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Jim Kibler Q&A Session 1 -

- Hello, everybody. We're gonna be doing a series of videos on questions and answers. We sent out an email asking all of our people on our email list if they have any questions, and we got an overwhelming response. So, our plan is to take about 15 or 20 minutes each day and answer some of these questions. And we're just gonna keep it kinda low-key, we're not going to edit these videos, whatever they are what they are, and like I said, we'll try to do one a day and eventually we will get through the questions. We have a bunch.

So, okay, we'll get started. And thank you all for asking the questions, we really appreciate that, it helps us spread the word and it helps you guys out. Thank you for all the business, things have been pretty good here lately and we appreciate all the business and all the interest, for sure. So we'll get started here.

Jeffrey Stedfast asked a few questions, and kind of good introductory questions. He asked, what got me interested in building long rifles? I started it when I was probably in my, well, probably about 15 when I got interested and I'm not, you know, if you think back its kind of hard to remember exactly how it happened but my family was always interested in the antiques and we lived in old historic houses and I always liked to build things, that was kind of the background. It allowed building long rifles to work for me. And then my dad had bought an old gun that was made by a gunsmith that worked in a little town where we looked for arms. That was interesting, a half stock Ohio rifle.

And then my grandparents had an old CVA rifle kit, it belonged to my uncle but he never put together. So I decided that would be fun to put together and shoot, so I did that. Kind of it started from there. We had the Foxfire Series books at home so there was need to look at all the gun making sections of that. It was Hershel House, and Jim Chambers, and a lot of those fellas. And so, yeah, that's sort of how it got started. That's how I got started building long rifles.

Then I went to college for engineering and worked as an engineer for a good number of years and then I started building custom rifles full time. And it's been about the last four years that we've been offering these flintlock rifle kits and components. So, that brings us to the next question, what made us decide to start a business building and selling long rifle kits? Its sort of, you know, just kinda happened naturally. I always had the idea that it would be a neat thing to do in the kinda the ways that I had in mind to produce them would be different than the rifle kits that we're offering today. And I thought they'd be better and it was a bit of a challenge thinking about that.

I met Catherine, who I'm sure many of you already know from your interactions with her on the phone. But Catherine and I met and she has a very good business mind and you know, sort of the other half to the business. So we just decided to start it. We really didn't know what the interest would be. We didn't know how many kits we would sell. But we just decided we would kinda start and its kinda taken off from there. It's just sort of like just happened. It is the best way that I can describe it.

Okay, so did I have any experience building before starting the business? So yeah I did. I built a lot of custom rifles that was, you know, really important, being able to run a big business to be able to make good kits. I know you know what a good rifle is, so yeah, that's real key.

So the last question he asked is if, are you planning to offer any new rifle, pistol kits, and if so, what are they? So yeah, we are gonna offer some more kits. One thing we have been doing probably the last couple years is working very hard to kinda structure the business and sure things up a little bit, so we can offer more products and everything work out real well. You know, it would have been a little easy just to continually add new products, but then I think that it wouldn't have been a good choice. So we just needed to kinda get ourselves in position so we can add more products. So some of it he is asking, you know, what some of the new products might be? And we're basically paying attention to what customers are interested in. And we've had overwhelming requests for a Fowler, a Fowler of some kind and there have been a good number of requests for pistols too. So we will see. But probably the next one will be some kind of a fowling piece. It could be English. It could be, you know, made here in this country. I'm not sure but we will see. But we're excited about doing a Fowler and hopefully we will get to work on it later this year, right before the end of the year. So thanks for all the good questions there, Jeffrey.

Okay, so another question, Bradley Jones asks, any plans to add some lefty rifles? So again, we've had lots of requests for left handed rifles and we are going to do at least one kit for left handed rifles. Probably something that will be, you know, very popular kit. I'm not exactly sure what it will be. It might be a rifle that's in between a mountain rifle and a colonial rifle. It will have more of a Germanic style lock on it. So, yeah. We're gonna do left handed and we've had lots of requests and we're not trying to neglect left handed people, we just had to focus. Initially our efforts are on what will give us the quickest return for our effort, you know, so just trying to do what we can do. So thanks for the patience.

So another question, what got me interested in flintlocks? And I think I already talked about that a little bit in the previous question but I always like to make things, even when I was little I liked history and you know, I grew up around history. So it's just that sort of fit, you know. And they're unique because they, you know, they are something that's artistic but they're really functional too. And those sort of historical, functional, artistic things work real well for me and I like them, you know? They're fun.

So, he asked, the combination of modern technology of flintlocks is fascinating, do you see yourself buying the modern approaches to the manufacture of flintlocks, for example, 3-D scans, parts of originals, 3-D printing, to make molds, et cetera? And yeah, we do use some of those techniques that he was asking about. And so, you know, real important part of business and taking advantage of modern technology is what has made our business possible. It's made it possible and it's allowed us to make really good products we think we do. So that's, you know, a huge part of our business. We're creating things that are recreations of things that were made in the 18-19 century. But we're using a lot of modern approaches to that without sacrificing any quality. And it's worked out real well for us. So, thanks for the good questions Bradley.

