Author Topic: Artificer's Box  (Read 25205 times)

Offline James Wilson Everett

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Artificer's Box
« on: June 29, 2012, 08:41:11 PM »
Guys,

This is a continuation of the tutorial topic for making 18th c screws that wandered a bit off topic into the articifer or journeyman tool box.  This is my interpretation of the tool box.  I use these tools to do "shade tree" gunsmithing and repairs while staying in 18th c first person at colonial show-n-tells.  The box is 11 x 15 x 8 high.  Almost everything in the box are 18th c tools or reproductions.

Overall box


Box with the lid open.  The lid makes a great place to keep all those small parts while working on gunlocks.



Box contents, mostly smaller boxes in the bigger box, but the larger tools are loose.




Contents of the largest internal box showing the tools.  One of the screw plates I made to fit modern English and metric screws found on today's repro guns.



Contents of a small box marked "WIPE".  Along with this I have made a sectioned cleaning rod that just fits into the box interior.  This gets used a lot at show-n-tells.



Box with lots of spare lock springs.  Almost every day at show-n-tells I replace broken lock springs for reenactors.



Some of the larger tools.



More of the larger tools.  The book is a combination of my "brain" or "memory", and a journal to write down orders, addresses, etc.



With this set I can actually make the metal parts for a gun.  Just at my shop I have a lot more files & heavier tools (I don't haul my anvil and forge to show-n-tells.)

Let me know if you wish for more details or closer photos of these tools.

Jim
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 07:44:15 PM by James Wilson Everett »

Offline T.C.Albert

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2012, 09:50:36 PM »
Nice set...really nice.

I was wondering about the little hand vise under the file on the left.
Is that modified to attach to a bench, or is it originally made that way?
I have never seen one set up like that, usually they dont have the extra
bench screw etc....
tc
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Offline James Wilson Everett

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2012, 12:36:55 AM »
TC,

You really must know your tools to see that.  Yes, the little vise was made originally to mount as a bench vise.  It is the same size as a more typical hand vise, perhaps a tiny bit smaller than most.  This tool has seen very little use and is in wonderful condition, still retaining a heat blue color.  There is some decorative filing/molding where the tightening screw passes through.  Thanks for the comment.

Jim


« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 07:44:37 PM by James Wilson Everett »

Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2012, 04:08:22 AM »
Jim,
Please replace those Phillips head screws on the box of springs! The devil is in the details when it comes to HC presentations and I know you know that.
Gary
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Offline James Wilson Everett

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 05:31:33 AM »
Gary,

Oops! - Will Do, thanks!

Jim

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2012, 06:18:56 AM »
Yes I seen those philips head screws too, but I thank you for a great thread. Your tool colection is very nice and I'm sure does a good job for you. Gives me some ideas. Keep up the good work.   Smylee

Offline James Wilson Everett

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2012, 02:15:56 PM »
Guys,

Here are some photos of the "modern" screw plate for repairing reproduction guns in the field.  I tried to include all the UNC/UNF and metric thread sizes that I would be likely to encounter.  It works just like an original screw plate, but it looks OK in the set of old tools.

As Gary has said - "The devil is in the details when it comes to HC presentations and I know you know that."

Jim








« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 07:46:19 PM by James Wilson Everett »

Offline JDK

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2012, 09:33:59 PM »
Very nice work.  Thanks for posting.

Enjoy, J.D.
J.D. Kerstetter

Offline Artificer

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2012, 11:22:18 PM »
Jim,

VERY NICE KIT INDEED !!

LOVE your screwplate for modern screws.  Your pliers are right out of Wyke's catalogue.  I got a slightly smaller pair on ebay about 8 years ago that are so handy, I often use them in modern gun work.

On your Lancashire pattern hack saw, do you use broken off/cut down pieces of band saw blades or just shorten hack saw blades?  That is a HANDY size Lancashire pattern saw. 

Are one or two of your "C" clamps actually quilting frame clamps?  I bought four originals, years ago on ebay and use them in my kit.  On one, I hand sewed a leather "scabbard" on one side to protect stock wood and use the moveable end to close off the vent hole to clean muskets with a piece of leather between the barrel and clamp.  On my other clamps, I just use as handy clamps.

Please don't take this as criticism as I'm only asking a question that you and maybe Gary will chime in as well, on your Gentleman's brace.  (I think I have two or maybe three of them, myself.)I have seen pictures of these braces in original Gentleman’s tool kits, including in a book from Colonial Williamsburg on early woodworking tools.  When I bought mine, I originally thought the style was too late, until I got that book.  My question to you and Gary is would that style be too late for French and Indian war usage in an American or British Military Army Armourer’s/Artificer’s tool kit? 

