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Author Topic: British Fowler Tutorial Part 1B- Design, Components and Materials (Stocks Added)  (Read 1999 times)

smart dog

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Hi Justin,
Thanks for that photo.  It is a great contemporary fowler. However, let me suggest how in my design opinion it could be better.  First, note that the baluster wrist extension into the butt stock appears to maintain uniform vertical width.  There is even an illusion caused by the glare and shadows that it is getting wider.  Now look at the original fowlers I show.  The wrist extension actually appears to be getting narrower toward the butt. Essentially, the "crease" needs to angle down more.  That gives them a more elegant and graceful appearance.  Secondly, the butt plate is too straight and the stock architecture loses a lot of grace because there is no crescent curve in the plate.  Again, look at the originals and imagine how much better the contemporary gun would look with a slight curve in the butt plate. Third, there is no hump at the breech.  I don't know what period the maker your gun was trying to emulate and the sighting groove and hump did disappear during the 4th quarter of the 18th century but the humped breech greatly appeals to me provided it is appropriate for the time period. Fourth, the forestock is too thick and should taper toward the ramrod thimble. There is too much "long rifle" in this gun in my opinion.  For a good comparison, go to https://www.jimkibler.net/, click on "Samples of Work" and then the first fowler listed.

dave
Thanks for the tips. I was using it as an initial inspiration, then making it my own and I can make the architecture better with your help. I am following along and taking notes for my build this winter.

That is great Justin and my whole reason for doing this is to be helpful with a topic for which there is not much information available.  I am about to add another big section on stock furniture so hang in there lad.

dave
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 10:14:36 PM by smart dog »
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Mike Brooks

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excellent info on the stocks. My plan is to make one similar to this, but much less adorned. 



I want to make a swap barrel rifle/smoothbore.
Everybody who knows who built this gun please raise your hand! I have held and fondled this gun many times, probably my most favorite contemporary made English fowling gun.
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Pukka Bundook

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Dave,

Thank you for your detailed reply to Justin.
It's a case with me of Looking and not always Seeing.
I have been passionately fond of English sporting guns from this period forever it seems, but still had not picked up on some of the details you mention.
The bow of the buttplate and the slight slimming of the foreend towards entry pipe.  Had not made a mental note of this, but have now.

Thank You.
Richard.
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Justin Urbantas

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excellent info on the stocks. My plan is to make one similar to this, but much less adorned. 



I want to make a swap barrel rifle/smoothbore.
Everybody who knows who built this gun please raise your hand! I have held and fondled this gun many times, probably my most favorite contemporary made English fowling gun.
How heavy do you think it is Mike?
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Mike Brooks

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6lbs. or less.
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Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

smart dog

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Hi Justin,
I changed this post because Photobucket apparently caught up with the link I originally provided and severed the links with the embedded photos.  Instead, I include a link to Jim Kibler's website that shows a fowler he built that illustrates all of my points.
https://www.jimkibler.net/fowling-piece-1.html

First let me apologize to everyone about my comments about the gun you posted. I keep saying "get the wrist right" or it has "too much long rifle in it" etc.  I really mean right relative to those features that stand out as elegant and graceful.  The gun you posted is not wrong because I think the maker was channeling William Bailes, who was one of the great makers in the 1760s. However, I would have the same critique of some of his guns relative to design.  The gun you showed is probably one of the finest contemporary fowlers made and Bailes made some of the finest fowlers ever, but I believe makers like Griffin, Harman, and Heylin as well as most of the makers whose guns I examined made guns with more elegant architecture and I am endeavoring to point out what features I believe and see that make that so.     

dave
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 04:25:45 PM by smart dog »
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Justin Urbantas

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wow that one from S. Africa is a beauty.  Very well built. Wire inlay is nice, but I don't want to do any of that. I'm happy with a bit of carving and a thumb inlay.
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smart dog

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Hi Justin,
But do you understand the differences between that gun and the contemporary one with respect to architecture?  Forget the bling, just look at the lines.  To build beautiful guns, or anything, you have to learn how to see not merely observe.

dave
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 06:30:17 AM by smart dog »
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Pukka Bundook

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Dave,

I have just looked at the silver wired one, (Not contemporary) and yes, it has the lines.  Agree no amount of decoration helps if lines not there.
I thought I'd done a decent job on the "Griffin" but going even this far through your posts, I see what I have missed.
Some of it couldn't be helped, as stock had barrel channel cut and ramrod hole drilled. (Was a 2003 Ron Ehlert  class at WKU)   Barrel is a Getz, V nice but a bit narrow in breech to get it right, and of course no break-off which Did bother me!
Looking at the "silver Wire" lock, I see what I Could have done with the Chambers Early Ketland!
Thanks again.  Not too old to learn maybe!
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Justin Urbantas

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Hi Justin,
But do you understand the differences between that gun and the contemporary one with respect to architecture?  Forget the bling, just look at the lines.  To build beautiful guns, or anything, you have to learn how to see not merely observe.

dave
I see the hump tang, the incline on the underside from the triggerguard to entry thimble and the curve of the buttplate at the toe pretty easily. Figuring out that comb line is tricky. It seems like a subtle difference to me.
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Daryl

