The NMLRA Gunsmithing Workshop and Seminar
Advanced Engraving — Ron Ehlert
This session will focus on Golden Age longrifle engraving and/or 18th-century European firearms engraving for the Jaeger or fowler. Ron believes that consistent sharpening is essential to this quality of work so the materials fee will include two gravers and a sharpening fixture. (This class will not require the use of binocular microscopes or other modern equipment.) Limited to 8 students.
Material fee $100.
Carving — John Bivins AND Wallace Gusler [John became ill and Wallace taught by himself.]
Wallace and John will team teach this carving class. Students will have the opportunity to compare and experiment with the methods these two master carvers have developed over the years. The emphasis of this class will be on the students trying different techniques and deciding which works best for them.
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 will 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. Limited to 16 students.
Materials fee: Approximately $95 for a pre-turned maple butt stock to carve.
Making and Inletting the Brass Patchbox — Gary Brumfield
This session will cover making a patchbox from sheet; inletting the buttplate, toeplate, and patchbox; and installing the push button, catch, and kick-open spring mechanism. Sheet brass, a buttplate, and a rough turned maple blank (a "Quaker Gun" with no barrel or lock) will be provided, along with a cast-steel spring and push button.
Material fee: Approximately $130 for the stock, brass parts, and mechanical components. Some students may wish to provide some of their own materials by inletting the box into quaker gun from a previous class.
Longrifle Engraving — Mark Silver
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 also 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.)
Materials fee: Approximately $420 for a Getz barrel, curly maple stock (with barrel inlet and ramrod hole drilled), Chambers lock, and cast brass mounts.
Stocking the German Jaeger Rifle — Ron Ehlert [This class did not fill so Ron taught advanced engraving.]
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.
Materials fee: Approximately $325 for an American walnut stock, barrel, and hardware. An additional $220 for a European walnut blank is recommended.
Stocking the Iron Mounted Southern Mountain Rifle — 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 $450 for a rifle with a flintlock, set triggers, and swamped barrel. With a straight barrel, single trigger and percussion lock approximately $300. (top)
Wire inlay (SHORT COURSE) — Wallace Gusler
Learn to do silver and brass wire inlay. This course will be for either beginner and advanced students. Basic techniques include making specialized tools and methods for holding the wire in the wood. Advanced techniques include sandwiching wire to create thick and thin elements in the design. Class begins at 1 p.m. on Wednesday (May 31) and ends by 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration is $300 for NMLRA members and $350 for non-members. Class size will be limited to 10. Materials fee: Approximately $20 for wire. Students must provide their own pre-shaped butt stock ( a Quaker gun from a previous class) or an actual gun on which to do the inlay.
Traditional stock preparation and wood finishing: (SHORT COURSE) — Mark Silver
Using 18th century woodworking techniques for final shaping and preparation, learn to achieve the coveted warmth and aesthetics of true authenticity. Experiment on practice pieces of maple, American, and English walnut preparing (planing, scraping and burnishing), staining, and finishing with both traditional and modern formulas. Class begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday (June 1) and ends by 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration is $200 for NMLRA members and $250 for non-members. Limited to 10. Material fee: $25
Forging Iron Gun Mounts (SHORT COURSE) — 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 six-day iron mounted rifle 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 (May 31) and ends by 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration is $300 for NMLRA members and $350 for non-members. Material fee: $20.
Lock filing and engraving (SHORT COURSE) — Jack Brooks
In this course a Jim Chambers lock will be modified, polished, and engraved to reproduce a typical English export lock circa 1770. The class will be limited to eight students with preference going to those signed up for Jack’s six-day longrifle stocking class. This class begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday (June 1) and ends by 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration is $200 for NMLRA members and $250 for non-members. Limited to 8 students. Material fee: Included in stocking class if registered — if not, student can bring their own lock.
Powder Horns (SHORT COURSE) — 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 1st and end by 3 p.m. on Saturday. Limited to 8 students.
Registration is $250 for NMLRA members and $300 for non-members.
Materials fee: Approximately $40 for the first horn. Additional horns in various sizes will be available. (top)
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