Okay, so Craig, asked about a Fowler kit. And yeah, we're gonna do a Fowler kit. Like I said, maybe later this fall we will have time to get working on it. The development of the kits takes quite a bit of time. We're very meticulous so its not an easy process. It might take, you know, four, five, six months of work to get a kit developed. And it's hard to do while we're still keeping up with all other aspects of our business, but, you know, one thing that we realized recently and the questions that have been asked kinda underscores it, as well as the high level of interest in our products. You know, we work real hard and our business is going well but it is a lot of demand and we're gonna try to, you know, ask ourselves what we need to do with our business in order that we can make it grow as fast as possible but as well as possible and you know, meet demand that all of your customers have, which it's a really good thing. Not always easy to grow beyond a certain point but we know what needs to be done and we're gonna be asking ourselves those questions. So thank you.

Thomas Gerbert, he asks, what do you think the most significant things, at least one or two that you did to improve the locks you're making? Okay, so making our own locks has been a big project for us. It's been time consuming and we've chosen to make these locks in different methods in how the other modern commercial locks available are made. You know, we want to make them better, to be perfectly honest, and you should see the good in that. And we found in general that its really important for us to try to control as much of the new components, and as much of a product as we can. Having to rely on other people, it has proven to be difficult so, you know, we've tried to bring more stuff in house and that's sort of the direction we're heading.

So with regard to that, what are the differences between our lock and other locks that we've used in the past, or other locks that are available? And the biggest difference is the precision which they're put together. So we use CNC machines to make most of the components. The only components that aren't CNC machined, are the cock and the frizzen, and the top jaw. And even the frizzen has a lot of machining done on it with CNC machines. So the quality level of all the parts, precision, the operability of the parts, the interchangeability of the parts is huge. So that's very big. And then in addition to that is in the design of the locks. So every bit is important as the precision and we've taken great pains in order to try to make them historically correct as possible and aesthetically appealing as possible. So those are the two big areas that we've tried to improve.

I would like to also mention while on the topic of locks is that, you know, I've worked with Frank House, on these locks a little bit where he's offered some critique and help and its really appreciated having somebody that spent a lot of time studying locks and be able to discuss things and bounce ideas off. It has been really, really important. So we're trying to just make a high of quality of product as we can and there's also been very good, you know, challenging times but really, really good. So the lock projects we're starting to get a good grasp on things and there're going pretty well. So we still have refinements to make and things to do to our process as time goes on to improve you know, our efficiency, things like that. But the lock projects are going pretty well right now. So thanks for the questions, Thomas.

A little coffee here. Okay. So in case you're wondering I'm answering these questions in no particular order. So if you don't hear yourself, you know, we will get to all of them. It may take several days but we'll get to all of them but, you know, if you haven't seen your question answered yet, don't worry, we'll get to it here sometime. And if we don't get to it remind me.

Okay, so Larry Berger, he says, he's asked a question about engraving metal on components. And he wants to do it himself. He'd like to have a little under understanding, he's not sure if he wants to do it himself. He would like to have a little understanding. So the traditional method to engrave is to use a chisel, a graver. And that process involves either tapping the graver with a hammer to drive it through the metal or pushing it with your hand. So you're basically removing a little sliver of material, a little metal, and that causes the shadow, creates the shadow or fills with a tiny hole or you can color the cut in order for it to have contrast with the rest of the material. Engraving can be a little tricky to learn. It takes a little practice, but the good news is that the engraving that was done on long rifles is not generally too complex. Some of it is rather simple and you know, with a little bit of practice, determination, you can do it, you know, and you can practice a lot on scrap stuff. That's the great thing about engraving, you know, you can practice on scrap stuff. And there's lots of resources online to learn about engraving. So if it's something that you want to consider, I'd say go for it. So yeah.

Okay, so James Meisner, said he's getting ready to build a Southern American rifle and he has no chisels. Can you recommend the first chisels I should get, I should buy to get started? So one good thing is that our kits don't require too many tools. That's a very good thing. So the first tools that I'd recommend would be a 1/4-inch chisel and probably an 1/8-inch chisel. You don't have to have the highest quality of tools, tools that are still a pretty good quality, but, you know, a top of the line might be a good choice. Basically the difference would mean just a little more frequent sharpening. But if you'd have a 1/4-inch chisel and an 1/8-inch chisel, that would be very good.

So, and actually we have got a little bit of problem here, we have power interruption in our shop. I heard some of the CNC equipment stop. So, that's probably a good place to stop the video, we'll go out there and try to figure out what's going on and get the equipment started back up. So, thank you everybody, I appreciate it and you know, we'll keep on posting these each day and keep sending the questions in. As long as you send the questions in, we'll keep on the videos. So, okay, we'll see you.

 Jim Kibler Q&A Session 2

- So we're going to continue on with the question and answer session that we started in our last video, so this is number two if you're trying to keep track. So just have more of the questions printed out and we'll just go through them one by one. Again, we'll go about maybe 15 or 20 minutes and then whatever we get done will be great and then we'll just pick up on more probably tomorrow. So, here we go. Tom Marcelo asks, "How soon will your late Ketland lock with waterproof pan be available?" So, it's probably going to be late summer, early fall, is what I'd anticipate. We've done some work on it, but it's not real close, so it'd be very similar to our current Ketland lock except the plate will be different and the frizzen will be different. So those are the two things that will be different on it. It's going to be a little time, but we'll get there and... yeah.

