Building a Chambers Isaac Haines rifle kit

Discussion in 'The Gun Builder's Bench' started by dave_person, Sep 10, 2019.

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  1. Nov 3, 2019 #101

    Spikebuck

    Spikebuck

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    Looking really nice, Dave. It's all coming together now! :thumb: Sometimes a stock with a lot of curl can "clash" with detailed carving, but this one is looking great together.

    What advantages do you find with using a scotchbrite pad to rub back the finish vs fine steel wool? Is there any special care you take around the carved areas when rubbing back the finish?
     
  2. Nov 3, 2019 #102

    Grenadier1758

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    You can get fine steel particles in the wood when you use steel wool and that can prevent getting the smoothest finish.
     
  3. Nov 3, 2019 #103

    dave_person

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    Hi Mike,
    As Grenadier mentioned, steel wool can leave particles and it is harder to keep it flattened to rub flat surfaces without rounding the edges. Scotch Bright pads work as well and do not leave fibers and can be easily backed with a block of wood. I don't rub the carving much at all. However, I do rub up to the edges with an edge of the pad. If I need to, I sometimes go back and resharpen edges with a tiny "V" chisel. After the second sealer coat of finish has dried really well, I will go back and clean up the checkering in the forward cheek piece carving. That reduces any risk of chipping off a diamond, which is why you should put several coats of finish on a gun before checkering. Of course, that is also what makes checkering so harrowing because with stain and finish already applied, if something goes wrong checkering, it is really hard to fix it. I will be taking a 6-day hiatus from the project after Tuesday this week because I have to travel to Michigan for my niece's wedding.

    dave
     
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  4. Nov 3, 2019 #104

    dave_person

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    Hi Wayne,
    I cannot remember because it was so long ago. It might have been Woodcraft but theirs mostly seem coarser cutting. It also may have been Force Machinery that used to be in Union, NJ. They are gone now. The rifflers are made in Italy. They may be "die sinkers" rifflers for jewelry and mold making.

    dave
     
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  5. Nov 3, 2019 #105

    SingleMalt

    SingleMalt

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    Thanks for a starting place, Dave. I found these in a quick search. They look pretty close. https://www.falcontool.com/PublicStore/product/Swiss-Die-Sinkers-Rifflers,83,173.aspx
     
  6. Nov 3, 2019 #106

    dave_person

    dave_person

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    Hi Wayne,
    Yes, those would work. They are not the same as mine but close enough. Get "0" cut for wood. The finer cuts are great for metal work.

    dave
     
  7. Nov 4, 2019 #107

    dave_person

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    Hi Guys,
    Thanks for looking and the nice comments. It is really easy to hide flawed work on the internet. Photos can be manipulated to show things to their best advantage. I want to break that mold by discussing how I address mistakes and omissions. While applying finish to any gun, I always find details that need correcting or better finishing. On this gun, I found numerous spots around the carving that needed further work. I am fussing over this gun. In most cases no one would likely see the flaws but RCA 81 was made to a higher standard. So I correct the rough spots but in the process scrape off stain and finish. In most cases I can just apply my ferric nitrate stain as a touch up. However, occasionally that does not do the job. I've found that Jim Klein's Homer Dangler stains solve all those issues. They color maple similar to aqua fortis and ferric nitrate and also penetrate areas with residual stain and finish. So I use them in conjunction with ferric nitrate to resolve areas that need touch up. In the course of finishing the Haines gun I discovered that a detail was missing in the barrel tang carving. I just missed it. The two photos below show the carving before and after I cut the details and touched up the stain and finish. My point in this post is that the finishing process for a gun is not always in discrete steps. I often have to go back and correct mistakes even during the finishing process. The first photso shows the barrel tang carving before correction.
    [​IMG]
    After correcting the details and adding some other details to the carving that increase depth and realism.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    dave
     
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  8. Nov 5, 2019 #108

    Kansas Kid

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    Looking good Dave.
     
  9. Nov 14, 2019 #109

    dave_person

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    Hi,

    I am back from my trip. I started engraving while the stock is drying. I am copying the engraving on the original rifle, flaws and all. I started with the patch box. First, I attach it to a slightly curved piece of wood with simple wood glue. Then I polish it with sandpaper dipped in water and eventually fine stones dipped in parafin oil. The paper is always backed with a flat piece of wood to avoid rounding edges.
    [​IMG]
    Next, I clean the surface with acetone and coat it with Tom White's "Transfer Magic" solution, which is mostly a thin lacquer.
    I scanned a photo of the patch box and brought it into PowerPoint on my computer. I scaled it up to fit the full sized patch box, traced the engraving with a pen to make it darker, and printed the image on inket jet transparency sheet. I made 2 copies and they were flipped to print mirror images of the original.
    [​IMG]
    Then the portion of the design I want to engrave is cut from the sheet and taped in place on the patch box. I then burnish it down hard with a hardwood dowel shaped like a dull pencil. The image transfers to the metal but in this case it was light. Using a pen, I simply darkened the lines on the metal.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Using a square chisel (graver) and chasing hammer, I cut the outline of the design. After that I went back and smoothed lines and curves, added details, shading, and relief. The result looks very similar to the original photo, warts and all.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Haines was a pretty good engraver but none of the old makers was up to modern standards. I rubbed some inletting black in the cuts to highlight them. Tomorrow, I'll go back and clean up a few rough spots and then move on the the other sections of the patch box.
    [​IMG]

    dave
     
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  10. Nov 14, 2019 #110

    Spikebuck

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    If only warts on a human were as good looking as that "warty" patchbox lid! ;):D
     
