Hey there everyone. Time for another post... In this segment, I'll show some of the steps used to make a steel thumb piece for the fowling piece I've been working on.
Steel hardware with carved relief can be produced by forming the part and chiseling or by investment casting. Both methods have their merits and drawbacks. In the case of the thumb piece being discussed, I chose to carve a master and investment cast the steel part. After casting, it was cleaned up with gravers, rifflers and polishing stones.
The master thumb piece was carved out of high density polyurethane modeling board. The stuff I used was sold under the name "Butter board". It carves well and is a pretty nice material to use.
The as-cast surface finish was pretty decent, but still required significant attention to clean up well. In this case I used a combination of riffler files and polishing stones. Gravers were used to add details not included in the casting. This isn't a fast process, but is required to make a cast piece look as good as it can and to emulate a chiseled piece. Finally the thumb piece was inlet into the stock.
I realize this wasn't a highly detailed summary, so if you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to ask. I enjoy the feedback. I'd also like to thank everyone for the positive response concerning these blog posts. They take a bit of time and I always seem to be behind with my gun work, but I enjoy sharing a little bit of what I've been working on.
The burl stocked fowling piece will be completed soon. Basically some lock work and engraving left. I'd like to mention that I've built this as a "spec" piece and that it isn't sold. So if you should have an interest, let me know. I'm not certain what I will need for it at this point. I would like to make a final decision after the entire project is complete. It will be nice when it's done and move onto the next one!
Jim Kibler--maker of flintlock rifles.