I’m sure I will have more questions, later, if I’m not plaguing you or boring folks.
Gus
   






Offline Artificer

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2012, 12:27:37 AM »
Jim,

Your box is actually smaller than the Journeyman’s Tool box they had on display at Colonial Williamsburg I saw a few years ago.  Congratulations on your organizing things in the box. 

I hope I copied the correct image (and if not I’ll change it.)
Contents of the largest internal box showing the tools.  One of the screw plates I made to fit modern English and metric screws found on today's repro guns.



Let me know if you wish for more details or closer photos of these tools.

Jim

Is the tool in the top corner with what looks like brass collars a muzzle crowning tool? 

The two tools on sort of the top center and laying lengthwise – are they chisels? 

Gus

Offline Artificer

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2012, 12:47:26 AM »
Contents of a small box marked "WIPE".  Along with this I have made a sectioned cleaning rod that just fits into the box interior.  This gets used a lot at show-n-tells.

 

Jim

Are the  brass collars in this picture used to center a ball puller or worm in the bore?

I never thought about making a sectionalized rod.
Gus

Offline Artificer

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2012, 12:59:15 AM »
Some of the larger tools.


Jim

In this picture, near the bottom and right under your thread forming tool – What is the tool with the two screw heads, holes and little piece of brass peeking out?  Also, what are the fixtures used for?  I love fixtures.  Grin.

Gus


Offline Artificer

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2012, 01:06:38 AM »
More of the larger tools.  The book is a combination of my "brain" or "memory", and a journal to write down orders, addresses, etc.



Jim

Jim,

The "pliers type" tool with the holes in it - what do you use that for?
Gus

Offline James Wilson Everett

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2012, 02:40:04 AM »
Guys,

So many questions - this is great, keep them coming.

1.  The small hacksaw uses modern (and good quality) hacksaw blades, shortened with the new pin hole drilled.  On this small saw I reverse the blade to cut on the pull stroke.  See a more detailed photo & discussion on the thread "scratch built locks".  I like the smaller saw only because it fits in the box.  My larger frame hacksaw I bring along to show-n-tells, but it will not fit into the journeyman box.

2.  The c-clamps are a bit larger and heavier than quilting frame clamps.  They are very handy to clamp a barrel as I show-n-tell the use of an armory reamer.

3.  I believe that the "gentleman's brace" is early 19th c, but it does fit into the box.  You don't need to get one with the ball intact, it works just as well without it.  I don't think that this design would date to the F&I war period, but I may be mistaken.

4.  The tools with the brass collars are for cutting the breech bore diameter prior to threading.  They are called breech grinders and are used with the brace.  A drill bit that large would be too difficult to turn by hand brace.  I only use two sizes of breech threads so I have two breech grinders and two sets of taps/dies.  The collars are made to slip into the bore to keep the tool aligned with the bore.  It seems that every barrel I make is a different calibre, so I have made and used a lot of these collars.  See the more detailed discussion and photos under the thread "18th c breech threads HDTDT."

5.  The tools that look like chisels are die sinkers chisels, for engraving metal.  I do a lot of rack numbers/company letters on reenactor muskets at show-n-tells.

6.  The brass "collars" in the wipe box photo are cleaning jags for a wide range of bore sizes.  Each jag is threaded on center to hold a small drill bit and a ball puller screw.  The jag will act to keep the drill bit centered on the ball, and likewise the puller.  I have found it much easier to use the ball puller if you drill a small pilot hole in the ball first.  The sectioned rod is probably not historically correct, but it sure is useful.  I made the sections to just fit into the box.  The brass T-handle is a big help too.  Again, this set is used daily with reenacctors who have an "oops".

7.  The tool with the two screw heads is a tumbler mill.  See the detailed description and photos under the thread "scratch built locks".  In the field I often ues the variety of holes as screw grinders to make the screw shank round before threading.  With so many holes I can make a good variety of screw shank diameters in the field.

8.  The plyer looking tool is a neat set of adjustable plyers.  I do not know the date, but they are wrought iron, hand forged and almost certainly predate channel lock type tools.  They are extremely useful, but I cannot be certain of the date.

Again, thanks for the interest.

Jim

dannybb55

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2012, 04:07:02 AM »
I am printing these pics and hanging it in my shop for future reference. Is your 2 foot folding rule a Rabone 1243? Mine is a 1943 build with a Broad arrow and none of that Napoleonic measurement on the B side. Thanks Jim.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 04:09:37 AM by dannybb55 »

Offline James Wilson Everett

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2012, 05:03:19 AM »
The 2 foot folding rule is marked "MAKERS BIRMINGHAM" in two lines.  Above the word "MAKERS" is an undecipherable word, the only letter I can make out ia a "W".  I wish to someday get an older boxwood 2 foot folding rule, but so far these have been way too expensive for me.  I believe that this rule is at least 19th c.

