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Scott A. Roush

A Southern Mountain squirrel rifle build-along...

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Here's a true lollipop tang on an Ambrose Lawing rifle from around 1890:

 

lawing tang.jpg

 

And here's the sort of lock you want, from a Charles Bean, ca. 1820.

 

bean lock.jpg

 

Note this may be a replacement, but it's the right style.

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Great thread! I love flintlocks and dearly want to get mine fixed. It's not nearly as nice as the smokepoles in this thread, but it's mine. It's just broken right now. :(

 

Can't wait to see this new rifle come to life!

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Well glad to see this thread is at least inspiring. I think we need Alan to do the next one. ;-) (hint)

 

Thanks for showing that lock Alan.. looks similar to the early Ketland or John Bailey in the Track of the Wolf catalog.

 

By the way.. I just got their new catalog and it's a great thing to have because they have actual size photographs of everything. It's laid out so you can make tracings or whatever you need to do.

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I've thought about doing a project like this but had no idea where to begin. Thanks to you, Scott, I now have clue. I look forward to to seeing and learning more.

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I've thought about doing a project like this but had no idea where to begin. Thanks to you, Scott, I now have clue. I look forward to to seeing and learning more.

Michael... although not necessary.. A GREAT way to start is with one of the amazing kits available these days. For example.. the kits offered by Track of the Wolf in Minnesota are very well researched and you can be assured that you will end up with the real deal.

 

But if you want to start from the beginning..... that book I posted above lays EVERYTHING out.

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Track's catalog has always shown the parts at full scale, it's a good thing to have. Well, they don't show the barrels and stocks full scale, that'd take quite a foldout section...

 

Scott, I wouldn't mind building another one, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. I have pics from my last build if you want to see the progress shots, no power tools used, starting with a plank and some parts.

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Track's catalog has always shown the parts at full scale, it's a good thing to have. Well, they don't show the barrels and stocks full scale, that'd take quite a foldout section...

 

Scott, I wouldn't mind building another one, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. I have pics from my last build if you want to see the progress shots, no power tools used, starting with a plank and some parts.

I'd love to those Alan.. feel free to post them here if you'd like. This thread might need some form of entertainment for the next couple of weeks. While I have a couple of pictures of the barrel inletting I need to get on here (I'm making good use of a Japanese saw and saya nomi chisels :) )... well... it's barrel inletting. It will be more interesting once I get the barrel to the first line and I can start using the cool scorp I made to get it to the bottom.

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Well, you asked for it, so hijack mode on!

 

This is the short English- style rifle I made for Jim Wilson, AKA Paw Paw, the infamous guy who died from pulmonary complications brought on by serious zinc fume fever.

 

When we made the deal I was living in Kentucky, and part of the project was to use some walnut his father had cut and left in a barn for years. So one day the mailman stopped by and said "You need to go to the post office, I'm not hauling that thing out here." Jim had simply taped a mailing label to a six-foot long, 3" thick, 7 inch wide plank. And it was delivered!

 

Here you see the pattern for the rifle on the plank I have mostly planed flat with a Stanley #7 jointing plane. On the far end is where I cut out the stock for the matching pistol.

 

01.jpg

 

And the blank cut out, which killed my little 10" bandsaw and ended the use of power tools besides a drill on this build.

 

02.jpg

 

Step two was to plane one side totally flat so I could use my secret barrel-inletting weapon.

 

03.jpg

 

04.jpg

 

That's a Stanley #45 combination plane. I used one blade the width of the bottom flat of the barrel and followed with a blade the width of the barrel itself.

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Then followed a lot of work with chisels, then my own little scraper. It's just mild steel, but it worked for the job. This was also a straight barrel, which made it far easier to inlet than a swamped one. You can start a swamped barrel with the #45, but the handwork with chisels takes a lot longer. Scott's saya-nomi are perfect for this job.

 

05.jpg

 

Then the ramrod channel gets done. I made a scraper out of 5/16 drill rod to do that after cutting the initial groove with the #45.

