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1999 Courses:

Six-Day Classes

Carving — Wallace Gusler [The original plan was for Wallace and John Bivins to team teach this class but John was not feeling well.]
Carve a machine shaped longrifle butt stock that will go home with you as study piece and reference. (Because the students will be experimenting with various tools and methods they should not work on a real gun.) Chose any style of carving. Topics covered will include setting up and lighting a work area, selecting and sharpening tools, making specialized tools, various methods of backgrounding and sculpting, etc. Although beginners are welcome, this class in traditional carving techniques best serves those who have some experience.

Longrifle Engraving — Mark Silver and Gary Brumfield
Learn engraving with hammer and chisel, in the styles found on American Longrifle mounts, patchboxes, and inlays. Mark will stress learning the basic process but will also include other techniques such as shading and cutting borders. Much of the student's class time will be devoted to repeating designs on practice plates which they will take home as study pieces. Materials fee: none (Due to the generosity of Dixie Gun Works.)

Longrifle Stock Shaping and Period Architecture — Jack Brooks
One of the most difficult features of a longrifle to capture is the architecture of its stock. Starting with a stock blank and pre-inlet tapered and flared barrel, and using an original early wooden patchbox rifle as a prototype, participants will learn both the techniques of stock shaping and the subtle characteristics of period rifle architecture that are hard to see in photographs. Materials fee also includes a Ketland style flintlock made by Jim Chambers and butt plate and trigger guard castings from the original.
Jack invites any previous rifle students to return and continue work on their earlier class projects. (Please write “returning student, have materials” on your registration form.)

Stocking the German Jaeger Rifle — Ron Ehlert
Students will be instructed in the unique architectural features of the German hunting rifle. Attendees will start with a stock blank pre-inlet for a Getz barrel and cast brass butt plate and trigger guard based on a 1720 example.. They will layout and shape the stock and inlet the butt plate. Ron will provide original Jaegers and reproductions to guide students through the process. Participants will need some experience with rasps, files, chisels, and to have basic inletting skills.
Ron invites those who took this class in 1997 or 1998 to return and continue work on their Jaeger from that class. (Please write “returning student, have materials” on your registration form.) Class limited to eight students.

Stocking the Iron Mounted Southern Mountain Rifle — Frank & Hershel House
Build a basic, practical, iron mounted, southern mountain rifle. Variations include: Appalachian, East Tenn., North Carolina, Southwestern Virginia, and early Virginia styles — flint or percussion, straight or swamped barrel, stock of maple or walnut. With the desire to send the student home with as close to a complete rifle as possible, Hershel and Frank teach their efficient workman like methods to show how to attain a quality product with a minimum of tools. Barrel will be pre-inlet and the ramrod hole drilled. Class limited to eight.
Materials fee: Approximately $330 for a rifle with a percussion lock and straight barrel. A swamped barrel, fine wood, flintlock, set triggers, are extra.

Two and Three-Day Classes
For the last four years we have had pre-workshop sessions and this will be expanded in 1999. (And before you ask — No you can not take more than one short course in a year — they overlap.)

Design for the American Longrifle — Wallace Gusler & Gary Brumfield
This will be a hands-on drawing class. (Yes, the students are expected to draw.) This class will focus on learning to create Baroque and Rococo designs like those typically found in longrifle decoration. The class will not be school specific, but general in the study and execution (drawing) of eighteenth-century designs for carving, engraving, and patchboxes. This class will help prepare those taking the carving, engraving, or patchbox class. Class begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday (June 3) and ends by 3 p.m. Saturday.

Filing, Polishing, and Burnishing — Mark Silver
Many of Mark’s former students have requested additional instruction in these fundamental skills. This demonstration/hands-on workshop will help you master techniques that can be applied to any metal work. Class begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday (June 3) and ends by 3 p.m. Saturday. Students in either the longrifle or Jaeger stocking class may work on preparing their mounts and/or lock for inletting.

Forging Iron Gun Mounts — Frank & Hershel House
This hands-on class will be taught at Hershel’s place (10 miles from Bowling Green) where several forges will be set up. The class will be limited to eight students with preference going to those in the House brothers’ six-day stocking class. Forge the correct butt plate, trigger guard, etc. for the style of southern mountain rifle you will build in the stocking class. Tool list will be simple, stressing safety equipment, and blacksmithing experience is not required. Class begins at 1 p.m. on Wednesday (June 2) and ends by 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration is $250 for NMLRA members and $300 for non-members. Material fee: $20.

Hand Inletting the Swamped Rifle Barrel — Jack Brooks
For those who want to get away from using pre-inlet barrels this class will give you the opportunity to learn the chisel inletting method that Jack uses. The class will be limited to eight students with preference going to those signed up for Jack’s six-day stocking class. This class begins 7 a.m. Friday (June 4) and ends by 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration is $150 for NMLRA members and $200 for non-members. Limited to 8 students. Material fee: Included in stocking class if registered — if not, student can bring their own stock blank and swamped barrel.

Powder Horns — Ron Ehlert
Learn both the fundamentals of making a powder horn and the basic techniques of scrimshaw and polychroming found on finer horns. Beginning with a raw horn and a piece of wood, the student will make a horn in one of the styles popular in the French and Indian through Revolutionary War periods. This class will begin at 7 a.m. on Thursday June 3rd and end by 3 p.m. on Saturday June 5th.




Ron and Janie -- one of the three women who took the powder horn class in 1999. (top)

Gary and Mark had 17 students for engraving.

Marjorie, and her husband Ron, came from California.

Students can ask some tough questions.

But the classes are usually great fun. (top)