TVM Late Lancaster Kit

Darkhorse

Senior Member
My ramrods are drilled about where yours are. I would go with a longer Jag.
The barrel channel doesn't need to be inlet oversize to compensate for barrel movement, and it will move, mostly from heat and cold. The proper way of handling this is to slot the hole in the barrel key so the barrel can move when it needs to. Serves about the same purpose as a floated CF barrel. Try not to increase the size vertically but elongate them horizontally.
When you are done inletting the barrel you may find the wood has warped a little due to stress. Sit your barrel into the stock then squeeze them both together in several spots along the length. If find any spots where the barrel is not touching the stock mark those spots. Remove the barrel and spread a little accraglass gel on the bottom flat between all those marks. Put a pencil in the bore to help you hold the barrel and ease the barrel straight down until it sits flat. Then pin the barrel. This should remove those gaps and give full support.
 
Thread starter #22

leoparddog

Senior Member
I've gotten some more done, the trigger is inletted and with everything C Clamped together it fires and seems to have a pretty decent Trigger pull. I may inlet the trigger just a fraction deeper before declaring done. I also started on the tenons and have one in and another one started. This made me very nervous. I think I'm going to try to solder the middle tenon on as the barrel is more narrow there.

I've made some inletting mistakes. One at the trigger plate, and I just don't know how it happened and another around the lock plate. The trigger plate mistake will be hidden by the trigger guard and I may be able to disguise the one around the lock. That was the real bone head move on my part and I may just have to live with it. I don't even want to share the details. I'm sure I'll eventually post photos but they'll be long distance shots. LOL.

I'm really glad I have a magnifying lighted mirror on a hinged arm. Even with my glasses detail stuff is blurry. I spent plenty of time looking through it https://www.amazon.com/V-LIGHT-Magnifying-Lamp-Black-VS103B5/dp/B0713ZLFDM/ref=sr_1_1?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1518148415&sr=1-1&keywords=VS103B5

Anyway, the tenons stressed me out but the first one came out ok and the second is going to get finished tomorrow
 

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Thread starter #23
Last night I drilled the forward lock bolt and had to file a small groove on the bottom of the barrel (about .025). It came out a little bit closer to the tip of the lock plate than I'd like by about 1/32" to 1/16" but it will be fine. Tonight I tackled the tang bolt. Scariest one so far I think. I had bought a David Rase bolt hole jig for center to center drilling and started the bottom hole with it to get it on the right angle, then took that jig apart and made a fixture for my drill press using the pointed bolt to drill from the tang down. I was shocked when both holes lined up perfectly. I only did the pilot hole tonight and tomorrow will drill the through hole and tap the trigger plate. Then I'll have it all buttoned up. So far so good on the metal work. Still not sure what I'm going to do about the wood around the lock plate where I went crazy for about 20 minutes with a gouge and rasp. Oh well, its a first one.

I do know now that I could not have done this project without the drill press I bought for Christmas. I have used an old Stanley Brace drill some but the press has been vital.
 

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Darkhorse

Senior Member
If they included any extra pieces of wood you can glue a sliver in the mortise then reinlet that spot and the mistake will hardly show if it shows at all. The only glue I use on longrifle repairs is good old Elmer's white wood glue.
 
Thread starter #25
Another "tense" hole to drill but it turned out fine. I don't think I could do this without a drill press but I've seen video of a guy doing this hole free hand with a power drill. I tried to do this with my brace and bit but that just wasn't going to work out.

What did I learn? Probably to mark and drill the hole on the trigger guard first, but getting the angle right is the challenge, so drill a small hole 1/8 or smaller hole first and aim at the lines you drew on the stock for the angle. This is actually what is recommended in some books. I went from the top down and was planning on letting the drill bit mark the backside of the trigger plate, then remove and drill it. My first hole went all the way through but ended up a bit off center on the trigger plate so I fluxed it, melted some solder in the divot, filed it flat. After some through hole angle adjusting I was able to get it close enough to center

I do wish i could find a tap about 1/4" longer for this 8-32 screw which would make things just a bit easier. A 10-32 tap would probably be a little longer but this kit came with the 8-32.

