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Login Name Post: When to dress the flint edge        (Topic#238340)
DanChamberlain 
45 Cal.
Posts: 612
09-20-09 06:30 AM - Post#762567    


Is it possible for a flint to stay sharp too long?

Should one dress the edge every so many shots to keep it from impacting in the exact same place for too many hammer strikes?

Dan

 
Roundball 
Cannon
Posts: 22964
Roundball
09-20-09 06:45 AM - Post#762571    

    In response to DanChamberlain

  • DanChamberlain Said:

Is it possible for a flint to stay sharp too long?



Not that I'm aware of...they begin getting duller / wearing shorter as soon as you begin using them.
  • Quote:

Should one dress the edge every so many shots to keep it from impacting in the exact same place for too many hammer strikes?



I've never done that or heard of anyone doing that for that purpose...it seems the natural dulling & shortening of a flint that calls for periodic knapping takes care of that.
However, from a performance / reliability point of view, in hunting situations where 100% reliability is a must for a one-shot scenario, I always prep my Flintlocks in detail for the next shot at a deer, and for example this includes lightly knapping the flint after every hunting shot so there certain to be a fresh sharp edge for the next shot.
Roundball's ML Formula:
"Whompability...Across The Fields and In The Woods"


 
Musketman 
Passed On
Posts: 10652
09-20-09 06:46 AM - Post#762572    

    In response to DanChamberlain

As long as the leading edge of the flint is sharp and somewhat straight, I wouldn't worry about it.

Just move it in the jaws to close the flint/frizzen gap as it wears.

If you see a rounded edge or uneven wear, then dress up the flint to bring it back to a symmetrical plain across the cutting edge.


 
DanChamberlain 
45 Cal.
Posts: 612
09-20-09 07:38 AM - Post#762586    

    In response to Musketman

Thanks for the replies, but won't the frizzen face start to take a gouge at exactly the same place if the flints are always placed to strike precisely at that point?

Dan

 
Mike2005 
58 Cal.
Posts: 2183
Mike2005
09-20-09 07:50 AM - Post#762590    

    In response to DanChamberlain

  • DanChamberlain Said:
Thanks for the replies, but won't the frizzen face start to take a gouge at exactly the same place if the flints are always placed to strike precisely at that point?

Dan



Not if the lock has proper geometry. The flint is supposed to scrape along the frizzen not bash into it. I have seen several flintlocks that do not have good geometry and they do start to show a gouge which tends to goof up the operation and break flints.


 
Roundball 
Cannon
Posts: 22964
Roundball
09-20-09 07:53 AM - Post#762591    

    In response to DanChamberlain

  • DanChamberlain Said:
Thanks for the replies, but won't the frizzen face start to take a gouge at exactly the same place if the flints are always placed to strike precisely at that point?

Dan




It took my T/C frizzens a few thousand shots each to wear a groove enough to start bothering me...and even then, it was just the 'looks'...the groove itself wasn't actually causing any performance issue because it was so generalized, not an actual sharp narrow groove as such.

PS: It occurred to me last year that I could easily smooth them out using a coarse sandpaper cylinder attachment in my dremel tool...but unknown to me, T/C frizzens weren't hardened all the way through...just hardened to some amount of depth on their faces. And after doing that several times to 3 frizzens the grooves actually started appearing faster and I learned that I'd sanded through the hardened face depth.

The good news is that new T/C frizzens were only about $15 so I just replaced them...I averaged 3000-4000 shots off each one over about 10 years and figure that's good enough for $15.
Roundball's ML Formula:
"Whompability...Across The Fields and In The Woods"


 
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
09-20-09 08:07 AM - Post#762596    

    In response to DanChamberlain

The frizzen does not develop gouges or chatter marks, IF THE FLINT'S Angle of Impact is correct.

The reason we use or desire the angle of impact to be 60 degrees is to take advantage of the flint's natural fracture lines, when the edge strikes the steel. At 60 degrees, the Angle of Impact only allows the edge to scrape steel, NOT GOUGE it.

