Author Topic: Amber French or Black English?  (Read 24226 times)

Offline Kermit

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Amber French or Black English?
« on: June 21, 2013, 02:04:07 AM »
The reminder that Rich Pierce is no longer knapping his excellent flints has me recalling that I'm getting short of a couple of sizes.

B. R. (before Rich), I used the English flints, 'cause that's what there was. Howsomever, I see the French ambers are available from a couple of sources. I'm of the opinion that a goodly portion of the English (Fuller?) flints I got were a bit uneven and sometimes problematic to get secure in cock jaws.

Experiences? Opinions? Oh, and good sources?
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

Offline SCLoyalist

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 02:26:21 AM »
I ordered some 5/8 and some 3/4" amber flints from Track.  They tended to be pretty flat on top, which does make them fit in the jaws better.    Number of shots per flint is at least as good as black English.     Whether results with future orders of amber flints will be as satisfactory is TBD, but I will order another batch.


Offline Kermit

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 02:58:04 AM »
Thanks, SC. ToW seems to have the best deals, but they price by the each or by 100's. No break at a dozzen, apparently.

Other experiences?
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

Offline Canute Rex

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2013, 03:59:06 AM »
My non-scientific opinion, based on shooting black English, French amber, and white Rich Pierce flints:

English flints seem to stay sharper and sparkier longer than the others, but are also more prone to suddenly lose a big flake or split.

French flints seem to dull faster but hold together better than English.

Rich Pierce's flints are more difficult to keep sharp than either English or French, but you can't break them, period.

My overall take is that it's a tradeoff between structural integrity and edge quality. Maybe a geologist among us can chime in on this.

Right now I'm slowly going through my stock of Rich Pierce flints. I bought a pile of them a few years ago and now I'm glad I did.

Offline Frizzen

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2013, 04:58:58 AM »
Yes, they are GREAT!   I have over 100 for my pistol. Glad I bought them when I did.
The Pistol Shooter

Dogshirt

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2013, 07:16:13 AM »
When I DID have a flint gun, I found the English flints to have a higher incident of "Lumps", those annoying high spots on the back (or on the front) that keep them from sitting right, or hitting right. The French
seemed to be much better about this.
But since I dumped the thing it's not a problem anymore!
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 07:17:21 AM by Dogshirt »

dagner

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2013, 07:36:55 AM »
  had the same problem with you on black English flints Kermit.all the different thickness humps and bumps made them a pain in the butt.  solved most of problem by taking to TRACK OF WOLF  over the phone and ordering thin flat flints   .they  used to hand pick them if you specified them. have not ordered in couple years though.

Online Bob Roller

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2013, 02:29:07 PM »
I still have some of Guenter Stifters flints from Germany.
Very uniform dimensions.

Bob Roller

Offline EC121

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2013, 02:49:59 PM »
I use a greenstone wheel on a grinder and take the humps off the English flints.  Makes a nice flat surface but don't let it get too hot or the flint will crack.
Brice Stultz

Offline wmrike

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2013, 11:49:29 PM »
Greenstone?

Offline T*O*F

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2013, 12:41:57 AM »
Quote
My overall take is that it's a tradeoff between structural integrity and edge quality. Maybe a geologist among us can chime in on this.
The French and English are true flints.  Rich's aren't flint, they are chert.
All flint is chert, but not all chert is flint.  Chert takes many forms.
Dave Kanger

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-S.M. Tomlinson

Offline smokinbuck

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2013, 01:09:36 AM »
Kermit,
I have 11 of Rich's flints here that I probably won't need, don't  remember but most likley used the 12th one. Make me an offer that I can't refuse and I'll ship them to you. By the way, they are 3/4".
Mark
Mark

roundball

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2013, 04:13:25 AM »
FYI, diamond impregnated cutting wheel in a Dremel tool goes through the hump on a black English flint like its butter:


4ster

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2013, 04:39:41 AM »
FYI, diamond impregnated cutting wheel in a Dremel tool goes through the hump on a black English flint like its butter:
Most people here know this, but it is worth repeating: Don't breath the dust that will be airborne from grinding stone this way.  Its very pernicious stuff.

