Make haste — slowly | Pyramyd Air Blog

The TOZ-35M free pistol came with unfinished walnut grips. RidgeRunner said I didn’t show the palm shelf yesterday, so it is included here.

This report covers:

  • Definition of make haste slowly
  • What What making haste slowly means for airgunners
  • Pondering
  • Another example
  • Hack watch repair
  • Things become easier
  • Way one
  • There is more — way two
  • Summary

Today I want to address a situation that many readers face. It’s one that has come up several times in the past few months but I have never addressed it directly. Today I plan to. Today I will talk about tackling those jobs, big or small, that you avoid because the work isn’t in your wheelhouse.

Definition of make haste slowly

I thought this phrase was originally said by Benjamin Franklin, but it’s actually centuries older. It comes from the Greek, festina lente. The Free Dictionary defines it:

To act with due diligence, focus, and attention to detail in order to avoid mistakes and finish a task more expeditiously overall.”

What making haste slowly means for airgunners

What making haste slowly means to me is to focus on a job, but to not start until I’m sure of what I’m about to do. Yesterday’s report on the grips for the Russian TOZ-35M free pistol is a perfect example. I knew I had to do something with those wood block grips, but to just tear into them before I was ready wasn’t the right thing to do. So I pondered the situation. I’ll get back to that word, ponder, soon enough, but for now read the story.

I sat on that pistol with those huge unfinished walnut grips for many years — nearly four, to be exact (November, 1919 to June, 2023). I wanted to shoot the pistol but with those blocks of wood in the way it was impossible.

While I was searching the Internet, looking for tips on carving those wood grips I stumbled across Precision Target Pistol That was where yesterday’s report came from.

After reading yesterday’s report reader RidgeRunner said, “Awesome! I have been thinking of contacting Steve Corcoran about some new grips for my Beeman 800/Diana 6G. I guess I will contact this dude also.

I am so glad you did not bugger up the original chunk of wood for the TOZ. I just noticed you do not have the lower piece for the wood TOZ grip in your picture.

Yes, please do leave that beautiful Hammerli grip alone.”

So, nearly four years of waiting, then one month of “pondering” and nearly another month of waiting for my new custom grips to arrive. How long did it take? Well, you could say it took four years. But, if I had waited those same four years to purchase a completed pistol with finished grips:

1. U.S. sanctions stopped all Russian shipments from military arsenals (where the TOZ-35M is made — along with the IZH 46M target air pistol and the 60 and 61 air rifles). That made all those airguns and the TOZ-35M scarce in the US. Because of that,

2. Scarcity drove the price of the TOZ-35M up from around the $500 and change I paid to $1,600. And you still get one with unfinished grips.

Oh, and by the way, there is a complete TOZ-35M available locally with gorgeous carved walnut grips. For the price of a good used car you can own this gem. I don’t think so!

If you wanted a TOZ-35M (and I did), the time to buy was 4 years ago when the price was right but the time to fix the grip situation is now. And that leads me to discuss pondering.


To ponder means to consider something thoughtfully, but let’s look at another definition. Once again, this is from The Free Dictionary.

To give great consideration to something; to ruminate or think about something very deeply.”

So I had a problem, but I didn’t rush to solve it. Instead I waited and considered it thoughtfully over time. Then, when a brilliant solution presented itself, I immediately struck!

Another example

I have written several reports about tools. These reports feed into the sort of work I am discussing.

Special tools for airgun repairs
The tools you need Part One
The tools you need Part Two
The tools you need — lubricants Part Three
Good tools are important
More on tools

Shop Benjamin Rifles

Hack watch repair

And I have told you that I have recently taken an interest in repairing watches. Watchmaking, which is what watch repairing is called, is a field that’s larger than airguns! Ham-fisted BB Pelletier has no business getting involved in such an endeavor — except that he wants to. He believes it will help tame his ham-fisted-ness (a tendency to rush intro a project, tear something apart halfway and then give up).

