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Older Pedersoli Bess "defarb"?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by vanfunk, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. vanfunk

    vanfunk Well-Known Member

    Hello Everyone,
    Last weekend I came accross an older Pedersoli Brown Bess in aged but excellent condition. It was priced very well, so I brought it home. The only thing that bothers me about it is the lock markings, which are marked prominently with "Stowe 1776". The arms manufacturers stopped marking locks with the maker's name and date in 1764, so technically, this lock wouldn't exist in "real life". The shape of the lock plate and the stock inletting is a little different that current production Pedersoli bess locks (I already tried to swap it with another "Grice" marked Pedersoli lock and it was far from a drop-in). Soooo, what I'm wondering is if you know of anyone doing "defarb" work on replicas to bring them closer to authenticity. Ideally, I'd like to have the "Stowe 1776" removed and "Tower" marked in it's place. I can't do it myself because I'm just not talented enough, to be perfectly honest.

    Anyone have any hints?

  2. Cap n Ball

    Cap n Ball Well-Known Member

    Try contacting local reenactors. They usually know of someone that does that sort of work. Here in Missouri/Kansas there are several folks that can do a real nice job of it. Its not cheap and you may be a while waiting depending upon where you are in line but its worth it.
  3. buspete

    buspete Member

    The way I heard it, the Besses marked "Stow 1776" were commissioned by Val Forget of Navy Arms fame back in the bicentennial. I've heard of a few others that have turned up recently.

    Anyone with a torch set should be able to fill in the lock marks and make thme disappear. It would be kind of a shame to do it to this one though, as I suspect the Stow marked guns will be future collectables.
  4. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Well-Known Member


    That's a limited edition lock, and is rare, although it's a reproduction. Please just replace the lock plate.

    While they did stop marking the locks with the date, you will notice that the repros usually bear the marking "Tower 1764". The Kings Musket of the AWI were the final variation of the 1st Model, with very few if any of the 2nd Models arriving for the war. The locks were older than the rest of the musket in many cases, so the "Tower 1764" marking is not farby.

  5. buspete

    buspete Member

    None of the repros are marked "Tower 1764". The old Japanese Besses made by Miroku were marked Tower with no date (correct) and the Italian ones are marked Grice 1762 (incorrect). The prototype for the Italian musket was built using an original Long Land lock, thus the incorrect lock that is replicated on the reproductions. Pedersoli is not exactly known for caring about historical accuracy.

    Grice never made Short Land locks, and I know of no surviving examples of original Short Lands using leftover Long Land locks or furniture. Any original guns encountered that mix lock, barrel and furniture types are most likely American built guns built out of old salvaged parts. These are actually pretty common, but are NOT British issued Short Land pattern guns. The Brits were pretty anal about things following the sealed patterns.
  6. vanfunk

    vanfunk Well-Known Member

    Thanks for weighing in on this one, guys.

    Due to the apparent rarity of this lock, I will keep it as-is.

    It's wierd - markings are such a small detail; why can't Pedersoli make a short land Bess with the correct lock script?

  7. buspete

    buspete Member

    Pure laziness!

    There is also the issue of retooling costs to do it right. Remember that their parts are all investment cast instead of being forged as were the originals, so to make a change on something as seemingly simple as changing the "engraving" on a lockplate, they would need to make an entire new master for mold making. The idea of all-cast parts is the root of the infamous spring and frizzen problems that Pedersolis are known for. 20th century manufacturing techniques and 18th century products don't always work well together.

    In comparison to their European sales, the US sales to reenactors are just a drop in the bucket and their bigger concern is the target shooter market for international competition.

    How about posting a picture of your new musket so folks can see what a Stowe 1776 Bess looks like!

    A friend of mine came across two of them (disassembled, missing mainsprings, missing one barrel) in a box at a yard sale, but isn't willing to part with them. He's stashed them in his cellar in case he finds the rest of the parts to complete them someday. On the plus side, the guy was an anti-gunner and now I've got him addicted to muzzleloaders.
  8. vanfunk

    vanfunk Well-Known Member

    I'd love to post pics, but I'm limited to a flatbed scanner. When the wife's out of the house I'll lay the lock down on top of the scanner and post a pic if it comes out. I've noticed that the dimensions of this lock aren't the same as my other, more recently manufactured Pedersoli Bess. The Stowe 1776 seems to need a new frizzen as it barely sparks with a fresh flint, but the frizzen from my other Bess is slightly different and isn't a drop-in replacement. I suppose I could try to reharden it - anyone know what is needed to use Kaseknit (caseknit?) to re-hardedn it? I only have access to hardware store torches for heat sources, is this enough?

  9. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    Just wondering if you are sure that it's your frizzen and not the length of the flint, hammer or other problem? I've read that Pedersoli's require using extra short flints, at least with some models.
    I went to the americanlongrifles.com forum (bulletin board) and searched under "casenite" in the "gun builder's forum" (tried under "frizzen hardening" too). Somewhere it mentioned that casenite hardening doesn't always last that long or work that well.
    But I found this other process described that sounds like a winner for someone who wants to take the risk. I know that the hardening process author Jerrywh posts on the ALR just about every day, and I'm sure he would respond to any of your questions if you request advice. There are lots of experienced gun builders on that forum too....
    Maybe you should purchase another replacement frizzen before risking the current one going through the process, just in case something goes wrong?

    Here's the ALR thread, good luck! :)


    This is one of the 1st main distributors of Pedersoli guns in the U.S., Mr. Beauchamp may be able to help you get another frizzen.


    FLINTLOCKS, ETC. 160 Rossiter Rd. Richmond, MA 01254. Phone No.: 413-698-3822 ... Distributor

    email: flintetc@berkshire.rr.com
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2006
  10. BigG

    BigG Well-Known Member

    For those of you, like me, who didn't know the definition -

    Farby = inauthentic, per weirdwords
  11. buspete

    buspete Member

    I use Kasenite here almost on a daily basis.

    For a musket sized frizzen you can use a Mapp gas torch, but oxy-acetlyne works better and faster. Keep in mind that with the oxy-acetlyne setup, you run the risk of melting it. I hold the tail of the frizzen with a pair of tongs, scoop a pile of Kasenite on top of the face (the striking surface, which I hold facing up) and heat it from the bottom until the Kasenite melts and bubbles, then quench it in water or oil. The Pedersoli frizzen is probably a cast part, so instead of water I'd quench in oil so it won't shatter.

    I would be skeptical about a new frizzen just dropping in to the early 1970's lock. Especially if the lockplate is different.

    A historic note: in the old days, when a frizzen wore through it's case hardening, local gunsmiths or blacksmiths would usually "shoe" the frizzen by soldering or riveting a piece of steel from a saw blade to the face of the frizzen instead of just rehardening the forged iron frizzen. If you look closely, most original flint guns that can be seen in museums have had their frizzens shoed.
  12. vanfunk

    vanfunk Well-Known Member

    Thanks Gents! Your help is much appreciated. I have tried a number of flints of different sizes, from 5/8" to 1 and 1/4", all with the same results - I get 2 to 5 good sparks but it's really not enough to reliably touch off a charge of 4F in the pan. My other Pedersoli Bess doesn't have this problem (Interestingly, my Indian-made 1777 French repro sparks the most of all - I get a shower of sparks that often fall all the way to the ground and "sizzle"!). I'll try the casenite process and see if I can breathe some new life into the frizzen.

    Thanks again,

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