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New England Rifle from a Traditions kit

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JB67

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Having built a Kentucky Rifle kit in percussion, I decided to build a flinter. I emulared (not copied) the style common to rifles from Massachusetts gunsmiths in the early 1800s. Key details are faceted ramrod pipes, facets and reeding on the buttplate return, the lock bolt washers, a hidden patch box release, and silver wire inlay. This is the results of my efforts, an I hope it inspires others to think outside of the (kit) box.

This was my first attempt at wire inlay and a spring release patch box cover. I didn't engrave anything as I don't have that skillset yet and this was not the time to botch something up!

Stain is leather dye, sealed with Watco Danish Oil.

Some more details will be provided in additional comments, including examples of originals I used for inspiration.
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JB67

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Some of the pictures of period details I gleaned off of the internet in my research.
 

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JB67

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I really wanted to incorporate a cheek rest. They are a standard feature on flinters. As seen above, some weren't very pronounced. Luckily, I saw if I narrowed the buttplate and shifted it as far right as possible, I could gain just enough extra stock width to accomplish one.

Needless to say, this also required extensive work with a rasp and files to shape everything, but was so worth it.
 

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JB67

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The patch box cover is retained by a small spring made from a hacksaw blade. The release button is a 1/8" steel wire press fit in a button made from a brass rod. The button has a flange so it stays in the toe plate, while the wire is just long enough to reach the spring.
 

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JB67

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The shield was cut down from a teardrop shape. These inlays are held with brass brads. Period examples from this era and region often show nail or screw heads, so I felt comfortable doing the same.

The wire inlays are my first time doing such a thing. I cut the channel with a rounded and sharpened X-Acto tip, "stabbing" the channel along lines I traced free hand in pencil. The nickel silver wire was filed flush after being seated.
 

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JB67

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All in all, this was an enjoyable challenge. It took a lot of work filing and reshaping the brass hardware wood, and quite a bit of research and planning. But I think it was worthwhile, and not too shabby for a kitchen table gunsmith.
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TGJaeger

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JB67,
Very nicely done!! Nice clean lines and great attention to detail. The only problem with finishing a gun is that the voices in your head start clamoring for another...and then they start arguing over which one.
 

JB67

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JB67,
Very nicely done!! Nice clean lines and great attention to detail. The only problem with finishing a gun is that the voices in your head start clamoring for another...and then they start arguing over which one.
Thank you! I studied quite a few photos to get the look. Another thing I did was narrow the comb and sharpen up the nose. Small details add up.

As for my next project, I'm thinking, ok, now I need a bag, a horn, tools, flint wallet...:ghostly:
 

dave_person

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Hi,
You did well with a what you had to work with. Are you up for constructive comments?

dave
 

JB67

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Hi,
You did well with a what you had to work with. Are you up for constructive comments?

dave
Always. I post for several reasons: to show what can be done, to inspire others (hopefully), and to learn as well. I know it's not perfect, but a chef is only as good as his ingredients (and experience, or lack of...)
 

leverfred

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I think you did a fine job! Looks very nice!
 

dave_person

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Hi,
Mass produced kits are always a challenge to upgrade to something that is somewhat historically accurate. You did a fine job in that respect. Your wire scrolls need to be smoothed. I don't know what you used to cut the incised lines but I use a series of tiny flat chisels made from hack saw blades. My smallest is 1/16" wide. If you looked at the cutting edges straight on you would see that the cross section of the blade looks like a football with the ends rounded. The rounded ends allow you to cut tight scrolls without the line having a jagged step-like appearance. Smooth incised lines make for smooth wire scrolls. Make yourself a little nudge tool. Mine is made from a tiny flat screw driver. I ground the tip into a curve and use it to smooth the scrolls after the wire is tapped in place but before I file it flush with the wood. Just use the round end to push the curves and smooth them. Then wet the wood to lock the wire and file flush. It helps to use wire ribbon that is dead soft.
You did a nice job on the cheek piece but the crease at the end of the comb is wrong. You want a tight radius curve not a hard line or crease. You also appear to have cut the molding around the lock and side panel with a small gouge or file it all the way with a rat-tailed file. Don't do that. The tight radius cove is only appropriate at the front and sometimes the very rear of the panels. Look at the photos of the original you provided that shows this clearly. I urge you not to polish the brass with a buffing wheel. It dishes out the screw holes and does not look right. Polish the brass with stones and paraffin oil, and burnish with steel wool or a steel burnisher. The finish on the stock is quite dull. The low sheen may be your preference but it is not similar to how the originals looked. The "in the wood" oil finish is largely a 20th century look. The originals were mostly finished with some sort of oil varnish mix that usually produced a satin or glossier sheen. Again you did a nice job and my comments are meant to help you on the next project.

