add.
Wood Rectangle Font Art Metal

EDIT: Here’s a shot with lights off using the flash. This shows the true color more accurately.
Wood Amber Varnish Rectangle Font

And here’s a daylight shot:
Wood Font Metal Natural material Artifact

And here's another reference pic of original stocks from another post on the forum here. With the naked eye, it really matches the '69 and '74 finish more than the '83. Oh, and it has a nice holographic effect too!
Brown Automotive lighting Wood Amber Rectangle
Wood Plane String instrument String instrument accessory Tool
 
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Interesting, and good work. Were the trunnions painted before install at the factory, or just park and then all visible surfaces painted after install? I guess the only way to know is take one out of a de-mil receiver stub and see if its bare under there.
All the trunions ive seen arent parked under. Just painted on the surface after build. Am I right or wrong guys?
 
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