michaelsbagley

Hardenning (re-hardenning) your frizzen

57 posts in this topic

I think this topic has come up a few times before, but I don't think it has it's own thread yet...

Anyways, because of time (or rather a shortness thereof), I am going to have to re-harden the frizzen on my doglock long arm this weekend.

I do have some limited experience working with metal, and have forged a few knives, fire strikers and other simple things before, so I am not too nervous about it...

My main question is about a hardenning agent, is borax good to use? Or is there a better alternative that is still easy to find and not too expensive?

I have access to a good torch to get the metal red hot, and I am sure I can get my hands on some used motor oil for the quench, but advice on hardenning agents, and maybe some suggestions as to process would be most appreciated.

Cheers

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Most of what Ive read involves using Kasenite, I have 2 frizzens I need to harden here as well but have been a bit poor and unable to purchase any. It is relativly cheap and available from both dizie and track of the wolf if I recall.

These might help also:

http://wiltonmilitia.org/pages/from_click_to_bang.pdf

http://www.trackofthewolf.com/pdfs/kasenit.pdf

http://www.muzzleblasts.com/archives/vol4n...s/mbo41-3.shtml

Want to do one of mine while your at it :D

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Most of what Ive read involves using Kasenite, I have 2 frizzens I need to harden here as well but have been a bit poor and unable to purchase any. It is relativly cheap and available from both dizie and track of the wolf if I recall.

Do you happen to know of any retail chains that might carry it? I am uncertain if I can get it ordered in time for this weekend, and I am fairly uncertain that I will be able to find the time on a weekday evening next week to do it... And I really want to bring my doglock long arm to the Hampton Blackbeard festival... I do have my pistols as a back up, but I do so love my long musket.

Edit: While I have heard Kasenit is better, ordering some is why I was thinking of using borax instead... I was just wondering if the difference is so big that I would be better off waiting the possible extra time for the Kasenit?

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I'm no chemistry expert, but I don't think Borax has enough carbon.

Old timers used very old used motor oil when case hardening small parts (heat, quench in used oil [carbon source], temper).

Maybe a local welding shop either carries Kasenite or can do the job quickly & cheaply?

BTW: current standards would have you use Acetylene for a frizzen. I've used MAPP to good effect on a pistol frizzen; not sure if it would do the trick on a musket frizzen. However, those same old timers just used a gas range and a blowpipe - go figure!

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ok-- education time for me... why would you need to reharden your frizzen ?? what are the tell tale signs that would lead you to that conclusion ???

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ok-- education time for me... why would you need to reharden your frizzen ?? what are the tell tale signs that would lead you to that conclusion ???

Not getting good sparks, and the metal on the face of the frizzen seems to be developing deep scratches...

If you are just not getting sparks, and the metal does not seem to be gouging, then it is more likely a flint adjustment or other tuning issue.

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As I recall, Cascabel has this easy test to see if a frizzen is too soft.

Run a file across the frizzen. If it digs in then its too soft, it it just scoots across its hard enough.

(Please correct me if I have this wrong)

Now, speaking of Cascabel looks like he will be out in Long Beach, California for Pyrate Daze, September 19 & 20, teaching Black Powder Weapons 101. Have a nice trip lad!

Pyrate Daze

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You can go with the used motor oil but it's results are unreliable using Kasenite is quick and relatively more effective ...if you have access to a good coal fired forge I also tightly wrap the frizzens in leather and then encase them in clay to slow fire them to about 1800F and hold them at that temp for an hour+ ...then crack off the clay, wire brush, water quench to cool....I've had to do about 7 f them this spring and all but 2 were pretty easy to get them to the proper hardness by this method

Edited by callenish gunner

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As I recall, Cascabel has this easy test to see if a frizzen is too soft.

Run a file across the frizzen. If it digs in then its too soft, it it just scoots across its hard enough.

(Please correct me if I have this wrong)

Now, speaking of Cascabel looks like he will be out in Long Beach, California for Pyrate Daze, September 19 & 20, teaching Black Powder Weapons 101. Have a nice trip lad!

Pyrate Daze

Indeed, you can check it with a file. You need to bear down hard with the file for a reliable test. If the file refuses to bite into the metal and just skids across it, then your frizzen is properly hard. If it bites into the metal at all, it is too soft.