Jim
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 07:47:42 PM by James Wilson Everett »

Offline James Wilson Everett

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2012, 05:22:25 AM »
Guys,

Concerning the question about what looks like a barrel crown tool (actually a breech hole grinder), here is a closeup of the barrel crown tool frrom the largest interior box photo.  This was taken from one illustrated in the Journal of Historical Armsmaking Technology.  It works great.  However, I cut the teeth backwards so the tool must be turned anti-clockwise to work.  Oh well, nobody is perfect, least of all - me.

Jim

« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 07:47:32 PM by James Wilson Everett »

Offline Artificer

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2012, 06:19:51 AM »
Jim wrote these explanations

"5.  The tools that look like chisels are die sinkers chisels, for engraving metal.  I do a lot of rack numbers/company letters on reenactor muskets at show-n-tells."

My reply - I guess I should have known that from the chasing hammer in another picture.  Grin.

7.  The tool with the two screw heads is a tumbler mill.  See the detailed description and photos under the thread "scratch built locks".  In the field I often ues the variety of holes as screw grinders to make the screw shank round before threading.  With so many holes I can make a good variety of screw shank diameters in the field.

My reply - As soon as I read your explanation, I was able to make out the tang of the file you made it from.

Very interesting.  Thank you.
Gus

dannybb55

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2012, 03:09:14 PM »
You do get the rare tools brother.

Offline Artificer

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2012, 09:26:09 PM »
Jim,

It may be due to my bad eye, but I only notice one turnscrew and it looks to be a size for cock screws.  What do you use for smaller lock screws and other screws?  I realize a journeyman gunsmith filed his own screw slots when he made his screws, so I can see how he would only have needed turnscrews for the cock screw and another for the smaller lock screws.  Or did I not spot a smaller turnscrew?  I am expecting to make a number of turnscrews to fit the screw slots on the different guns reenactors use. 

Have you got small “needle file” type files in your kit?  That is one thing I have not been able to find is a source for 18th century “correct” needle files.   

I don’t see them laid out, so did you make your own pin punches? 
Gus

Offline James Wilson Everett

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2012, 10:04:00 PM »
Gus,

I have two turnscrews, both modern made to look like the 18th c style.  I do not try to artificially age my stuff.  The artificer in 1780 could have had a brand new turnscrew, too.
Here is a close-up of one of the posted photos showing the two.  Also see a spare hacksaw blade, a good modern one, but cold blued (I  wire brushed off the red paint first)



This next photo is a close-up of the smaller box for small files, with needle files.  In my home shop I use a lot of big files, like 18" half round coarse cut files.  When shaping a barrel, these big files make suprisingly quick work of wrought iron.  When rough filing a barrel it gets too hot to touch - just from the file.  The plate is O-1 tool steel, to be used as a frizzen face, although I have never faced a frizzen in the field, only at my home shop.  The wood pieces are the backing strips from an armory reamer.

[

Thanks so very much for your interest and your keen questions.

Jim
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 07:48:54 PM by James Wilson Everett »

Offline Artificer

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2012, 02:03:34 AM »
Jim,

First of all, thank YOU for starting this thread, all the great pictures and explaining what some of the tools are.  You have given me some great ideas on things to make or buy that I had not thought about before or didn’t know how to make them smaller than what was used in a regular shop.  For example, I’ve seen tumbler grinders in books, one or two 19th century ones at some shows and what they use in Colonial Williamsburg – but the smaller one you have is just the ticket for an Armourer’s Artificer kit.  I’m sure the tumblers (and some other parts) they sent from England in the 18th century were not fully finished and the Armourer would fit them to each gun as required with tools like yours. 

I hope I have not left any impression that I’m trying to nitpick you on the authenticity of any of your tools for being “correct” for the period, as I absolutely had no intention of doing that.  Making a complete set of tools that would be absolutely correct for the 18th century, would be a stunningly daunting task requiring a lot of time and money to do so.  I’m sure no matter how “complete” I ever get my set, there will always be something that I will have to correct or just accept I can’t get absolutely right for the 18th century – until and unless I learn more about forge work or win the lottery and since I don’t play the lottery – that will never happen.  Grin.  I just thought about something, to make it 100 percent correct, even the RAGS have to be from handwoven cloth and I doubt I will ever go that far.