Okay, so the next question is, this fellow Tom Marcelo would like to build a mountain rifle as a true poor boy without a butt plate, no side plate, ramrod thimble inletted. So this kind of brings up a bigger point in that we're set up to do production work, to do the same thing over and over and when we try to do custom stuff, it really causes problems. Not only just kind of organizational problems but sometimes even how the process is set up, you know, how it's fixtured and certain things. So any time we had to change something, we had to keep track of it, and it becomes a real problem, to be honest, so we really try extremely hard not to do custom stuff, so. Probably the answer to that, unfortunately, is no.

Okay, and then another question about how soon the next kit be introduced, the Fowler. We've talked about that before. Hopefully later this year, we'll get a start on it, a good start on it. Okay, another question about if we can get a kit without the lock area inletted, and you know, again, it's something we're going to try to avoid. That was from Edmund Reyes. Or Reyes. "Do you have any seconds or discounted colonial kits?" from Greg Bieman, and that answer is yes, we don't have them all the time, but sometimes we do. They may have a dark streak, maybe a bark inclusion, or it could be some kind of small machining problem, some chips or something, so sometimes we do, so if you're interested, just check in and we'll see if we have anything that could help you out.

Okay, so Billy Edwards, he asks about our next kit, and thinking about maybe a Bucks County or a Lehigh Valley kit. That might be neat. Just a lot of neat guns that have potential. And just again, kind of reinforce where we're coming from is we have to pick the guns where we think will have the maximum amount of sales and interest. And we have a ways to go, but there's a point where we have too many offerings, where it becomes kind of counterproductive to the business, so. We have a ways to go before we get there though, so. I like the Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley styles, so that may be something to consider. And along those lines, one thing that we're gonna probably do, I'd like to do more in the future is, when we're making a particular style of gun, whether it's a Fowler or a Lehigh Valley gun or a Bucks County gun is to have more original to study and make them closer copies of some originals. The guns that we offer now have great styling and everything, and some, they're fairly close to originals, but some of that has my own style in it too. I mean it's hard for me to get away from that, but on the other hand, if you kind of make something as perfectly true to original styles as possible, it has a longer shelf-life you might say. Because kind of ideas change a little bit and in some ways the standards are these original guns. And so that's something that's been kind of rattling around in the back of my head, is to perhaps buy or get some originals on loan and maybe some really good ones and maybe do some copies of some very good original guns. I don't know, we'll see. And it's also a way that you can kind of have unique features, because a lot of these original guns have unique features and kind of... it can be fun, it can be neat.

Okay. So John Grove is asking about a more precise method of slotting barrel underlugs. So we will be offering underlugs slotted at some stage here, so it'll probably be a little while, but we are going to have that, that task will be completed. Until then, what we recommend is drilling the pinhole, and then using the a saw, excuse me, to elongate the hole. It's basically a rectangle that you end up with. So when I do the task, I use a jeweler saw and cut a little under size and then finish it out with a flat needle file. And it works pretty well, maybe it's something that you have to kind of play with a little bit to get used to it. And John asks about the proper pin tension. One thing that's interesting is you can adjust the pin tension. Let's say if it's too loose, you can actually take a hammer and you can tap down the middle of the slotted underlug and then file a little bit on the other side closer to the barrel. So then in effect, you're moving that slot a little bit, so that's a way to adjust a fit. So that may be helpful.

Okay, so John Koontz asks, "Demonstrate a technique for using Permalyn Sealer as a finish?" So, I think we probably mainly used Tried & True in our videos, but Permalyn's pretty easy to use as well. Not a lot of big difference between the two as far as how you'd use it. In general, the key with these finishes is to put it on in thin coats. I mean, first coat can soak in, that's fine. Let a lot soak in. But then as you build up coats, very very thin coats is real important. And he also asks about our little boy Henry. So he's doing well, he's a little tyrant, but he's doing well, so thank you for asking. And little dog, she's just getting older and dumber by the day, so. Okay. Thanks John.

So Joel Newman again requests for more products as pistols. So yeah, I think a pistol is in the cards. We've had a lot of requests for a Fowler and probably next is pistol on the list here, from what I can see. You guys let us know what'll work the best for us, so we're gonna be listening. Okay, Stewart Smith asks about a mountain rifle and .54 caliber. We've had a lot of requests. People like the idea of the mountain rifle or the stock style, the shape. They find the mountain rifle appealing, but would like it in a larger caliber. And it's kind of a very slim rifle and the largest we can go right now is .45. And traditionally, that's pretty much in line with most of the mountain rifles. Maybe .45 or below. So we could do things to try to make it into a bigger caliber, but we're hesitant and reluctant. Just to kind of stay with historical correctness and also we have to be real careful about the products we have and try to inventory all the different products we have. And that's always a balance. So I don't know if that'll happen. Well, I can say the .54 won't happen. .50 could happen at some point, but I don't know about that either.

Okay, so William Clark asks about a rifle or smooth board that would cost less, say around $750. We would like to make a product that's cheaper, but it's tough. We have really, really high standards and to try to make something to our standards at an affordable price and we still make money, it's challenging. But that's just where we're at and we accept that. But to try to get it a lot lower is going to be hard. There would have to be huge sacrifices and that's just not kind of how we want to product we want to make. We're making things that are very high quality, especially when you throw in the locks in the mix with our kits. It would be hard. I understand. I don't think we could ever get down to 750. We might be able to get on some very, very simple rifle maybe, I don't know, maybe a little bit less than we're at now, but we'll see. Okay. Donald Richards. Yeah, he wants an English Fowler, too, so. That's got to happen, some kind of Fowler has to happen.

