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Lock sparking

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This months Muzzle Blast has a good article on lock sparking and spring balance by Phil Spangenburger. He tests several English and contemporary locks that spark well and tries to establish a spring balance ratio between them that produces good sparks regularly. He's having trouble because good sparks can be produced from many variables of frizzen and main spring ratio.
I was particularly interested in the frizzen hop portion of this article and how much actual contact was being made between flint and frizzen face.
So far it looks like good main spring power is the prime ingredient in all of them. Rollers on the frizzen spring also seems to help but according to the article a good lock will spark with no frizzen spring at all if I read it right which would boil down to proper geometry I'm thinking.
He's going to have a part ll next month I'm anxious to read.
 
This months Muzzle Blast has a good article on lock sparking and spring balance by Phil Spangenburger. He tests several English and contemporary locks that spark well and tries to establish a spring balance ratio between them that produces good sparks regularly. He's having trouble because good sparks can be produced from many variables of frizzen and main spring ratio.
I was particularly interested in the frizzen hop portion of this article and how much actual contact was being made between flint and frizzen face.
So far it looks like good main spring power is the prime ingredient in all of them. Rollers on the frizzen spring also seems to help but according to the article a good lock will spark with no frizzen spring at all if I read it right which would boil down to proper geometry I'm thinking.
He's going to have a part ll next month I'm anxious to read.
I have a Hatfield and the frizzen spring just holds it closed. It’s almost not there. One of the fastest locks I’ve had
 
How does it do with a dull flint? One of the functions of the frizzen spring is to provide resistance to opening, A duller flint will need a bit more force to dig in to the frizzen and shave metal to make sparks.
 
This months Muzzle Blast has a good article on lock sparking and spring balance by Phil Spangenburger. He tests several English and contemporary locks that spark well and tries to establish a spring balance ratio between them that produces good sparks regularly. He's having trouble because good sparks can be produced from many variables of frizzen and main spring ratio.
I was particularly interested in the frizzen hop portion of this article and how much actual contact was being made between flint and frizzen face.
So far it looks like good main spring power is the prime ingredient in all of them. Rollers on the frizzen spring also seems to help but according to the article a good lock will spark with no frizzen spring at all if I read it right which would boil down to proper geometry I'm thinking.
He's going to have a part ll next month I'm anxious to read.
Sorry, I got my authors mixed up. The article in MB magazine was by Fred Stutzenberger not Phil Spangenburger.
 
Turns out the magic formula we are all looking for is elusive. The article would have been more helpful if they actually varied spring force in each lock. Springs can be “strengthened” by using a helper spring. A replacement mainspring and frizzen spring could be gradually weakened by grinding. To me, that would be a much better test than measuring spring forces on locks that spark well as-is.
 
How does it do with a dull flint? One of the functions of the frizzen spring is to provide resistance to opening, A duller flint will need a bit more force to dig in to the frizzen and shave metal to make sparks.
I’ve not had a problem so far, but then I don’t use dull flints. I knap the edge a bit, if they’re not sparking enough, or replace them. But it normally keeps shooting all day, with the same flint. Of course you get bad flints, but that’s my experience so far
 
Turns out the magic formula we are all looking for is elusive. The article would have been more helpful if they actually varied spring force in each lock. Springs can be “strengthened” by using a helper spring. A replacement mainspring and frizzen spring could be gradually weakened by grinding. To me, that would be a much better test than measuring spring forces on locks that spark well as-is.
I can see your point Rich but I like Fred would be hard pressed to "frinkle" with a Manton that is operating perfectly!
I'm anxious to see what he follows up with next month. Perhaps he will explore some of your questions.
I've been wondering about the roller on the frizzen spring thing being of any real value. It sure is a plus on revolver hammer springs.
It looks to me like main spring tension and cock to frizzen geometry is the focal point ! My initial guess is that the arch of the cock fall and the curve of the frizzen face ( match or possibly miss match) are key.
I'm going to do some testing of the frizzen bounce/hop location on a couple of my locks with some sharpy ink.
 
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Flint edge, hardness and size induce other variables into an already difficult equation to solve. I could not get an L&R classic to spark with any sized English grey, bevel up, down, short, long...didn't matter, just would not get it done. I put in a size 6 (from TOW) French amber and it totally changed character...sparks that dance in the pan. The Kibler lock on my colonial is on the same flint that came on it and sparks like crazy. Each has it's own needs and beckons to it's operator to figure it out.

