Indian tack art and how to apply it


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Magno
January 30, 2011, 09:15 PM
I have forever been intrigued by Native American firearms and the various aesthetic modifications given to them. Most iconic to me is the common treatment in which many brass or silver tacks or rivets were placed all upon the gun stock. I've heard this referred to loosely as "an Indian tack gun".

I am of course referring to this:

http://members.memlane.com/gromboug/hawken.jpg

http://www.cowansauctions.com/itemImages/taa1707.jpg

http://www.cowanauctions.com/itemImages/taa1811.jpg

http://www.militarytrader.com/upload/images/6124_2.jpg

I have had trouble finding any decent pictures online, unfortunately, but I have seen many examples in person and am consistently drawn to them.

I would like to give one of my rifles a similar treatment; perhaps my yet-to-be-bought lever action, for anyone who has been following that thread.

What are thoughts from other members on the best way to go about doing this? My most obvious thought is to use something of this nature (http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/search/searchresults/1402-10.aspx?feature=Product_4&kw=tack) and to beat it into the stock like a nail.

Are there any historically-imposed folks here who know any more details about these guns and the processes used to create them?

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slabuda
January 30, 2011, 09:31 PM
Huh...kinda cool. I never knew such stuff existed. As you have seen them in person I say give what you linked a try on some plain wood or an old bb gun as an experiment to see if you like the effect before trying it on a rifle.

Owen Sparks
January 30, 2011, 10:07 PM
I think it looks tackey:neener:

ConstitutionCowboy
January 30, 2011, 10:11 PM
I like that art. It gave the Indians something to do while they waited for the bison they shot to bleed out.

Woody

scaatylobo
January 30, 2011, 10:15 PM
I too was/am a fan of that art and have seen many old rifles with it.

Almost bought a few,but was cash shy back then.

I would try that on an older lever action if I had the skill to make it look as they did.

Glad to find a fellow shooter that likes it to.

G.A.Pster
January 31, 2011, 12:17 AM
Guns with tacks in them make me cry.

W L Johnson
January 31, 2011, 09:38 AM
That yellow stock one with the feathers, I can't quite put my finger on it but something about it appeals to me. It looks like a friend instead of a tool, like it has life, has a soul.

cane
January 31, 2011, 09:50 AM
I have found these are the best tacks to use. I've always drilled a "starter hole" when I've "tacked" anything. The important thing is these have steel shanks, and are brass, not plated. http://www.dixiegunworks.com/advanced_search_result.php?s=1&keywords=brass+tack

InkEd
January 31, 2011, 10:04 AM
If you like it then go ahead and do it. The re-sale value will probably be greatly reduced though. I only buy guns I really want and keep them too. So, I don't ever worry about it.

Personally, I don't care for it but it's your gun. I would suggest practicing on an old beater stock or at the very least mark the design and spacing out with a felt tip pen before hammering them into the wood.

Sam1911
January 31, 2011, 10:19 AM
Original Indian trade guns from the colonial period up through the 19th Century frontier which still have such decoration are worth a LOT of money to the right collector. They represent a hugely important part of our nation's history, when European settlers various cultures and those of the many Native American tribes were melding and influencing one another.

A great many "buckskinners" and similar historical reenactors (even SASS shooters!) take great pride in their replica arms decorated in correct, authentic patterns.

Here is one source for the materials to do this, and you can learn a very great deal about both the historic aspects and the ongoing culture just by paging through their catalog. http://www.crazycrow.com/

ulflyer
January 31, 2011, 10:29 AM
Be absolutely sure the tacks are real brass and you may want figure how to "pre-tarnish" them in advance. Dont know how either, but am sure someone will. Several years ago I took an Ithaca M51? (lever action single shot 22lr) and did the Indian thing. Had a small brass plate inscribed with something like "In Commemoration of Sitting Bull" with some dates on it and I inletted it into the stock. Sold it later at a gun show for $200, about double what they were going for. I took a pencil and marked where I wanted the tacks to go, pre-drilled a smaller than the tack starter hole. Just a thought; if you have an old, preferably beat up, Winchester lever rifle, consider putting some tacks sorta irregular...eithr in rows or designs..like in some of the pics you showed, for a more authentic look.

Dr.Rob
January 31, 2011, 02:07 PM
Had a friend make an amazing shot with a 30-30 with brass beads in the stock. Of course he was 1/2 Micmac and a former green beret sniper so it might NOT have been the rifle. But that old Winchester was sweet.

