Kentucky Flintlock

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Project by woodrookieII posted 03-07-2012 02:35 AM 3363 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was by far the most difficult, mostly wood, project I have ever done.

I’ve been wanting one of these since I was a young man, a flintlock Kentucky long rifle. So I finally decided to make one. Easier said than done! 5 months after starting, it was ready to fire. This is not a wall hanger (even tho it’s hanging over the mantle), it’s a fully functioning black powder shooter.

This is not from a kit, but is constructed from individual pieces. With the hardest being the stock. The stock started life as a 65 inch long blank of curly maple, no inletting, nothing. Just blank. 3 and a half months later the stock was done!

After reading a book on rifle making about 20 times, I was ready to start. What you see is what I finished with. A 58 1/2”, mid 1700’s Lancaster inspired Kentucky flintlock. Siler lock, Davis double lever double set trigger, 42” .50 caliber Green Mountain barrel, all furniture is solid brass, ram rod is hickory. All iron was browned (controlled rusting) not blued and I’m letting the brass tarnish.

Interesting thing about these old rifles is that they are held together primarily with pins. The barrel is held in the stock with pins, the trigger guard, the thimbles for the ram rod are held in with pins. You can see them in the pictures.

The stain and finish is good old hand rubbed motor oil. I must admit that I am quite pleased with how the wood took the finish I selected.

Only concern is that I have 2 sons!!

Note to Mods: If this project is inappropriate, I will understand if you remove it…...rookieII

14 comments so far

View KYSawDust's profile


9 posts in 2715 days

#1 posted 03-07-2012 03:54 AM

BEAUTIFUL!!! Great job, love the fact that you made a classic “hunter’s rifle”. My wife and I had a photography studio and also live near possibly the best living Kentucky rifle maker, Frank House. He built the rifle and the tomahawk that Mel Gibson used in “The Patriot” and 2 flintlock pistols that Russell Crowe used in “Master and Commander”.
I photographed the 2 pistols and a lifesized indian statue that was featured in the Smithsonian magazine.
He is amazing!!
You should be proud of your rifle, please post pictures of the next one also!

View Ken90712's profile


17659 posts in 3553 days

#2 posted 03-07-2012 09:20 AM

Man that is a real beauty! Kudos to you! Its a wrok of art that will be fun t use for a very long time.

Nothing inapropiate about this as all.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View flintbone's profile


207 posts in 3521 days

#3 posted 03-07-2012 11:20 AM

Good job. Any old Ky boy would be proud to pack that around.
Keep up the good work.

-- If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. - Albert Einstein

View T. D. Reid's profile

T. D. Reid

275 posts in 2709 days

#4 posted 03-07-2012 12:15 PM

Very nice work sir. Looks as though the dilemma of having two sons and only one rife can be solved by now building a PA Long rifle. Just say’in. Cheers

-- Head to the shop its calling you – Todd

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3601 days

#5 posted 03-07-2012 12:47 PM

GREAT JOB! I carve rifle stocks almost every day, but I bought a duplicator to help speed up the process. The guy who sold me the duplicator was building long rifle stocks, so I got a lot of specialized tooling that I don’t use in the deal. It came with a steady rest to support both the pattern stock and the blank I’m cutting, a jig to cut the ramrod channel, custom ground cutters and stylus to cut the barrel channel in just a few passes, and several other long rifle items. Maple is so hard, I admire your work even more. I carve with a 2 1/2hp router. I can’t imagine doing this project with chisels, files, and rasps. And your motor oil finish is fantastic. I’ll have to try that on some maple scraps I have. I’ve had my most spectacular results with figured maple, and also the most spectacular failures. When I sell a maple stock, I always include some sample pieces from the same lumber as the stock so the customer can try out different finishing techniques and not ruin his new stock.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View smoke's profile


123 posts in 3386 days

#6 posted 03-07-2012 06:13 PM

wonderful work, but how does it shoot? how’s the kickback? i might put it in font of something else to make it stand out more. it’s so narrow it falls between the mortar rows and kinda gets lost, and something that delicate, beautiful and deadly needs to jump out and holler at you!

View woodrookieII's profile


282 posts in 3028 days

#7 posted 03-07-2012 09:35 PM

flintbone: I am an old Kentucky boy.

smoke: Kickback is determined by how much powder you use. But even at 105 grains of black powder the kickback is minimal (when compared to a 12 gauge!).

But it does “holler” when it fires!!

I also learned where the sayings “Lock, stock and barrel” and “Flash in the pan” came from.

Hal: I bow before your greatness knowing now that you do this MULTIPLE times!! Wow. Once was more than enough for me.

I think to solve the “2 sons” dilemma , I just may build a flintlock pistol. (next winter) ;)


View Swampy's profile


38 posts in 2709 days

#8 posted 03-08-2012 12:44 AM

That is one fine piece of work.

-- Gary Vondermuehll

View woodrookieII's profile


282 posts in 3028 days

#9 posted 03-08-2012 02:57 AM

Thanks for all the kind comments. The Mrs. enjoys packing it with powder and lead too. Just as she’s a fine modern wife, she would have been a fine frontier wife as well.


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


18546 posts in 4040 days

#10 posted 03-11-2012 06:04 AM

Very nice, especially for the first one!! What did you use to brown the barrel?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3231 days

#11 posted 03-11-2012 12:45 PM

That is a beautiful rifle and you did a wonderful job on it. Having done both woodworking and machine work for most of my life , this is a project that I have wanted to do myself for a long time but I’ve never been able to find the time. Congratulations on a job well done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View woodrookieII's profile


282 posts in 3028 days

#12 posted 03-11-2012 04:52 PM

Survivor: Well, that’s a question with a long answer. But basically I built a long box, stuck a light bulb in it, a pan of water and my barrel coated with Laurel Mountain Forge Browning Solution. About 3 days later it was “rusted” to perfection.

helluvawreck: If I can do this, so can you!! You may not get anything else done for a few months, but hey….it’s all good.


View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3920 days

#13 posted 03-11-2012 05:03 PM

That is a very good looking stock. I have a reproduction 1859 Enfield with what I thought was a nice stock, but yours puts it to shame.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


18546 posts in 4040 days

#14 posted 03-11-2012 05:18 PM

Looks like it did a very nice job. Many years ago I used Birchwood Casey, but it was a little blotchy due to my inexperience. I have been told they have since changed the formula due to environmental laws.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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