A silk hog’s ear

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Centurion

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Good morning all,

Sitting in a turkey blind a few weeks ago, i was again thinking about that old DGW southern rifle i bought after seeing Last if the Mohicans 5 or 6 times ... my first flintlock. Had a bad attack of the dumbs later and sold it.

After a long pause due to life, i got back into the smoke but I don’t have the funds to replace THAT rifle. I also couldn’t remember what it was until i started hanging out on this forum and looking at the pictures. I gradually remembered 1) the ramrod entry point was a sharp right angle with no thimble, 2) all the furniture was iron, 3) the was no patch box, inly what i later learned was a grease hole. And it was long enough to fit me comfortable. And the stick was swept downward in a graceful curve at the butt which meant it shouldered perfectly.

So, i got an idea, which the pictures which follow will explain. This is one man’s concept and labor of love, so feel free to comment as you wish. But maybe somebody else will get this bug and come up with a better idea. Or just shell out $2000 for a custom. 😃

So here’s what i started with, purchased from a member here. The first requirements were price, flintlock and no patch box. Here’s what i got...

(more photos to come as time permits and work progresses)

A 1970’s (?) zukar .45 which needed, uh, some attention.
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Centurion

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Now, little background. I can play a little guitar, led worship in church for 10 years or so, at annual LE retreats for 20-odd years, and generally messed around with instruments. But as at least some of you know, once you start with some interest or other, pretty soon you start getting a little deeper than most people. This forum is a place for y’all.

So, i start getting a little deeper and thinking i could put a simpler, prettier finish on some solid body guitars than the factory. My mantra - “respect the wood”. God gave us wood to appreciate what He’d made. He gave us grain, and figuring, and spalting, and burling, and...

So after spending several projects trying to strip the Fender factory armor-plating polyester “unstrippable” cheaper-than-nitro” (anybody with me?) finish, i found a new friend. A super-hero whim no one can defeat, not even Fender. All foes simply curl up and melt under his assault...
 

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Centurion

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All that really interesting stuff just to say that the next step was to disassemble the weapon and see what we got. I already knew the finish wasn’t going to be around long.

I didn’t get the idea for this thread right away, so i didn’t start gettin photos from the beginning.

The stripper works like this: carefully pick up the item you want to strip, spray the item, and put it down. Wait until the finish crinkles, wrinkles and turns to goo. Use a putty knife to scrape it off. Re-spray if you missed anything and scrape again. Put the ugly thing aside and let it dry.

The following should be self- explanatory, some before and after shots...

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Centurion

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I’ll add this yet tonight; as you know there ate lots of tight, awkward-to-sand places in a muzzleloader stock. Here’s how difficult it is to clean all that old goo-ish finish out... grab a scrap of steel wool, cram it in there, scrape it around a little and...


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nagantino

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Years ago I found a very battered Winchester 550. I bought it cheap and set about stripping the wood except the high, hard and shiny finish would not remove. I wish I had known about that Aircraft stripper then.
 

Centurion

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Good morning All.

To continue... after the stock has dried off, i sanded it down with one of those foam sanding blocks embedded with grit, which is flexible and never seems to clog up. As you can see, the pores of this maple still retain the dark color of the stain i just stripped. After doing some research on bleaching, i took the easy route and mixed up a small 50/50 batch of Chlorox bleach and just rubbed a good amount into the wood. I was half expecting some of the old finish to come off on the cloth, but this method doesn’t lift the stain, it just makes it go away, like when one of your t-shirts winds up in the washer accidently with a load of whites (been there) and a little bleach. This did lighten the stain remnants but did not affect the grain in any way. Aha! Now we’re gettin somewhere. And we got a little surprise!

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Centurion

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These i deduced (sharp kid) were holes left by tacks a previous owner had used to decorate the stock with, presumably, his last initial. Since it’s my last initial as well, i’ll keep it.

Look how much lighter that wood is after its bleach bath.
 

Centurion

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And now it’s time for surgery.

Not long ago i had no experience with the phrases of “length of pull” and “drop at heel”. Some long guns fit me and some did not. My Plains Rifle was the best thing i’d ever shouldered when i bought it - never studied why, just took it home.

This project did not fit in these categories; it was as if it was built to the specs of “does not fit don”. LOP was 13” and drop was 3”. Probably cut down earlier, but maybe not. Here’s where i started chasing my old poor boy!

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Centurion

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Two things here: first, i intended to sweep the stock downward a bit, so that butt plate with its roughly 90 degree angle to the upper portion, which i’ve been calling the butt plate tang (although it has at least three other names i can’t remember) will no longer fit. At this point i guessed i could still use the plate. You can see how much of the stock i cut away. The second thing is my choice of wood - i thought maple would be too bright so i used a chunk of an old red elm barn beam.

Drop is getting better but that LOP.... what to do? Make the stock longer, which has the effect of increasing the drop. Such a happy coincidence.

I learned how to steam, roll and glue up banjo rims a few years ago and thin laminates seemed to be the best way to start lengthening to stock, bit by bit
 

Centurion

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Using the new butt as a mold, i traced its shape onto a piece of 2x6 and cut it out on a scroll saw. A little sand paper to just clean up the irregularities and we’re ready ti steam and bend. I had cut strips for a banjo rim previously and planed them smooth. These were cut to length and submerged in water for a couple hours and some overnight. Then they were wrapped in a wet paper towel and microwaved for 40 seconds. Take my word for it - they’re HOT. clamp them into the for before they cool and leave them alone for an hour or so.A4F063AC-7DD1-4E2B-8257-50DEC6619CC9.jpeg
 

Centurion

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I screwed two scraps of 2x4 to a 2x6 (‘cause my wife wouldn’t let me use the extra leaf for the table) to make a cradle for the shape of the stock to start gluing on the laminates.F642B233-4F37-466B-A99C-11149B0605FA.jpeg
 

Centurion

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My wife came up with the idea of using a piece of belt leather between the laminate and the pressure block while gluing to smooth out any real bumps or defects in the block. It worked great! I was able scrape off most of the glue that squeezed out onto her belt later.
 

Centurion

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Good morning.

Here’s the latest. Shoulda’ took more in-between shots. This is the stock currently. There are 11 laminates at the butt, all but the last two are red oak. The last two are osage orange, extremely tough, but they’ll make a fine buttplate.

After the first five lams, the radius of the curve had to be corrected so the butt had to be re-shaped for the rest of the lams so that the butt plate actually faced in the correct direction (see photo).

The grease or tallow hole really starts this looking like my old rifle! Used a 1” Forstner (sp) bit for this.

The too of the butt silhouette is about right; i have to take a little more off the middle portion of the bottom to give the proper hollow belly look to match the top.

Just starting hollowing out the sides flowing from the comb (reshaped) toward the rear. Very happy so far!

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1861colt

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WOW! A tree would be jealous of that piece of wood. It's cool!
 
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