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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2007 6:10 pm    Post subject: Browning Steel: Looking for Perfection         Reply with quote

Hello all,

I'm planning to make a Tennessee Mountain flintlock rifle from a kit. I'd like to brown the barrel, but I really don't care for the commercial browning finishes I've seen. My main complaint with them is the lack of depth of color. I had the opportunity to handle an original Remington 1858 revolver that had a beautiful browned finish on it - dark, mildly glossy, with amazing depth of color. This is what I'd like to replicate on the rifle.

My question is how to obtain a rich, dark plum brown finish on steel without pitting. I'd appreciate any information on the process, from metal preparation considerations (e.g., I've read that a super polished finish isn't conducive to browning) to the final finishing.

Many thanks!


David

PS - The game plan, for those who might be interested, is to use an extra fancy walnut pre-inletted stock, and all iron furniture, which I hope to have color case hardened by Doug Turnbull Restorations. I'm not a fan of flashy longrifles with their carvings and brass. The mountain rifles, on the other hand, have an understated beauty about them. Both of my parents are from the south (Tennessee & Georgia), so this adds to the equation. If anyone has any suggestions for this project, I'd sure love to hear them! Thanks!

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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Posts: 1,200

PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2007 3:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know you said you have looked at commercial browning solutions and were not satisfied with what you saw, but I am going to recommend one any way. Laurel Mountain Forge Barrel Brown and Degreaser, available at Track of the Wolf, www.trackofthewolf.com, is something that I have used to do several barrels, with very good results. Since it is a degreaser and finish, it will work with barrels that have fingerprints on them, although I recommend fingerprint removal and careful handling any way.

The secret to getting a good finish on a barrel is the preparation of the surface. You are quite correct when you say that a highly polished finish is not required or even desirable for a good job and, in fact, will keep it from happening evenly. Draw file the barrel to a reasonably smooth state, degrease (even though there is degreaser in the solution) then apply according to directions. If you live in a dry climate, some sort of artificial humidity is going to be needed to do a good job. I browned my first barrel in the summer of 1972 in Great Falls, Montana. The air was so dry that the controlled rusting created by the browning solution just did not take. After getting back to NC I removed the finish and re-did it, with very good results. People who do a lot of barrel finishing sometimes build boxes from plywood that contain a pan of water and a light bulb, along with a method of hanging the barrel(s) inside. This generates the type of moisture that is needed, i.e. humidity in the air, not steam or misting water, which will cause spots on the barrel. What you have to do is duplicate humid air, nothing more.

The Laurel Mountain product is excellent and I am sure you can produce the finish you want with it. It may take a lot of coats to get it the color you want, but in the end you should be successful.

By the way, I suspect that dark brown finish on the Remington revolver was patina on the original bluing.

Good luck with your project.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2007 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much, Lin. I picked up two bottles of the Laurel Mountain browning solution, which I have read from numerous sources as the best product out there. I'm going to try some experiments on some unfinished axes I have been meaning to do something with.

The browned rifles I've seen thus far had a much lighter and flatter brown than what I'm looking for. I'm hoping that additional coats, as you're saying, is the key to a darker brown. I'm not sure how to go about getting the semi-gloss finish, though I suppose this may be a function of rubbing it briskly with oil. If you have any ideas about this, I'd appreciate your input.

The Remington had seen a lot of use, so you may well be right about the brown really being patina on the original bluing. It had been rebarrelled at some point - the barrel was a beautiful blue in stark contrast to the browned frame. The really interesting part of the weapon was the four distinct notches carved into the left grip panel.

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2007 4:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Martin wrote:
Thank you very much, Lin. I picked up two bottles of the Laurel Mountain browning solution, which I have read from numerous sources as the best product out there. I'm going to try some experiments on some unfinished axes I have been meaning to do something with.

The browned rifles I've seen thus far had a much lighter and flatter brown than what I'm looking for. I'm hoping that additional coats, as you're saying, is the key to a darker brown. I'm not sure how to go about getting the semi-gloss finish, though I suppose this may be a function of rubbing it briskly with oil. If you have any ideas about this, I'd appreciate your input.

