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My Modified Build of a Traditions Kentucky Rifle kit

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JB67

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I finally finished my Traditions kit. I made some major modifications to it, wanting something unique that wouldn't look kit-built. I'll start with the finished product, my own comments will have more details.

I bought this kit back on June 13 and have spent many hours on it. All the inlays are inletted entirely by hand, no Dremel. I even made the eagle and stars. I also made the end cap, wear plate, and entry pipe. It follows no particular school, but I think it looks pretty good for a modified kit.
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Eaglestars.jpg
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JB67

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This was a good test of patience, and skill. There was a fair amount of inletting to be done to get things to look right.
Barrelfactoryfit.jpg
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Buttfactoryfit.jpg

Also, I had seen pictures of wrists with carvings, so I came up with a pattern that would fit my abilities.
Wristsketch.jpg

I knew it would need additional thinning in the wrist, so I adjusted the profile accordingly, bringing it down to meet up with the trigger guard.
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JB67

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Another detail is the entry pipe. These often have an extension that helps protect the underside of the forearm, sometimes extending into a wearplate. So I made a pipe and plate, using a solid brass kickplate from the hardware store (and for the eagle/stars seen elsewhere. ) Inletting the pipe was a little challenging because of the compound curves involved. The plate was made oversized and trimmed to fit afterwards to ensure fit.
Entrypipe.jpg
Wearplate.jpg
 

JB67

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The Traditions kit comes with a chunky endcap. Because I glued the 2 stock pieces together, it shortened the overall length just enough that the holes didn't line up. A new cap was made from the brass kickplate sheet, and the end profile lightened up.
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JB67

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The capbox required a fair amount of inletting to get it to fit and function, all done by hand with knives and small gouges. I also had to file down the sides to meet the stock profile. I wasn't sure how deep to go, so I went just enough to hold caps but still be able to pick them out.
Capboxinletting.jpg
Buttright.jpg
 

JB67

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Every inlay is held in by a nail. No glue or epoxy. A hole is drilled, then countersunk (I did use a Dremel for that.) The nails are brass #18 brads, given a matching countersink head. To do tgat, I drilled a hole in a steel plate, countersunk the hole, then peened the brad into it so the hrad would take the countersink profile.

The brads were cut to about 3/8" long and driven into pilot holes. The excess gets filed down, then sanded. When done right, it should virtually disappear. The inlay then gets filed down where needed to match the wood profile. On that eagle alone there are 5 brads holding it in.
Invisinails.jpg
 

JB67

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What's that eagle about? It's a nod to the Republic of Madawaska, a "territory" in the dispute over the border between Maine and Canada in the early 1800s that led to the Aroostook War. The flag was an eagle with 6 stars. These were all handmade by me (using a Dremel and files.) Each star was a little different and individually inletted to fit, meaning I had to keep careful track of what went where and how.
Eaglestars.jpg
 

JB67

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One other thing I did was to sand the barrel with 220 grit paper and treat it with naval jelly. It has a nice gray finish now.

That about sums it up. Stain is Feibrings leather dye, roughly 4 parts saddle tan and one part dark brown. Watco Danish Oil was then applied until the desired finish was reached. During the final sanding (done after the inlays were mounted), the dust filled in around the inlays a bit, helping improve their final look.

Here it is again, with my shooting pouch and horn, along with a Revolutionary War style horn I bought from a local club member.
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hawkeye2

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Quite impressive. I believe you are ready to move on to one of the kits from TOW or one of the ofther dealers.
 

Phil Coffins

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Dandy work! You did well thinking outside the box. Not just screwing a kit together but adding to the basic concept of the kit.
 
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The inlays around the patch box don't work for me but fhe stars over the eagle are first class. They look star-like with out being as difficult to inlay as 5, 6 or seven pointers of a similar size. Did you try to match the to a gouge of a specific curve?
 

JB67

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The inlays around the patch box don't work for me but fhe stars over the eagle are first class. They look star-like with out being as difficult to inlay as 5, 6 or seven pointers of a similar size. Did you try to match the to a gouge of a specific curve?
Thanks! I know the capbox area is a little busy, I had found inspitation in this example:
Rifle,-Tiger-Maple-Stock,-Inlaid_stock-2_935-20.jpg


For those stars, I traced them, then cut the wood with a hobby knife. I used a very small curved gouge to remove material from near the center to the edge, and the corner of the gouge to clean up the edge some. I also cut a flat chisel down to about 1/8" wide tip for cleaning up corners. The points of the stsrs were dug out with a knife tip.

This is similar to the gouge set I have. The flat chisel tips also work as scrapers for smoothing the bottoms of the inlay areas.
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One thing I found was #11 hobby knife blades are not good for this type of work as the tips break too easily. A truncated tip that is ground down and sharpened on the back edge like a clip point holds up better and is more versatile. It's a little blurry, but here's a pic to show how I reworked the tip. You can see a bit of an edge on the backside of the tip.
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JB67

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Excellent. I have seen and handled rifles from master builders, sell them for a thousand dollars that dont look near that good.
Fine job.
I am humbled. I don't deserve that, there are flaws that don't show in the pictures. But thank you very much!
 

8 BORE

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The inlays around the patch box don't work for me but fhe stars over the eagle are first class. They look star-like with out being as difficult to inlay as 5, 6 or seven pointers of a similar size. Did you try to match the to a gouge of a specific curve?
The inlays around the patch box were not put there for you.
SO THERE
 

Larry (Omaha)

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The inlays around the patch box were not put there for you.
SO THERE
With all due respect to your post, I would bet that JB took took Kansas V as both opinion and compliment. When a feller struts his stuff, he naturally likes to hear Atta Boys, but should be open minded to someone else's thoughts. Other people's thoughts often wake our minds to bigger and better ideas.
JB You took a simple kit to the next level, good job!
Flintlocklar
 

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