Author Topic: Another Hawk New England Fowler FINISHED  (Read 9609 times)

Offline Jim Kibler

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #50 on: December 15, 2023, 03:15:10 AM »
Looks great.  These New England guns can sort of grow on you.

Jim

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2023, 04:13:27 AM »
Hi,
I got all of the moldings along the barrel and ramrod channel done.  It was a challenge and especially so because as I cut I wondered when I was getting to the end.  The barrel is so long.  Anyway, it came out well.






I had to also work on a Brown Bess so tomorrow I'll get back to the fowler.



dave
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Online Stoner creek

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2023, 04:32:52 AM »
Thatís really nice. Those perfectly straight molding lines are really tough to do. Really nice.
W
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Offline Tom Currie

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #53 on: December 16, 2023, 07:06:55 PM »
Dave, I'm sure sharing your work and execution is inspiring to others here, it certainly is to me. Pre-drilling a hole in a rr pipe and hitting it while drilling through the wood is beyond my comprehension.

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #54 on: December 17, 2023, 03:55:58 AM »
Hi,
Thank you Jim and Wayne.  This is one of the hardest guns I've built.  So much has to fabricated and there are so many details.  Tom, drilling through predrilled holes in barrel lugs and pipes is not hard as long as you have trimmed off most of the wood so the depth of drilling not very deep.  That way any deviation of the drill does not matter much because you are so close to the target.  Secondly, if your trimmed stock is still squared up so you can make accurate measurements where the hole should go, that along with shallow drilling depth solves all the problems.

dave
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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #55 on: December 19, 2023, 02:41:28 AM »
Hi,
My apprentice, Maria, was in the shop today and I had her start carving the last molding along the forestock.  On the ramrod channel, we cannot resort directly to using the scratch stock on the marking gauge because of the angle of the wood.  So we cut a single line using the gauge for the upper edge of the molding.



Then deepen the line with a 60 degree checkering tool.



Then we use a skip line checkering tool at 16 lines per inch to cut the parallel center line.



Then we deepen that line with the checkering tool and finally use the double beaded scratch stock to scrape the beaded shape into the parallel lines.  I'll finish the job tomorrow.  This is the first time Maria has used the checkering tool or done this type of task.  She did very well.

dave



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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #56 on: December 20, 2023, 02:14:51 AM »
Hi Folks,
Getting the stock finished.  The forestock moldings are all done.  They actually sit up in relief so are not simple lines.  I final shaped much of the stock today but tomorrow I concentrate on the butt portion.  It needs more clean up and definition. Very soon I will start the final finishing and whiskering of the stock.  Cherry has such fine grain that it often needs some help to be interesting.  So I will probably stain the stock black during whiskering.  After scraping off the stain and whiskering the stock, black pigment will still be imbedded in the grain.  That will act as a "drop shadow" giving the grain in wood a halo effect and make bland cherry come alive.  Anyway, here is where I am. It is a slim, elegant gun.














dave
« Last Edit: December 20, 2023, 02:23:53 AM by smart dog »
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Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #57 on: December 21, 2023, 12:47:15 AM »
Dave, your perseverance, attention to detail, and personal skills are astounding!
That fore end going on forever is astounding, and the carved duplex lines really set off the whole firearm.  And I love the shape of the buttstock - it seems to come alive and wants to be held and used.
What, to you, has been the most tedious portion of the build so far?

Really appreciate you sharing this build so well.  I've seen a lot of your builds, love 'em all!
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #58 on: December 21, 2023, 04:12:53 PM »
Hi,
It's black!






The dilute black stain is  Brownell's nigrosine aniline dye dissolved in water.  It highlights the scratches and rough spots as well as embedding a little black pigment in the grain.  When I eventually stain the cherry the black will give it a bit of a halo or glowing effect.

As I scrape the stain shows up the scratches.
 



You can really see the shape of the hollows or fluting along the comb.