Okay. He asks if we're going to use a new lock or existing round-faced lock. Probably we'll use our existing round-faced lock, I expect. And he asks what the bore sizes will be, I'm not really sure yet. At least 20 gauge and up. At least 20 gauge, maybe a little bigger, I don't know. Barrel length will probably be less than 40 inches I think, but I'm not sure. If it's an English gun it'll probably be 38 inches to 40 inches maximum. If it's a gun that had made here, it could have a longer barrel. And English walnut would be an optional upgrade, so if it's an English Fowler, which a good chance it will be, an English walnut would be an option. We don't have any real sources for it yet, but we'll find some, we'll find some sources. So thanks Don for the good questions. Okay. A little coffee break here.

Okay. So. William Diamond, another question about the Fowler. Imagine that, another question about a Fowler. Okay. So Gerald Schenkler, he just says, "Thanks for the update and stimulus money might be good for a kit." And I agree, that would be good. So along those lines, and I know a lot of you guys have more time on your hands now and business has been pretty good lately because of that, so thanks for that, and we're working really hard to get everything out the door and get you your product. Okay, so Larry Ellison says he is in the hardwood lumber business and he's watched the videos and he might like to see some more videos on selecting the wood and traditional finishing techniques, etc. So yeah, that would be a good video. Selecting good wood is part of our business. So we look for different characteristics in the wood we choose. And it's very important to have a good piece of wood, pick out good quality wood. So yeah, I think we'll do that, Larry.

Okay, let's see here. So Mike Barryhill has a .45 caliber mountain rifle. He says he likes it, he says it's a very charming piece. It works well, all is well with it. He says he has a question about stoning double-set triggers. He says the guy on ALR said it was necessary for such a piece. So ALR is a good source for information, but just like all things just kind of take it all with a grain of salt. Our set triggers are pretty finely finished. So with careful stoning, it may help a tiny bit. Probably not a lot, but a tiny bit. You might be able to see a little difference, but it'll be very small. And then you have to also just keep in mind that unless you're careful about how you stone, you can actually do more damage than good. So it's not necessary at all and what you might gain out of it in terms of the smoothness of the action is pretty darn small, so. Okay. Lots of questions about upcoming projects, wow. So, pistol kit, yup. That's from Corey Stewart.

Maybe our laid English lock with a double-throat cock on it. That would be something we could do. That wouldn't be a lot of change to make that as an option, so. Yeah, Corey, we can do that. A few other people have asked for that as well. Excuse me.

So another question from William Potter about other future projects like maybe a western fur trade gun, maybe a J.J. Henry English-style flintlock rifle. I'm not sure. Maybe. Not anything real immediate, so. Requests for a Hawken kit. Yeah, I think that'd probably be good sometime. I'm not sure how good, but it seems like it might be a good thing, I don't know. There've been quite a few requests for Hawken rifles. So thanks Martin Shupe. So Timothy Hunt asks, and this is a question that's been asked of us a lot, he asks if our locks fit the mortises of the rifles that had Chambers' locks in them and the answer is no. So when we designed these locks, we started from the ground up and made them how we wanted, how we thought they should be. And that meant the outside dimensions are somewhat different. So we probably could have sold a lot of locks to replace... Or we've actually had a lot of requests for replacement locks, but it just won't work out, so. We're just starting fresh and moving forward.

Okay. So Jonathan Alexander says... question about locks and polished engraved versus the condition we supply them in. So we supply them in a bead-blasted finish and asks if it can be polished engraved, bought that way. And the answer is no, we have to be real careful about handwork, any kind of handwork really slows us down. Custom work, so. Right now, no. Maybe sometime we'll be able to offer that as a service, but it just doesn't really fit in with things right now. Okay. So thank you, Jon.

So Steve Howley has a question about positioning set triggers during a build. So this is not really pertaining to our kits or anything, but I'll try to help out. So there's two trigger bars, one for the rear trigger and one for the front trigger, and if you kind of bring the trigger bars up of each so you pull the front trigger back a little bit, the rear trigger would be pushed forward a little bit, the sear bars will kind of cross in that cross position. The point is approximately where you'd want the triggers relative to the sear. It can move a little bit, but that just gives you a little bit of a guideline. So Travis Mabel has a question, whether we're going to go to Dixons this year and I can pretty much say we're not going to Dixons. He'd like to handle the guns, and yeah, we understand that. We haven't gone to a lot of shows. We may go to some more shows in the future, but shows take a lot of time and they're kind of costly. And we focused our efforts a little more on trying to just work hard in the shop, get things done and also do some of the YouTube videos like we're doing right now. We're aware that there could be benefits from going to shows, so that may be in the future. We may have some people that represent us going to shows at some point in time, which might work out real well. But we'll see. So we do go to the CLA show, and I think in future years we may end up going to Dixons. I don't know for sure, though. So. But thanks for the question. Okay, another good question.

So this is from Tom Wellmore. Okay. He says that he's noticed the ramrod supplied with the kit didn't fit the entry pipes for the hole. So yeah, that's sometimes the case. The rods that we buy do vary slightly in size. And sometimes they need sanded down a little bit or scraped down in order to fit the kits. That's the question that we get a lot, so. We may be able to try to control our supplier a little bit more to tighten that up, I don't know. I'm not sure, but sometimes they do need scraped or sanded a little bit to fit. And the area where the rod goes in the stock is generally tapered. So our ramrod tips are slightly smaller than the rod diameter, so from the entry pipe to the tip, it's kind of expected that you'll taper the wood to match the metal tip. You can do that with a block of wood with sand paper wrapped around it or a file or a scraper. Any number of ways that can happen.