It's a sorcerer's art and I am but a rank apprentice!
 
My first flinter was a production gun, on the 8th shot the frizzen went down range.
The frizzen spring was uncut and at about 320lbs, which is about 300 lbs too much.
My second flinter has a Chambers Late Ketland on it. It has never failed in almost 20 years of use.
 
Flint edge, hardness and size induce other variables into an already difficult equation to solve. I could not get an L&R classic to spark with any sized English grey, bevel up, down, short, long...didn't matter, just would not get it done. I put in a size 6 (from TOW) French amber and it totally changed character...sparks that dance in the pan. The Kibler lock on my colonial is on the same flint that came on it and sparks like crazy. Each has it's own needs and beckons to it's operator to figure it out.

It's a sorcerer's art and I am but a rank apprentice!
When match shooting I try to touch up the edge with a pointed copper pressure flake tool after every relay as consistent spark production, thus ignition, is key to accuracy with a flint gun.
With this tool one can take off flakes small enough to be considered dust which keeps the edge both sharp and strong. They don't cause cracks and knock off corners as does the various percussion tools and notch tools.
 
When match shooting I try to touch up the edge with a pointed copper pressure flake tool after every relay as consistent spark production, thus ignition, is key to accuracy with a flint gun.
With this tool one can take off flakes small enough to be considered dust which keeps the edge both sharp and strong. They don't cause cracks and knock off corners as does the various percussion tools and notch tools.
I mostly use a copper rod mounted in a wooden handle.
 
Besides geometry and spring balance, the common denominator with my most reliable, fast lock time, longest flint life, and plenty of spark are my locks that have a powerful main spring(cock). Required cocking force is noticeably heavier then my other locks. I was quite surprised with my Kibler Colonial lock which has the heaviest spring/cocking pressure of all my locks. Flint life, ignition, and sparking quality is superb. Two frames approximately 40 milliseconds apart. About 20 shots on an un-knapped flint. No load or priming powder in pan. I have a Dale Johnson Siler that has similar characteristics.
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I can see your point Rich but I like Fred would be hard pressed to "frinkle" with a Manton that is operating perfectly!
I'm anxious to see what he follows up with next month. Perhaps he will explore some of your questions.
I've been wondering about the roller on the frizzen spring thing being of any real value. It sure is a plus on revolver hammer springs.
It looks to me like main spring tension and cock to frizzen geometry is the focal point ! My initial guess is that the arch of the cock fall and the curve of the frizzen face ( match or possibly miss match) are key.
I'm going to do some testing of the frizzen bounce/hop location on a couple of my locks with some sharpy ink.
Just got the new MB magazine and it turns out Fred and Larry Pletcher discovered that the Roller on the frizzen (in the one lock tested) actually slowed the ignition time. Looks like the roller on a frizzen idea is another solution in search of a problem !
They also found that lightening the frizzen spring by 30 percent on the same lock also slowed ignition time.
Looking forward to next months 3rd article on stuff they discovered that does make a positive difference. I'll post it for those who don't get MB magazine which I highly recommend for all as reference material !
 
Just got the new MB magazine and it turns out Fred and Larry Pletcher discovered that the Roller on the frizzen (in the one lock tested) actually slowed the ignition time. Looks like the roller on a frizzen idea is another solution in search of a problem !
They also found that lightening the frizzen spring by 30 percent on the same lock also slowed ignition time.
Looking forward to next months 3rd article on stuff they discovered that does make a positive difference. I'll post it for those who don't get MB magazine which I highly recommend for all as reference material !
I hope Fred covers shoeing Frizzen faces next month as I have never attempted this not having a need as of yet. It seems to me that getting the same geometry back with a shoe liner soldered on to the face of a dressed out (gouges) frizzen face might be problematic. The shoe could not be very thick to match the original frizzen thickness and would have to be carefully soldered so as not to anneal the shoe face to a greater softness than is needed for good spark production.
Could be I'm over thinking this having not done it personally but am curious as to how well it works in restoring a lock to it's original efficiency.
 
I've had occasional flints that "self sharpen" until not enough's left for the jaws to hold them. But normally I knapp them in the lock with a screw driver/copper hammer tool I made. All springs in the locks I own are left full power. As long as the flint contacts the frizzen at a sharp angle flint wear is minimal. Before I learned that particular rule I put a few gouges on the frizzen due to the flint hitting at a too shallow angle. Frizzens can be smoothed up very well with sandpaper.

 
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