Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Building the Jim Chambers Lancaster Flintlock: @ the Workshop

Too much reading will get you interested in something or other, in this case I have read several of the Leather Stocking series, a Biography of D. Boone, and The Long Rifle by White.

Did my research regarding the American Long Rifle and settled on the top of the line Jim Chambers Lancaster. Partly because he offers a workshop too.

I am a devoted "workshop" person, I like to take one per year, and just a note you need to decide about a year in advance cause the good ones (no matter the subject) fill up as soon as they are offered.
I have already decided on next years WS.
The kit as purchased has all the metal bits, brass, steel, and fully assembled lock.

I have no experience with reproduction vintage rifles or rifle making however I have worked in all these materials and am confident I came make something passable.

Unlike the shoe making workshops we had a dozen participants and 3 instructors plus Jim. Someone from every walk of life, Doctors, Lawyers, Ranchers, Contractors, and (Me) an Artist.

Guns have always had an esthetic side and the Long rifle is no exception. The American Long Rifle is like Jazz and the Clipper ship; a true American invention. I won't give the history here but it is an excellent story of innovation worth a casual google.

The stock is rough machined and since every inside corner is round by virtue of this process we begin by squaring the corners with our chisels.

We each had about 4 feet of bench space, a swivel vice, and lamp. I recommend buying the video and watching it before you get to the WS, I did not.
A 1st put it together test. The stock is machined with a large "clamp here" section at about the mid point.
After inletting the breech plug tang we fit 3 barrel tenons to the barrel and creating clearance notching for them, then each were drilled thru to accept a 1/16" pin.

The full length stock was mostly a style choice of the era; the wood in the forward area is so thin that it must be thought of as a cover or sheathing, it adds no structure to the rifle.
Steve and Luke, my new friends in the legal department.
Fist disassembly of the lock was done by Master Jeff from Pennsylvania, after that I did it my self. A brilliant mechanism that includes a "half cock" safety position. The J. Chambers lock parts are all made by him, and his suppliers, every original "pattern" is hand made by Jim.
 First fit for the fully inlet lock plate, there are hours of tuning to get the "gap and flush" (automotive terms) correct.

We had access to a substantial "competitive analysis" department (automotive terms) these are just a few of the works on display. The level of detail and the number of options together with the "fineness" of construction was overwhelming.
Inletting the back-plate before drilling two holes.
Reassemble the lock, the main spring requires a clamp the compress, not sure what the spring-rate is the overall travel is about a 1/4" so it is a pretty high rate for its size. The lock is taken apart and put together many times.

To refine the Fit and Finish: "fit, chisel, scrape" "fit, chisel, scrape" "fit, chisel, scrape" "fit, chisel, scrape" as required.

Final assembly with all fasteners. "You don't need a workshop to learn how to use a chisel do you?" Well no but there are several things that would take while to figure out. The three screws that you see in this pic. are drilled "in-situ" freehand (with a hand drill.) There are some drill press operations but not these. Some important reasons for the workshop are the gaining of an understanding in what is expected and getting an understanding of what-is and is-not important.
When complete you have a cross hatching of long fasteners that clamp the stock between the upper and lower, and left and right metal parts.

Inletting the nose cap.
And that's where we ended the workshop.
A long way from complete.