  11. Nov 14, 2019 #111

    dave_person

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    Hi,

    More engraving done. I am pouring over my photos to get the details as correct as I can but some things I have to intuit because they are obscure in my photos. I want to show another way to place a design on the metal. Because the scaling to the original is not perfect and the patch box itself is not a perfectly exact copy because the components have to fit the rifle, which has slightly different dimensions to fit the owner, scaling and transferring directly from the photos is not possible. It works for the simple rectangular patch box lid but not the front finial, in which the engraving has to integrate with the out line of the brass, including the piercings. The scaled photo image simply does not line up in all dimensions. So I have to use an alternative method to make the design on the metal. I coated the forward finial with Tom Whites "Transfer Magic" and then drew my design on the metal using pencil. I could also have rubbed my thumb across beeswax, and then stamped it on the metal. The beeswax can be drawn on. I don't use China White, white out, or the whiting stuff TOW sells because it is too thick and performs poorly compared with the methods I mentioned. The problem with sketched pencil lines is that they are imprecise and usually your cut line is much thinner than the pencil line. I get away with it because I have a lot of experience and use the pencil lines as general guides not precise ones. It is very hard to engrave well without a clear design drawn on the metal. You really need to have multiple tools for that in your skill box to address the many challenges and conditions you will encounter in gun work. Fortunately, for 18th and early 19th century American guns, you don't need to be a very accomplished engraver. On most originals, the engraving was pretty amateurish compared with work in Britain and Europe. However, Haines, J. P. Beck, Fordney, Fleeger, Kuntz, and a few others were pretty good. My objective was to produce "Haines" engraving, not my own, so I had to study his work and designs closely and copy them as best I could. The first photo shows the front patch box finial with a design drawn on it with pencil. The second image shows the patch box lid and finial almost complete. I still have to cut the deep relief and shading lines in the finial but you can see that it basic design is very close to the original. The oval on the lid will be filled with the owners initials in florid script. This is the fun stuff, much more challenging and satisfying than building a "plain Jane" gun.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The important take away is to have a variety of tools and methods available to you to meet many different objectives and conditions.

    dave
     
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  12. Nov 15, 2019 #112

    Brokennock

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    Those piercings in the finial make a a lot more sense now with the engraving design around them. I was wondering if they were supposed to look like something and I was missing it.
     
  13. Nov 15, 2019 #113

    dave_person

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    Hi,

    Patch box is done! It came out pretty well.
    [​IMG]
    The engraving was not very difficult and it shows little shading and depth. What relief or shading is applied was likely cut with a round bottomed or flat gravers. I used a round bottomed graver to create the highlights and shading. Despite that, Haines' engraving is competent but very 2 dimensional. There is no parallel or cross hatched shading like you see in bank note work and most European engraving. Here is an example from one of my contemporary styled (as opposed to traditional historical style) rifles.
    [​IMG]
    If you have a copy of John Schipper's engraving book, you will see a lot of that style but it is rarely if ever found on long rifles until the early 19th century. Even then only a few gun makers were skilled and knowledgeable engravers. Anyway, Haines' engraving is effective and my version of it looks right for the time period and maker.

    dave


    dave
     
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  14. Nov 16, 2019 #114

    Spikebuck

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    Looks good to me, Dave, and I'm proud to have my initials on it! :)
     
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  15. Nov 16, 2019 #115

    dave_person

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    Hi Mike,
    It is all coming together. I'll engrave the toe plate today and finish polishing the brass. Then I have to polish and tune the lock, make the ramrod, and tarnish the barrel. Maybe 2 more hand rubbings of finish should be enough and then a week to allow the finish to cure. It will be done by the end of the month and in your hands early next month. It really does look like the original in the photos.

    dave
     
  16. Nov 25, 2019 #116

    dave_person

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    Hi,
    Almost done. I still have to clean up the screws, polish the guard, tune and polish the lock, finish the barrel, and complete the stock finish. It really looks authentic.

    dave
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Nov 26, 2019 #117

    Spikebuck

    Spikebuck

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    Color turned out perfectly. I just love your finish on the guns you show. The curl in this stock is very close to the original. Beautiful work, Dave.
     
  18. Nov 26, 2019 #118

    Brokennock

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    Good heavens. I think you need to put a ding in it somewhere, like oriental rug makers, as only God is supposed to be allowed perfection.
     
  19. Nov 26, 2019 #119

    erhunter

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    You are truly an inspiration and a very talented craftsman. You're detailed work is unbelievable and even more, your patience is a lesson for us all! Thank you also for your "repair" tips on how to solve different problems one faces in building a flintlock. I am truly awe-struck by your talent!
     
  20. Nov 27, 2019 #120

    Speedo

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    That is truly a work of art great work
     

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