I will never be a good watch repairman. But I do believe I will be able to repair watches. I recently purchased a US military wristwatch from World War II — one that soldiers, marines and airmen carried into battle. It has a hack feature that BB saw in war movies whenever some guys were together, going over their battle plans. At the end of the discussion the leader says, “Let’s synchronize our watches, men. It is 0235 on my mark. Three, two, one — mark!” When he told them to synchronize the watches they waited until their second hands were at 12 o’clock, then they pulled out the winding stem to stop the watch. When the leader announced the time they set their minute hand to that minute and awaited his countdown. When he said, “Mark” they pushed in the winding stem of their watch, it started again and they were synched to the leader’s watch. They would stay within a few seconds of his watch and all the other watches in that group for the rest of that day.

Elgin A11
This Elgin A11 watch was made in 1943 for the US Army Air Force. It has a hack feature that allows synchronization with other watches. BB plans to clean, lubricate and restore it to perfect working condition. Yes, the crystal will be replaced.

My neighbor, Denny, made me a workstation table that stands on my dining room table. It brings the work up to within about 9 inches of my eyes so my loupes and headset magnifier are close enough to the work and I don’t have to bend over. Those screwdrivers you see on the table are a Swiss set that are wee-teeny and cost the price of a Chinese breakbarrel air rifle.

BB's watch workstation
My watch repair workstation that Denny made. The blue silicone mat stops small parts from bouncing.

Today every morning BB synchronizes the mechanical wristwatch he wears with the atomic clock in Denver. Each morning his watch will be 6-8 seconds fast and he will stop the second hand with the hack feature until the Denver time catches up.

Okay, you don’t wear a watch. You keep time with your cellphone that’s far more accurate. I understand that. But can you build a cell phone? Of course not. When he is done learning, BB Pelletier will be able to disassemble, clean, lubricate and repair a wristwatch. Remember, ladies and gents, we are talking about learning how to make haste slowly. And I have just told you my path.

Things become easier

As you proceed the way I’m describing, the things that have challenged you start to become easier or more possible. For instance, many of you have told me that there is no way you could ever take a spring piston airgun apart and overhaul or modify it. I get that. But I have also provided multiple ways for you to overcome it.

Way one

Obtain an Air Arms TX200 air rifle. I don’t care whether it’s an original, a Mark II or even a Mark III. Just make sure it is your own air rifle — not someone else’s. The TX200 is the simplest spring-piston platform I know of to take apart and to assemble. No mainspring compressor is required. You will need GOOD tools — not special tools. That’s what all the links above to tool blogs is about. Then read all I have written on taking this rifle apart and tuning it.

Read and reread my stuff and then go online and read what others have done. Watch all the videos. But as you do, also do this. Don’t believe anything anyone says — not even me! Instead, as you read the articles and watch the videos, look for areas of commonality. If everyone says the same thing about some procedure you can pretty much bet that’s the way to do it.

That, my friends, is how you ponder. But that’s not all.

There is more — way two

Maybe you know darn good and well that what I’m talking about is still beyond you. That’s wonderful, because you know your limits. But you don’t have to stop there. You can still lubricate your airguns the ways I have described in this blog. And you have learned that red grease (or Tune in a Tube) can be applied without disassembly in many situations. You know that automatic transmission stop leak works best to seal slow leaks in multi-pump pneumatics and CO2 guns. You know what moly grease works best on. You know about Crosman Pellgunoil. You know about silicone oils for the piston seals in springers. You see? You have skills, too!

Reader Jerry Cupples told us about the Vessel brand screwdrivers from Japan. Are they the best? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But they are a darn sight better than the screwdrivers that came in the $20 tool set you got for Christmas two years ago! I thanked Jerry for the Vessel hint when I recently took reader RidgeRunner’s Diana 34 apart.


We are all skilled at one thing or another. Some have more skills than others. Some are masters at certain things. The key is to find out where you are and to either seek to improve or to tool up for the things you do best.

And also — PONDER!

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