As to artificially aging tools or anything of the period, to use in living history or reenactments – everyone has the right to do as they please, but I am definitely in the camp of not doing it and completely agree with you.  I can’t even imagine a tool that would have been more than a couple generations old and still in use other than maybe some of the wood working tools.  Some tools may have been old and some well used and some brand new at almost any date an Artificer/Gunsmith/Armourer would have used them at any point in his working career.  However, the tools would not have looked 200 years old when they were using them 200 or more years ago.  I have always preferred to “age” my living history/reenacting stuff by using them and allowing time to age them, naturally.  Grin.

Since acquiring sperm whale oil is virtually impossible, I was wondering what oil you use?  Since I don’t hunt much anymore, rendering fat is pretty much out of the question.  I thought about using Olive Oil or Flax Seed oil or maybe just going with Jojoba oil.  Have you found a preference?

Do you carry brick dust and/or powdered emory? 
Gus

Offline James Wilson Everett

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2012, 04:51:14 AM »
Gus,

Thanks again for your great comments.  The journeyman box has been built and improved upon for several years.  I know that there are several tools that can be improved if I can only find them at a good price, or find them at all.  My hope is that next year the box will be better than it is today.  I do use woven rag patches with the journeyman box, but the cheaper knit stuff (looks like undershirt scraps) in my home shop where nobody is watching.

As to oil, I have tried several but now use what was called Pennsylvania Rock Oil.  This was available in the time period (read modern Quaker State stuff, now)  When I tried sweet oil (olive oil) and lard oil (bacon drippings) there was too much of an attraction to those dratted yellow jackets.  Since I do the show-n-tells for the public I felt it inappropriate to attract these pests. 

Most of my stuff I leave at the fine file stage of polish without using any abrasive.  The one place I do use an abrasive is when I make a lock screw that is too tight in the threaded hole.  I apply some lapping compound, like 600-800 grit Clover Abrasive to the threads to make the screw behave properly.  When I have to lap a rifled barrel I use automotive valve grinding compound on a cast lead lap.

I do have a small supply of sperm whale oil, but I do not use it, too valuable.  I put oil on my rifling cutter, but it is really not a lubricant.  The oil makes the cutting chips stick to the rifling rod so they can be removed from the barrel bore during rifling.  If I do not do this, the chips accumulate in the bore and do not get removed, then they scratch up everything.

Jim

JWBlair

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2012, 05:32:29 AM »
A most informative discussion.Very informative.A tool box never seems to be complete,there's always one more thing to add it always seems.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 05:33:52 AM by JWBlair »

Offline Artificer

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Re: Artificer's Box
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2012, 06:56:55 AM »
Jim,

I had never heard they used PA rock oil during the period.  Do you know if it was exported to Virginia and when it was exported, if so?  I know there were places it bubbled up to the surface, but I never heard it was collected until the 19th century. 

Because I will be doing a British Armourers’s impression, I need to have some emory powder or at least brick dust.  Whether or not every British reenactor does it, and I’ve found that most try to, the King’s musket and bayonet is supposed to look good at all times.  Grin.  After doing some research on period brick making, I found that the best bricks made were used in foundations, fireplaces and walls.  Those are not the bricks I need because they actually may be a little too hard of abrasive.  What I’m looking for are bricks that were fired on the outer edges of the kiln and used mainly for decoration or outdoor fences because I learned those were the poorer bricks that came from the kiln.  Those are a little softer in abrasion I was informed and that seems to be true.  I have friends in the brick business who look for 18th century bricks for me.  Only problem is I give away a lot more brick dust than I use and when I run out, I have to find more bricks.  Grin.  That reminds me, I need to make some polishing sticks. 

Another thing I’m doing for my kit is getting some more period leather working tools.  Since I have handsewn cartridge boxes, sword and bayonet scabbards, frogs, belts and other things; I do repair work on them as well.  I got to know a Sergeant who wore a hanger in a belt sling, but even though the belt fit well, the suspension for the frog was not made for him and it did not carry the sword in a good position on him.  So finally I went up to him and said, “Sergeant, I’ve watched you fight that belt frog for some time because it does not fit you well, would you PLEASE allow me to fix it for you?”  We had some down time that afternoon, so I knew I would have time to fix it.  After I explained what needed done, he somewhat reluctantly agreed.  He got a little upset when I cut the frog suspension off the belt, but assured him that was necessary.  I had him put the belt back on and then put the sword and scabbard in it and adjusted the fit and angle and marked it.  Then I had him strip the belt, handed him the hanger and scabbard and I went off towards my tent to get some tools.  I sewed it back on and had him try it and it fit and hung properly.  Then I had him take it off one more time to cut off the suspension parts that were now above the belt.  It is ALWAYS a good idea for a Private Soldier to have a Sergeant who is grateful.  Grin. 

Well, I am out of questions for tonight so will close.  Might think of some ore in the next few days.  Thanks again.
Gus