 

06.jpg

 

Then the fun part: drilling the hole. This is also the last use of an electric tool on this gun.

 

07.jpg

 

If you recall from the previous post, my bandsaw was out of action by this time. What to do? An old ripsaw!

 

08.jpg

 

09.jpg

 

And the forend is now slabbed off.

 

10.jpg

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Awesome. Well that Stanley conversion is brilliant.

 

And your scorp is just like mine.

 

Jai had roughed my shape out and planed it.. so I could jump right into planning and barrel inletting.

 

Forge is running.. more later. But had to comment.

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Now it's time to attach the barrel, which means dovetailing in the lugs for the pins. Mark your location and then carefully cut a bunch of slots with a hacksaw.

 

11.jpg

 

Then cut out the waste with a cape chisel forged from coil spring.

 

12.jpg

 

Then clean it up with a dovetailing file, in this case a 6" xx slim taper triangle file with one face ground smooth. Oh, and you need to have your lugs made before you start this, and these were made from 1/2" mild steel square bar shaped with a hacksaw and files. Use the same dovetailing file to cut the tails on the lug and it'll be a pefect fit.

 

13.jpg

 

Drive the lug in (it's a very tight drive fit) and stake it in place by centerpunching, and it's permanently attached.

 

14.jpg

 

You also have to cut the slots for the lugs through the web between the barrel channel and the ramrod channel. The round holes are feeler holes to see if everything is aligned. The web is a scant 3/16", so much care is in order. Once you've got the lugs on and inlet, you drill the pin holes. I used finishing nails as pins, an old hershel trick. leave the heads on and you can pull 'em out with pliers as needed.

 

Then it's time to inlet the lock...

 

15.jpg

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Inletting the lock is tedious to say the least. Start with the plate only with the guts removed, get that set properly, then add the guts one bit at a time and inlet those. Use candle soot (hold the part over a candle flame until it soots up) to mark your way. Note the tiny chisel made from a nail...

 

16.jpg

 

17.jpg

 

A lot of modern gunmakers take great pride in inletting a lock so cleanly you can see every tiny part. If you pull the lock off an old gun you'll see they did no such thing, just hacked out wood with a chisel until it fit. Thus my rather sloppy-looking inlet. Period-correct!

 

Then you drill the lock bolt holes from the lockplate side and do the sideplate the same way.

 

 

18.jpg

 

In this case to be correct leave half the sideplate proud of the wood. Southern guns have the sideplates inlet flush.

 

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Forgot to show the lock side.

 

19.jpg

 

That's all for today, more tomorrow or sometime.

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This is an awesome thread! I played around with gun building a few years ago, but never completed anything. Can't wait to see more from both of you guys!

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Step two was to plane one side totally flat so I could use my secret barrel-inletting weapon.

 

I love the hand tools, and would go that route myself, but Randall Pierce showed us a custom ground blade he made for a shaper.

 

I think he said he could finish the inlet for a straight octagonal barrel in 3 passes. Very tempting.

 

 

And back to Foxfire 5... you'll remember Wallace Gusler. If you haven't seen "The Gunsmith of Williamsburg", you need to:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Gunsmith-Williamsburg-Colonial/dp/B00282GZPW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428428465&sr=8-1&keywords=the+gunsmith+of+williamsburg

 

It was filmed in the '70's, so don't expect HD, but it is very inspirational when you have gun building on the brain.

 

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Cool build! I've always been interested in flintlocks, never built one because I don't have the skills or money, but I do enjoy seeing things like this.

I like that ripsaw, Alan. I've got an old one just like it and use it all the time, wish I had an old crosscut saw like it! Way to go on that period correct chopping away at the wood, I think I'll just stick with my period correct pattern welding flaws for now. :lol:

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Michael... although not necessary.. A GREAT way to start is with one of the amazing kits available these days. For example.. the kits offered by Track of the Wolf in Minnesota are very well researched and you can be assured that you will end up with the real deal.

 

But if you want to start from the beginning..... that book I posted above lays EVERYTHING out.

