Use of Tow wadding in smoothbore. Tips sought.

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

Sartana

32 Cal
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
23
Reaction score
12
New to flinktlocks and I have a question about Tow. I would like to use it as my wadding in my smoothbore as it seems Colonial period correct but I understand that it is of course, flammable. So, what do folks use to decrease the flammable aspect of Tow, if anything? I have seen mention of oiling it with 'mink tallow'. Thoughts?
 

Brokennock

69 Cal.
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
3,170
Reaction score
1,860
Location
North Central Connecticut
I just use my usual blend of oil (either olive or coconut) and beeswax, sometimes with a little Murphy's Oil Soap mixed in, that I use for living patches and felt wads.
 

Carbon 6

Cannon
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
7,325
Reaction score
3,906
So, what do folks use to decrease the flammable aspect of Tow
This is how I do it.
Grab a wad of tow and pinch it up in your fingers, then dag it across your tin of lube, (I use beeswax and olive oil mix) then place it in the palm of your hand and roll the wad into a ball (both hands together rotating in a circular motion) that will fit down the bore. It doesn't take much lube, this will make it resistant to ignition when fired, and helps keep powder fouling soft.

Be smart though, still practice good fire safety, Especially in dry regions. Police your spent tow balls.
 

Notchy Bob

32 Cal.
Joined
Apr 6, 2014
Messages
913
Reaction score
1,150
Location
Florida
Some tow, I have discovered, is treated with a fire retardant. However, many of the vendors don't know if their tow has been treated or not.

I bought some tow from Smiling Fox a number of years ago, specifically to try as tinder with a new flint and steel. I couldn't get a fire going with it to save my life, but starting a fire with the same flint and steel, and char from the same batch, was no problem with some of the other tinders I used. I finally tried just lighting that tow with a match, to see what would happen. I found it would smolder and disintegrate, but would not flame. I researched it some, and discovered the issue of fire retardant.

You could ask the vendor if his/her tow has been treated, but chances are they won't know. I think your best advice, if you want to use tow, would be to follow the excellent recommendations provided by Brokennock and Carbon 6, even if your tow has been treated with a fire retardant. That little bit of extra lube will probably help keep your fouling soft. I might also suggest you look up the thread on wads started recently by Smokey Plainsman. I had no idea that bore-sized cut wads had been in use for so long... Since the mid 18th century! Spence 10 provided documentation of this. Also, the "Bevel Brothers" wrote an article about testing various wad materials in the June 2020 issue of Muzzle Blasts. I don't know how round balls would be affected, but with shot loads, they found there was a jaw-dropping loss of velocity and pattern density when shooting wadding of grass fiber as compared to card wads. I would expect similar results with tow, authenticity notwithstanding.

It's always good to experiment, provided you keep safety foremost.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 

tenngun

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
14,916
Reaction score
6,320
Location
Republic mo
Turkey foot traders has it in good quality. Cut off a bout a bore sized and spoon a little grease on to it like lard or mink oil. Roll it between your palms.
 

mountainman_53223

32 Cal
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
24
Reaction score
24
I've used unwashed wool. It works really well and has the natural lanolin that both lubes and cleans.
 

jwberns

32 Cal
MLF Supporter
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
43
Reaction score
19
Location
Houston, Tx.
Ive never used it, would like to find a source for some to try.
If it is flammable then oiling it doesn't sound like it would lessen the fire hazard.
Eterry.....Look up The Woolery online for flax tow. That's where I get mine and use it for cleaning my barrels on my caplocks and it can be washed out and reused. I use it with a tow worm, brother.
 

TreeMan

40 Cal
MLF Supporter
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
412
Reaction score
495
Location
Bastian Virginia
Buy a bag of jute fiber Moss on Amazon. The bags are HUGE. It’s all I use and I’ve never seen it smolder.
AAYU Brand Jute Fiber Moss | Premium Natural Fiber | 500 Grams or 17.6 Ounces | Natural Product, Eco-Friendly | Excellent Fiber Material | No Artificial Color | Pet Bed and Bird Nest Amazon.com: AAYU Brand Jute Fiber Moss | Premium Natural Fiber | 500 Grams or 17.6 Ounces | Natural Product, Eco-Friendly | Excellent Fiber Material | No Artificial Color | Pet Bed and Bird Nest: Garden & Outdoor
 

Flinty Scot

40 Cal
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
362
Reaction score
169
I use a tow worm but also have good luck with a wad of tow on a braided line. Push it down w/ the ramrod; draw it out; wadd/roll it up; & tuck it in my bag. Takes no hardly any space & I don't have to fit the worm to clean - even between shots,
 

Latest posts

Top