If you determine that the frizzen is hard enough, then you need to look elsewhere for your ignition problems. The India made guns are subject to a whole host of issues. Sometimes you get a good one, sometimes not. For instance, very often the frizzen spring is way too stiff. This can cause gouges in the frizzen surface, shorten flint life, and prevent reliable sparking.

>>>> Cascabel

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I have a pedersoli Kentucky flintlock and I was wondering if anyone knew the general life span of a frizzen on a gun like mine would be? Do you need to harden or replace them regularly?

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I have a pedersoli Kentucky flintlock and I was wondering if anyone knew the general life span of a frizzen on a gun like mine would be? Do you need to harden or replace them regularly?

The life span is such that it will probably outlive the owner !!! You only need to give it attention if it quits sparking reliably. Eventually, the face will need to be "dressed" to get rid of the wear, and possibly be re-hardened.

>>>> Cascabel

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A word about hardening of parts is apparently in order at this point.....

"Case Hardening" is the process of creating a thin skin of hardened surface on an otherwise soft steel part. The purpose is to create a wear resistant surface on many gun parts, for instance, the tumbler and sear. It also makes for a frizzen surface hard enough to create sparks when struck by the flint. The hard surface only goes a few thousandths of an inch into the metal, and therefore eventually wears through. Being that the hardness is only on the surface, the part will not be brittle and shatter when stuck. A case hardened part will not need to have the hardness reduced by "drawing" the temper. Case hardening is most easily done using Kasenit (but that is not the only method). Motor oil alone will not do it for you !!!

"Through Hardening" is another matter entirely. Many times, the parts in reproduction guns are made of heat treatable steel, and can be hardened (or re-hardened) without the use of a case hardening compound. The hardness goes all the way through, rather than just the surface. There is really no easy way to tell what kind of steel your parts are made of, other than to attempt the heating and quenching process without case hardening compound first, and checking the results with a file. This is a quick and simple "no-brainer". If it turns out that you are dealing with a heat treatable steel, then you will need to "draw" some of the hardness to prevent brittleness and breakage of the part. If heating and quenching have no or very little effect, then go ahead and do the case hardening.

If the frizzen had been originally case hardened, there may be enough extra carbon left in the surface after dressing the gouges out to re-harden it, but it is likely to have soft areas, so just re-do the case hardening job.

>>>>> Cascabel

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Would it be possible at PiP this year (yes, I know its a long way in the future) to be able to get together and do a small bit on hardening of frizzens? I'm thinking there are most likely going to be a number of people there that may be interested in something like this.

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Would it be possible at PiP this year (yes, I know its a long way in the future) to be able to get together and do a small bit on hardening of frizzens? I'm thinking there are most likely going to be a number of people there that may be interested in something like this.

If you're talking about an actual live gunsmithing demonstration, it wouldn't really be practical without my own equipment. I could easily do a presentation on this and other practical gunsmithing tips, but it remains to be seen what the scheduling will be like. I will of course be available for anyone at any time to answer questions about this or other issues.

>>>> Cascabel

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I was thinking more directly relating to frizzen hardening. From what I've read you really don't need much and I would be able to bring the tools down.

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I was thinking more directly relating to frizzen hardening. From what I've read you really don't need much and I would be able to bring the tools down.

To do it right, a few things are sort of specialized. Spring vise, well fitting screwdrivers, a way to grind and polish properly, a proper heat source, a decent vise, place to work, etc. Not really something I want to undertake outside of my shop with all the proper equipment close at hand. Most good gunsmithing is outside of the realm of "field repairs". "Making do" is not something I'm comfortable with.

>>>> Cascabel

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I have a fair bit of gear whether it be vises, torches, lathes, mill, the list goes on. I will be sailing down and if it would help others all you need tell me is what you would need or I can easily forget the idea

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I have a fair bit of gear whether it be vises, torches, lathes, mill, the list goes on. I will be sailing down and if it would help others all you need tell me is what you would need or I can easily forget the idea

It really is a matter of not being practical. I can do a presentation on common gunsmithing tasks, but an actual live demonstration wouldn't work out mostly because of time constraints. Unfortunately, I usually spend very little time at the fort, due to being needed for other things. If I could get a slot in the schedule where I wasn't already committed elsewhere, I would be happy to do a presentation or two.