I will look for that diamond cutting wheel (and pick up some respiratory masks as well) and try it.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2013, 05:31:38 PM »
Greenstone?

A Greenstone is a wheel for an electric grinder that's purpose is for  shaping and sharpening Tungsten Carbide (Carbaloy) cutters.  It works well in the flint humps, but be careful not to overheat then or they'll crack/break.
Daryl

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

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2013, 05:49:33 PM »
French flints, the good ambers, are superior to English black flints.
This is discussed and tested in "18th C Gunflints......" by Hamilton and Emory.
The British fought the American Revolution with French Flints and I am sure the Americans had a lot of them too.
The British flint of the era left a lot to be desired it was a spall flint not a flaked flint.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline Kermit

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2013, 07:54:49 PM »
Mark--PM sent.

Dan--Interesting factiod and info. Thanks.

TotW says their French amber flints can be more "brittle." In actual use/practice, what does this mean? Greater care in leathering when clamping in the cock? Expect some to break unpredictably? Both A and B?
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

ironwolf

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2013, 08:35:51 PM »
  It means you're going to go through more flints.  Literally "less bang for your buck".

  K

Offline Kermit

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2013, 12:27:00 AM »
Dan, is the amber flint better suited to pressure flaking to renew an edge? Seems some black flints don't take kindly to that approach, in my experience.
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

mjm46@bellsouth.net

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2013, 12:38:32 AM »
I've been using amber flints for as long as I can remember. I always felt they were superior to the gray flints but never actually tested them. I think I get more shots before they require re-sharpening. I feel that they give me 3-1 English to French. You can re-sharpen them very easily. Others milage may vary.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2013, 07:08:28 AM »
I can't tell any difference in the French flints vs the English except the ambers seem to spark better.
I tried a small batch then bought 100 of 3/4 and 5/8.
I ran along on a purchase of Tom Fuller flints I bought almost 30 years ago plus a few I picked up here and there.
Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline wmrike

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2013, 06:38:30 PM »
Daryl - Thanks.  Gotta' get me one.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2013, 06:55:47 PM »
wmrike  I really like mine - and use it for most jobs that require a 'fine' stone.  Much nicer than the 'fine grit' normal grinder stone.   
Daryl

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

Offline David R. Pennington

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2013, 04:52:23 AM »
I've always liked the black English flints, the ones that look greasy. I like to buy them at the shows etc..,. That's the first thing I look for. I carry apiece of plastic cut out of a coffee can lid in the shape of a credit card to fit my wallet. I have a hole cut in it that is the optimum size for the flints my lock likes. and another slot to gauge the thickness. I mark on the card the rifle it corresponds to.  Then I can quickly pick out a bunch of flints that will all fit my locks.
A few strokes on a diamond bench hone will take the lumps down on some of those humpback flints lying in your box you haven' been able to use.
VITA BREVIS- ARS LONGA

Mike R

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Re: Amber French or Black English?
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2013, 05:11:10 PM »
Quote
My overall take is that it's a tradeoff between structural integrity and edge quality. Maybe a geologist among us can chime in on this.
The French and English are true flints.  Rich's aren't flint, they are chert.
All flint is chert, but not all chert is flint.  Chert takes many forms.

Being a geologist, this is my take:  "All flint is chert, but not all chert is flint" above is right in a sense.  Chert is the mineralogical term for cryptocrystalline SiO2--a quartz family mineral.   It is a catch-all term for a variety of rocks/minerals, including bedded cherts and nodular chert.  Flint is a popular term for the fine translucent to opaque very finely crystalline to almost glassy, conchoidally fracturing cherts of various colors that we use for gun flints, seen in many "arrowheads", blades, etc.  Some mineralogists have called for the abandonment of the term "flint" in favor of the term "chert", but the term has precedence and long use.  The black and amber flints differ mainly in impurity content--organic carbon giving the black color.  Both are Cretaceous age if I recall.  The black flints are mined as nodules in the English chalk deposits.  There shouldn't be a significant difference in use based on mineralogy alone.  Such things as fractures, "cut" or shape [knapping results], lock geometry, etc.  likely are more important factors.