Okay, so. I think we're kind of running out of time, so let's do one more question here. See if there's anything that's real noteworthy here. Won't look too hard. Let's see here. I'll just pick one here. Okay, so the last question we'll do is from Ricky Causy. He says, "Are the new locks already tapped for either of the kits? And is the hole on the colonial trigger already drilled and tapped?" So yeah, the holes in the trigger plates of both rifles are drilled and tapped and the holes and the locks, the holder and the stock are already drilled and tapped. And since we're using machining methods to make the locks and particularly the plates the inlets of our stocks are again made with CNC equipment, so the locks pretty much fit without any wood-removal modification, virtually nothing, so they just go right in. So it's just an example of how awesome things are when you're using that technology and it's really a great thing. So thank you Ricky for the question and I think we'll just wrap it up and we'll be back again tomorrow We'll keep on going, so hopefully you're not bored to death here.

Jim Kibler Q&A Session 3

Jim (00:02):

Hello again everybody. So today we're going to continue again with their series of question and answers. Should be a little bit quieter. Today is, it's a Sunday and we don't have much going on out in the shop, so maybe the sound will be a little bit better. So without further ado, here we go. Bernard Gavere or just watched Jim's Q and a video from April 16th. He says, what did Jim say or do that you had to straighten him out with a punch to the left eye that's directed towards Catherine and he wants to avoid it with his wife. So although that could have been a possibility, it, it actually wasn't it. it was shingles, believe it or not. So they're pretty much gone. Which is good. I get a little bit of lingering nerve pain, but pretty much beyond that. So it's not too bad right now and a little bit of a black eye from, our two year old son, so, yeah.

Jim (01:08):

Okay. Mark Natallee says, when using bone black to darken a stock, do you use it successive coats or do you use just the finish between coats of bone black? What is the best finish to use? The bone black with? Is Permalyn ok? That's a good question. It is best to put the bone black on and try not to get it all in. You're not going to get all the color you want in one coat so you can build it up. And I generally like to,, kind of seal it between coats of finish. Um, one thing that can be a little difficult is if the finish has a lot of solvents with it, it can tend to attack your previous coat of finish and you can end up kind of dissolving it a little bit, smearing around your bone black. So I sometimes try to use a finish that's not,, that, that it has fewer a solvents in it, something such as Tried and True oil varnish and it doesn't tend to attack the previous coat quite as bad.

Jim (02:08):

You can do it with other finishes that have more solvents, but it can just be a little tricky, but it is good to, to kind of alternate, you know, you can darken a layer of finish in certain areas and then I like to kind of seal it in with another coat of finish and then keep building it up a little bit. And with that said, it's, it's generally best to try to get most of your color on fairly early. If you try to like just stain your stock and then put a bunch of coats of finish on it and then think you're gonna, you know, does use bone black at the end. It doesn't work too good because you've sealed everything in and your, your uh, wood is pretty smooth. You have a layer of finish, it doesn't have much to grab hold of. So try to get most of your color early on. He asked his Permalyn okay. It does have solvents with it. Um, you just have to be real careful. You don't want to put it on and rub it a lot. You just want to get it on lightly. So that'd be my best advice.

Jim (03:07):

Okay. From, from Scott Armstrong. Hello Scott, he says this, is for your Q and a videos. Would you offer a mountain rifle with a shorter barrel, say 40 or 42? So he thinks the 46 is a little bit cumbersome. Um, so the answer is no. Um, it's just too hard to make adjustments to our process. So, whatever our standard is, is what we're going to be set with, excuse me. And then he, uh, votes for, a Hawken kit, which is very likely going to happen here at some point. Um, and we're going to try to focus not so much on what the upcoming products will be because we've just kind of beat that horse to death, but we may mention it here and there and the rest of these videos. Okay. Thanks Scott.

Jim (04:03):

Nigel Kavanaugh says, thanks. Taking the time to do these videos. He, he finds, our honesty to be, interesting and refreshing and thank you for that. Cause, um, you know, sometimes we may offend people a little bit, but we, we try to be honest here and I think that we are, um, it's just sort of our style. So thanks. He asks, uh, are our barrels seasoned or hardened in any way and how is it done? So no the barrels are not seasoned in any way, uh, or hardened. Um, I think the idea of seasoning a barrel is kind of bogus and uh, for these barrels, if they're ductile, um, kind of soft and the ability to change in shape without fracturing, it's a good thing. So that no, they're not hardened in any way. So thank you. Nigel

Jim (04:59):

uh, Kenyan Myers asked with the 250th anniversary of the American revolution coming up, would you consider making a kit musket for the first and second model Brown Bess. And perhaps, you know, a Brown bess is something had rattled around in my brain a little bit, but there doesn't seem to be a big amount of interest from what I can feel. But you never know. And especially with the 250th anniversary coming up, that might be, um, something to consider. You know, I don't know. I'm not sure how big the 250th anniversary will be here in this country. I guess it's another six years. So we'll see. I don't know if anybody has any ideas with regard to that in terms of, um, you know, what might work well for our business with that. Um, let us know.

