I wanted to take one of these courses for a long time but I kept losing out on getting registered in time. This past summer, I got the call that there was an opening. So with about two weeks notice, I ordered a handful of tools and a kit from Jim Kibler. I default to bigger is better and originally wanted a .58, as I already have several .54's but alas, they were out of .58 barrels so it's another .54. To be a little different, I went with cherry for the stock. Been wanting to do a more thorough post but I never got around to doing the finishing touches. Even after going five days without power after the recent storms, I managed to get a little more done on the rifle this week. I didn't do anywhere near enough pics but here's what I've got. I also need to post pics of the other stuff I've been up to. I'm about to finish an Indian Trade Musket kit, among other things. These kits are very well done and you can't really say you "built" a rifle. It's mostly finish work and the stocks are nearly ready right out of the box. There's a little work to do to fit the barrel, inlet the lock and other metal parts but it's mostly finish work. Here's the sideplate and trigger plate worked-in. One thing that should've been on the tool list is a set of jaw pads. Had I known, I would've brought some. Here you can see the damage done to the stock by the vise pads when my makeshift effort didn't work so well. But the lock is inletted and I was able to clean up the marks. This one only because my wife wanted a picture of my goofy face. Reading glasses and a gunsmith's visor were a huge help. There were two cherry stocks in the class. I elected to do a Fiebing's dark brown leather dye to bring out the red and my counterpart did a clear oil finish. His finish coupled with all-white metalwork resulted in a really beautiful rifle. I thought I took a picture of it. My barrel browning didn't work out so well. I ended up steel wooling it all off and redoing it with 44/40 cold blue. I applied the blue, steel wooled it off, coated it in oil and the next morning it was a beautiful brown color. It turned out real nice, by accident. More pics of that later. Here's the failed brown. Only had time for one coat of Tung oil and I didn't realize you're supposed to wait 15mins and wipe it off. More of mine as I finish it. I've done all the stock work I'm going to for right now. I'm on my fourth coat of Tung oil. All that is left is to strip the lock and dress the metal down to a 400grit polish. Other students did aqua fortis on their maple. This one turned out real nice. At the end, we were all invited to a BBQ at the residence/school of Herschel, Frank, John and Lally House. These are the folks who did the rifles and accoutrements for Mel Gibson in The Patriot. They live like it's 1800 and their school work shops are like time machines, except of course for the drill press and electric fan. It was June in Kentucky after all. Here's my new friend Dave, a lawyer all the way from New Hampshire, who did the other cherry rifle. Shop pics.