Author Topic: Lock Update  (Read 2312 times)

Offline Jim Chambers

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Lock Update
« on: May 22, 2020, 03:52:28 AM »
     With all the talk recently about locks and lock quality (or lack thereof) this is probably a good time to explain what we're doing with the Siler/Chambers line of locks.
     About three years ago we recognized the potential to both reduce assembly time AND increase the precision and quality of our locks by incorporating some CNC machining of certain parts.  We are working with Jason at Rice Barrel Co. to this end.  It has been a painfully slow process including having our initial tooling stolen in shipping.  But, we are finally in production with the new CNC'd parts.
     Not wanting to waste material and machine time, we will still investment cast some parts like the plate, cock, top jaw, frizzen, etc.  We cast the lock plates extra thick so that with CNC we can take a skimming cut off the inside surface of the plate leaving it perfectly flat and very smooth.  Then, using CNC, we drill, ream and tap all holes in the plate precisely in the correct location.  We are also CNC machining the tumbler, bridle and sear so they will be a precise fit on the plate.  These internal parts are machined from pre-hardened material saving us time in not having to heat treat them.
     We are still casting our springs as has been done for the past 60 years with very few problems.  We use gauges and fixtures to give the springs the proper tension before sending them to a large commercial heat treating company that uses computer controlled furnaces to properly harden and temper the springs.
     We are already in production with this new process for our Late Ketland and large Siler flintlocks, and we will be adding our other locks as time permits.
     As others have found out, CNC machining comes at an increased cost of production.  For now, we are offsetting some of the increased cost thanks to reduced assembly time.  Our flintlocks are still priced at $195 retail (less for quantity orders), but prices will have to increase slightly later this year or next.
     Please give us a call at 828-667-8361 if you have any questions.

Also, if you prefer to do your own assembly work, we still sell the Siler line of locks in kit form.

Offline Bob McBride

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2020, 04:03:46 AM »
Very nice. Thanks for the update Jim!
-Bob

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Offline smart dog

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2020, 01:53:35 PM »
Great news Jim and I look forward to seeing the final product.  I suspect quality control of assembly must be challenging and costly.  Hopefully, the CNC assist will help.

dave
"Flick Lives!"

Offline Dale Halterman

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2020, 02:13:34 PM »
Will your kits still be sold with parts "as cast" like they are now, or will you selling them with the CNC machining done?

Dale H

Offline Jim Chambers

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2020, 02:46:16 PM »
Dale,
The kits are basically just the castings.  However, we have turned both axles of the tumbler on a CNC lathe.

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2020, 02:54:25 PM »
Bravo!....Not that I had any problems with the quality or performance of your locks before...
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
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'?

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 02:58:14 PM »
Sounds like the space age has met the flintlock ;D.I hope the drilling and
tapping operation has an ability to countersink the holes the depth of ONE
full thread.It seems as if all efforts at a quality lock are directed at the flint
lock and I know for a fact that the caplock s like the Brazier's and Stanton's
have very rigid and extremely smooth and powerful mechanisms that go
beyond those found in any flintlock.As a now former lockMAKER I know that
a fancy curlycue bridle secured by ONE screw at the top is not as rigid as
a 3 or 4 screw type and I made it a point to avoid them.
I hope this venture succeeds and helps stimulate interest in real HISTORIC
styled flintlock guns and I hope the assembly matches the effort expended
in manufacture.

Bob Roller

Offline FlintFan

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2020, 05:03:29 PM »
Ditto what Mr. Brooks said.  Chamber's Flintlocks have long been the standard for quality, variety, value, and service, and it looks like they have set themselves up to stay in that position for a long time.

Well done.

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 05:59:07 PM »
I guess thats good news, I never was ever going to wear out one of your locks but now it looks like my great grand children will still be shooting them too. I have one of your round face English locks that has about a gazilion shots through it and I still dont see any significant wear. Thanks for improving an already great product.  :)

Offline EC121

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2020, 06:44:49 PM »
Great news.  I agree with Mike's comment.  Once a lock gets faster than I can flinch, lock speed is no longer relevant.  Also no more than I get to shoot, durability isn't much of a factor.  My locks will last forever.  However, it is good to see advances in the manufacturing process.  I love a smooth working piece of machinery.  Besides we need something to discuss other than the best lube or patch thickness.

Offline P.W.Berkuta

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2020, 07:57:30 PM »
This is good to know. In the last year or so the lock manufactures have made the advancement into the CNC arena and the consumer has benefited from it with some of the highest quality never before seen in a lock. It is a win win situation for the muzzle loading gun builder.

I started building in the late 60's and at that time the Bud Siler lock was the cats meow 8). We are at another monumental event with the CNC lock production. This will put quality locks into the builders hands and will become a standard of quality that every will benefit from ;).
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it." - Chinese proverb

Offline tallpine

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2020, 08:08:47 PM »
I hope the assembly matches the effort expended
in manufacture.

Bob Roller
   I think Mr Roller nailed it here. I have built four rifles using Chambers locks, never had one problem, zip, zero, nada. Can not say the same for other locks I have purchased.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 10:33:35 PM by Dennis Glazener »

Offline Marcruger

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2020, 09:00:40 PM »
Indeed, I have never had an issue with your locks Jim.  Attractive, fast, reliable.  I am intrigued by your comments on improving the locks.  My Late Ketland is a sweetheart.   

I still think the best feature of Chambers locks is the friendly customer service that comes with them. 

Thank you for the update good sir.    God Bless,   Marc

Offline J. Talbert

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2020, 10:14:25 PM »
Bravo!....Not that I had any problems with the quality or performance of your locks before...

Yeah, what he said...

Jeff
"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic"  Benjamin Franklin

Offline Elnathan

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2020, 11:26:29 PM »
*Waves*

Hi Jim!