You do need, of course, a properly hardened frizzen. If your sparks are not "white hot" like those off a 4th of July sparkler, the frizzen is probably not hardened sufficiently. It may produce sparks, but they will be red, or orange in color.

You also need a mainspring that has tuned to have no more tension at full cock than about 15 lbs. You are recognizing a problem that does arise on impact of the flint. However, the problem appears in the form of short flint life, or shattered flints, not in gouges, is the angle of impact is correct.

If the AOI is correct, the spring is correct, and the flint set correctly into the jaws, you will get scrape marks. You will also see the edge of the flint Knapped off by the flow of the hammer to the frizzen, each time its fired. A small spawl is taken off the UNDERSIDE of the edge with each strike.

The flint edge does shorten, doing this, and you do need to reposition your flint every 20-25 shots. And since the edge is created by that BEVEL on the front of the flint, knapping off the edge does create a duller flint as it wears back. That is why I recommend re-knapping the flint after its re-positioned.

Re-knapping is done for 2 reasons:

a. To put a new, sharp edge on the flint; and
b. to square the edge to the frizzen. No one can consistently hold a flint square to the frizzen as they turn the cock screw down to tighten the jaws. There is always a bit of movement sideways to the flint as you tighten the cockscrew that last couple of degrees. By knapping the flint as I have previously described-- cradling the gun in your left arm, opening the frizzen using the side of your left thumb, between the nail and air, finding the angle for the frizzen where the flint edge will strike the bottom of the heel of the frizzen by lowering the cock using your right hand, then holding the frizzen at that spot, cocking the gun, and releasing the cock by pulling the trigger----- you get a new sharp edge that is square to the frizzen, across the width of the frizzen.

Unlike using hammers, or rods, or some other method of knapping your edge, the amount of flint that is consumed knapping the edge in this matter is minimal, and produces a nice even, square edge across the width of the frizzen.

Only when the flint is getting well used, do I have to be concerned about more frequent knapping than every 20-25 shots, when I re-position the flint forward. In that situation, I may knapp the flint one more time to finish a match stage, but then, Like Bill, I will remove the flint and replace it. At home, I may see if I can't remove some flint with a dremel tool, or diamond hone, so that I can take it back to the range for practice and get 10-20 shots more out of it. The flint is thrown away when its too short to be held adequately in the jaws of the cock, AND, still reach forward enough in the half cock position to be able to pop that frizzen open on impact.

Creating sparks, that are not thrown down into the pan instantly defeats the purpose of shooting a flintlock action. This is why its important to tune the frizzen and frizzen spring so that it opens properly on impact. In a well tuned flintlock, the tension on that frizzen to open it should not exceed 3 lbs. 1-1 1/2 lbs. is much better.

 
KHickam 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1323
09-20-09 01:29 PM - Post#762691    

    In response to paulvallandigham

Today, I got 20 shots for 50 drops of the cock. I was using french amber knapped flints and the rocks were getting dull really quick. I don't remember any of my other flintlocks doing this.

I will probably get rid of this gun when my new one comes. It even did it with a new sharp flint.

Keith

 
Roundball 
Cannon
Posts: 22964
Roundball
09-20-09 01:51 PM - Post#762700    

    In response to KHickam

  • KHickam Said:

"...french amber knapped flints..."




I wanted to try French Amber flints to get first hand knowledge of them and here are the results:

1) They were far more expensive than Tom Fuller black english flints;
2) The did very poorly compared to Fuller BEFs, seemed to be soft and crumbly;
3) I muddled through the first 12 with much disappointment;
4) I re-sold the second 12 to keep from wasting my time;
5) No plans to ever buy French Amber flints again;
Roundball's ML Formula:
"Whompability...Across The Fields and In The Woods"


 
KHickam 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1323
09-20-09 02:17 PM - Post#762707    

    In response to Roundball

I couldn't get english flints. This gun also does this with Rich Pierce's flints too. Don't know enough about lock geometry to figure it out. I will probably send it to a gunsmith and hope it can be corrected.

Keith

 
FrankPa 
40 Cal.
Posts: 357
09-20-09 07:36 PM - Post#762808    

    In response to KHickam

Is your flinter a store bought gun or custom/semi custom? What make lock does it have, Siler, Chambers, Davis, L&R?

