Author Topic: Freshing Bench HDTDT  (Read 1367 times)

Offline James Wilson Everett

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Freshing Bench HDTDT
« on: June 07, 2018, 05:59:08 PM »
Guys,

Also known as "freshening", a very common job for the gunsmith in the muzzle loading period.  Perhaps the most common activity in the old time shop.  Freshing was a process where the gunsmith would recut the rifled bore of the barrel.  It is my belief that the old timers did not clean the bore as "squeaky clean" as we do today, so there was probably significant corrosion in the bore.  Freshing would remove the corrosion "gunk" and very slightly cut into the sound metal, making the bore a couple of thousandths bigger at each freshing.  Anyway, here is a box of well over 100 original freshing rods from the Fry brothers of Ligonier Pa, circa 1850.



The reason the Fry brothers kept the rods was to re-use them next time a customer returned for the next freshing.  Probably the rifle barrel was freshed often.  Also, these things are really troublesome to make, a lot of time and work to get the rod ready to use.  So save the rod for next time!

I have copied / adapted the Fry brothers design to make my freshing rod as seen in the next photo.  My rod uses a solid brass guide while the Fry rod uses a wood guide with a brass collar.



Here you see the lead freshing rod with the cutters, one cutter for the lands and one cutter for the grooves. The cutter is adjusted by paper shims.  I fresh the lands first, and then the grooves.



The freshing rod is attached to a long iron rod the length of the barrel.  The handle on the end allows for good control as the rod is passed in / out of the bore.



The whole setup is mounted on a wood bench.  The barrel is held by wedges and the handle slides on top of the bench.  The barrel is an original from a fullstock percussion rifle.  The rifling is O.K., but a bit rough from corrosion, so I will fresh it.



I know that with our modern barrels we rarely do any work on the bore, but in the "good old days" the gunsmith would spend a lot of time with the freshing bench.

Jim

Offline PPatch

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Re: Freshing Bench HDTDT
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2018, 10:05:19 PM »
Very interesting James, thank you!

dave
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Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Freshing Bench HDTDT
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2018, 11:52:19 PM »
Very interesting James, thank you!

dave

Bill Large had literally hundreds of these in two big drawers in his main work bench.
Is anyone today still doing this and with the availability of new barrels is there even
a reason to do it.?
Bob Roller

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Freshing Bench HDTDT
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2018, 01:21:48 AM »
Very interesting James, thank you!

dave

Bill Large had literally hundreds of these in two big drawers in his main work bench.
Is anyone today still doing this and with the availability of new barrels is there even
a reason to do it.?
Bob Roller

If I am not mistaken Bobby Hoyt still (or did) re-fresh barrels.
Dennis
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Offline David R.

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Re: Freshing Bench HDTDT
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2018, 04:17:22 AM »
Always look forward to your educational posts, thanks James
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Offline Robby

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Re: Freshing Bench HDTDT
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2018, 07:37:36 PM »
Very interesting James, thank you!

dave

Bill Large had literally hundreds of these in two big drawers in his main work bench.
Is anyone today still doing this and with the availability of new barrels is there even
a reason to do it.?
Bob Roller

Bob, I have done it twice. A fellow badly neglected a .50 barrel and I made it into a .52 using that old time method. It worked like a champ and it was more consistently accurate post freshening. The second was a barrel that for reasons unknown was not very accurate, and again it came around. It is kind of a long, tedious, and dirty job but I wouldn't hesitate one minute if I thought a barrel needed it.
Robby
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Offline stubshaft

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Re: Freshing Bench HDTDT
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 08:04:42 PM »
Very interesting.  Thank you for sharing.
I'd rather die standing, than live on my knees...

Offline alyce-james

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Re: Freshing Bench HDTDT
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2018, 08:31:05 PM »
Sir: I have a refreshed Kit Ravenshear rifle, was a .60 and is now a .62ish. When I shoot well the rifle shoots better than I do. The work was done by Bobby Hoyt. If ever I need a rifle of mine refreshed I will do it again. Have a great week end. AJ.
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Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Freshing Bench HDTDT
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2018, 04:53:51 AM »
Thanks for that very informative run down. Even if I were never to do it myself it's nice to know. About 20 years ago Jim Goodeion did one for me, a Remington barrel and it shoots great now.

Offline TMerkley

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Re: Freshing Bench HDTDT
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2018, 10:21:28 AM »
Very interesting James, thank you!

dave

Bill Large had literally hundreds of these in two big drawers in his main work bench.
Is anyone today still doing this and with the availability of new barrels is there even
a reason to do it.?
Bob Roller


Bob,  I have done two in a similar fashion but more like the first time cutting.  I reamed the lands with emery cloth and a drill at a steady pace, then chase the grooves with an oak dowel and the cutting bit set into it and deepening the cut using paper shims. 
Made one heck of a difference.  The two I did, were original barrels.   They are far from perfect smooth, but shoot well.