dave
 

JB67

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Hi,
Mass produced kits are always a challenge to upgrade to something that is somewhat historically accurate. You did a fine job in that respect. Your wire scrolls need to be smoothed. I don't know what you used to cut the incised lines but I use a series of tiny flat chisels made from hack saw blades. My smallest is 1/16" wide. If you looked at the cutting edges straight on you would see that the cross section of the blade looks like a football with the ends rounded. The rounded ends allow you to cut tight scrolls without the line having a jagged step-like appearance. Smooth incised lines make for smooth wire scrolls. Make yourself a little nudge tool. Mine is made from a tiny flat screw driver. I ground the tip into a curve and use it to smooth the scrolls after the wire is tapped in place but before I file it flush with the wood. Just use the round end to push the curves and smooth them. Then wet the wood to lock the wire and file flush. It helps to use wire ribbon that is dead soft.
You did a nice job on the cheek piece but the crease at the end of the comb is wrong. You want a tight radius curve not a hard line or crease. You also appear to have cut the molding around the lock and side panel with a small gouge or file it all the way with a rat-tailed file. Don't do that. The tight radius cove is only appropriate at the front and sometimes the very rear of the panels. Look at the photos of the original you provided that shows this clearly. I urge you not to polish the brass with a buffing wheel. It dishes out the screw holes and does not look right. Polish the brass with stones and paraffin oil, and burnish with steel wool or a steel burnisher. The finish on the stock is quite dull. The low sheen may be your preference but it is not similar to how the originals looked. The "in the wood" oil finish is largely a 20th century look. The originals were mostly finished with some sort of oil varnish mix that usually produced a satin or glossier sheen. Again you did a nice job and my comments are meant to help you on the next project.

dave
Thanks for the input. I see how rough the wire looks in the pictures. I didn't notice that in real life. :eek:

Thanks for the tip on polishing the brass. As for the comb and sides, I guess i didn't study pictures enough, and I haven't had the pleasure of examining the real thing much.

As for the sheen, I'm considering using Howard's Feed n Wax. I want to let the oil cure a while longer, though, before I do. I don't want it super glossy, but a satin finish would be nice.

Thank you very much for what I consider to be a very constructive critique.
 

fred45

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I would like to see a pic of the junction on the fore end where the 2 piece stock come together. Is there not a brass shim in there usually? I have a chance to get an old version of that rifle and want the brass out of there too.
 

JB67

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I would like to see a pic of the junction on the fore end where the 2 piece stock come together. Is there not a brass shim in there usually? I have a chance to get an old version of that rifle and want the brass out of there too.
I did not use the shim. I replaced the steel pins with tighter dowels. The ramrod channel has a 1/2" dia hose coupling in it. The coupling's internal diameter was large enough for the ramrod to fit. I had to grind the barbs down for the coupling to fit in the channel. Everything is then epoxied together..I filed down the epoxy in the seam and filled with Weldwood Plastic Wood before sanding everything.

If you don't use the brass shim or add something equivalentthickness, the end will be a bit short and the factory endcap will need rework for the screws to line up, unless you fabricate a new one.1586526665620293252200.jpg
 

erhunter

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Very nice job! I really like the patch box release and the inlays. Did you build this from scratch? Nice looking flinter.
 

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