Michel Lefaivre is a gunsmith who makes miniature, functional firearms. Pictured above is one example of his work, a 1/4 scale Gras rifle model 1874. Lefaivre writes about how he does it:
Each part starts from a raw piece of material, reduced in size with a milling machine or a precision lathe. The biggest part of the work is made with a file in the fitting vice. At a quality of manufacture and finish equal to the full size, it is more difficult to make a functioning piece reduced to 1/3 scale. The more minute the detail, the more time it takes, and the more risk of making a mistake. Few pieces were successful the first time round. All those not strictly in conformity were scrapped without pity.
To perfect the work and to give it its final touch, the best specialist of our country have been called upon for the engraving, inlaying, gilding, checkering and the wood carving.
Mandatory tooling includes a toolmaker’s lathe, a clockmaker’s lathe, a precision milling machine and hundreds of needle files of all shapes and grades. Burrs and polishing tools of all shapes, pertaining to clockmakers, jewellers, dentists, chisellers and sculptors are used. Very good eyesight and an infinite reserve of patience, tenacity and elbow grease are also required.
Link via Hell in a Handbasket | Photo: The Craftsmanship Museum | Previously: The World's Smallest Gun