The Remington had seen a lot of use, so you may well be right about the brown really being patina on the original bluing. It had been rebarrelled at some point - the barrel was a beautiful blue in stark contrast to the browned frame. The really interesting part of the weapon was the four distinct notches carved into the left grip panel.


I have been satisfied with the flatter brown finish rather than glossy or semi-glossy. I think you can probably get what you want with more coats, for a darker color, followed by a good oiling. I have used 0000 steel wool between coats of solution to get a fairly smooth finish. You only need to rub hard enough to remove the "powdery" finish that develops when the solution works. Then the next coat fills in, you buff it, then more finish, more buffing, etc. until you get what you want. The nice part about this solution is that you do not have to heat the barrel and can handle it between coats without fear of damaging the finish. Also, if you find you simply aren't getting what you want, you can file the barrel down again and start over, although that is a heck of a lot of work and I do not recommend it. Use the product carefully and you will get what you are after the first time.

One other thing to keep in mind that the type of steel in the barrel may affect the finish. If it is lesser quality, with impurities in it, you may get an uneven finish no matter how careful you are. That happened to some extent with the first one I did back in 1972. It was a Numrich Arms barrel and, while it still shoots pretty well, it is certainly not the highest quality steel that was available at that time.

Any way, good luck with your project and when you have finished it post a photo or two.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2007 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much, Lin, for your willingness to share your knowledge and experience.

Regarding the steel quality, I'm looking at Goodoien barrels, which are, from what I've read, among the best available.

I ordered a catalog from Track of the Wolf. It looks like it will be interesting reading.

Thank you also for your encouragement! I'm very excited about the prospect of learning more about the longrifle.


David

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2007 7:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Martin wrote:
Thank you very much, Lin, for your willingness to share your knowledge and experience.

Regarding the steel quality, I'm looking at Goodoien barrels, which are, from what I've read, among the best available.

I ordered a catalog from Track of the Wolf. It looks like it will be interesting reading.

Thank you also for your encouragement! I'm very excited about the prospect of learning more about the longrifle.


David


You are welcome. Since I see that you live in Southeastern PA, it is probable that you can find some sources of information in your area on the subject of longrifles. As you are probably aware, there were quite a number of artisans producing firearms in that area from the mid-18th to early 19th century. I would suggest that you join the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and perhaps subscribe to Muzzleloader Magazine for more information and reference material. Track of the Wolf offers a good selection of books on the subject as well as photos of contemporary longrifles in their archives section.

Unfortunately, one of the very best places to view original longrifles and the tools used to make them is closed now. The Eagle Museum in Strasberg, PA at one time housed what might have been the largest collection of original Pennsylvania long rifles in the world. It also had a large collection of original gunsmiths' tools. The museum was privately owned and around 20 years ago the owners decided to shut it down. The collection was dispersed to all four corners of the world. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the museum a couple of times in the early 80s. It was truly a fine collection of the gunmakers' art and a valuable resource for the contemporary gunmaker and historian.

Again, all the best in your project. I will look forward to seeing the finished rifle.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2007 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:

You are welcome. Since I see that you live in Southeastern PA, it is probable that you can find some sources of information in your area on the subject of longrifles. As you are probably aware, there were quite a number of artisans producing firearms in that area from the mid-18th to early 19th century. I would suggest that you join the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and perhaps subscribe to Muzzleloader Magazine for more information and reference material. Track of the Wolf offers a good selection of books on the subject as well as photos of contemporary longrifles in their archives section.

Unfortunately, one of the very best places to view original longrifles and the tools used to make them is closed now. The Eagle Museum in Strasberg, PA at one time housed what might have been the largest collection of original Pennsylvania long rifles in the world. It also had a large collection of original gunsmiths' tools. The museum was privately owned and around 20 years ago the owners decided to shut it down. The collection was dispersed to all four corners of the world. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the museum a couple of times in the early 80s. It was truly a fine collection of the gunmakers' art and a valuable resource for the contemporary gunmaker and historian.

