Author Topic: Over the Comb Tang  (Read 22966 times)

Offline Ken G

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Over the Comb Tang
« on: December 29, 2009, 03:42:04 AM »
Don't know if anyone is interested or not but I thought I would post in case. The information has been posted in bits and pieces in several threads and I thought it might be helpful if it was mostly in one thread.

I started an "Over the Comb" tang today and took pictures as I went.  I'm sure there are lots of ways to accomplish the task.  If your method differs from mine, feel free to post.  

The tang is just a long straight piece of metal at this point. Measure where you want the wrist screw to go and drill that hole.  I glue or solder the screw in place to help when shaping the tang.


This is the point where you are going to spend some serious quality time with your bench grinder and best files. Getting one of these shaped is a lot of work.


You'll want to bevel the screw boss or you will get a gap at the top of the screw boss.


Now the first part that makes me nervous. Making the bend for the wrist to the comb. Too short and your out of the wood. Too far back and you are in for some real work. The problem for me is once you heat the tang red hot any marks you may have made are gone.  I carefully measure where I want the bend and then bolt a little piece of copper to the tang that will indicate the exact spot where I want the bend. I'm sure there are other ways but this works for me.


Heat the tang red hot with a small torch and bend away.


Others may do this different but I always leave the tang straight till I get the inlet started.  


Once you get going down you can make the bends where you need to. Bending a long tang that varies in thickness and has a hole in it presents some special problems requiring finesse bending, not brute bends.  


After getting the tang bent to shape the first thing you will run into is the tang hitting the nose of the comb. Second part that really makes me nervous. Make dang sure it is straight an centered on the comb.  


Keep them chisels sharp and work her down. A's much as you may want to have the nicest tightest inlet you have ever done, this is not the time. You do not want it fitting so tight you have problems getting the barrel in and out. You should be able to tap the butt with the rifle upside down and the barrel come out. If you pull it up and out by the muzzle you will bend the tang every time.  


I leave the tail sticking up like this for now. Take the breech out of the barrel and proceed with building.  I guess you could inlet it across the top of the comb now but I like to get the buttplate inlet.   The angle of the comb may change when you inlet the buttplate. OR at least it does for me sometimes.  
Cheers,
Ken





« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 10:11:09 PM by rich pierce »
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Lloyd

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2009, 04:28:51 AM »
How long are you going to make the tang???  (How far down the comb is it going to extend?)

I have a Southern Mountain fantasy gun in the works, but I was just planning on the tang running about an inch down the comb.

Offline Ken G

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2009, 04:33:13 AM »
Lloyd,
The tang will extend all the way down the comb and tuck under the buttplate comb.  I think the most common over the comb tang I have seen on TN rifles does only extend an inch or two down the comb but there are plenty that go all the way to the buttplate comb.  Some tuck under, some have a screw on top and you'll even see some that have a lug underneath and are pinned like a trigger guard would be.
Ken
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Offline Steve Bookout

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2009, 07:04:01 AM »
Excellent, excellent pictorial, Ken.  Clear photos, steps taken in a logical order, verbage plain enough that an escaped mental patient up in Corn Patch can understand. Glad you are sharing with the craft.  Can't wait to see the next instalment.  Cheers, Bookie
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eagle24

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2009, 07:47:17 AM »
Ken,

How's it going buddy?  Thanks for posting that with the great pics.  Makes me wanna throw up.  Why?  Cause I love the southern rifles with long tangs, but know what you mean when you refer to a part of the inletting that "makes you nervous".  I about lost it inletting the lollypop tang on my rifle.  The "gap will appear here" drawing looks all too familiar.  I'm chickening out on my next one and claiming to love SW Va rifles so I can do a shorter tang.  Good thing I'm an Elisha Bull fan, his tangs stop at the top of the comb haha!  Forget that all the way to the butt plate stuff.  I'll leave that to you and Keith.  Just kidding, I guess I'll try one someday when I am ready.  Maybe I'll still have my eyesight.  I admire your work and knowledge of southern rifles.  Keep it up.  By the way, is 10 weeks too long on a set of southern triggers?  I'm still tweaking mine.

Offline Nate McKenzie

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2009, 08:11:12 AM »
Great tutorial, Ken. Hope you'll show it going the rest of the way. Was there a certain area of Tenn. or elsewhere where this style was used?











« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 08:13:23 AM by Nate McKenzie »

Offline rsells

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2009, 09:18:31 AM »
Ken,
Great work.  This job is at best tedious to do, but the results are well worth it.  Did you you weld an extension to a breech plug or make your own plug with the super long tang?  Look forward to seeing the remaining of the work.  Everyone needs to do at least one to appreciate the delicate work you have done.
                                                             Roger Sells

Offline Ken G

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2009, 05:44:31 PM »
Thanks guys and glad to see there is interest in these long tangs.  As Roger pointed out they are tedious at best.  Hard to imagine some gun builder putting them on every gun they built.  I'm continuously wondering what the true purpose of the long tang might be.    

Nate,
It's mainly rifles from upper E. TN that are known for having long tangs that extend up and over the nose of the comb.  

Greg,  A tang going all the way to the buttplate is only a wee bit more work than just over the nose of the comb.  The two bends are the worrysome parts.  Keith has it down to a fine science.  
Them triggers is some work.  The first set is the worst and then they get easier and easier.  

Roger,
This is a barrel Bookie and I rifled a year or so back and it was never threaded for a breech plug.  I sent the barrel off to have the breech threaded and had a breechplug with long tang extention made at the same time.  I'm pretty sure it was Bobby Hoyt but it could have been Ed Rayl?

Cheers,
Ken


« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 05:47:03 PM by Ken Guy »
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Offline D. Keith Lisle

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2009, 07:11:31 PM »
I do mine a lil differently than Ken does, but results are the same.  Inlet the barrel & tang & 1 tang screw to lockplate in, get the barrel pinned in, lock in, trigger in, buttplate & toeplate on. Then I make the extension for the tang & take the tang off the barrel.
The reason I take the tang off is because it is very easy to keep bending the extension when you have 44-46-48" of barrel on the other end, and not want to bend it, and believe me that sucker catches Everything.......   >:(  Thus I take it off & deal with 12-16" of metal rather than 60" of metal at a time.  
Take the tang & extension to the welder & weld them together & make sure they have a lil extra support under the joint & taper if toward going out the extension.
Take the piece back, clean up the welds to the shape I want, heat it & anneal the weld,  drill pilot hole into boss for screw, bend the extension up behind the boss where I want it, inlet that part of the extension.  Then I bend the over-the-comb part & inlet it.
Put the buttplate up over the extension & mark where it will butt to it.  Take the tang out of the inlet & cut it off, saving 1" of the part I cut off. Put the whole tang back in & check measurement again at buttplate, take back out & grind then file to ? .025 of where I need the end to be. Take the 1" piece I saved off the extension & out 1/2" of it under the end of the extension & silver-solder it on the end. This is the lip that will go under the buttplate to hold the rear of the extension down & in place.
File clean it up & back to the stock for final fitting, buttplate on & file fit til I have about .010 clearance between the buttplate & the extension, fit buttplate back on & insure everything goes where it is supposed to.
Take it out & put the tang back on the barrel & back in the rifle, clamp boss & on drill press with drill pilot, drill boss hole & countersink & then tap hole & install screw & cut off excess.
Now I do the final filing down on the extension & final shaping, etc.

It is Imperative that you refrain from bending the tang upon installation & removal every time. If you bend the extension & straighten it, the metal grows in Length & now it won't fit, as the boss has moved....  This means shrinking the extension in length or cutting it off & reweld it, or making a new one, or having sloppy inlets, etc.  Thus it is time consuming & frustrating, and if you are not a patient person, this may not be something you want to start.  Once you make that initial cut down the comb, you are committed......  :-\

As for it being a useful item on a rifle, I can find no use for it other than it protect the top of the comb & point of the comb a tad, but not a protection from anything major. I feel it adds no strength to it as it is too small a piece to give any noticeable strength because it is mild steel & small/thin.   However it is an appealing feature that I like, thus why I do some of them....




« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 01:57:44 AM by Birddog6 »

Offline Ken G

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2009, 07:29:02 PM »
Once you make that initial cut down the comb, you are committed......  

Boy, that's true!  There's no second chances or wiggle room once you get going with it you are committed.  

Thanks for sharing your way of doing them.  Your results look great and prove there is more than one way to get to the same end point.    
Ken
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 07:31:27 PM by Ken Guy »
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mike e

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2009, 08:08:55 PM »
KEN, IS THAT A PRE-CARVED STOCK AND IF SO WHICH ONE?

Offline Ken G

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2009, 08:45:22 PM »
Mike,
Yes it is a precarve but it is precarved from a pattern I made and sent to a stock maker, not one that is out on the market.  This is the first rifle I've built from it so the jury is still out on how it will turn out.    
Ken
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 08:46:37 PM by Ken Guy »
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Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2009, 08:49:08 PM »
  Great tutorial, look forward to seeing the next installment. Question: How close to finish shape are the wrist and comb when you start?

 Tim C.