Edited by FrankPa on 09-20-09 07:37 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
KHickam 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1323
09-20-09 09:43 PM - Post#762841    

    In response to FrankPa

The gun is a semi custom fowler with a L and R Queen Anne lock on it. The only way I get semi consistant ignition is with the bevel up - most times it is sparking but for whatever reason the sparks don't always get in the pan - this is exasperated by wind here on the prairies a lot. Bevel down - the flint often gets stuck without flipping open the pan - and leaves a white or gray residue where the flint scraps the battery and often hits only in two places both of which have pretty good gouges from past strikes. I have polished the frizzen spring and frizzen where they contact each other to see if that would help. When the pan ignites it fires every time.

Quite frustrating but the upside is that my follow through is great and flinching is pretty much a thing of the past.

Edited by KHickam on 09-20-09 09:45 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Sir Michael 
45 Cal.
Posts: 841
Sir Michael
09-20-09 10:14 PM - Post#762859    

    In response to DanChamberlain

I'm of the school of, "if it ain't broke don't fix it." As long as it is sparking and firing, leave it alone. If you are going to go hunting just to be on the safe side put a new one in. Each flint changes shape as it is used to it will not hit the same spot on the frizzen every time even if you do nothing. If you do start to get a groove on the frizzen you can have it redressed and hardened and you can reassess if you have the right size flints.

 
KHickam 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1323
09-21-09 07:17 AM - Post#762931    

    In response to Sir Michael

Sir Michael;

Normally, a few klatches would not bother me either. But, 30 of them yesterday was getting really old - I switched flints twice and even with a new one I got a klatch on the first fall of the cock.

Keith

 
Don Powell 
40 Cal.
Posts: 422
09-21-09 07:28 AM - Post#762933    

    In response to KHickam

I've had the same shootin day. I've tried turning the flint over, flat side up. Seems to help. Biggest problem I've seen is the flint tends to back off in the jaws. If it's almost touching at half cock it'll shoot.

 
Roundball 
Cannon
Posts: 22964
Roundball
09-21-09 07:43 AM - Post#762938    

    In response to KHickam

  • KHickam Said:
Sir Michael;

Normally, a few klatches would not bother me either. But, 30 of them yesterday was getting really old - I switched flints twice and even with a new one I got a klatch on the first fall of the cock.

Keith



Keith, something dounds very wrong...so just for the heck of it...can you be very clear by YOUR meaning of the word klatch?

1) Do you mean you don't even get a pan flash?

2) Or do you mean you get a pan flash and no main ignition?

If you not even getting a pan flash, have you checked to ensure that at the moment your moves forward and touches the frizzen face its on a slightly downwad angle so it slices/shaves into the face of the frizzen?

If you're certain your flints are razor sharp ALL THE WAY ACROSS the edge...even one tiny flat/dull spot will "hold off" the rest of the sharp edge from touching the frizzen face.

And if you're certain they're hitting at a downward slicing/shaving angle at the moment of impact (not bashing square/straight into the frizzen face)
then you may well have a Frizzen problem...being too soft, etc.
Roundball's ML Formula:
"Whompability...Across The Fields and In The Woods"


 
Roundball 
Cannon
Posts: 22964
Roundball
09-21-09 07:49 AM - Post#762941    

    In response to Don Powell

  • Don Powell Said:

Biggest problem I've seen is the flint tends to back off in the jaws.



Flints shouldn't move of course...make sure your leather flint wrap is thick & spongy enough to compress down around the slight irregularities of the flint and clamp it down tight...the compression sort of keeps a bit of tension on the flint and it shouldn't ever move after that.
I settled on 1/8" thick cowhide, and recently started using some 1/8" thick Elk hide scraps I got...both make the flints seem like they're set in concrete...
Roundball's ML Formula:
"Whompability...Across The Fields and In The Woods"


 
KHickam 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1323
09-21-09 12:33 PM - Post#763045    

    In response to Roundball

Klatch - Cock falls strikes the frizzen, either sparks or doesn't - no flash.