Good to hear that you and Barbie are keeping up with the new kids, even if the process has not been easy.

I think that it is excellent that you are machining the tumbler bearings on the kits now, too. I don't think that many home workshops have lathes, so having a pre-turned tumbler makes the task of turning a kit into a worthwhile lock a lot more feasible for the average hobbyist.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying...cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Robert A. Heinlein

Offline oldtravler61

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2020, 11:41:31 PM »
  If you all have never worked with CNC machines. + or - .0005
 tolerances are a piece of cake... as long as you pay attention to your cutting tools... Oldtravler

Offline Canuck Bob

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2020, 11:58:12 PM »
Great news Jim.  Does this process change include the LH Siler yet?

Offline heelerau

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2020, 12:24:31 AM »
Good on you Jim,  it must mean there is a great demand for your locks, which I extrapolate to mean there must be a lot more  black powder shooters out there than we what of ! I love the irony of space age tech being applied to an 17th cent artefact.  I have both Siler on a couple rifles  and one of your lovely round faced English locks on a lovely Niel Fields rifle, they are all lovely reliable fast locks.  Hope this move goes well for you. Cannot understand why tooling would go missing in transport. The vagaries of the postal service I suppose.

Cheers

Gordon
Keep yor  hoss well shod an' yor powdah dry !

Offline WKevinD

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2020, 01:40:38 AM »
Jim,
I especially like the fact that this is an upgrade to an existing, proven lock and not a carbon copy of another lock but claiming to be a new design that is all CNC. I have used other CNC locks but aside from a more difficult disassembly couldn't declare them better or faster.
Looking forward to your quality matched with the consistency of CNC screw spotting and thickness planeing.

Kevin
PEACE is that glorious moment in history when everyone stands around reloading.  Thomas Jefferson

Offline Darkhorse

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2020, 06:53:49 AM »
As a retired toolmaker with about 20 years building CNC fixtures and proving out the data and setups, I was intrigued by the idea of using CNC to manufacture flintlocks. On the other hand, being lefthanded I've accepted the fact that to upgrade my locks I would need to do so myself.
As a result I've learned more about fine tuning a lock than I ever thought possible and I'm well satisfied with the locks I've gotten from Chambers Flintlocks. In fact it suits my nature more to tune my own locks instead of buying one that's mostly already tuned right from the fixtures.
Good idea about skim cutting the lock plate for flatness. That's the first thing I do when tuning a lock. There are a lot of shooters who don't do so and don't understand why it's done.
I'm sure you will be well satisfied with your products once all the fine tuning is done to the fixtures and programming. No kind of machine tools are as accurate as CNC'd machines are.
American horses of Arabian descent.

Offline thecapgunkid

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2020, 01:03:04 PM »
Thanks, Jim

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2020, 04:06:48 PM »
As a retired toolmaker with about 20 years building CNC fixtures and proving out the data and setups, I was intrigued by the idea of using CNC to manufacture flintlocks. On the other hand, being lefthanded I've accepted the fact that to upgrade my locks I would need to do so myself.
As a result I've learned more about fine tuning a lock than I ever thought possible and I'm well satisfied with the locks I've gotten from Chambers Flintlocks. In fact it suits my nature more to tune my own locks instead of buying one that's mostly already tuned right from the fixtures.
Good idea about skim cutting the lock plate for flatness. That's the first thing I do when tuning a lock. There are a lot of shooters who don't do so and don't understand why it's done.
I'm sure you will be well satisfied with your products once all the fine tuning is done to the fixtures and programming. No kind of machine tools are as accurate as CNC'd machines are.

Level the lock plate???I thought that a wear pattern would develop and then the rough
lock would smooth out ;D and a .306 tumbler shank thru a drilled only 5/16 hole worked fine.
Actually I well remember lock plates that were curved and had to be straightened and when
finally thought to be useable would warp again and frizzens that were so hard that no  drill
including carbide tipped could go thru them.This goes to lousy and indifferent foundries and
I hope they all went broke and stayed that way.Even though a lot of muzzle loader parts were
tooled in plastic or maybe even play dough we deserved better than what we got when I first
started.
Bob Roller

Offline moleeyes36

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2020, 03:40:34 PM »

     .....We are already in production with this new process for our Late Ketland and large Siler flintlocks, and we will be adding our other locks as time permits.....
     

Jim, I have 3 projects coming up soon on my schedule that require small Siler flintlocks.  Do you have an estimate of when these locks will be undergo the new process?  Thanks.

Don Richards
Don Richards
NMLRA Field Rep Coordinator, Region 3 (Southeastern States)
NMLRA Florida State Field Rep Coordinator

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2020, 07:03:28 PM »
I hope the assembly matches the effort expended
in manufacture.

Bob Roller
   I think Mr Roller nailed it here. I have built four rifles using Chambers locks, never had one problem, zip, zero, nada. Can not say the ame for other locks I have purchased.
I noticed a quote from me recently made that is dated January 1975!!!
My faith in the electroworld has never been lower and this does nothing to restore
it. ;D.
The has been a fair amount of activity concerning making better flintlocks but has there
been any,other than myself attempted to make an upgraded caplock?
Bob Roller

Offline Scota4570

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Re: Lock Update
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2020, 10:21:32 PM »
Nice to hear another company is taking pride in their product.   Since my last bad experience I will be looking at Chambers first as well as Kibler.

Lockplates?  Machining the plate from cold rolled mild steel produces a far superior plate.  They are straighter and smoother than the cast ones,  It seems to me that machining the plate bolster as a long L-shape bar, then cutting them out on a flow jet would make a better plate at a low cost.

How would the costs compare?    Especially a flat plate like for many cap locks.