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Hi Justin,
It is heavy with early Virginia long rifle architecture but less so with British. Just compare it with the gun in the Kibler link I provided as well as the originals I provided.  Oh, and I don't care who made it.  You want to see a beautiful gun with lots of wire inlay that has good architecture, look at this original gun and it is from the period I am considering.  Notice how the maker got the wrist extension into the butt right:
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=522.0
 

dave

I see your point, Dave, but I do like that Silver's(I think) gun too.
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Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

smart dog

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Hi,
I am afraid it is the Photobucket curse.  It seems their algorithm for deleting your embeds takes a little time to find the images.  I removed that link in my post.  I am repeating what I wrote above.  The gun Justin posted is not historically wrong and I should not be writing things like "did not get it right" etc. because that is wrong. Whether it is right or wrong is just my opinion not historical fact.  In fact, you will see some similar stocks on guns by William Bailes, one of the great makers of all time.  However, I have the same critique about stock architecture of some of his guns as I do with the gun shown above.  Take away all the bling, the features I point out on most of the British fowlers from our period that I examined or viewed give stocks greater elegance than the one Justin posted.  Trace the outline of that gun and then compare it with the line drawings I posted and I think you will see what I mean. 
dave
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 04:16:47 PM by smart dog »
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James Rogers

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I believe we can add Virginia hickory to materials used for English ramrods in the 1760s at least up to the war. There is extant documentation of large hogs heads of hickory splits being sent back to London specifically to be made into ramrods.

Jim Kibler

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Here's one thing for sure...  If you want to build a good English fowling piece you need to have a nice original one in hand that you can take apart and study while building.  Pictures are great, but there are so many details that you wouldn't otherwise appreciate.  The good news is that you only have to plunk down 2-3k to get something of quality worth studying.  Learn from it and sell it.  The cheapest and best way of educating yourself....

Justin Urbantas

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Here's one thing for sure...  If you want to build a good English fowling piece you need to have a nice original one in hand that you can take apart and study while building.  Pictures are great, but there are so many details that you wouldn't otherwise appreciate.  The good news is that you only have to plunk down 2-3k to get something of quality worth studying.  Learn from it and sell it.  The cheapest and best way of educating yourself....
I wish we had a library of guns we could check out and take home with us. I don't have a spare 2-3k
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conquerordie

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Dunno, buying all custom parts or heavily modifying whats available, wait times to get said parts, and all the time invested, plopping down a couple k's seems easier ;D . Your gonna be half way there by the time all the correct material is purchased.

Easier, but not possible for me either :'(
Greg
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smart dog

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Hi Guys,
Jim K. is absolutely correct that having an original in the hand is best.  However, that is unlikely for many folks that are building as a hobby and maybe some will build one fowler in their lives. I followed Jim's advice and invested in 2 originals for which I am very grateful to Jim and James Rogers. I am now trying to do the next best thing for all of you by sharing detailed photos of those guns and my insights about them. It is not the same as having one in your hands while you build, but it has to be better than nothing and perhaps a better source than many of you have practical access to.

dave   
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jim alford

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Smart Dog , It appears from the drawings , there is no cast built into the stocks . Is this correct ?
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smart dog

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Hi Jim,
Yes, no cast off in these stocks.  That does not mean cast off was not applied.  There is a nice photo of an English rifle in Bailey's book on English military flintlock rifles that has impressive cast off.  I also note cast on quite a few other fowlers 
I examined. A high end gun probably was built to fit the owner so that should be your guide.

dave
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 03:10:26 AM by smart dog »
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Jose Gordo

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Dave

I have some questions about the steel plate inserted where the Heylin gun breaks:

1. Does this piece of steel have a name?

2. In the photos, it appears that the steel is proud of the wood.  If that is true, is that a design feature or has the wood shrunk away from the steel?

3. At what point in the build is the stock sawn?  It seems that if you cut it when the stock was finished, there is a risk of fracturing the thin upper edge. If you cut it while the stock was still square, or had still a substantial amount of wood, you would have some problems shaping the fore stock. Obviously either method would work, but I would like to know which method is best.

4. What is the thickness of the steel?  Iíd think 0.040" - 0.060" would probably work.

5. What is the best way to attach the plate?  It seems like either screws or nails would work. I'd be inclined to use screws just to completely avoid risk of splitting the wood.

6. Do you saw the stock before or after the underlugs and keys are installed?

Joe
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smart dog

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Hi Joe,
Perhaps Jim Kibler might chime in because I have not built a gun with that take down feature and he has.  However, I would not hesitate to do it if I wanted a take down gun.  The plates were probably called wear or face plates but I am not aware of any documentation specifying the label.  On the Heylin gun they are 1/16" thick held in place by 2 counter sunk flat head screws that go into the thickest portions of the forestock (above and to the either side of the ramrod hole). I examined 2 guns on which the plates were brass but they appear to be iron or steel on the Heylin gun. I suspect they are proud of the wood because of wood shrinkage over 250 years. If I were doing it, I would inlet the barrel and lugs, and drill the ramrod hole with the stock in one piece and then after trimming off much of the excess wood but still fairly square, I would saw the stock in two. The kerf of the saw will remove some wood to be filled by the wear plates and the barrel lug inlets in the barrel channel have enough play forward and backward such that the stock pieces can be shifted a little to accommodate the plates. Same is true of the barrel inlet. Perhaps a little wood may have to be removed from the cut faces to make room for the plates but I doubt very much. After they are fitted, I would then cut the slots for the barrel keys.  The shape of the plates should give you a nice template to use for shaping the forestocks.   

dave
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Jose Gordo

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Thanks Dave.  This project of yours is much appreciated.
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