This photo of my previous version of this gun shows the color and effect I am going for.




dave
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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #59 on: February 15, 2024, 03:13:10 AM »
Hi Folks,
I had a bunch of more time limited work to get done so I put the fowler aside for a while.  I also was struggling with the carving.  It is a good piece of cherry but cherry is not a good carving wood.  Anyway, I stepped back for a while until I was ready to have at it again. Fortunately, the carving on the original is simple and not what you see on high quality jaegers and long rifles stocked in maple or European walnut. It cuts easily with razor sharp tools but just does not preserve any crispness.  But then the original doesn't either.  Anyway, I roughed out all the details of all the carving.  I need to come back and clean it up but I will do that after I inlet the silver wrist plate.  I mingled the photos with those of the original gun.









dave



« Last Edit: February 15, 2024, 03:19:38 AM by smart dog »
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Offline 2 shots

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #60 on: February 15, 2024, 03:59:24 AM »
 amazing talent and dedication. wish i had .01 percent of it. ;)

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #61 on: February 16, 2024, 03:42:28 AM »
Hi,
I made the wrist plate. None of the decorated hardware on this gun was made by any colonial New England gunsmith. No one in NE could make this stuff. It was all fine quality French export work.  That was something Barnabas Mathis promoted and incorporated on his guns. He also promoted the French architecture used on this fowler. So to build this gun, I have to merge Mathis' talents and designs with high quality French work beyond the capabilities of any NE gun maker.  There is nothing for this gun that you can buy stock and everything needs fabrication and refinement. That said, it is one of the greatest New England guns ever made so it is worth the effort.    I cannot possibly make a bench copy because I don't have the original gun in my shop.  That means I don't have complete information about all the details despite having examined the gun closely.  Moreover, some of the features like engraving were obscured by centuries of patina (muck).  In addition, I could not get such a long barrel with a breech almost 1 1/4" in diameter. I had to settle for less width.  Anyway, I've dealt with all of that and the gun should be a treasure and very faithful to the original.  I did not copy the original wrist plate.  I don't like it very much and I cannot work out the engraving. With these kinds of inlays with complicated edges the engraving has to natch the design.  I prefer to design the engraving and then design the escutcheon. The original has a slight oval domed center.  I decided to accentuate that creating relief that looks like a cabuchon surrounded by a silver frame.  I've never done this before so I made a hardwood form using a gouge.
   




I annealed the 0.04" thick sterling silver sheet and tapped it into the form with a hardwood dowel rounded on the end.

 





Then I placed by card stock template over the raised oval and traced the outline 





I cut out the outline with a jeweler's saw and cleaned up the edges with files.  Then I annealed the silver and hand bent it to a metal cylinder slightly smaller than the diameter of the wrist on the gun.  Remember, the bottom of any wrist plate mortise is smaller diameter than the wrist. If you don't grasp that, inletting wrist plates will always be difficult.



The mortise for this plate is very shallow and I will inlet it then glue it in place with Acra Glas while I finish the gun.  Then I will pop it off with heat and engrave it. After engraving, it will be reglued in the mortise and pinned.  It will sit proud of the surface of the wood like the original.

dave
« Last Edit: February 16, 2024, 03:49:24 AM by smart dog »
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Offline JasonR

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #62 on: February 16, 2024, 05:33:06 AM »
Wow. In case ALR or Muzzloading Forum ever die off would be cool if you got with a publisher for printing. Would be a shame to lose all this. I guess my mind doesn't always work electronically

Offline JH Ehlers

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #63 on: February 16, 2024, 05:51:20 AM »
To make a domed thingy like that you can get nice crisp edges by making the oval hole in a piece of mild steel flat plate, you can even bend the plate to the shape of the wrist before hammering the dome in.

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #64 on: February 17, 2024, 03:11:08 AM »
Hi,
Thank you JH.  I will try that the next time I do this.  I did not like the plate.  After looking at it on the gun it was too large, too narrow for its length, the dome was too pronounced, and the metal thickness too thin to inlet easily. So I scrapped it and made another using thicker silver.  I made a new design that looks better on the gun.

 




The previous plate is closer to the original but it just does not fit the space well.  My curve of the top of the wrist is narrower than the original just behind the lock panels.  That is because the breech of the barrel is a bit smaller diameter than the original.   So on the original, the width of the wrist is wider right behind the lock panel then narrows toward the comb.  In my case, the wrist is narrower behind the lock because of the barrel and maintains that width to the comb such that at the comb, the width is identical to the original.  Consequently, the original design does not fit well at all.  My new design is far better and will fit the space as well as inlet much more easily.   I glued it to a curved surface of wood and am going to engrave it before inletting it.  It will sit proud of the wood a little and will be glued and pinned in place.