Thanks for the heads up, I'm opening a new tab in my browser now :)

 

Alan your pics are awesome. I will be referencing this topic when I finally get around to building my own.

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So not a lot to show.. but here is a picture of the tools I'm using to inlet my barrel. As Alan mentioned.. my barrel is 'swamped' which means that it has a tapered profile going from wide to narrow to a little wider.. so it's more difficult to inlet in that you can't just hog out with a single tool. There are probably faster ways.. but I'm doing it by using a Japanese style saw with rigid back to saw down along the lines as 'stops' and then my saya-nomi chisels. The smaller one in the picture was forged by Dave J from this forum (I put on the handle) and the bigger is one I made and can be used with a mallet... which is useful for harder woods. I'm using the saw and chisels to get the barrel half-way in and then I will use an octagon shaped scorp (just like Alan's) to scrape down to the bottom. Since I have a swamped barrel I had to make my scorp so that the widest dimension is that of the narrowest dimension in the barrel. My scorp was forged from a Symonds file and in unhardened. Boy does it hog wood in a clean fashion. I see myself making scorps like this of all shapes. Tools like this will be amazing for inletting tangs into grip scales.

 

I will have more pictures of that tool when I get to the point of using it.

 

IMG_8019_zpsowz1e6u0.jpg

Edited by Scott A. Roush

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That will work! Are you going to use Alexander's (the guy who wrote that book Scott mentioned earlier) trick of screwing a thin flat strip of metal to the stock alongside the barrel channel to match the contour of the swamping?

 

Carrying on from yesterday, once the barrel with breechplug, lock, and sideplate are inlet, it's time to start on the buttstock. The buttplate goes on first, and I didn't take pictures of that part. It's done the same as all inletting though, smoked and fitted and smoked and fitted until it fits with no gaps. You'll see the layout lines for the comb of the stock and the beginnings of the cheekpiece. I left it high and planed it down later. If you look closely, you'll see the way the lines of the cheekpiece converge on the rear lock bolt. These little design elements are what makes or breaks stock architecture. This is also where I took a liberty with this gun: It's an English-style rifle in proportion and stock profile, but the cheekpiece and lock are pure Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. If you knew the story this rifle was built for you'd know why, it's not a random thing. ;)

 

20.jpg

 

Most of the shaping is done with a Surform rasp. I have two, a flat and a half-round. To get the proper hollow to the cheekpiece I used a #12 carving gouge to rough out the big wood, and a flat chisel underneath to get to the rest.

 

21.jpg

 

Looking down from the breech end you can see the layout lines again. This rifle has about an inch of castoff. That is, the centerline of the buttplate is offset to the lock side of the gun by an inch. This (and the 3.5" drop from top of the barrel to the top of the buttplate) makes the sights line up perfectly when you shoulder it without having to contort your neck.

 

22.jpg

 

The comb lines come to a point because this style of rifle does that. And the cheekpiece isn't close to done yet, it'll be much much smaller. But I'm tired of woodwork for the moment...

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I try to make as many parts as possible, so I forged the trigger out of some gnarly wrought iron from a wagon wheel hub band.

 

23.jpg

 

Take the corner off one edge, and using a light ball pein or crosspein held sideways carefully drive the remaining flat down into itself. Use the vise or anvil edge if you need to, but if you work hot and use light fast blows you get the T-section you want for the trigger pad and body.

 

24.jpg

 

This is a simple pinned trigger. It passes through a slot in the triggerplate (which itself serves only to keep the trigger in line and as a nut for the tang bolt to engage) and is pinned high inside the lock mortise. The pin is invisible because it's behind the lockplate and sideplate. The bearing edge of the trigger is sloped steeply downwards to the rear, and once it's filed to the perfect angle it gets polished and case-hardened. If you pin high with a steep slope you can file the trigger so it just barely engages the sear when the lock is not cocked. This keep the trigger from rattling and eliminates takeup in the pull. If you use a good quality lock like this modified Siler, the sear will stay in the same position at all three notches on the tumbler, meaning no rattle no matter what, plus a crisp letoff when fired. This can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing because you can make a true hair trigger that will fire when the gun is merely shaken if you take too much load off the sear spring. You just want the trigger touching the sear, not putting pressure on it. The nose of the sear MUST be fully engaged in the full-cock notch.