I do need a better countersink drill bit. Mine left chatter marks on the tang but I may leave them in since they don't show.

All in all, happy with the way this step turned out. Next time I won't try this alone and will get some extra hands to steady the rifle on the jig or figure out a way to use a vise on it.

I think I'm going to work on the ramrod channel and the pipes next along with the muzzlecap.
 

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Thread starter #26
Time for the buttplate. I wish I had taken a before photo but up near the top of the thread you can get an idea of how rough the sand cast plate was. I made a buttplate holder from a piece of 2x4 so I could put the plate in the vise and have a good way of holding it. (Credit to Mike Beliveau for the idea). The outside of the plate needed a lot more work than the inside since that doesn't show. I got tired of files and sandpaper and pulled out the belt sander with a 120 grit belt. That took out all the pits and did the major work, then I went back to sanding by hand. Still a little more work to be done on the flats but I'll wait until I get it mounted to the rifle for the final work.

Making the jig and polishing this out took about 4 hours today. Much more than I thought it would.
 

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Keep the updates coming. I get on here daily just to check out your progress. I find rifle builds very fascinating. One day I plan on building one, but for now I just watch and learn.
 
Thread starter #28
Thanks Wedgebolt,
For your update enjoyment here was tonight's work - Inletting the buttplate. The curve of the plate and the notch in the wood was done as part of the kit, so my challenge is to get the metal to fit that cut out. The first photo with the Dykem on the plate is where I started and the last two are where I finished.

I'm pretty sure now that the buttplate isn't square at the inside corner - left to right side. One side sits better than the other. This may be due to my filing skills or may be a casting issue. I'm betting it is the casting since the side with the biggest gap at the inside corner is the side that I didn't file (the side with the blue Dykem in the first photo, I barely touched with the file on the underside).

Now I had read that this was something to check - for squareness, but how in the heck do you square something with all those curves? Going back to my reference books one of them mentions using a clear plastic "Triangle" square and drawing lines on it to help figure it out. The main back of the plate, its easy to find the middle at each point and get a mid-line, so now I think I understand what it was talking about.

So what to do now? Do I file off metal on the Left side that fits pretty well to get the gap on the Right side to close or keep inletting wood on the left side and dropping it down to close the gap?

I've stopped for the night and will think on it. Maybe Darkhorse or Bert will stop by and tell me which way to go here.
 

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Darkhorse

Senior Member
Personally, I hate fitting buttplates. The plate is almost always warped and twisted and needs to be somewhat tweaked for proper fit.
It looks like you have the front fitted to the notch pretty good. Notice the top corner of the end of the butt stock, the wood has a sharp corner where the mating surface of the buttplate has a slight radius. This can keep the buttplate from sitting flush on the top of the stock. I file a matching radius on the wood so the plate can drop down flat on the top of the stock.
Once the plate is tight against both the notch and top surface of the stock either hold or clamp it in place and step back and look at the bottom tip of the buttplate. You should be able to see where any warp is.
Look at it this way, buttplates are fairly cheap so if you break one you can always order another. That said, I always straighten out that warp as much as possible. Be careful with brass as it work hardens and gets brittle. But it can also be annealed and softened up again.
I determine exactly where the warp is. Then holding the top of the plate in a fixture or vice I take a padded wrench that fits across the entire width and twist it just enough to get most of the warp out. Then I file the inside of the plate until the gaps on each side at the bottom are as close to the same as possible.
Now I work the plate towards the lock by removing wood from the notch and butt until the plate fits the stock fairly close. I use inletting black for this. I remove material from the inside of the butt plate and stock, whichever is neccessary. If you can get it fitting good halfway down then the lower wood screw will pull the bottom down against the wood. Now you can see any gaps that need attention.
To me this is tedious work and I do it all with chisels and files.
I was shooting my .40 today and had it out so I took a photo of the fit of the iron (steel) plate to the stock. You will find a point where it's good enough, the only person you have to please is yourself.
Speaking of spare parts, I keep at least one, sometimes more, of every internal part of a Siler lock. So if I mess up a buttplate or trigger guard I have no problem ordering a replacement.
The photo and angle could be better but this will have to do.
Don't drill the mounting hole in the top of the buttplate until you are certain it will not need to move forward even a little as the screw will lock it in position. If it needs moving the hole will have to be plugged and redrilled.
All this is hard to really explain. Most of my working career involved making and fitting complex assemblies so this stuff just comes naturally and I find it hard to explain my methods.
 