Again, all the best in your project. I will look forward to seeing the finished rifle.


Thank you for the suggestion of the NMLRA. I found their website and will definitely give consideration to membership.

It's a pity that the Eagle Museum is closed, as it sounds like it would have been a wonderful experience. Alas, I only moved to this part of the country 18 years ago, so I would have missed it anyway.

While I can certainly appreciate the fine workmanship that went into the Pennsylvania longrifles, I find myself drawn to the working man's rifle - the unadorned Southern variety. From what I have read, few original examples are in existence, as they were used so extensively.

I have been thinking that it may be prudent to develop my skills by attempting to make a Kentucky flintlock pistol before progressing to the significantly more expensive longrifle. I'm also operating under the assumption that the pistol may be easier than the rifle.

I'm planning to take a trip to the local university library tomorrow during lunch to see what I can find in terms of resources and history. I should receive my Track of the Wolf catalog this week.

The first steps on the road to discovery are always the most exciting. Your guidance is very much appreciated.

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2007 4:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Southern Mountain Rifle was a very plain, utilitarian firearm. There were other rifles made in the south that were as well-crafted and artistic as the Pennsylvania Rifle. These were made in Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina as well as other locations. The area around present day Winston-Salem, NC was a gun-making center as exemplified by the work of the Voglers and others. These rifles survive in some quantity.

There are also quite a few examples of the Southern Mountain Rifle still around. They can be found in museums although many are still in private collections. A lot of the production of these guns took place in the mountains of NC and E. Tenn.

As far as a pistol being easier to make than a rifle, it really is not. The operations are the same, although on a smaller scale. However, as you pointed out, the expense of some of the components is lower. If you decide to build a pistol first, your biggest problem will be how to secure the stock while inletting and working down the wood. Even precarved stocks require a substantial amount of wood removal.

When you get your catalog from Track be sure to look at their book section. They offer a number of "how-to" publications that can be a big help.

Again...good luck.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Jeff Larsen




Location: Austin, TX
Joined: 06 Jan 2004

Posts: 295

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2007 6:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi David,

I do not know if you knew that there is a gunfair in PA that is right up your alley.

Information can be found here:

http://dixonmuzzleloading.com/index.php?section=gunmakersfair

I attend every year and you can find what your looking for, in addition talk to the craftsmen that make them too. As a side note, here is the seminars that are offered FREE:


7/27/2007 Opening Remarks Seminar Tent Chuck Dixon
12:45 PM

7/27/2007 Stock Scraping and Burnishing Seminar Tent Mark Wheland
1:00 PM

7/27/2007 Hand Forged Tomahawk ( AT THE FORGE ON THE HILL) Seminar Tent Bill Keller
2:00 PM

7/27/2007 Dixon Gunmakes Fair - 25 Years, A Trip Thru Time Seminar Tent Bob Winters
3:00 PM

7/28/2007 Opening Remarks Seminar Tent Chuck Dixon
9:15 AM

7/28/2007 The Indian Trade Gun- (ca. 1720 ) The Barn Robert Heath
9:30 AM

7/28/2007 Common Problems in Gun Building Solving Problems in Gun Building Seminar Tent Paul Allison
9:30 AM Allan Sandy

7/28/2007 Common Problems in Gun Building Solving Problems in Gun Building Seminar Tent Rich Hujsa
10:30 AM Allen Martin

7/28/2007 The Sharpened Tool The Barn Dave Hardy
10:30 AM

7/28/2007 YoYo Quiltmaking The "LADIES IN WAITING" Tent Sandy Bosch
11:00 AM

7/28/2007 Horn Working for beginners Junior Workshop Pavilion( right of the barn) Honerable Company of Horners
11:00 AM

7/28/2007 Sharpening the Gravers-Inlaying Gold & Silver Seminar Tent Larry Parker
11:30 AM