PS: I like your bending jig.TC
  
 
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 08:50:04 PM by Tim Crosby »

Offline Ken G

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2009, 08:53:56 PM »
Tim,
On this pattern and for this barrel size (13/16)  it is very close to the right size in the wrist area.  I left a lot of wood on the butt and around the lock panels.  Maybe too much on the butt.  Those are the areas that need tweeking on the pattern.
Ken
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 08:54:20 PM by Ken Guy »
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Dancy

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2010, 06:21:00 AM »
Ken and Keith,

This gives me even more appreciation for what you boys do! I have trouble just sharpening a pencil :o)

Ken,

Is that going to be a Soddy rifle? Hard for me to tell from the pictures?

Thanks,

James

Offline Ken G

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2010, 05:33:22 PM »
James,
It started off as a Soddy but took a fork in the road when I put the long tang on so it will be an E. TN rifle.  It is the keeper rifle I'm building for myself.
Ken
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Offline Sequatchie Rifle

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2010, 05:34:44 PM »
Great dialogue!  Ken, do you recommend against removing the barrels of these extra long-tanged rifles?  To me it seems a "risky affair"!  Perhaps it is better to just grease down the barrel and let her alone.  I shoot the rifle I got from you almost weekly and have never removed the barrel.

Bill
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Offline Ken G

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2010, 06:19:05 PM »
Bill,
Yes, taking the barrel out is a risky affair for sure.  This is not a new problem, you see old guns with broken tangs so it was a problem for them too.  I have an original with a broken tang.  
How often is a good question?  I pack the barrel channel of every gun in grease and grease the barrel down but I recon the barrel should be pulled for inspection maybe once a year depending on use, weather conditions and what you find.  
Barbie Chambers posted some pictures of a rifle that had not been inspected for some years (10+)  and had some serious rust and wood damage.  I have also seen barrels pulled after years that only had some slight surface rust underneath or none at all.
Ken

http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=6335.0
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 06:19:52 PM by Ken Guy »
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Offline Pete G.

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2010, 07:44:56 PM »
Anybody ever seen one of these as a two piece tang?
I'm thinking of maybe building one where the actual tang is beveled and tucks under the "lollipop" and from there back a permanent piece inlet into the stock. Any thoughts on this pro/con?

Offline Ken G

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2010, 09:02:10 PM »
I've seen contemporary pieces made that way but not on an original rifle. 
Ken
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Offline Steve Bookout

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2010, 02:46:26 AM »
Ken, have you ever put parafin or bees wax in your barrel channel before you wipe on the grease?  The wax keeps the grease from penetrating too deeply into the wood and reducing the water repelling feature.  Did you know that petroleum based grease and oils do not prolong and can even shorten wood life?  Cheers, Bookie
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Offline Ken G

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2010, 05:31:43 AM »
Bookie,
I did not know that about petroleum based grease.  I should be specific though.  I use bore butter and some of Birddog6's patchlube for grease.  I know Birddogs stuff is a lot of beeswax.  I don't know what the secret ingredients are.  Since he sells it I thought it not so proper to ask.  I do know the stuff works good for installing wood screws, chapstick, hand lotions and is a super laxative for dogs, even good for lubing patches.    Starting to sound like one of them snake oil salesmen so I got to stop.  hehehe  
Ken
« Last Edit: January 05, 2010, 05:40:31 AM by Ken Guy »
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Offline D. Keith Lisle

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2010, 02:12:03 PM »
On the rifles I build I seal all the wood with Tru-Oil or Permalyn in the barrel channel, under buttplate, lock inlet, etc. When I put the barrel in I coat the underside of the barrel with grease or RIG. (RIG was bought & is now being sold by Birchwood Casey)
The grease or RIG will not penetrate the sealant, thus no wood damage.  FYI, there are no petroleum products in the patch lube I make & sell, it is made from all natural ingredients. It will lube anything I have tried it on.  However, the testing on snakes has not been concluded, thus I cannot list it under the snake oil products lines yet......  ;D

Offline M Tornichio

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2010, 08:17:33 PM »
thanks for the tutorial. I found it most helpful. I must admit though I have not had the courage to try building one this way. my latest rifle has a southwest virginia style tang. I appreciate the work that goes into making one look good. I kind of understand why the originals really did not have a very tight wood to metal fit on the inletting.
Marc

Offline Hoot AL

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Re: Over the Comb Tang
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2010, 01:11:15 AM »
Great tutorial Ken! 

Bookie and I rub the barrel channel down with parafin or bees wax, then apply heat to melt the wax into the wood. Really seals up the stock.

Your long tang is amazing. Wonder how they did it 100+ years ago with the tools they had then. 

Hoot AL