HoosierQ
January 31, 2011, 02:18 PM
I am pretty sure that yellow trapdoor has been wrapped in rawhide. They did that to repair the stock.

Here's what I'd do...at least to start. Funny, I have always wanted to do this. Get a Mosin Nagant, or 2, or 3. Great guns, millions upon millions of them everywhere...all kinda rough to begin with. All look very old fashioned...very musket like anyway. Do it up with the tacks. Throw it you pickup truck, buy a fringed leather jacket, and drive around in the desert like you own the place!!! If you think I am being facetious, you don't know me...I would do this in a heartbeat. I have only one Mosin and it's pretty decent so I probably wouldn't.

So here's where I get relevant to this thread. Do two or three and get an easthetic look that you really like...put some rawhide on there in place of the barrel band...very common...that sort of thing. Get it the way you want it and then seek out a contextually proper firearm to do the thing with if you really like it. I'd be tempted to do it to a recently used Marlin or some other easily replaced gun than an old, pre'64 winchester...that would be a shame. But a newer Marlin would take the treatment well and you would not be damaging an otherwise collectable gun....or a new Henry Big Boy or something like that...the new Mossberg 464 or whatever their new level is called. The wood on those is fair anyway.

Fun project for the right person.

Great pics.

xfyrfiter
January 31, 2011, 04:14 PM
This looks like an idea for an old Brown Bess flintlock musket that's just taking up space in the closet, make it into a wall hanger. Thanks for the idea.

Magno
January 31, 2011, 05:11 PM
W L Johnson:
"That yellow stock one with the feathers, I can't quite put my finger on it but something about it appeals to me. It looks like a friend instead of a tool, like it has life, has a soul."

This is precisely why I like the look so much. It gives the gun the personality it needs, makes it recognizable to it's user. I'm a huge advocate of personalizing firearms (and just about everything else), so I'm always on the lookout for new things to do so with. The fact that it has roots with the Native Americans is a bonus for me (I'm a bit of a fan).

It looks like this idea could easily become a bit of a group project here on THR, with lots of interest from other members. Who will be the first to do it?

Sam1911
January 31, 2011, 06:19 PM
As this is grounded deeply in the 18th and 19th centuries, I'm going to move this to the blackpowder forum. You'll find a lot more experience and appreciation there, as the practice was largely abandoned by the advent of smokeless powder, though not to say cartridge firearms.

Coyote3855
January 31, 2011, 06:23 PM
At one time I was very active in Cowboy Action Shooting. I competed, or rather showed up for, several national and regional shoots that drew in excess of 400 shooters. Tackwork was fairly popular on Henry and 1866 replicas. You might try the SASS Wire Forum. I recall that some "brass" tacks from the local hardware store aren't brass, only coated with a brass colored materials. Which will wear off and look crappy. I think Dixie Gun Works has actual solid brass tacks. My recollection is that the SASS wire also had instructions on how to lay out patterns. Obviously, you don't just hammer the tacks in, you drill a pilot hole first. Google Brass Tacks in Gunstocks and you get sources, patterns, etc.

ulflyer
January 31, 2011, 06:52 PM
Having done the Ithaca M51 I would be comfortable doing another. Just hadn't thought about until now and this thread has got me going. Will look for a crappy looking Win lever at the next gun show for a project gun. GeeZ, I had an old beater with buckhorn sight some years ago but let it go as I never shot it. Would be ideal now. Oh well!

arcticap
February 1, 2011, 01:44 AM
Here's an unfired lever action, Navy Arms - Uberti 1866 Saddle Ring Carbine Indian Commemorative of the Little Big Horn in .44-40 caliber.

Oyeboten
February 1, 2011, 01:56 AM
'Dixie Gun Works' used to and likely still does, carry a variety of Brass Headed Upoldstry 'Tacks', all in all pretty much the same kinds as people used then.

Tiny Brass 'Brads' also can be used, or used as accents along with larger sized Tack Heads.

I like that stuff too.


Been halfway thinking of doing it on a Pistol even.


The Wood Grain can tend to pull a Tack Point to one side, and spoil a careful design sometimes.

To avoid this, sharpen an appropriately sized Wire Gauge Dripp, so it has some verson of a so called 'Brad Point', or a sport of Spear Point...one can also use a short piece of Piano Wire, ground to a Spear Point on the end...then, drill the Tack Point holes to about 1/3rd their depth or so.

