Is Ebony a good or bad idea for YOU?

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

Larry (Omaha)

45 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
915
Reaction score
446
I am in the process of making a Early Lancaster flint rifle. I like a thumb area escutcheon or inay. I have used steel, and brass, for other rifles, but never Ebony. I know it is my rifle and can do what I want. My question: Would you like Ebony for a thumb inlay or not? If you do not like anything there at all, your answer is not what I am looking for.
Thanks in advance
Flintlocklar 🇺🇲
 

Loyalist Dave

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
Messages
9,029
Reaction score
1,723
Location
People's Republic of Maryland
Well for me first I'd have to like the color contrast, and then it would be a set of questions for anything I'd be making, be they firearms, or knife handles, or furniture, & etc....

The first would be..., is it known that there were inlays using X material done? If that's unknown, the next question would be..., Was the material for X inlay even available? IF either is a yes, then the final question would be..., Was there an old technique that would make it durable for what I want to do with the finished piece, even if I use a modern technique instead.

What that last question means is that did they have a glue or other manner of securing the inlay into the project, that would last during whatever use the object was put to..., even if I used something like modern epoxy to get the same result? ;)

There was a lot of interesting woodworking done in the 18th century and after, and a lot of international trade because the age of sail had existed for a long period of time.

So for example, your idea of Ebony is probably a much better notion, than would be the use of Tibetan, Black Rose, Heartwood (if such a wood even exists). A little research and one often finds that things like "exotic wood", or paint pigments, or cloth dye, were actually imported into Europe and Colonial America from very distant origins.

An example of this is madder root for red dye. The brickish/orange of the enlisted British soldier's coat had a specific red, which came from Madder root, while the officer's coats were done in wool that was much more scarlet, from cochineal dye. Madder comes from places like Afghanistan, and Cochineal comes from insects in South America. Madder is a lot cheaper, hence the use for the enlisted men's coats...

LD
 

Phil Coffins

40 Cal.
Joined
Dec 7, 2017
Messages
650
Reaction score
541
Location
Colorado
An wrist escutcheon often serves as a place to screw the trigger bar into so metal was used.
A Winchester would carry ebony well not a early long rifle. Just my taste. Much like dayglow sights on a in-line rather then a Hawken.
 

Larry (Omaha)

45 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
915
Reaction score
446
. Much like dayglow sights on a in-line rather then a Hawken.

Wow! Didn't think it would be that out of ballpark. I am not a real picky HC builder, although I want to be in the ballpark of the old timers. I have Ivory on my full stock Hawken, but it is a no no anymore.
I like the thought of bone mentioned by Hawk, and will give that some thought
Flintlocklar 🇺🇲
 

longcruise

70 Cal.
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
5,263
Reaction score
337
Mother of pearl? If you can get ahold of some oyster shells you could probably grind it out.
 

Tom A Hawk

45 Cal.
MLF Vendor
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Messages
958
Reaction score
728
Location
Finger Lakes Region - NYS
Wow! Didn't think it would be that out of ballpark. I am not a real picky HC builder, although I want to be in the ballpark of the old timers. I have Ivory on my full stock Hawken, but it is a no no anymore.
I like the thought of bone mentioned by Hawk, and will give that some thought
Flintlocklar 🇺🇲
Depending on your state of residence you can obtain mammoth ivory and other interesting inlay choices from Fossil Mammoth Ivory Scales
 

Cruzatte

50 Cal.
Joined
May 12, 2005
Messages
1,535
Reaction score
254
Location
Lawrence, KS
Ebony, although quite a heavy wood is quite brittle and prone to cracking. At least so instrument makers tell me. Although used for instrument finger boards (guitars, violins, banjos etc.) it's a poor choice for clarinets, and flutes. Knowing this, I'd hesitate to use it on an American long rifle.
 

Flinty Scot

36 Cl.
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
83
Reaction score
30
Gather the info & opinions, but on your gun, please yourself. If it doesn't work out, you now have several plan B's.
 

Larry (Omaha)

45 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
915
Reaction score
446
Have you found any historical guns that used it?
I am not aware of any. I am not a strict HC person, although I want to stay in the ballpark. The fine replies I have already received, tell me I do not want Ebony.
It was just my brain passing gas, and evidently not a good one. I will say however, it did relieve some of the pressure up there. (LOL)
Flintlocklar 🇺🇲
 

Zonie

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
MLF Supporter
Joined
Oct 4, 2003
Messages
30,539
Reaction score
3,087
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Someone is selling ancient mammoth ivory on the forum in the Classified section.
Ivory was very popular back in the day and I'm sure a thumb sized piece might be available.

I haven't worked with real ivory so I don't have any idea about how easy or hard it is to work into a inlay.
 
Top