Building an Alexander Henry Target Rifle from a Rod England Kit

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jims

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I did not know there were any chestnut trees around anymore, probably thinking American Chestnut. Other types I guess.
 

Curtis

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Thanks Curtis for the case and gun pics. Nice case. Yes my chestnut was growing in my yard and was spit ready to fall on my house, had to take it out . Used it in honor of my father ,for that was his favorite tree. Glad you cleared that up for Rod.
Wildcat2, I second what Cent540 said, you should put a note of some kind with the rifle box that tells the history of the tree it came from!

Bruce, Wyoming Armory does indeed do beautiful color case work. The colors of their work may be too modern for a period style gun, in the old days they were done at a lower temp and had fewer reds and orange colors. Of course it is always possible they would be willing to do the period colors....

Curtis
 

Curtis

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This is a follow-up on the post I made yesterday... I spoke on the phone with Rod this evening about some concerns that had been voiced pertaining to color casing his lock plates, and he sent me the email quoted below. I thought he did a wonderfully informational job describing the evolution of, and future plans for his lock plate materials in the note, and he asked if I could share it here. It also shows how concerned Rod is about customer satisfaction. Here is what he wrote:

"Curtis, if I may add to the lock plate conversation. In the past lock plates have been made in my shop with 0-1, A-2, hot roll, 8620, 4140, and some where just were soft steel. Don't know how many got cased, but no one has complained of color case hardening issues. When I decided to go with a cnc machined plate some research found that some modern gun companies were using 4140. Being a tool maker that was right down my alley. So I've had two runs with the 4140. These were plates sent out to gunsmiths, builders and companies that do color case hardening for trials.

Tom Snyder is one of those a plate was sent to.

The color of his casing was very original looking and it was partially due to a lower temperature which is another benefit. I have always had great respect for Tom and his work. It took awhile , but Tom not only cased the plate but did much research in which I appreciate greatly on the matter. So, the next run on plates will be done with 8620 that also has properties that produce good colors.

As for the plates done in 4140 out there. As stated before there is proof it can be done but also proof it can warp. I am sure my 4140 plate is not the only plate that has warped in the gun world. Just to be on the safe side I will be in contact with all that have acquired locks & kits to see if they have had any issue with warping or are anticipating color casing.

Thank you Curtis for this chance to bring up issues and resolve them. In the little time I get to read your blog there seems to be many others bringing out great info on these British rifle. Thank you also Tom Snyder for the time you put in on this project.

Respectfully R. England"


Thanks for looking! Curtis
 
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wmdbowman

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I Have enjoyed the photo work of a fine English gun being built mostly by the old school way. The wood to metal fit looks very good in the pictures.
I see no line run overs in the checkering. If the wood will take it the checkering might have been closer.
A very fancy gun with the right blood lines
My Compliments. I have done this a number of times but with no kits, just a flat piece of fine wood, Maple, cherry or walnut depending on the gun.
Can't get a false muzzle out of my mind for this one.
Get it shooting!

Liked your bow saw also.
 

wmdbowman

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Keep those gravers sharp. Took me a while to learn how to properly sharpen one.
Always wanted a 2 or 3 line engraver tool to chase but never could find one for sale. Back then I made some of my tools but not my gravers.
The stippeling on your escutcheons really set them off with the back shadow.
Have you ever done any wire inlay?
 

wildcat2

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Awesome work curtis ,been wanting to do some engraving on my builds . Did you take any classes for this or have past experience? Are your gravers steel or carbide?
 

wmdbowman

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Wild cat, don't want to but in here, but carbide is to brittle for a graver, unless something new has happened since my time.
I think if you look close at the great pictures you will see tool steel tools. Some of his metal working tools look home made to me. Gravers have to be sharpened while in use normally done on a stone or maybe a diamond wheel.
I always used a very hard fine Arkansas stone with honing oil. Engraving on wood can be done with palm gravers. Engraving on metal is normally done with a steel graver and chased by a hammer . Different gravers for what your doing
I can tell you by looking he has experience . I know from my experience.
Engraving takes a lot of practice after one learns the basics. If not by hand there are power gravers available but you still have a learning curve.
A power graver can speed things up. Normally used for high production not by a skilled all around gun maker.
Some factorys just roll engrave Not the best for a high quality gun used on low cost production Muzzle loading guns.
 

Curtis

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Thanks for the comments guys!

Wildcat2 - I took a 6 day engraving class at the NMLRA Gunsmithing seminar at WKU six years ago or so, Jim Kibler was the instructor. I learned a lot but most importantly how to sharpen a graver. I had been sharpening freehand on oil-stones but a couple of years back I bought a graver sharpening guide and a set of diamond stones. When the class was over my engraving improved from really crappy to just plain crappy - but I learned the basics which have slowly improved on each gun I engrave. I should practice more but I get impatient. I will try to remember to take a picture of my guide and stones and post it - here is a link to Lindsay who makes it and how to use it: Lindsay Graver Sharpener I really like this guide as it is simple (like me!)

A power hone would be nice but they are pricey.

Wmdbowman, I have made a few specialty gravers from tool steel, but I mostly buy blanks and grind them. I have even make some from old small round files for a special cut, but for most of my work I use a 90 or 120 degree graver. I am not an especially good engraver but I am persistent at trying. My engraving always looks better when viewed from across the room!!! :cool: I have learned a great deal from all the mistakes I have made along the way. As you mentioned one important thing is to recognize when the graver gets dull or get even a tiny chip in it, and STOP using it immediately, and switch it out or sharpen it.

For my stippling of the background areas I chisel out the area and have been using one of those old Craftsman engraving tools made for writing numbers on items for identification. Noisy but seems to work!

Here is the trigger guard and plate on the gun as it looks now, haven't engraved the screws yet:


P7312635.JPG

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Escutchons on the gun:

P7302622.JPG

P7302626.JPG



Curtis
 

wildcat2

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What type of magnification do you use ? Absolutely on sharp tools ,post pics of those guides and such. Can't wait to see this gun in person. Again thanks for all the posts with the great pics.
 

Curtis

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Wmdbowman, I forgot to answer one of your questions... I have done wire inlay in wood, and metal inlay (gold and silver) on a few rifle barrels and touch holes.

What type of magnification do you use ? Absolutely on sharp tools ,post pics of those guides and such. Can't wait to see this gun in person. Again thanks for all the posts with the great pics.
Wildcat, here is what I use for magnification, I taped a second set of lenses to my Optivisor for extra magnification.

P8012639.JPG

And here is the sharpening guide, click the link in my previous post to see a tutorial:

P8012643.JPG

P8012644.JPG

And a stone setup I use for freehand sharpening:

P8012645.JPG

Curtis
 
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wmdbowman

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Curtis, Thanks for the reply about the wire inlay. I have not done any on metal but have good experience on wood.
I have kept 2 of my guns for my children's inheritance . If I can get around to it I will get some pictures and post them for you.
Also for me one of the hardest thing to learn about metal work was how to properly sharpen a graver.
 

wildcat2

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Thanks for reply with pics ,does not get any better then that., like that double magnification ploy. Have to try that on mine.
 

wmdbowman

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Curtis I'm going to keep an eye on your first class work. It's far and few in this world we now live in.
Most people Muzzle loading today have little comprehension, But I'm sure they can appreciate it.
Keep those screw slots in the correct direction.
LOL
Dave B.
 

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