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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I decided that I would take blackpowder's advice and start posting up my progress on my Fowler. This may be additionally helpful for those that may think these types of projects are beyond their capabilities. This is the most basic kit you can get from the wolf. Most of the inletting is already roughed out. That includes the lock, butt and trigger.

After my attempt at making a 16ga Fowler came to a screeching halt I decided I wanted to have something come this fall. I ordered the basic Fowler kit from TOTW in with steel hardware. I waited a month and a half without getting the stock. Both the curly maple and walnut were not coming in. After a few phone calls of the same news(there was no ETA on either) I finally started looking at the plain maple. A couple weeks ago I saw they had the plain maple in stock. So, much to my chagrin I called and changed my order so I could start working.

I have already spent some time on it prior to this post. Most of that is in working on the barrel. I had a bit of a problem last year when I did my Beck 50cal. I left the barrel for last and by that point I just wanted to shoot it so I rushed. This time I decided I'd get that out of the way first. You can see by the photo of the barrel what it looks like out of the box and after sanding and polishing up to 2k grit. Also, I have about an hour lining up the barrel and lock to figure where to start inletting for the tang, another lesson I learned last year.

I'll have more posts as I progress. But at this point I'm only going to get time when the weather is lousy. I'm about a month behind on putting up my wood for next winter. My hope is to have the wood done by memorial day and get this wrapped up mid summer. What's the old saying about well laid plans???
 

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looks like you got a good bit done ,looks real fine . hope you get your other work done ,so you can keep working on your new gun
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Only got about an hour on it tonight. Got the tang just about worked in. Part of that time was getting the barrel partly smoked. If the weather holds for tomorrow I'll get the barrel completely smoked and start working on cleaning up the barrel channel. I also included the photo after putting the barrel in to see where the high spots are. Only the areas where there is black needs sanded. Yes, there is a lot of putting the barrel in and sand here and there and repeat. If things go well tomorrow should be able to bend the tang and finish the tang area. The barrel channel on this stock are pretty close already.
 

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Confused by "sanding the black marks".


When using transfer color to inlet parts like you are doing, a chisel is typically used to remove the black transfer color.maybe I'm confused...I don't touch sandpaper to my wood ever. Good sharp chisels are used for inletting work.


If you don't have a good lamp setup to soot up parts, I'd invest in a jar of inletting black. I smoked parts on my first build. Now I use inletting black. Wasn't a fan of having a flame in the work area..and I like a smaller dedicated bench for gun work and I'd surely knock it over..now the inletting black makes quick clean work...


Also, if you haven't yet, draw file the barrel and get it cleaned up prior to anything else...I found on my last build that I didn't need to touch the barrel channel at all after I was done cleaning up the barrel itself.
 

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sand paper, chisel, file, gouges, whatever works for you on that particular area/spot. candle soot has always worked very well for me and clean up is a breeze. the more you build, the more you will find your own style of doing things and remember, take your time and don't get in a rush. looking good!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Sorry, just looked at the computer for the first time all weekend. Got about 2.5 cords of wood split, just shy of half done. Dang am I out of shape.

I found these little beauties on USA Knife Maker. The get into just about any area possible. Besides, on my first build I tried using a chisel first. I was taking off way too much material, even when I wasn't trying to. At least with these I can sand just the area I want and a pass or two is all it takes. After the bone-headed mistakes I made last year I'm taking it slower this time around.

As for the soot. I have a candle in a tin tray that I put on my bandsaw table to keep it out of the way. My workshop is about 12' wide, so to soot all I have to do is turn around. At least I'm smart and move the 15lbs of smokeless powder out of the area before I start working.
 

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Interesting!!

Whatever works best for ya!


You're right. Slow and clean work is key regardless of how you get there. I tried a Dremel once....
 

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Very nice and interesting. I like how straight you have the shoulders for the breech plug. Did you have the staples and sights put on by TOTW or are you going to do this operation yourself? Are you using brass or iron fittings? Keep us up to speed on your progress.

If you need spare parts let me know as I have the same kit sitting in my attic unfinished because I can not handle the stock in letting; all the iron mounting metal parts have been cleaned and finished ready to blue or brown.

:waving:
 

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Yep, whatever works for you. I use a dremel tool on certain areas when I build. Many people will scoff at that, but I have very steady hands and know how to use a dremel. Works great in lock mortices and thimble slots. Of course for the real fine work its chisels and Xacto knives all the way.