7/28/2007 Berks County Hornworkers The Barn Art DeCamp- Tim Lubensky
11:30 AM

7/28/2007 Flintlock Tuning Seminar Tent Keith Casteel
12:30 PM

7/28/2007 Intro To Kentucky Rifles - KRA The Barn Carl Landis
12:30 PM

7/28/2007 Tatting The "LADIES IN WAITING" Tent Betty Reeser
1:00 PM

7/28/2007 The Period Turkey Call Junior Workshop Pavilion( right of the barn) Nat'l Wild Turkey Federation
1:00 PM

7/28/2007 Traditional Stains and Varnishes Seminar Tent Eric Kettenburg
1:30 PM

7/28/2007 Engraving and Carving The Barn Mark Thomas
1:30 PM

7/28/2007 Tempering & Heat Treating Lock Parts Seminar Tent Stan Hollenbaugh
2:30 PM

7/28/2007 18th Century " Housewife" ( A Ladies Sewing Kit) The Barn Clair Moore
2:30 PM

7/28/2007 Selecting Wood for Gun Stocks Seminar Tent Dan Miranda (Dunlaps)
3:30 PM

7/28/2007 Barrel Making and Barrel Harmonics The Barn L.C. (LOST CAUSE ) Rice
3:30 PM

7/29/2007 Opening Remarks Seminar Tent Chuck Dixon
9:15 AM

7/29/2007 Patchbox Releases Seminar Tent Brian LaMaster
9:30 AM

7/29/2007 Strap Weaving - The Barn Sue Shroyer
9:30 AM

7/29/2007 Carving The Stock - Layout To Modeling Seminar Tent Allan Sandy
10:30 AM

7/29/2007 Hawken Rifles The Barn Don Stith
10:30 AM

7/29/2007 Campfire Cooking The "LADIES IN WAITING" Tent Linda Fulmer
11:00 AM

7/29/2007 Leather Working for Beginners Junior Workshop Pavilion( right of the barn) The Bag Guild
11:00 AM

7/29/2007 Building the Swivel Breech Rifle Seminar Tent Dave Price
11:30 AM

7/29/2007 The Henrys-Pennsylvania's Gunmakers The Barn Bob Newell
11:30 AM

7/29/2007 The Art of the Bag Seminar Tent Calvin Tanner
12:30 PM

7/29/2007 Precision Lock Assembly The Barn Jim Chambers
12:30 PM

7/29/2007 Soap Making The "LADIES IN WAITING" Tent Sarah Miller
1:00 PM

7/29/2007 Your First Muzzleloader Junior Workshop Pavilion( right of the barn) Nat'l Muzzleloading Rifle Assoc
1:00 PM

7/29/2007 The Rifle Barrel - Then And Now Seminar Tent John Getz
1:30 PM Brad Emig

7/29/2007 Carving Your Stock The Barn Tom Curran
1:30 PM

7/29/2007 Knife Making 101 Seminar Tent Joe Hess
2:30 PM

7/29/2007 Building The Longrifle Kit Gun The Barn "Black PowderBarbie" Chambers
2:30 PM

See you there!

Jeff Happy

"It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience." Julius Caesar
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2007 8:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Jeff! The seminars look fantastic! It's not too far away, either (less than 2 hours). The trick will be figuring out which ones to go to, as so many look appealing. It's a pity they don't record the seminars and sell them on DVD.

Why do they hold these things at the hottest time of the year?

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2007 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Martin wrote:
Thanks Jeff! The seminars look fantastic! It's not too far away, either (less than 2 hours). The trick will be figuring out which ones to go to, as so many look appealing. It's a pity they don't record the seminars and sell them on DVD.

Why do they hold these things at the hottest time of the year?


Glad that Jeff mentioned these seminars. I had completely forgotten about what is a very valuable resource for you, especially since it is relatively close.