Jim (05:51):

How about tips for working and finishing cherry wood from Sam Lanter. So cherry can be pretty nice. Uh, it can be a little bit brittle and by brittle, I mean, uh, when you're trying to cut across the grain, it can want to break. The sheer strength of it is kind of a little less than what you'd experience working with maple or, or Walnut. Um, but nice, tight grain cherry is good wood. Uh, so if you're doing any cutting, uh, you know, along the end grain of, of wood, of cherry wood, make sure your tools are very sharp. That would be a tip. Um, and finishing cherry wood. I don't have a great deal of experience. And I'm trying to remember if I've ever even finished a gun in cherry wood. And I don't know that I have. Um, I don't think that I have, but, um, sometimes people, uh, like to use a lye, uh, solution on the wood to bring it out, the red colors to make it very red.

Jim (06:53):

Uh, you know, you can use aniline dyes to adjust the color if you want. Um, of course exposure to the sunlight brings out the color of cherry and darkens that over time of your patient. There's really no, um, you know, that's the best way just to wait, maybe expose it to sunlight. And one other thing that I've not messed with, but, um, some folks that are real knowledgeable, told me about was the use of, I can't remember what it was now. Do you remember? Um, Hmm. There's a chemical, uh, that'll speed the oxidation of the cherry potassium, potassium dichromate yeah. Um, so yeah, it will basically speed the oxidation. Say it'd be the same effect as a sunlight, but it just happens very fast. But it's kind of a dangerous chemical. I understand. Um, so, but it could be something to look into. Potassium dichromate we bought some but we never even have tried it.

Jim (07:55):

But for the question and thanks for jogging my memory there Catherine. Okay. From Todd young, how do you sharpen a scraper? I have a video that shows a little bit of a, that being done. Um, and also if you go, if you just go to YouTube and type that in, you'll find, uh, you know, lots of videos on that. Um, I just saw one the other day that was pretty good. So basically the idea is to get a square corner to start with on your scraper with file and some stones and then roll over a burr with a hardened steel burnisher is pretty much the process in a nutshell. But thanks for the question. Todd

Jim (08:43):

Okay. Brian Maguire, he assembled a, one of our rifles at the NMLRA seminar last year and he damaged the screw that holds the hammer. So the screw that goes into the tumbler, he's asking where he can get a replacement and uh, where can I get a screwdriver thin enough to fit? Okay. So I'm at that stage that would have been of a lock from Jim Chambers, Flintlocks. So they would have the replacements. We don't have any replacement parts for any of their, components that we had used in the past. We're not using any Chambers locks anymore. And as far as where to get a screwdriver thin enough to fit it, um, they are very narrow slots. Uh, you have a couple of choices. You can take a knife file and open up the slot a little bit or you can find a very narrow screwdriver somewhere or you can even take a regular screwdriver and, uh, grind it down a little bit on a belt sander or grinder to make it fit the slot so there's some good, some good options.

Jim (09:51):

Okay. Let's see here. Brian Drake, he says he came across our website while researching builders. Are you taking currently taking order to build custom guns? And he's asking about general pricing and time. Um, so the answer's no. Uh, you know, we're, our business is growing and we're very busy and, uh, you know, the custom work takes a long time. And to be honest, it's not as profitable. Um, I, I probably couldn't afford to take the pay cut and I wouldn't be able to get stuff out the doors. Uh, kits arour business right now. That may change sometime in the future, but, uh, you know, we're just, we're not taking any full custom rifles occasionally, but rarely we do finish a rifle here and there in the shop, but, uh, and those are just our kits that we finish, but it's not, not very often at all. Um, but thank you for asking. And that could, uh, that could change in the future. You know, we're sort of rattling around the idea of perhaps trying to hire a gunsmith, somebody that, um, would be, uh, that has good skills, energetic, you know, that could do some of that workforce here in the shop. But I don't know if that's going to happen either, but we'll see. Thanks for the question, Brian.

Jim (11:16):

Okay. Why are, so, yeah. Robert boggs says, why are there always pits in cast brass though? From my limited experience to Kibler kits, your brass is better than most. So ours does sometimes have pits in it. Um, a lot of those pits file out when you give the, the brass of light filing. Um, sometimes you end up with defects or castings and cast products are prone to have defects. Some foundrys are better than others, but it's just sometimes a consequence. Um, so if you have something you don't like, just let us know and we'll replace it. Um, I don't get too bent out of shape about small defects in the brass., I don't find them too offensive or anything, but some people do and that's okay. Some people want it, you know, to be perfect and that's fine, you know, but for me, if it has a little, I tend to age the brass a little bit and if it has a few little pits or something, like it's not, not big.

Jim (12:15):

I don't find that it affects the overall appearance, you know, it kinda sometimes kind of helps it maybe. Okay. So he says, what's the single most significant thing I can do to make a Colonial rifle kit, stand out above the rest. So in terms of how he finishes it, I'd say definitely the carving. It'd be the most significant thing. So carving can take quite a bit of time, but it can really add a lot to the rifle., even simple things like lock moldings and maybe a toe line, maybe a little, you know, carving around the comb. Um, but some carving that, also fits with the rifle. so study original original work, get books, rifles, a colonial America is a good choice and, you know, some appropriate carving will definitely make it stand out above the rest. Appropriate that's well executed.