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snuffy

Senior Member
Personally, I hate fitting buttplates. The plate is almost always warped and twisted and needs to be somewhat tweaked for proper fit.
It looks like you have the front fitted to the notch pretty good. Notice the top corner of the end of the butt stock, the wood has a sharp corner where the mating surface of the buttplate has a slight radius. This can keep the buttplate from sitting flush on the top of the stock. I file a matching radius on the wood so the plate can drop down flat on the top of the stock.
Once the plate is tight against both the notch and top surface of the stock either hold or clamp it in place and step back and look at the bottom tip of the buttplate. You should be able to see where any warp is.
Look at it this way, buttplates are fairly cheap so if you break one you can always order another. That said, I always straighten out that warp as much as possible. Be careful with brass as it work hardens and gets brittle. But it can also be annealed and softened up again.
I determine exactly where the warp is. Then holding the top of the plate in a fixture or vice I take a padded wrench that fits across the entire width and twist it just enough to get most of the warp out. Then I file the inside of the plate until the gaps on each side at the bottom are as close to the same as possible.
Now I work the plate towards the lock by removing wood from the notch and butt until the plate fits the stock fairly close. I use inletting black for this. I remove material from the inside of the butt plate and stock, whichever is neccessary. If you can get it fitting good halfway down then the lower wood screw will pull the bottom down against the wood. Now you can see any gaps that need attention.
To me this is tedious work and I do it all with chisels and files.
I was shooting my .40 today and had it out so I took a photo of the fit of the iron (steel) plate to the stock. You will find a point where it's good enough, the only person you have to please is yourself.
Speaking of spare parts, I keep at least one, sometimes more, of every internal part of a Siler lock. So if I mess up a buttplate or trigger guard I have no problem ordering a replacement.
The photo and angle could be better but this will have to do.
Don't drill the mounting hole in the top of the buttplate until you are certain it will not need to move forward even a little as the screw will lock it in position. If it needs moving the hole will have to be plugged and redrilled.
All this is hard to really explain. Most of my working career involved making and fitting complex assemblies so this stuff just comes naturally and I find it hard to explain my methods.
You might hate fitting them but you do a dang fine job of it. Beautiful work!
 
Thread starter #31

leoparddog

Senior Member
I got some good work done tonight I think. It fits really pretty well except for one tiny spot that will fill in when I finish the rifle and it may come out in the sanding.
I still have more wood to rasp off, sand and scrape but I'm done for the night

Thanks for the encouragement and help.
 

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Thread starter #32

leoparddog

Senior Member
Not my best few days working on this, but it is what it is...my first rifle. I got the toe plate put on and that was harder than it should have been IMO. Getting the screws at the right angle worked well for one and for the one closed to the toe, I think the angle is off a bit. At the very end I also cracked the toe of the stock. I'm pretty sure when I take it apart to finish it, I'll be gluing the toe back on. At least it is captured by the toe and buttplates.

The sideplate was not my best inletting job. I wasn't in a hurry, but I'm out of practice. I should have inlet it onto some scrap maple first and warmed up. A few loose spots around the edges but I"m told that stain and finish coats will close up some of those.

Oh well, moving on. I may do the thimbles and nose cap next and then circle back around to working on the wood around the butt, lock and hold off on thinning down the forearm until last. Once that get done, it will be delicate I'm sure.
 