When it goes off (hardly every has a flash in the pan) it is very accurate.

Keith

 
Roundball 
Cannon
Posts: 22964
Roundball
09-21-09 01:17 PM - Post#763059    

    In response to KHickam

  • KHickam Said:

Cock falls strikes the frizzen, either sparks or doesn't - no flash.




Then you really have to look very close at one of these...and this assumes the priming powder is good.
================================================

If you not even getting a pan flash, have you checked to ensure that at the moment your flint touches the frizzen face its on a slightly downwad angle so it slices/shaves into the face of the frizzen?

If you're certain your flints are razor sharp ALL THE WAY ACROSS the edge...even one tiny flat/dull spot will "hold off" the rest of the sharp edge from touching the frizzen face.

And if you're certain they're hitting at a downward slicing/shaving angle at the moment of impact (not bashing square/straight into the frizzen face) then you may well have a Frizzen problem...being too soft, etc.

Or...it's possible that the main spring is weak and/or that the hammer throw is sluggish/dragging somewhere so its not hitting the frizzen very hard.
Roundball's ML Formula:
"Whompability...Across The Fields and In The Woods"


 
Sir Michael 
45 Cal.
Posts: 841
Sir Michael
09-21-09 07:00 PM - Post#763160    

    In response to KHickam

  • KHickam Said:
Sir Michael;

Normally, a few klatches would not bother me either. But, 30 of them yesterday was getting really old - I switched flints twice and even with a new one I got a klatch on the first fall of the cock.

Keith



That's not good. Without seeing it I can't tell you what the problem is but there is definitely a problem there somewhere that needs to be fixed. Someone here may be able to steer you in the right direction if you're lucky.

 
Stumpkiller 
Moderator
Posts: 17317
Stumpkiller
09-21-09 08:21 PM - Post#763199    

    In response to Don Powell

  • Don Powell Said:
I've had the same shootin day. I've tried turning the flint over, flat side up. Seems to help. Biggest problem I've seen is the flint tends to back off in the jaws. If it's almost touching at half cock it'll shoot.



Shim the flint forward with a little piece of wood. I usually put it inside the flint leather as it stays in place better. Bring the nose of the flint to less that 1/8" away at half cock and see if that helps. Also, wipe the pan and the foot of the frizzen between shots with a piece of dry cotton and pick the vent with a soft iron pick (I make mine from filed down clothes hanger wire heated red and allowed to cool slowly).

We'll get this bird plucked one way or 'tother.
"Don't take life too serious - it ain't nohow permanent."


 
fyrfyter43 
45 Cal.
Posts: 769
fyrfyter43
09-22-09 06:26 AM - Post#763325    

    In response to Stumpkiller

Are you getting the jaw screw tight enough? If the flint is at all loose in the cock, you will get few, if any, sparks.

 
Rich Pierce 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4109
09-22-09 11:35 PM - Post#763646    

    In response to fyrfyter43

Stumpkiller has your medicine. Putting a piece of wood to support a short flint from behind will work wonders for keeping it from shifting.

 
KHickam 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1323
09-23-09 07:36 AM - Post#763707    

    In response to Rich Pierce

Thanks very much. I will try that. Keith

 
Rich Pierce 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4109
09-23-09 03:17 PM - Post#763882    

    In response to KHickam

Keith, it seems to me that your lock has some problems, probably the frizzen hardness as I think the L&R Queen Anne lock has pretty stout springs. I figure a lock should flash the priming with most any half-decent flint and a fella should not have to mess around getting exactly this type (French, English, whatever), measurement, etc. If you look at original unused gunflints from the 1700's (from shipwrecks, etc) they look like "cowdung" shall we say, compared to what you can get today. And these were being shipped to fight wars, where presumably the armies preferred to have their muskets actually fire. Yet if they were mixed in a bowl with a bunch of flints you can get today, they'd be "left behind".

I agree that one can get optimum performance by craefully choosing the flints, learning what size works best, bevel up, bevel down, etc. But most any decent flint should spark a lot.

If you are new to flint shooting you really should work with an experienced shooter who has a reliable flintlock and have him check things out in person.

 
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