And yes, get some inletting black. Works great and a little container lasts a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I realized it's been almost two weeks since I posted last. Not much to update as I've only gotten 15 minutes here and there to work on it. Still just chasing black smudges. I think it's getting close though. The barrel is touching most of the stock now. Good news is the wood splitting is done, so I can focus more time on this.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Finally got a couple hours of uninterrupted work done tonight. The barrel is fully inlet into the stock. Might need a few touchups down the road, but it's a great feeling when you put it in and there is black almost everywhere.

Moved onto the tang. While inletting for the barrel I just left it straight and only removed wood where necessary to let the barrel down. I decided to put a little accent on the tang. A nice ellipse. My layout lines are noticeable in the one photo. I marked the center line of the tang and measured in from the back the width of the tang. I'm sure this isn't 100% correct, but it gives a nice accent. I used the curve of my cabinet scrapper as a guide for the ellipse. A while with the files and it's looking good.

Then the part that makes me most nervous for some reason, bending the tang. I put that in the vice and use the barrel for leverage. A few tries and it's close. Again, it might need a few tweaks as I inlet it. I mark the outline of the tang with a knife and cut into the wood as much as possible to prevent tearouts. Back to the chisel and start hogging out the wood. Time to quit for the night, this going to work stuff is for the birds. Gotta look at the bright side, it's a 3 day weekend and I have no plans. Should be able to get some serious work done now.
 

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Uninterrupted time is huge! Even if it's an hour or 2.

That's what's stalled me. Girlfriend and turkey hunting lol. I did shoot mine in the white. And finished the steel. But still not done with the wood lol.



Don't know if you did or not..but file a good draft on the bottom of your parts before you inlet. It'll make your inlets cleaner and tighter. Essentially the bottom is smaller than the top so as it goes down it gets tighter. Keep your chisels good and sharp.

I didn't understand either for half of my first attempts. As I went on I learned and my inlets got better.



Bending the tang is nerve racking the first time...but it's no big deal. Sounds like you did it right.


Don't rush it. Take your time. Don't know your personality..but when I get frustrated I wanna go even harder and just MAKE IT WORK. Not a good mindset for delicate work...I learned when I get that feeling to shut off the light. Or sand brass or something that's harder to screw up lol.
 

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Don't think that you need to leave a tang the length it is when you buy it. Last build I did, I cut off about 3/4 of the end of it off. Saves inletting time, and still works great. Most tangs are too long and can easily be cut down with no ill effects. Working the tang into a curve or half round is a good idea also. square cuts in wood are places where cracks can form. I know many authentic tangs are squared off, but rounding one as you did is also an authentic look.

As to bending, not a big issue. I put mine in a vice and use the barrel as leverage to bend it close to the shape of the stock. Leave the metal a little proud of the wood, then sand from metal to wood until all is the same height.
 

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Looks good. Interested in how you determine the path of the tang screw thru the stock wrist area and how to engage it into the trigger plate / trigger guard.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Update from this weekend. Spent the day Sat and part or Sun running around, so I didn't get nearly as much work done as expected. Barrel and tang are finished. Moved onto the lock.

The lock mortise looked good until I started fitting everything together. After inletting the lock plate you can see the gap that was left between the bolster and barrel. So, a few hours of chiseling and sanding got the bolster touching. A little filing of the bolster and I can't get my .015 feeler gauge in anywhere. I reassembled the lock and started inletting those parts when I ran out of steam yesterday.

I am looking forward to completing the lock and trigger. That is where I seemed to really start rolling last year. Every night it seemed I was checking something else off the list.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, guess I have to back out of this commitment. I have way too many irons in the fire right now. I just can't seem to get more than a few minutes to work on the gun right now. Not sure why I thought I would have time to work on this outside of the winter, I should have known better.


I'll resurrect this thread when I get back to it. But regardless, at some point this summer I have to finish my capote. I'll post pics of that when it's completed, likely closer to fall.
 

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its the right thing to do, best to back away and do it later. I put mine away too, because its just too busy this time of year.
 

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Looks good. Interested in how you determine the path of the tang screw thru the stock wrist area and how to engage it into the trigger plate / trigger guard.
I started that same gun in April 2017 and got burned out by the end of summer. Finally finished Christmas Day 2017.

I wasn't real happy with my hole, at least you can't see it. I spoke to one of the big name builders from PA at Dixon's last year and he suggested clamping the barrel and trigger plate in place. Punching both where you want the hole, and then to drill a pilot hole in from each side and gradually open it up with bigger bits and files.
 
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