Thread: thoughts
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:45 AM
charles starks charles starks is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: idaho
Posts: 503
Default Re: thoughts

WOW good morning fella's. lots of questions this mornig
Ok let me start with beaverman and say , sir I have seen your leather work and its exceptional . Your most correct , to often a vast majority of folks look and ask : how much do you charge , they when you tell them , thy shy away. Normally with my rifles I have around 300 hours from blank to completion . Adding engraving " which i no longer do ", carving , inlays .
Intricate patch boxes and such all adds to that time ..
So if you crunch the numbers , if I pay myself only 10.00 and hours, that comes to 3000 starting price . We also have to remember that 5-700 of that is in parts , so your actually making less the 10.00 and hour .Steve Zihn and I had this same talk , the other day while discussing the quality of work we were seeing from many folks.
But we also have to remember that what we do is art even though the rifles are functional. So I guess once you get a name and keep that name out there often times folks will pay just on that name regardless if the quality starts to wane.

But anyway to your question

Charles, can you recommend any other books for engraving a 17th century Hudson valley fowler?
This is a pretty big question when you think about it .
What type of engraving are you looking for , early period engraving , engraving specific to your HV fowler ?
See really you could engrave what ever you like on your fowler . Currently on this forum Zernike Au is doing a online course on Bulino engraving
I would seriously take a good look at what he is doing folks and follow along . it IMO would benefit all of us and expand our knowledge considerably . it would look wonderful on your piece .

However lets remember that concerning these rifles , there has been a very large move in the last 10 years or so to reproducing historically correct examples.
As such we run into a problem , especially concerning American fowlers like yours .
Simply put there is very little documentation on them .
Why ? Well as I alluded to above laws like the navigation act and later corn acts greatly stifled manufacturing in this country , pre Revolutionary war .
As such many of the examples we have today to look at are cobbled parts and pieces IE Ordinance weapons . Because of this they carry parts from any number of English , French, Spanish and German makers . So the engraving can very greatly just on the same rifle .

Those that don’t would carry simple “ I say simple as a comparision as there really isn’t anything simple about it “ but what is called line engraving . This doesn’t carry the high relief or shading of at that time more sophisticated shade and cut engraving of the European silversmiths .
American gun smiths had to do all the work and as such many times they were not learned engravers

Tom Grinslade recently came out with a very nice book documenting the American fowler
I believe its one of the finest studies of these weapons to date and shows the different engravings as well as carvings that are seen on these rifles .
So my recommendation if your looking for a correct period example is to study the fowlers presented in his book
FLINTLOCK FOWLERS: The First Guns Made in America
American Fowling Pieces from 1700-1820
By Tom Grinslade

Then start watching for the older books by Pope , Hanson , Shumway and Lindsay. Take a serious look at the engravings of their documentation and move from there .

Puffer , very good example, thank you for posting it .
Most certainly the art never died completely out , just as our learned colleague graver tom pointed out . Hopefully he will post some photos of the art work he described . Im sure we all would like to see that .

But on the examples you posted , this is really inlay work , not the deep relief work that we see documented 100 to 200 years before . Most certainly though they also did the intricate inlay as well
Here are a couple examples that Merrill Lindsay documented in his Book Great Guns :An Illustrated history of firearms
here are some exsamples

Massevaux Alsace dated 1646
Done in green and white stag horn and brass wire

An example done by Jean Hennequin dated and signed 1621

here are a couple examples of bone and mother of pearl inlay
first one from Cornelius Klett dated 1582 and the second of unknown origin done in 1600 with mother of pearl and brass wire . this piece has always fascinated me do to its intricacy

How long would it take to do scroll engraving on a lock plate, side plate and tang of a mozzleloader
well this would depend on first what work and who was doing it .
any of the folks here would do a fantastic job
but for me , right now , frankly ,And to put it bluntly
For me it takes a couple days to do a buttplate tang , barrel tang , and side plate .
My hands just are not what they used to be and its one of the reasons I stopped doing engraving some years back . Though I really enjoyed it , I just couldn’t do it correctly and was not satisfied with the end results. Which I had been prior to the effects of labor attacking my hands and back . Thus I have went to doing more castings and such .
That when I ran across this site while surfing the net for pneumatics thinking such tools might be the answer . Only time will tell . but untell i
solve my problem concerning this venue I will not suggest or provide the option of engravings on my finished products nor do I want to lead folks to believe I could do such work currently
So I read . Watch and learn from the folks here , who know what they are doing

I have to agree with the comments about the mindset regarding quality of 'then' versus 'now', as well as the idea that they had fewer distractions then. But also remember that the onlt adequate light then was daylight, thus limiting the time they could work on fine detail like this.

Would inlay and wire inlay work also be done by the engraver, or was that a separate discipline?

Normally the inlay work would have been done by the same person or in at least the same shop.
Now as we discussed before , many times the engraving work , or other parts work like barrels , locks and such would have been farmed out to others who provided work in these specific trades .
However we also cannot forget that there were many masters “ I know that description offends some but IMO that’s what they were “
Did their own works from start to finish , making the locks , stock , forging barrels and doing the engravings . These were truly knowable folks and while they my have been less skilled in one are then another , their overall work is truly something to behold when you consider it as a whole .
To often I think we forget that . We concentrate so much on one given area that we lose the overall prospective and relationship of the work itself .

I sincerely hope you all look over this site very well . Take a real good look at what others here are doing , describing and see their skill . Participate in the other topics . There is so much here that we all can apply to our works . The quality of work here by folks is simply out standing .
Their knowledge at least for me is overwhelming to say the least
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