I am a "piddler", not a gunstocker, so I have not attended any of these things, but I would think that the last one listed might be a good place to start, given your plans. There is also a seminar held annually at Western Ky U that a friend of mine attended a number of years ago. Most of what I know about these things I learned from him. It is open to everyone but seems to attract folks who have some experience making guns but need to hone their skills. You may want to put that one on your calendar for a later time.

There are a number of good instructional DVDs available. Many are advertised in the NMLRA's magazine and in Muzzleloader. But, there is nothing like hands on experience.

I have no idea why they pick the hottest time of the year for seminars, except that a lot of people vacation in the summer and plan their time off around such things.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2007 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:

Glad that Jeff mentioned these seminars. I had completely forgotten about what is a very valuable resource for you, especially since it is relatively close.

I am a "piddler", not a gunstocker, so I have not attended any of these things, but I would think that the last one listed might be a good place to start, given your plans. There is also a seminar held annually at Western Ky U that a friend of mine attended a number of years ago. Most of what I know about these things I learned from him. It is open to everyone but seems to attract folks who have some experience making guns but need to hone their skills. You may want to put that one on your calendar for a later time.

There are a number of good instructional DVDs available. Many are advertised in the NMLRA's magazine and in Muzzleloader. But, there is nothing like hands on experience.

I have no idea why they pick the hottest time of the year for seminars, except that a lot of people vacation in the summer and plan their time off around such things.


That was my thought exactly - the last seminar looks ideal. While I'm there, I'm going to attend the seminars on stock carving and precision lock assembly (by Jim Chambers, no less). I'm sure it will be a good learning experience.

Once my daughters are older, I'll have to look into Western Kentucky University's offerings. Thanks for the tip!

I'm more of a piddler myself. After I make a rifle, pistol, possibles bag, etc., I'll be off on something else. As my father used to say "...and next week, a brain surgeon." Life is short and there is much to experience and learn.

I know it's a bit of a hike for you, but if you made it up to this festival on the 29th, I'll buy you a beer / bourbon / drink of your choice.

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 4:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the invite and the offer of the drink. I will have to ask for a rain check as we will be going in different directions when the fair is scheduled. Good luck at the fair and let's have a report when you get back.

By the way, my son lives in Candler, NC, not too far from Jim Chambers, although they have never met.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Jeff Larsen




Location: Austin, TX
Joined: 06 Jan 2004

Posts: 295

PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Martin wrote:
Thanks Jeff! The seminars look fantastic! It's not too far away, either (less than 2 hours). The trick will be figuring out which ones to go to, as so many look appealing. It's a pity they don't record the seminars and sell them on DVD.

Why do they hold these things at the hottest time of the year?


Hi David,

You're very welcome! I have attended as many as I could and Friday always looked great. I try to get up there early on either Sat. or Sun.

You can video tape them if you want, as I have seen others do so.

Why that time of year? Have no clue. Of course your only 15 minutes from Cabelas.

Jeff

"It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience." Julius Caesar
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Jeff Larsen




Location: Austin, TX
Joined: 06 Jan 2004

Posts: 295

PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:
Glad that Jeff mentioned these seminars. I had completely forgotten about what is a very valuable resource for you, especially since it is relatively close.

I am a "piddler", not a gunstocker, so I have not attended any of these things, but I would think that the last one listed might be a good place to start, given your plans. There is also a seminar held annually at Western Ky U that a friend of mine attended a number of years ago. Most of what I know about these things I learned from him. It is open to everyone but seems to attract folks who have some experience making guns but need to hone their skills. You may want to put that one on your calendar for a later time.

There are a number of good instructional DVDs available. Many are advertised in the NMLRA's magazine and in Muzzleloader. But, there is nothing like hands on experience.

I have no idea why they pick the hottest time of the year for seminars, except that a lot of people vacation in the summer and plan their time off around such things.