The original fowler was built for John Hawks (1707-1784) a resident of Deerfield, MA.  He was the commanding sergeant at Fort Massachusetts in North Adams, MA when it was besieged by French and indian troops during August 1746.  The garrison number 30 (including several women and children) under Hawks and the attackers were close to 1,000.  They held out bravely until their ammunition was gone.  Then they agreed to terms from the French, surrendered, and were taken as captives to Canada. Half of them died enroute but they were treated well by the French and one woman even gave birth during their trek north. Hawks was well regarded by his captors because of his intelligence, bravery, and care of his soldiers and their families during captivity.  The commander of the French and Canadian troops was General de Vaudreuil, who became the royal leader of New France during its last years and the French and Indian War. Based on eyewitness accounts, he was impressed with Hawks and treated him very well.  Hawks was exchanged in short time and became a valuable diplomat working to keep communications going between New France and Massachusetts as tensions ramped up again prior to the F&I War.  Hawks was a patriot during the Rev War and died in 1784.  He was clearly a man who you wanted in command when things were not going well.  What has this to do with the Hawks fowler.  The quality of the French hardware is beyond anything typical of New England guns. I suspect that Sergeant John Hawks was given a gift by the French of a high quality civilian gun before 1750 and that those components were restocked 
by Barnabas Mathis to become the Hawks fowler sometime during or after the F&I war.

dave
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Offline Jennison

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #65 on: February 17, 2024, 06:57:00 AM »
Dave, I agree with you wholeheartedly that this latest wrist plate iteration looks much better on the gun than the earlier one you posted.  Glad you settled on it. The Hawks story is quite fascinating, and your thoughts on how the gun came into being are quite plausible.
 
Such a beautiful fowler!!

Jennison.

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #66 on: February 18, 2024, 12:20:23 AM »
Hi,
Finished engraving the wrist plate.  It is my design but inspired by several French plates.  It is all ready for inletting.






dave
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Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #67 on: February 18, 2024, 02:06:55 AM »
Complicated, Dave, but a lovely outcome.  Never saw a raised dome on a decorative piece such as that.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline mountainman

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #68 on: February 18, 2024, 02:08:13 AM »
Very beautiful work Dave!!!

Offline Jennison

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #69 on: February 18, 2024, 03:54:16 AM »
Magnifique!

Jennison

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #70 on: February 19, 2024, 02:54:17 AM »
Hi,
Thanks everyone for looking and commenting!  I am getting my inertia back on this project.  I have so much competing work at the moment that my focus on it suffered the last month or so.  I really do love the gun but it is demanding at every step.  There is no point at which I can relax.  Even final scraping and sanding requires intense focus because I am always sanding or scraping between carved features like the moldings along the forestock and around the trigger guard and lock panels.  The reward is that when done, the Hawks fowler is one of the most beautiful and high quality New England guns ever made.  It is definitely in the top 5 of all surviving NE guns made during colonial times of which I have seen.

I inlet the thumb plate.  Despite the weakness of cherry, it inlet well and I left it slightly proud of the wood surface as was the original.

       




I glued it in place with Acra Glas but also tacked in 3 silver pins.  I designed the plate so that the 2 pins iin the upper shoulders of the plate are part of the engraved design. Remember these photos:







You can see the round circles engraved with the volutes at the shoulders.  Those are the locations for the upper 2 pins and then I needed one lower pin below the oval cabuchon. I drill the tiny holes with a #1 drill while the plate is still glued to the wood base used during engraving.  Then I pop the inlay off the wood using heat and position it on the stock. I tape it securely in place with Scotch tape.  Then I tap tiny brass nails into the holes.  I hold the tiny nails with a surgical forceps and tap them in part way.  Then I trace around the plate with a very sharp pencil with two sides of the point flattened like a carpenter's pencil.  After tracing, I pull the tacks with pliers, remove the plate, and stab in the border of the mortise with tiny chisels. After back cutting the edges of the mortise, I remove the center wood with a shallow gouge sufficient to let the plate set down partially into the mortise. Then I work the edges of the mortise along the sides because as the plate sets down, those edges have to move down the sides of the stock. It is a fiddly dance of blackening the plate and removing the wood.