Jim (13:12):

You know, one thing we may do in time I'm not sure is try to come up with some kind of patterns for carving. I'm a little hesitant on that because, you know, it's, I don't know, it's good to, for people to try to learn how to, the basics of drawing a simple design. so I'm kinda torn both ways on that, but it might be something that we can do, figure out a way to maybe even transfer the image from paper to the wood. And I know there's some techniques that can be used. so that might be something that we could we get an offer in the future and help with as far as carving. we do offer a little kit that is an introduction to carving and kind of give steps and we have a little, cast of a carving example.

Jim (13:59):

and interestingly enough that the carving cast is probably one of the most important things, but some people are tend just to buy the book and the, the wood, the cast maybe is a little, little pricey, but it's, it's probably the more important, most important thing because you can actually look at the carving and when you're looking at a book, it's hard to understand it. So the carving casts are a real good thing to kind of understand what the carving should look like. So what we did is we carved a a master and then we, made a mold off of that master and then we pour a, a plastic resin into that mold and reproduce the carving and we kind of stain it to look like the carving. So it's pretty neat. Pretty representative of what the actual carving I did looks like. So thanks for the good questions, Robert boggs. So Mark, he asks if he was, if I was to build a Flint lock, high-end pistol, what would it be like? I don't really know. part of me thinks it's something like a, you know, real high end Manton dueling pistol would be neat, but , I don't know for sure. We'll have to see.

Jim (15:17):

Okay. He says he filed, this is Bruce Lundgren. He says he filed and fitted. he must've assembled a rifle when he says he filed and fitted the trigger before finishing to provide the proper play. And it was okay, but a month or so later after I put the finish on the finish, on the trigger, it was binding perhaps expansion. The wood I re-drilled the pinhole, but it's still binding. Should I file the top of the trigger again as I did initially? it's hard to know from the description so that the, you know, it seemed like a simple, response. But the key is to try to understand what's going wrong. So if there's no play between the top of the trigger in the sear, then you'll need to file a little bit off the top of the trigger. But if there's some kind of binding from wood or maybe corrosion from the finishing process of the trigger, then that'll have to be addressed. So try to find out what's causing the binding and then attack that. And if you have any more questions, you know, get with any, any you guys that I've tried to answer the questions. If you have more specific, want more specific, help, just give me a call. That's a great way to, that I can help you out.

Jim (16:36):

Okay. I said, Douglas says I have zero experience kit building. Where should I start? What rifle? Fowler a musket. Should I start with what tools will I need? So you could start with about anything, you know, whatever you would like to start with, it'd be fine. and the tools needed, we do have a tool list, but the tool list is pretty extensive. So it's the tools that I usually use and I have lots of tools at my disposal. So I made a list of the tools I use, but you don't need to use all those tools. So at some point here, I think I'm going to put together a condensed tool list of what you really need cause I don't want people to think they have to go out and buy a hundreds of dollars worth of tools. So we'll probably put together a list and we're even kind of pondering the idea, you know, just maybe even buying just a few tools, you know, just a basic kit. You can get the tools from maybe like Lowe's or home Depot or something. And then putting one together on our kitchen table as a demonstration, which would probably be very well received and useful. So I'm probably going to do that sometime, but thanks for the, the question Doug

Jim (17:51):

Okay, let's see here. So probably, I'm not sure we are where we are with time, but we're probably starting to run down a little bit. So I'm going to pick, pick another one more question. And then, let's see here. We'll just do this one here and then we'll just wrap it up. So Doug Robertson, he says hello, Jim and Katherine. So he says loves the videos I've been hearing lots of folk singing your praises with thank you. especially his good friend Keith Stone from Oregon. So thanks Keith as well. A video using your patina solution would be nice. yeah, would we, , have some footage we took of using it. I think we do have a video. We do. Yeah. So check out our YouTube channel and I think you'll be able to find that video on using the patina solution. Okay. And he says another video demonstrating drilling lock bolts, the Tang and, and lugs or thimbles would be fantastic.

Jim (18:54):

So right now the good news is the lock bolts are drilled and tapped, so someone putting together our kits won't have to worry about that. So that's real good. Tang,, holes in the, in the trigger plate holes are also drilled and tapped. So you won't have to worry about that. Now lugs are not drilled and, before too long they will be. So, I know I would say in that for a while, but it's one of the things that we're going to be doing. there's some challenges with making that happen, but it's something that I wanna to do. Thimbles on our colonial rifle are already drilled. I think it's been working out pretty well for people. not the case on the mountain rifle, but we can, so at some point we will, so, but a video in the meantime might be a good idea.

Jim (19:45):

So yeah, I'm not sure when all this is going to happen, but yeah, good ideas cause those are some tricky parts. And drilling a hole, you think drilling up hole is easy, but we've found that really in our experience that some of the areas that we've had trouble with here in production and uh, I'm sure other people have trouble with that too. It seems very simple, but it's not always so simple. So thanks for the question, Doug. And with that, we're gonna wrap it up for the day. And you know, we still have more of these, so we'll keep on going. Any more questions, just let us know. We can include them with the next video or the video after that, but, let us know and we'll, we'll try to help you out. Thanks so much. Bye.

 

New Employees, New Barrels, Keeping Busy!