 

25.jpg

 

Of course, with Scott's rifle being a southern style it ought to have double-set triggers, which work entirely differently. The originals have single-lever double-set mechanisms, which means the rear trigger must be set or the front trigger won't fire the gun. The long bar on the rear trigger then snaps up and smacks the sear, tripping it. You still have to get the bar touching the sear when the trigger is set. In fact, a lot of these cannot be cocked without setting the triggers because the trigger bar puts pressure on the sear until it's in the set position. These triggers are built as a mechanism attached to the triggerplate and inlet as a unit.

 

You can see I did a lot of other stuff in the meantime, getting the guard inlet and starting to carve in the lock panels. You can see the pins that hold the guard, driven below the surface of the stock.

 

26.jpg

 

 

 

 

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And yes, the trigger is pretty ugly there, so here's a peek at how it ended up after final filework and blueing. You can also see the triggerplate and the end of the tang bolt.

 

27.jpg

 

But that's jumping ahead quite a bit. ;)

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Live from Norris, TN...

 

Hershel House to Scott Roush: "I'm still alive and kickin'!"

 

Hershel.jpg

 

B)

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Live from Norris, TN...

 

Hershel House to Scott Roush: "I'm still alive and kickin'!"

 

attachicon.gifHershel.jpg

 

B)

 

 

 

Oh that made my day Alan!!! :lol::lol:

 

Kind of embarrassing.. but funny and pretty cool too.

 

Well I did get a chance to scrape my barrel channel this weekend. Will try to update this thread soon.

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While Scott is working on other things, here's a few more pictures from that show.

 

As any serious student of making stuff knows, there is no way to capture the feel of a given historical object, be that sword, knife, or gun, if you have not handled the original artifacts. That is why I go to shows like this. It apparently almost paid off, since several folks told me my tomahawk I had with me felt more original than any other new ones at the show. I say "almost" because while they liked the hawk nobody bought it. :rolleyes:

 

Anyway: You can get a hint about objects by studying pictures as well. Not as good as handling them, but more helpful than looking at reproductions.

 

A few mid-19th century Sheffield Bowies framed by a pair of iron-mounted southern rifles.

 

b01.jpg

 

A closer view of that top patchbox. The captured lid with piercing is a piedmont Carolinas stylistic marker from ca. 1790-1820.

 

b02.jpg

 

More iron-mounted rifles, the top one showing the evolution from brass patchbox to iron and the bottom showing the streamlining that took place by the 1830s. The top one is probably a Shenandoah Virginia gun and the bottom is western North Carolina. It was also not a flintlock until recently. Hint: If you are going to fake an antique gun, don't use an off-the-shelf modern lock without modification. ;) The repairs to the wrist are period.

 

b03.jpg

 

Two original "poor boy" rifles without buttplates. The top one looks like an amateur restock of an older rifle, which many suspect is the origin of the type.

 

b04.jpg

 

More typical examples of the southern mountain rifle. These are all western North Carolina guns. Note they all have buttplates, even if they don't have a patchbox.

 

b05.jpg

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Unfortunately the rifle with the antler combplate Scott was indirectly inspired by wasn't at the show, but someone else was inspired by it as well. Their interpretation uses a horn combplate and an iron toeplate. They got the stock thickness close to correct for the style, and did an excellent job on the cheekpiece. It has a horn nosecap as well.

 

b06.jpg

 

b07.jpg

 

Another three "poor boys" lurking amidst iron-mounted guns. All three of these are obvious restocking jobs by a less-skilled maker.

 

b08.jpg

 

A fine assortment of "rifle knives," the precursor of the Bowie knife carried by settlers of the eastern woodlands. These are from the 1800-1828 period except for that top one with the antler grip which is later, say 1840-ish.

 

b09.jpg

 

 

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