This will allow a careful design then to be realized with no Tacks getting pulled out of line by driving them into the Grain as-is.

arcticap
February 1, 2011, 02:07 AM
Track of the Wolf sells a variety of tacks.

http://www.trackofthewolf.com/Search.aspx?Search=tacks

RaiderANV
February 1, 2011, 02:14 AM
The number one supplier of "tacks" the Indians got their hands on were from furniture heading through their lands that they expropriated from the prior owner. Simple upholstery tacks.
One of the best sites is http://www.redeco.org/tacks-upholstery-1328104-4-s.html

Or hit EvilBay and type in Vintage tacks, Vintage upholstery tacks. or just upholstery tacks, you get the point. A lot of people stripper useless antique furniture of these and sell them.
Hope this helps

BHP FAN
February 1, 2011, 03:41 AM
I've got a .45 LC Trapper Winchester '94 with a Sioux Nation Commemorative stock [off of a .38-40 rifle] that looks pretty cool.....

BHP FAN
February 1, 2011, 03:44 AM
and this ''flinch lock''
http://i989.photobucket.com/albums/af11/hut-man/flinter1.jpg

RaiderANV
February 1, 2011, 12:58 PM
I have the identical flintlock minus the barrel. It was misplaced decades ago. =(
Never could figure out who made it as it's unmarked

kbbailey
February 1, 2011, 03:59 PM
I have a T/C Hawken .54 that I built from a kit years ago. I have marked the stock between the trigger gaurd and toe-plate with 14 tacks. Each denoting a whitetail that I have taken over the years. When I take a deer...I add a tack. I also have a Masonic emblem on the patchbox lid. It makes a plain old rifle like mine look pretty authentic.
keith

BHP FAN
February 1, 2011, 10:42 PM
Mine is Japanese, with ''Dixie Gunworks'' on it. Dixie is still around, and one of the leaders in parts, too, why not call them and ask if they have a barrel for their .69 caliber ''Tower Pistol'' around?

RaiderANV
February 2, 2011, 12:28 AM
Thanks for the Dixie heads up but I've tried everywhere over the years to no avail. Dixie actually sets up a Sutler booth at the N-SSA nationals competition where I shoot. I bug them every year. Guessing I'll juts sell it as is knowing whoever buys it will luck into one the next day. :banghead:

madcratebuilder
February 2, 2011, 10:57 AM
The number one supplier of "tacks" the Indians got their hands on were from furniture heading through their lands that they expropriated from the prior owner. Simple upholstery tacks.
One of the best sites is http://www.redeco.org/tacks-upholstery-1328104-4-s.html

Or hit EvilBay and type in Vintage tacks, Vintage upholstery tacks. or just upholstery tacks, you get the point. A lot of people stripper useless antique furniture of these and sell them.
Hope this helps
Thanks for the link. I have collected a good supply of antique tacks. Many photo's of old Native American rifles. Now I have to make a design I can live with.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/madcratebuilder/sittingbull01.jpg
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/madcratebuilder/sittingbull02.jpg

Noz
February 2, 2011, 12:53 PM
I too intend to do this soon. I found that Tru-value Hardware stores have brass tacks that have a tiny head that would lend themselves to a more intricate pattern, and yeah, everything I have read says pre-drill.

Magno
February 2, 2011, 04:19 PM
On a related note - who knows how to do a rawhide wrap? That might be a very cool thing, too...not really for me, though.

VT Deer Hunter
February 2, 2011, 07:35 PM
Looks cool go to the res and ask some native americans and they can help you. I have been to the res and its cool!

wittzo
February 3, 2011, 12:37 AM
John "Chief" A.J. Huffer who was on Top Shot Season One teaching the guys how to use a slingshot used a Ruger 10/22 to shoot more than 40,000 consecutive 2 inch square pine blocks. He had tackwork on his Ruger. They sell a commemorative Red Ryder Chief AJ air gun with tackwork that matches what was on his Ruger.

david58
February 3, 2011, 07:11 PM
Tacks can be had through many of the blackpowder vendors, primarily those catering to the mountain man and fur trade folk.

Folks I have known to apply the tacks drill a very small pilot hole, put a bit of epoxy on the hole, and gently drive the tack in. I'd think the epoxy is optional, but the pilot hole is important to be sure you don't crack the wood.

husker
February 3, 2011, 08:24 PM
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/madcratebuilder/sittingbull02.jpg

is this raped in buck skin? I wanna do something like this on my Kentucky

junkman_01
February 3, 2011, 08:50 PM
Is being raped in buckskin a sexual assault? I think you mean wrapped. There is a difference! :neener:

HZOX221
February 3, 2011, 08:59 PM
It is rawhide put on wet and let to dry. Most likely to fix a cracked stock.

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