To properly cover all aspects of hardening parts along with actually performing the process, complete with a decent amount of time for questions and answers would take a couple of hours. I appreciate the fact that there would be lots of interest, but many other people besides myself also have committments and wouldn't be able to stay for the whole thing. Being a part of the "cast" sometimes keeps me quite busy !!

>>>> Cascabel

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I understand

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A word about hardening of parts is apparently in order at this point.....

"Case Hardening" is the process of creating a thin skin of hardened surface on an otherwise soft steel part. The purpose is to create a wear resistant surface on many gun parts, for instance, the tumbler and sear. It also makes for a frizzen surface hard enough to create sparks when struck by the flint. The hard surface only goes a few thousandths of an inch into the metal, and therefore eventually wears through. Being that the hardness is only on the surface, the part will not be brittle and shatter when stuck. A case hardened part will not need to have the hardness reduced by "drawing" the temper. Case hardening is most easily done using Kasenit (but that is not the only method). Motor oil alone will not do it for you !!!

"Through Hardening" is another matter entirely. Many times, the parts in reproduction guns are made of heat treatable steel, and can be hardened (or re-hardened) without the use of a case hardening compound. The hardness goes all the way through, rather than just the surface. There is really no easy way to tell what kind of steel your parts are made of, other than to attempt the heating and quenching process without case hardening compound first, and checking the results with a file. This is a quick and simple "no-brainer". If it turns out that you are dealing with a heat treatable steel, then you will need to "draw" some of the hardness to prevent brittleness and breakage of the part. If heating and quenching have no or very little effect, then go ahead and do the case hardening.

If the frizzen had been originally case hardened, there may be enough extra carbon left in the surface after dressing the gouges out to re-harden it, but it is likely to have soft areas, so just re-do the case hardening job.

>>>>> Cascabel

I know a couple of people who had great success by spot welding a piece of high-carbon steel onto the front of the frizzen.

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I know a couple of people who had great success by spot welding a piece of high-carbon steel onto the front of the frizzen.

In the old days, this was known as "half soleing" the frizzen (in reference to doing a half sole job on a shoe). It usually was done using rivets. The material was generally gotten from old saw blades, which are a good source of high carbon steel.

>>>> Cascabel

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In case anyone was curious, I ordered the Kasenit, it came through the mail very quickly (I received it Friday or Saturday) and with the help if a friend who is a welder (and all around good metal working person), I was able (okay the welder did most of the work) to very successfully reharden the frizeen so it sparks great now.

Of course now I have a one pound can of Kasenit (minus the two teaspoons it took to do my frizzen) that will take up space in the tool closet for probably ever.... :lol:

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Ship me a couple oz.?

:lol:

How much would ye charge? I need to re-harden my Pedersoli Queen Anne's frizzen as well.

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I almost forgot about this thread... Well, I haven't had much opportunity to use the doglock musket over the last few months (one event I was on a small boat and hence had to rely on my pistol, the other shooting pretty much got rained out, etc.)... But at the Lockhouse a week or two back, I did get to use the musket a lot..... And since the re-hardenning of the frizzen it is behaving wonderfully! I still think I might need to stone the sear spring down (trigger pull is a bit heavy, and it is chipping out flints quicker than my other flinters).

Mister McNamara, sorry I didn't respond to your post sooner... But I will try and contact you privately about your request.

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..... And since the re-hardenning of the frizzen it is behaving wonderfully! I still think I might need to stone the sear spring down (trigger pull is a bit heavy, and it is chipping out flints quicker than my other flinters).

Heavy trigger pulls usually can best be fixed by re-working the tumbler notches. The sear spring is usually only part of the problem. Could be a combination of both. As a test, try temporarily removing the sear spring completely, and see how it feels. It will give you an idea how much pressure is required to release it. Trigger pull is also very much effected by the location of the pin that the trigger pivots on.

Rapid wearing or breakage of flints is usually caused by overly strong frizzen springs. Many of the India made pieces are guilty of this. It can be remedied with a bit of careful work.

>>>> Cascabel

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