Rehardening my frizzen

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TheTyler7011

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Hello all, I have a genuine India pattern Brown Bess I will be parting with. I did a lot of work to the lock and now it functions great. Only problem is it doesn’t spark. At all. I need help finding the culprit.

My flint is sharp and my springs are good. In my opinion it has to either be the angle
of the flint (not properly hitting the frizzen) or the frizzen face needs to be tampered with. It’s probably a little of both. The face feels very smooth with my finger. Is that how it’s supposed to be? My repro has a much rougher feel and it works great.

I have a picture of the musket frizzen face as well as flint position at full and half cock. Thanks for your input!

I will be selling this and I wouldn’t feel right advertising the lock as functioning if it puts off zero sparks.


Tyler
 

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M. De Land

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Along with the good advice already given, make sure the flint face is flat to the frizzen face. Learn to pressure flake your flint edge to keep it sharp. It only takes a few minutes and will prolong both the life of your flints and frizzen. In a match I touch mine up after every relay to keep the spark generation consistent which allows best accuracy potential.
 

Eddie2002

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Hardening a frizzen is pretty easy just heat it till it glows red and a magnet doesn't stick to it then quench it in a light oil. I use transmission fluid to quench with. I've had a few frizzens that were made out of low carbon steel and wouldn't spark no matter what I tried. Did the lock ever spark or was no spark a problem from before.
 

TheTyler7011

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Hardening a frizzen is pretty easy just heat it till it glows red and a magnet doesn't stick to it then quench it in a light oil. I use transmission fluid to quench with. I've had a few frizzens that were made out of low carbon steel and wouldn't spark no matter what I tried. Did the lock ever spark or was no spark a problem from before.
I have not fire the musket before, it wasnt even functioning when i got it. Had to reshape/grind the frizzen toe and spring. But currently the problem is just the flint. I will know for sure when i get a good sharp flint. How do i know if the frizzen needs to be rehardened from a texture standpoint? The face is very smooth

Also, do you know if rehardening the frizzen will change the patina? Just curious as thats something very important to consider on a genuine piece.
 

M. De Land

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Heat alone will not harden a frizzen face. You need to infuse carbon into the surface and to do that you need something like Kasenite or charcoal powder. Also it is easy to bend the frizzen arm when red hot so it needs to be treated carefully and would not hurt to have it braced just as we do with case coloring jobs.
In practice the part is heated to cherry red, rolled in the powder until the part is completely encased then heated to bright red and quenched in clean water. It is important when using a torch for the heat source to keep the part in the flame envelope until immersed in the quench which will keep it from oxidizing. It doesn't hurt to repeat the process a time or two to get the carbon in as deep as possible.
 

Eddie2002

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Rehardening a frizzen will change the patina. The quenching will turn the metal black at least it has with anything I've oil quenched like springs, frizzens and knife blades. De land is right about needing carbon in the metal for the hardening to work and produce sparks. Quenching low carbon steel is pretty much a waste of time unless you can infuse some carbon into it. Low carbon steel will be gouged by the flint and have deep groves dug into it after just one or two strikes of the flint.
Not sure rehardening the frizzen is the way to go if you want to keep the original patina, as said before in earlier posts try different flints with different strike angles.
 
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rich pierce

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Why are you concerned with an original gun’s sparking? If original and not converted from percussion we can assume the frizzen is hard enough. It was a military gun and needed to function.
 
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TheTyler7011

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Why are you concerned with an original gun’s sparking? If original and not converted from percussion we can assume the frizzen is hard enough. It was a military gun and needed to function.
Don’t frizzen’s go bad over time or no?
 

Pukka Bundook

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The frizzen in question looks like a modern replacement to me, especially if you had to grind the toe to fit.
Looks too smooth and such to be original.
It Is possible some one sanded it smooth on a belt sander, removing all the hard layer, then it will not spark.

Age won't make a frizzen "go bad", but they Can wear through the hardened layer in places, and then break flints as they dig in and spark poorly.
You Do need a good flint though, the rounded one in the photos has had it.
One way to ensure good sparks, is to solder (low temp) a piece of old high-carbon hand-say blade to the frizzen face.
A mate back home in the UK does that to worn originals, and does extremely well in National and International competition, to the point of taking gold. He has also glued the fitted face in place with Araldite, and never had a problem.

Best,
Richard.
 

Erwan

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He has also glued the fitted face in place with Araldite, and never had a problem.
I did this work on a frizzen with a tempered sheet steel blade hard tempered and reheated pale blue. It was also on an original weapon (Charleville 1777), this blade was glued with Araldite and it has always held and worked, it is still working with the new owner. The great advantage is that the original weapon is in no way altered and the sole of the frizzen can be removed with a little heat and acetone...

I also think that this flint is good to throw or sharpen (sharpening I do not believe)... 🤢
 
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TheTyler7011

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The frizzen in question looks like a modern replacement to me, especially if you had to grind the toe to fit.
Looks too smooth and such to be original.
It Is possible some one sanded it smooth on a belt sander, removing all the hard layer, then it will not spark.

Age won't make a frizzen "go bad", but they Can wear through the hardened layer in places, and then break flints as they dig in and spark poorly.
You Do need a good flint though, the rounded one in the photos has had it.
One way to ensure good sparks, is to solder (low temp) a piece of old high-carbon hand-say blade to the frizzen face.
A mate back home in the UK does that to worn originals, and does extremely well in National and International competition, to the point of taking gold. He has also glued the fitted face in place with Araldite, and never had a problem.

Best,
Richard.
Thanks for the info. The frizzen is not a replacement, theirs no way. I only had to grind the toe to make everything function smoothly again. The spring was really pitted and it was creating a lot of friction.

the face of the frizzen seems really smooth. I’m trying to get it to spark but I’m not having luck. The lock functions well so that’s the main thing.
 

M. De Land

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You might want to try cross hatching the frizzen face with some 60 grit belt sander emery to see if there is any spark generation potential in the present steel.
 

toot

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I agree with Pukka Bundook,the frizzen looks to be a replacement. it seems to have no wear to it.
 

TheTyler7011

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I agree with Pukka Bundook,the frizzen looks to be a replacement. it seems to have no wear to it.
I feel like it just has a layer of patina or something on it. I am scraping that stuff off each time a flint hits it.
 
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