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Replaceing Frizzen

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by WALKERs210, Mar 6, 2013.

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  1. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    I have a 65cal Hawes Tower pistol that has issue with the frizzen. It was in pitiful condition when I got it and attempted to smooth up the toe of frizzen where it contacts the spring, but now it does not make full contact on spring and the frizzen rattles but at same time it does not allow frizzen to open enough to put sparks into the pan. I have more or less decided to replace the frizzen and possible spring but have no idea as to where or how to chose a replacement. I will say for a smoothbore when it shoots it is accurate at a range of 20yrd or so. I did load up one shot with #6 bird shot and it held a tighter pattern than I thought it would. What direction should I go with it to make it a reliable shooter, I don't want to just put it up for a display.
     
  2. Doak

    Doak Member

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    It's tuff to diagnose & treat a rock-lock w/out fotos. There are some basic guidelines that may help.

    But first, some commentary. Tuning your lock will prolly involve heating & bending the frizzen spring, & rehardening & tempering it. Even if you're able to get new replacement parts.

    A properly tuned lock will perform quite well without a frizzen spring. Mostly, what the spring does, is keep the frizzen (it used to be called the "battery"...just some trivia) closed, so the priming powder stays in the pan. And it gives the frizzen a soft landing at the end of the hammer stroke.

    The geometric relationship between the arc of the falling flint & the arc of the frizzen swing, w/the curvature of the frizzen face, determines the resistance between them, that keeps them in contact, as the hammer drops, and the flint shaves off minute (my-newt) chards of burning carbon steel. Proper hardness of the frizzen is a whole other issue.

    The frizzen spring can impede this process, if it's not doing it's primary job...keeping the frizzen closed until firing. It can slow the hammer/flint from it's optimum velocity, or even stop the hammer mid swing, because the spring's too stiff, or has the wrong surface contour to make the frizzen snap open, and outa the way, at the right time.

    OK. So I hope the above ad nauseum helps these guidelines make more sense:
    The flint should make initial contact somewhere in the upper 1/3 of the frizzen.
    The cam, below the frizzen pivot pin, should have a well defined apex, almost a rounded triangular point.
    When the frizzen is closed, the cam apex should be a bit in front of the center of the pivot pin, resting on the frizzen spring.
    The frizzen spring should be thin, w/just enuff power to keep the frizzen securely closed, yet easily overcome by forward pressure applied to the top of the frizzen.
    The frizzen should snap easily open just before the flint reaches the bottom of the frizzen.
    The frizzen spring should curve gently downward behind the frizzen pivot pin. This is where the snap-open timing is set in on the spring, assuming the apex of the cam has been properly located & unaltered.
    The frizzen spring should be easy to install & remove w/just finger pressure, when the frizzen is in the open position.

    Kindest Regards,
    Doak
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  3. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    Thanks you for the information and what felt like you standing over my shoulder explaining step by step. Seems like I learned more in one post about rock locks than I have in the past 20 yrs. I will make a few attempts at bringing this to condition as described if I can't do it I may ask about finding someone to work on it for me. Thanks again
     
  4. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    At some point in the 70s when the Tower pistol was advertised a lot, DGW had replacement parts. They were not realy very good as they were made by the same folks who made the Towers but at least they were available. Check with Dixie and get some casenite too.
     
  5. dogrunner

    dogrunner Member

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    At one time Dixie would personalize their service and try to match the needed product to one you already had. You had to send the part to them for this. Might be worth an inquiry.
     
  6. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Casenite - actually Kasenit - is no longer being produced. It's been out of production for quite some time. The next best thing is called Cherry Red. Or Yellow Prussiate of Soda which is widely available from any chemical supplier as an agent to prevent table salt and road salt from caking up.
     
  7. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Thanks for helping him find the correct stuff. It has been a while since I have tried to harden frizzens. Lately I have been using saw steel on the faces.
     
  8. Doak

    Doak Member

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    Pack carburizing, done w/charcoal, sodium carbonate, & asphalt binder to hold the carbonate powder to the charcoal, all in a steel container made from 3'' x 4'' box tubing, up to 10'' tall, w/a steel plate welded on the bottom, & a removable steel plate that can be wired on top, to close the box. This will fit inside a 1 cubic foot electric ceramic kiln. Parts inside the box are supported by the charcoal/carbonate "pack", so ya don't hafta make hangers for the parts. And the parts, being supported, don't distort from sagging at 1600'F for 2.5 hrs.

    The whole purpose of this exercise is to generate carbonmonoxide gas, which allows carbon to migrate into the mild steel, forming a "case" of carbon steel all around the part(s). Temperature & time determine the thickness & hardness potential of the case.

    The best way to harden the case, is to let the box cool over nite, & empty it next day. Then heat (I use argon, as an atmosphere displacer, in a retort, in a gas fired furnace) & quench the parts as you would do w/carbon steel. High speed quenching oil is my preference for a quench medium. And then temper per application.

    There's more to it, of course, this being a quick overview. And here's my point, speaking from 25 years of experience doing this: I consider any other way of do-it-yourself "case hardening" a waste of time. This process, IMHO, is unbeatable, because you have control over so many variables. Yes, it's a pain in the fanny. Yes, it's time consuming. Yes it requires more equipment 'n' knowledge 'n' expertise. Do you wanna be a gunsmith or not? Do ya wanna be able to fix yer stuff or don't ya? Especially when there's nobody around to do it for ya. They don't know how. And if they do, they're too busy workin' on their own stuff. Besides, ya can't afford to pay someone to do work up to the standards you want. Ya gotta learn how to do it yourself. Nobody will ever love what you're workin' on as much as you do. That's the motivation to continually buy more tools, 'n' learn more skills. Where is there a better investment than in yourself? You can do it if ya wanna! There's idiots like me around to help you learn it. :-D

    That's the inspirational wheeze for this evening...Amen.

    Kindest Regards,
    Doak
     
  9. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    Just an update using info I gathered from all here, last night I sent an E-mail to Dixie Gun Works and today I received a reply. The acknowledged that at one time they did in fact sell this particular pistol and naturally no parts are left around due to the age, however the person that responded is passing information to their resident gun smith to see what they can put together for me. Again to all thanks
     
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