Okay. So we're going to do a shop update. Talk about our business a little bit. First thing I'd like to do is introduce some employees that we have. Some of them are relatively new and maybe some have been here a little longer. So the first person we're going to go find is Mason. Hello, Mason. Mason has been with us about two years. You may have seen him on another video. I think with the wood. He does a great job for us, and we're lucky to have him as an employee. So keep up the good work. Next is Marshall. He's our newest employee. He's been here two days and he's doing a fine job. So hes running a lathe right now. Doing a good job. Okay. So we're going to find one other employee. This is Lorie. She's been working with us about a month or two, something like that. And she does a combination of helping out in the office and also some shop work, but mostly in the office. We've been pretty busy. Especially, you know, orders really picked up, you know, with the slow down in the well, I guess I should say with the coronavirus thing going on so we're trying to react and you know, get production out. So everybody's patience is really appreciated. We're, kinda gearing up production to start cranking stuff out a little faster,

Walk over here and talk about some things that we have going on. Excuse the noise, but it's a good noise. A lot of the machines are running now. So we like to hear that.

So the biggest news we have is that we're going to be doing a lot of barrel work ourselves. So things are changing with regard to the barrels and our kits. So we're working with Green Mountain, they're going to produce our barrel blanks for us. So they'll produce the bore, they'll ream it and rifle it in most calibers, and then we'll do the balance of the work. We'll rifle everything 40 caliber and below, but everything 40 and above 45 and above, they will be rifling. So we won't be using Rice barrels anymore. You know, we've had a great relationship with Jason at Rice but they're just a number of reasons why it made sense for us to go this particular route. You know, one of them being that we always feel good doing as much stuff as we can in house.

It just sort of fits the nature of how we like to do business. So that's certainly a factor. It allows us to try some different ways of making things, ways of manufacturing things, which which works well for us. Green Mountain has a lot of production capability, which is very good for us as well. And you know, by bringing things in house like this, you know, even with the, the cost of machinery, we're able to save some pretty significant money in the process. Now I would like to note that for anyone that's not familiar with Green Mountain barrels, we don't feel that this is any kind of a sacrifice in terms of quality. They're known for -hey have a great reputation as far as accuracy and bore quality bore finish and so on. So I'll go ahead and show you a little bit about how the process works. So here's an example of a barrel blank that they'll be providing to us. So again, it's been bored, reamed, honed and then rifled, and we have some kind of unique ways of making these barrels ourselves or during the, the part that we do.

First thing we do is we bore the barrel and thread it for a breech plug. So that's done on the lathe over there that you saw Marshall working at, Make a make breech plugs, as you can see breach plug blanks, It's actually, what's, he he's running right now. These will then of course, thread into the end of the barrel, plug it up. From there we machine the whole barrel, including the breech plug in basically just two setups. So we, we have what we think is a real nice way of machining these barrels. And we're very happy how they've been turning out so far. So here's a sort of a little sampling of some of the barrels we've made. Hopefully the camera, will be able to focus and pick up on the details. The finish you see is pretty much the finish that comes right off the machine. We're real pleased about that. Some neat features of this barrel. One being the underlugs are integral to the barrel. So this may seem kind of crazy or odd. And from a historical perspective, it is kind of, kind of odd, but we have enough material to machine them right on the barrel. So we chose to do it. It actually simplifies our process a little bit in order to not have to worry about making under lugs, dovetailing them, getting them to fit right, so forth and so on. So that'll be a unique feature of these barrels. And one thing that's cool about it is you have to look very close to be able to tell that they haven't been dovetailed and fit in the barrel. So that's a real, kind of a unique thing. The barrels will come with the touchhole installed milled flat. So that's all done during the machining operation

Since we machine the breech plugs right on the barrel. They'll be perfectly aligned. There won't be any kind of misorientation with rotation or anything. One thing that's real neat about these barrels. That's a good one to look at, get the dust off, Not only the surface finish, but also the shape of the barrel. Traditionally in the modern era, swamped barrels have been made by basically connecting a series of straight lines and then blending those straight lines with some kind of a radius.

This is a basically a continuous curve. So you won't see any of those kind of kinks that you sometimes see on, modern made barrels. So we're real pleased with that is not something I never really considered a great deal in the past until we making these, and we just noticed how, how nice of a shape they had. So I think it's sort of one of those examples where you get used to something, but when something changes, you kind of appreciate how, how it has changed. These are slightly different shape barrels than the Rice barrels we've used in the past, so they won't be interchangeable. We just want to let you know about that. See the bore here, maybe. It's happens to be 50 caliber that we're working on right now.

That's the, the exciting news regarding our barrels. If you have any questions, you know, please please ask, you know, we're happy to answer them. As far as there will be a transition time when we transition from Rice barrels to the combination of green mountain and Kibler barrels, Probably going to take two to three months. So some kits may have rice barrels. Some kits may have green mountain barrels with, but we consider them equivalent in every way. And they'll both, you'll both be, you'll be happy with either. That's for sure. We'll move on here to one more little tidbit. Here's just a rifle I'd like to show. This is one of our colonial rifle kits that I assembled. And then my friend Ian, did the carving and finishing on it. So just kind of something fun to, to show It's stocked in Walnut. Pretty nice piece of Walnut

I think that's about all I have right now. Like I say, we're working away hard every day, trying to get more and more stuff made. Maybe show you a few things we're working on here, Here's some more barrels and you can see a whole bunch of lock plates that are being made right now. These are Ketland lock plates.

That's the first operation of making these. So I think we've made a batch of over 200 of these 200 or 250. So we're working hard to get stuff out the door, taking a little while to get ramped up, but we'll get there. Okay. Well, thanks guys. Thanks everyone. If you have any questions, just ask we're more than happy to answer what we can.