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Author Topic: Kit Ravenshear  (Read 2327 times)
smart dog
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« on: March 17, 2011, 10:39:45 PM »

Hi Friends,
A recent thread in the "Contemporary Longrifles Collecting" forum mentioned a gun by Kit Ravenshear.  That peaked my curiosity because folks rarely mention Kit's work on this bulletin board.  Years ago (in the late 1970's) as a very young man, I vividly remember a beautiful model 1728 French marine musket that Kit made which was hanging on Charlie Stone's back wall in his Neshanic Depot (NJ) shop.  I loved that gun and would have bought it if I had the money back then.  Charlie often told me to visit Kit as I was learning to build muzzleloaders.  I never did.  Instead I used to hang around Bill Kennedy's shop when he was in Peapack, NJ.  I always enjoyed seeing anything made by Kit.  In addition, after learning the basics from Bill as well as from Buchele's, McCory's, and Dixon's books on gunmaking, I found Kit's short little manuals to be the best aids I ever found.  They are full of golden nuggets about building, metal work, spring making, restoration, etc.  He provided a treasure trove of good practical advice, yet I rarely see anyone referring to him on this board.  I urge all of you members who are trying to learn the art to buy all of his little books, which are dirt cheap.  They are worth their weight in gold.

dave     
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rich pierce
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2011, 11:23:14 PM »

Similar experiences, Charlie Stone's shop, sold a couple rifles there.  Kit was a catalyst for the Dixon's Gunmaker's Fair.  He was a natural teacher.
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St. Louis, Missouri
gregg
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2011, 01:15:03 AM »

Hi Friends,
 Years ago (in the late 1970's) as a very young man
dave     

Sorry but this made me smile. I was a young man then too. Just Married my love and first child was here in 1980. It was so long ago and went so fast.

Good post . I have the Kit Ravenshear book on springs . Very good book will keep an eye open for his others.
Gregg
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Don Getz
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2011, 08:56:10 AM »

For those of you that didn't know Kit, you missed out on a real character.     He lived and worked in New Berlin, about
15 miles from our barrel shop.  He was somewhat ingenius with some of the things that he did,  such as spring making,
etc. and, while being an englishman, he was not the astute builder that one normally relates to english work.   His gunbuilding was somewhat crude.    He would show me some little thing that he made, and, since I knew he didn't have
a lathe, I would ask how he did it....."just twiddled it the belt sander".   We did get to meet DeWitt Bailey and some of
his other english friends.   I can recall doing a set of seven barrels for a "volley" gun that he made, ......seven 50 cal.
barrels and they all went off at one time.    We all shot this thing....over 1200 grains of lead going out those barrels at
one time.    He was also an astute scholar of the Brown Bess, and had a lot of influence on Jess Milot when he created the Rifle Shop out in Oklahoma.   Kit also was responsible for either suggesting, or influencing Chuck Dixon to get his
Gunmakers Fair going.   Kit died on the beach in France while on vacation, and, after his wife finally got the ashes returned
we had a memorial service for him and blew his ashes away with a mortar.   A very fitting ending to such a fine english
gentleman.   So glad I had the opportunity to share some good times with him.......................Don
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mattdog
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2011, 09:22:50 AM »

Recently at the Western National Shoot (Phoenix, AZ.) I came across a vender who had all seven of Kit's books all tied together as a set.  I gladly paid the $45.00 for them.  I don't know if they will ever be collectable but they are in new condition and I plan to keep them that way.  The ones that are on the shelf in my shop are dirty, dog-eared and worn.  I'll admit that I don't do everything the way Kit described but his ideas got me started years ago to do things that I would never have attempted on my own.  
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gregg
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 10:22:42 AM »

For those of you that didn't know Kit, you missed out on a real character   So glad I had the opportunity to share some good times with him.......................Don

THANK YOU
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TPH
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2011, 10:38:20 AM »

An interesting gentleman indeed. I spoke to him on the phone a couple of times and did talk face to face at the Baltimore show where he was displaying at that time only pre-Brown Bess British muskets that he had made, they were very "crude" in appearance but extremely well made and, in their own "period correct" way, beautiful.

For his books on gun work and other topics, including books for children, they are still available. See:

http://kitravenshear.com/Books.html

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T.P. Hern
Steve Bookout
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 01:00:58 PM »

Many years ago (and before I had white hair) I went to Kit Ravenshear in frustration because I had attempted several times to make a spring from his little book and failed without knowing why.  He graciously quit working in the shop and took me aside saying, Lad, the first problem is the book.  It was written for the European audience.  Here's a copy rewritten in "American".  The second problem is that you fail to hold your tongue in the correct position within your mouth.  ( I notice myself smiling as I type this after all these years)  He then proceeded to give some up front and personal instruction about how to make springs.  Steve, you don't have confidence in what you are doing were his words of wisdom to me.  I proceeded to make a spring as he instructed and could discern no difference in methods while doing so.  Funny thing though.  When I was done I had a successful spring!...have had ever since, too.  I tip one to his memory.  Cheers, Bookie
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volatpluvia
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2011, 08:21:59 PM »

I talked to Kit a few times at the Labor Day shoot at Union County PA.  He was hard to walk away from.  He just loved to chat and would tell you all you wanted to know and then proceed to fill you in on the rest.  But it was always worth it.  He would broaden your horizons in guns, history, culture, etc.  For a while he seemed always to have some new toy he had made as a copy of something from history, especially from Europe. 
He and my father made me wish there were a plug in from one breain to another like with computers and their pieces of equipment, so that when such a man dies his knowledge and skills don't die with him.  Sigh...
volatpluvia
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whitebear
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2011, 12:18:50 AM »

He and my father made me wish there were a plug in from one breain to another like with computers and their pieces of equipment, so that when such a man dies his knowledge and skills don't die with him.  Sigh...
volatpluvia

I have known several people that I would have liked to download myself.
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Nate McKenzie
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2011, 11:07:55 PM »

Years before New Berlin, he lived about 5mi. from me near Benton in Columbia Co. Pa. He taught me how to make a Pedersoli Br. Bess into a creditable first model and even gave me the butt plate extension and side plate to do it with. After he left here he lived in Pottsville for a while where I visited him several times. He was a major influence that got me into gun building.
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