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I think you will be surprised at how good this will look when finished. I just got back from Alabama where I purchased a custom made .54 flintlock. The gentleman had one that he had built from a kit. He showed me all of the mistakes and flaws that he had done. He also said he would never attempt another. The rifle was not as refined as the professional made rifle that I was purchasing. I thought his rifle looked better than the custom made one. I offered to buy it for the same price that I was paying for the other rifle. He wouldn't part with it and I don't blame him. I also just finished making a range rod for the .54. Its baby steps for me.
 

Darkhorse

Senior Member
Part of the definition of a good gunmaker is one who can fix his mistakes. Mistakes happen. I make them, Mike Brooks makes them, anybody who builds rifles from wood and metal makes mistakes.
Fix it as good as possible and move on.
 
When your great grandson inherits this beautiful rifle made by his ancestor, every one of your "mistakes" will be treasured evidence of the attention to detail and the care you put into that creation.

As Darkhorse said, "Fix it as good as possible and move on."
 
Thread starter #36

leoparddog

Senior Member
Moving on to the muzzle cap (MC)...

I've been nervous about this since I got started, but basically all "thin wood" work. I got it rasped down (I like my rasps better than my chisels) and started. Nervous about how much it seems I'm going to have to take off the top of the channel. In theory I think it should end up about 1/2 way on the side flat but with the way it started, not so sure about that. The taper from the original channel down to where this MC starts to fit is making me think that I may have to plane down the top of the channel once this is done and I start working on the forearm. I'll need to go review some photos, videos and do some "re-reading" before I go much ****her here.

I think this step is going ok so far - just need to be careful and not break anything.
 

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Thread starter #37

leoparddog

Senior Member
Things they don't tell you about inletting the MC

So tonight was the muzzle cap and I figured out what they don't tell you in the expensive books and DVDs you buy about this part of the job.

I was focused mostly on the width, curvature and sidewall height as I got started and was working the bottom thickness down. I got the MC all the way on and it was tilted down from the muzzle back. Ok, it is thicker at the rear than the front and I got after it with the rasp and chisel. I got pretty close (see photo), but it had a gap at the front.

What they should have said in the books is:
"Measure the inside front bottom lip of the MC. This one is about 0.110. That is your target thickness of the wood all the way back"

I got pretty close at the front but the bottom web grew thicker as it went.

Not a huge deal, but I removed more wood from the side wall height than I really needed to because the thickness of the bottom web was pulling down the muzzle cap as it went on. It really wasn't obvious at all until I put the barrel back in and tried putting the cap on.

Once I figured it out that the front edge was about 0.020 too thick and to thin the whole bottom web down, it closed up the gap on the muzzle.

I knew it needed to be thin there but should have measured instead of just fitting and chiseling. Probably would have gone quicker too. Next time, I'll measure the target thickness on the bottom and do the bottom thickness first to get it pretty uniform and close, then start working on the sides and curves.

I may not permanently attach it until I figure out the transition from the MC to the stock this weekend.
 

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Darkhorse

Senior Member
I'm not too proud to admit that nosecaps give me a lot of trouble. They never seem to end up straight. I much prefer casting a pewter nosecap.
I have read on Don Bruton's website, Boone Guns, http://www.booneguns.com/Blank.html
That he considers both an entry pipe and nosecap as unnecessary as evidenced by the number of southern rifles without nosecaps that have survived down through the years.
 

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Thread starter #39
That rifle really is beautiful Darkhorse. It looks like the ramrod is about 80% exposed. It also looks like the barrel is browned. What/how did you finish the barrel? As I've been working my way through I haven't decided yet whether to brown, blue or apply a patina to the barrel.

I've seen browned barrels that I didn't find very attractive, they look rough and more rusted than browned. Yours looks nice and smooth with a good color.

I may have to go find a tutorial on casting pewter nose caps. That turned out very nice
 

Darkhorse

Senior Member
I used LMF's barrel brown and degreaser.
http://www.laurelmountainforge.com/
As with anything preparation and technique are the keys to good results.
I'm making a new hickory ramrod right now, that one is made from Ramin.
I don't have time right now to get into details but later I can share some, and lessons learned also, including that pewter nosecap.
The best tutorial is a video by Hershel House "Building a Kentucky Longrifle."
 
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