Bill in Oregon

Forging parts for a flintlock

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Most of the parts are fairly self-explanatory, and the most complicated for a heat treating standpoint are the springs, sear and tumbler. I am wondering, however, about how to forge the hammer, or cock. I am thinking of starting with a piece of half-inch square stock and forging and flattening to get the relatively thin, flat curve of the arm and elbow, but leaving full thickness to work out the jaw. Anyone else forged their own locks?

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Check out the "House Brothers Project"..just google it, they forged/built a rifle from scratch for the CLA..There are some WIP pics on the site..One shows the cock being forged..

 Also there is another member on here that has made locks but his screen name escapes me at the moment????

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Herschel and Frank House both have videos out on gunsmithing. Old videos but to me at least they have a lot of information. Not sure if the other brother did videos also.

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Check out Colonial Williamsburg they have a video showing them making a Flintlock from scratch including making the barrel from flat stock.  IF and that's an IF I remember right they cast the hammer, I know they cast the trigger guard and butt plate.  When I was at Williamsburg I saw some of the rough castings setting on the benches. 

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Check out Colonial Williamsburg they have a video showing them making a Flintlock from scratch including making the barrel from flat stock.  IF and that's an IF I remember right they cast the hammer, I know they cast the trigger guard and butt plate.  When I was at Williamsburg I saw some of the rough castings setting on the benches. 

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I second the Colonial Williamsburg video. Wallace Gussler (sp?) is the gunsmith in the video. It takes you through the complete process of making a rifle.

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Bill hit the nail on the head. You need more mass than 1/2" for the lower jaw.

Here is how I do it. Lets say you use 3/4 square. Fuller in at about a half inch from the end. This section will be the vertical top piece. I cant recall the proper name. Fuller about another 1/2 in down again. Both fullers are about 2/3 of stock depth. Drop another 1/2 inch and fuller from the back side about 2/3 depth.

You now have 3 fullers. Flatten the first to make the vertical part but leave it thick because it will be your handle later. Now, you want to forge out the lower jaw. Hammer in from the sides below the first fuller about 1/4 in down from the top of the lower jaw. This will allow you to hold the piece in the vise so you can spread the jaw. To do this , you need to cut the piece from the 3/4 bar that has been your handle. Cut about 1/2 to 5/8 below the last fuller (the one from the back side). Take a very good heat and lock in vice just above the last fuller. Beat down on what will be the lower jaw. You want to spread the thickness as well as thin this section. It may take a few heats and a set hammer is helpful. After you establish the jaw, lay the piece on its side(Using the top piece as the handle) and forge the lower section (thru which the tumbler shaft fits). This is just a flattening process but dont forget to leave a section for the shoulder that stops the cock by hitting the lock plate when the cock is released.

This is a little tricky but after a few attempts you will get the hang of it.

The frizzen is technically more difficult. You need to forge weld high carbon steel (make a sharp bend at the edge of the weld)and shape the lower section that is fitted to the pan. This section also needs to be shaped in a way that will cause the frizzen spring to keep the frizzen up.

I love forging these parts so ask if ou have more questions. You wont find more than a couple of guys who have done this work. Ask me how I know.

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The Journal of Historical Armsmaking Technology Vol I and Vol V have great info on lockmaking as it was done.  Volume I is 84 pages titled The Production of Flintlocks Used on Colonial American Rifles: Raw Materials, Tools, and Technology   by Gary Brumfield,  There are sections about each lock part and their construction, including 55 illustrations with photos of some of the swages used to make the parts.  Volume V has  a 23 pg chapter Cock Forging: A Study in Technology   by  Gary Brumfield    with 24 photos/drawings,    including swages used the forge the cock.

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I have a book entitled "Foxfire Five" that has a section on Hershel House.  Most of the locks used in the book were cast with case hardened frizzens.

 

Riveting or welding a high carbon bit onto the frizzen was also discussed.  I recall reading that tempering HC was advised to get better sparking.  I don't recall perfectly but there was definitely something about how a harder temper sparked differently than a softer one.  There was a sweet spot that created the hottest sparks for better ignition.

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Chichi: Thanks for that description. You don't have photos or a forge-along Youtube do you?

:)

 

Jim: Thanks for the two citations. Looks like I need to spend some more with Amazon/ABE ...

 

Rockstar: I have Foxfires 1-4, wouldn't ya know it ...

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I have read the Brumfield article(outstanding) and it was a basis for how I made mine. His are much better looking.

I developed my own style to fit my skills or lack thereof. I work alone so that also changes the approach. Brumfield forges his plate and pan. I forge braze the pan to the plate. I also do the frizzen a little differently but same end result.I cheat on the tumbler because it is so easy to make on a lathe versus making a special tool. The bridle is simple and the sear is not too bad. The main and frizzen spring are not too bad and the sear spring is simple but a pain due to its size.

Rockstar,

I can try to get some pictures for forging the hammer but it may not be for a week or two because I am quite busy at work.

It is funny. I have offered to provide info on lockmaking on the NMLRA site a few times and no one expressed an interest.I am not expert but probably better than anyone who has not done it.

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A smith from long past on another forum sstrted out with muzzle loading rifle kits..he would make replacement parts for all of the piece in the kit, except barrel,,from his own pattern welded steel. If youi did similiar you would have a piece in hand to reproduce in your shop...Would not have to buy a kit..can get hammer or anything else on line I bet.

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I have read the Brumfield article(outstanding) and it was a basis for how I made mine. His are much better looking.

I developed my own style to fit my skills or lack thereof. I work alone so that also changes the approach. Brumfield forges his plate and pan. I forge braze the pan to the plate. I also do the frizzen a little differently but same end result.I cheat on the tumbler because it is so easy to make on a lathe versus making a special tool. The bridle is simple and the sear is not too bad. The main and frizzen spring are not too bad and the sear spring is simple but a pain due to its size.

Rockstar,

I can try to get some pictures for forging the hammer but it may not be for a week or two because I am quite busy at work.

It is funny. I have offered to provide info on lockmaking on the NMLRA site a few times and no one expressed an interest.I am not expert but probably better than anyone who has not done it.

 

 

 

While I am fascinated by the swages and "might" end up making them, based on correspondence I had with Mr. Brumfield they would have been used when making more than one copy of a particular style.  For most of us, we won't be mass producing and more likely will make a different type lock from one time to the next. However, there is a swage pictured in Vol V of the JHAT that would be very handy for cock/hammer forging.

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I am finding this thread really interesting as my mind as of late has turned in this direction... As we'll as many other directions...sometimes that makes things difficult. Like locks for chests I am making the workings and the interplay plus the fire to file of all the pieces and the many options make me want to tackle one if only to make a mechanism that works. Thanks guys for all the info. Looking forward to putting some of it to use. :)

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American Pioneer Video has an upcoming video  Making A Hand-Forged Flint Lock with Mike Miller.  It has been taped and is awaiting editing.  I have several of the American Pioneer videos and while a picture may be worth a thousand words, their videos are worth a million.  We can watch what is done and then go to the forge and replicate with very little "learning curve."

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In the book  Forging History,s Patterns they say to cut the rod on the about 1 1/4 in  and off center so that you leave about 2/3  on one side of the cut.  Bend the 2/3 side down and forge to shape. I have tried it but I need to learn more before I try something like that.

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