When the plate is in, I redrill the holes for the tacking nails a little deeper and slightly counter sink the holes. Then I make silver nails to replace them.  I use tiny silver wire and straighten a section, then thread it with a 0-72 die.  The threads will capture the wood and glue in their holes. I clip a section as long as I need with jeweler's clippers, which automatically gives the pin a point. I line the mortise with Acra Glas tinted close to what the color of the finished wood, install the plate and tap it into place hard with a wooden mallet, and then tap in the silver nails.  I clip the extra nail off about 1/8" above the plate and peen the excess down carefully into the counter sinks.  I want these nails to show so I did not file them completely flush with the silver plate. 


More to come.

dave
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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #71 on: February 20, 2024, 02:30:09 AM »
Hi,
Staining and the first coat of finish are always milestone events for me.  I cleaned up the stock and the carving.  On light colored wood like cherry, you really need to see the stock under low angle light to see the rough spots.  Then I stained the wood.  I don't care for lye as a stain for cherry because it is usually a gamble. Often the color is too dark and cherry will darken naturally with age.  I prefer aniline dyes for cherry and mix my own colors.  In this case, after testing on scrap wood, I created a water-based stain that mixed 10 parts Brownells resorcin brown with 1 part Brownells black.  It was perfect for the wood.
     






After drying, I rubbed it back with a gray Scotch Bright pad, cleaned it with a vacuum, and then applied finish.  The finish is Sutherland Welles polymerized tung oil low-medium sheen.  I applied the finish with a gray Scotch Bright pad and will add more coats over the next few days.  You can start to see the mellow "shadow" effects of the previous black stain. Better lighting will reveal more as I go.











dave
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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #72 on: February 22, 2024, 02:53:14 AM »
Hi Lads,
The stock is coming out great.  The color shimmers and the shadow black pigment really electrifies the cherry.







I cleaned up the butt plate finial and polished it.  It just requires a few engraved accent lines.





My tools of choice are my Lindsay Airgraver with a 90 degree cutter, a small and larger round bottomed die sinker's chisels, and a couple of small round diamond stones, one in my Dremel, and the other in a needle file handle. Finally, a couple of small needle files are also handy.  For polishing, I use little bits of sand paper but mostly pencil pointed sticks dipped in paraffin oil and then rotten stone. The base of the butt plate has raised borders on either side extending from the finial back around the heel. I have to carve those borders.  I first cut the edges with my square graver then go back and raise that edge by laying the square graver over 90 degrees so one side carves away brass removing background.  Then I go at it with a flat die sinker's chisel to remove more metal.  Finally, I scrape the brass with old cheap skew wood chisels.  I learned this years ago from Tom Curran (Acer Saccharum on this forum).  I miss him terribly.  I just gently scrape the surface of the brass and the chisel peels away the scratches and excess metal in tight corners.
 




Making this gun is not for the faint of heart. You have to dive in and develop a comprehensive set of skills because so many parts have to be fabricated and none are crude or rustic.   



The rest of the butt plate decoration is complex.  I have to clean up the raised borders and engrave some accents.  Then there is a very fine nick and dot border inside and parallel to the raised border.  Within that is an engraved panoply of arms.  Unfortunately, the original engraving is so worn that I cannot see the design.  So I have to recreate an appropriate one.  I did this for a previous version of this gun I built and will copy that.
   



dave

« Last Edit: February 22, 2024, 02:57:28 AM by smart dog »
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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #73 on: February 23, 2024, 10:54:16 PM »
Hi,
Butt plate engraving is done.  Now time for the side plate and trigger guard.




dave
« Last Edit: February 23, 2024, 10:57:17 PM by smart dog »
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Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Another Hawk New England Fowler
« Reply #74 on: February 23, 2024, 11:50:53 PM »
Question that was bugging me all night:  Do die sinkers chisels really shave off metal, or are they more like a file, with many little teeth?

If they shave off metal, how often do you have to sharpen them, and at what angle?  Sorry to be ignorant, but I've never seen one.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.