There is the Contemporary Longrifle Association's meeting in August. Here is the link: http://www.longrifle.ws/events/

Jeff Big Grin

"It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience." Julius Caesar
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Jeff Larsen




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I forgot, this one already passed. I would like to go there!

http://www.nmlra.org/pdfs/web_gunsmithseminar07-pic.pdf

"It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience." Julius Caesar
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2007 4:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeff Larsen wrote:
I forgot, this one already passed. I would like to go there!

http://www.nmlra.org/pdfs/web_gunsmithseminar07-pic.pdf


That's the WKU seminar I mentioned earlier. A bit pricey but I am sure it is worth the cost. My friend who attended several years ago had already built a couple of rifles and his work was excellent. He was (retired now) a products designer by profession and spent most of his career developing plastic cases. But he has an eye for design of all kinds and the technical ability to execute the design in wood and metal. Consequently the third rifle he built, and which he took to the school, was featured in an article written by the late John Bivins for Rifle Magazine. Bivins was an instructor at the time. Don (my friend) said he learned a lot at the seminar, even with his experience. If you find that you like building guns and want to pursue it, I think you should deinitely put this one on your schedule.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2007 5:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One other thing....if you can find it, I recommend getting a copy of The Gunsmith of Williamsburg. This video was produced quite awhile back and features Wallace Gusler, who was then the head of the gunsmith shop at Colonial Williamsburg. When he was there they made complete guns in the old ways. This was a complete operation, making lock, stock and barrel, even screws, from the raw materials to finished product. This is not an instructional video but it does give a good overview of the process. Gary Brumfield, who runs the WKU seminar was in the gunsmith shop at Williamsburg for a number of years.

The shop now serves as a demonstration area and they are not producing complete guns any more. When they were making guns there was a wait of about two years to get one and they were running in the $10,000 range! Too pricey for me, but something that was sure to increase in value over time.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2007 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:
One other thing....if you can find it, I recommend getting a copy of The Gunsmith of Williamsburg. This video was produced quite awhile back and features Wallace Gusler, who was then the head of the gunsmith shop at Colonial Williamsburg. When he was there they made complete guns in the old ways. This was a complete operation, making lock, stock and barrel, even screws, from the raw materials to finished product. This is not an instructional video but it does give a good overview of the process. Gary Brumfield, who runs the WKU seminar was in the gunsmith shop at Williamsburg for a number of years.

The shop now serves as a demonstration area and they are not producing complete guns any more. When they were making guns there was a wait of about two years to get one and they were running in the $10,000 range! Too pricey for me, but something that was sure to increase in value over time.


That sounds like an interesting video. Thanks for the tip!

I picked up a couple books from the local library. I'm kicking around the idea of making my own triggerguard and side plate from castings. I can make the wax forms - I'll just need to find someone who can cast them in iron for me. I'm hoping to make some connections at the gunmakers festival.

I'm also debating which sights to use. Although I love the look of the primitive sights, I'm not a big fan of drifting for windage and filing for elevation. This said, I'm afraid that an adjustable rear sight, even a primitive-looking one, will spoil the clean lines of the rifle. I'm going to have to make some kind of compromise on this issue at some point. There's a real definitive statement...

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Jeff Larsen




Location: Austin, TX
Joined: 06 Jan 2004

Posts: 295

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2007 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Martin wrote:
That sounds like an interesting video. Thanks for the tip!

I picked up a couple books from the local library. I'm kicking around the idea of making my own triggerguard and side plate from castings. I can make the wax forms - I'll just need to find someone who can cast them in iron for me. I'm hoping to make some connections at the gunmakers festival.

I'm also debating which sights to use. Although I love the look of the primitive sights, I'm not a big fan of drifting for windage and filing for elevation. This said, I'm afraid that an adjustable rear sight, even a primitive-looking one, will spoil the clean lines of the rifle. I'm going to have to make some kind of compromise on this issue at some point. There's a real definitive statement...


I picked up the video about 4 years ago when I was in Williamsburg. Very good video.

BTW You should find side plates and trigger guards at the Dixon show. Dixon also has a shop there where you can find anything and everything to build it.

Jeff Big Grin

"It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience." Julius Caesar
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