Friday, May 31, 2013

Quilled Bag by Michael Galban

Quilled bag by Michael Galban in the “Iroquois” exhibit in Bonn, Germany. This one is of a quilled drawstring bag in the Kunstkammera (Peter the Great’s collection) and the other is a drawstring from the National Museum of Ireland. One is depicted in the catalog.

The Bundeskunsthalle has a facebook page as well. There are some great pictures there as well.

The exhibit is massive. It has thousands of Iroquois objects in it – both contemporary and ethnographic. There is an important catalog of the exhibit available. It is a huge book with all of the objects illustrated inside.

Photos and copy supplied by Michael Galban.

Knife and Sheath by Joe Seabolt

Photos supplied by Joe Seabolt.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Make a Rifle that David Crockett Would Take to Texas"

Somewhere sometime I heard a story that when Crockett wanted to explore "The Texas" he needed to sell some personal items (one being his watch) to fund the trip. He also needed a flintlock gun as he was using percussion almost exclusively.  Percussion caps were scarce in 1836, and almost non existent in Texas. So, living in Tennessee would have possible choices of Tennessee or maybe North Carolina arms. 

Jud Brennan's "David Crockett" rifle is for me a great improvisation. He has perfectly combined a romantic fantasy with a historical overtone. The style and flavor of the gun are correct for the period. By adding the signature and partial motto, he has also introduced a literary commentary. This approach is quite rare in Contemporary work. Most makers are connected to form exclusive of story. That is not to say that every new gun need to have been the result of a fantasy or historical notion. What is interesting is that this one conjures up more to the viewer than just it's form. 

*Crockett did own a York Pa. rifle in his younger days, it was sold off to cover debts.  
*The Brennan rifle has a Getz Barrel 45" 45 Caliber. 
*The antique Goucher lock was found on ebay, John Ennis added a fly to it for double set trigger use.
-Robert Weil

Jud is holding his "David Crockett Rifle".

More photos of this rifle can be seen here.

"I can tell you that Jud applied a great deal of thought to the making of that rifle - it was conceived as a whole piece from the start, it did not evolve. The earliest pictures that I took bore the unmistakable appearance of the final product. The rifle for Ed Louer was coming along at about the same time and shares some attributes - the captive patch box lid for example, but the Crocket Rifle was of a piece!"
- Dr. Peter Marshall

Photos by Dr. Peter Marshall. Copy by Robert Weil

James M. Graham, Gunsmith

Graham, James M.: He was working as a gunsmith in Franklin County, Kentucky, from before 1829 until after 1850. Graham was born in Kentucky in 1799 and was the son of gunsmith William Graham (1768-1845) of Franklin County. He learned the trade in his father’s shop and married in Franklin County on June 15, 1829. Little is known about James Graham, but he was a well-respected gunsmith in his day. A gunsmith by the same name, and thought to be him, was commissioned to make a fine rifle for Tennessee Congressman David “Davy” Crocket who became famous for his death at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, on March 6, 1836. The rifle is historically important due to the Crockett association,, and it survives today in the small museum at the Alamo along with a story of its checkered life.

The rifle was commissioned in 1822 by a group of Nashville, Tennessee, citizens as a presentation piece for Congressman David Crockett in recognition of his political service to the state. The gun was presented to Crockett on May 5, 1822. It was described as full-stock in black walnut, brass mounted with a patchbox and profusely inlaid with silver. The gun was signed “J. M. Graham” on the barrel and was probably made by James M. Graham of Kentucky since he is the only known Graham gunsmith of the day with the same first two initials. The gun was christened “Old Betsy” by Crockett according to one story, although he had other guns over the years with similar names.

Crockett family tradition indicated this gun was in fact the Alamo rifle,, but family “recollections” are not always reliable. The provenance accompanying the rifle into the twentieth century provides the following details about its history. The gun was carried by Crockett on his trip to San Antonio, Texas, in 1836. (See entry for Kentucky gunsmith John Berry, who repaired Crockett’s “Old Betsy” rifle while Crockett was en route to San Antonio). Upon arriving, Crockett joined the small band of American troops who became martyrs by choosing the cause of liberty over their own lives when they defended the Alamo against a much larger Mexican force. The fall of the Alamo and the death of the Americans led to the famous battle cry, “Remember the Alamo”.

Despite some records indicating most American weapons were destroyed after the battle, the Crockett rifle reportedly was recovered from the battlefield and, due to its inscription, identified and eventually returned to Crockett’s immediate family. Years later Crockett’s son, John W. Crockett, sold a number of his father’s remaining personal items, including the rifle, to a friend of the family named Wade Hall. Following Hall’s death the Crockett gun went to his son, who sold it to Texan W. H. Barnet in January of 1862. later that year the gun was sold by Barnett’s wife to a Mr. Whitton, presumably while Barnett was serving in the Civil War. Barnett was captured at Van Buren, Arkansas, and served time as a prisoner. After the war Barnett returned home and purchased the Crockett rifle back from Whitton. The gun then remained in Barrett’s family for over twenty years.

The gun suffered from poor care during those years, and in 1886 Barrett described the gun’s condition and his renovation efforts by stating, “She was so badly rust eten (sic) at each end of the barrel that I cut her off at each end and put a patten (sic) steel breech and a steel rib and made her a half stock percushion (sic) lock gun using all the mountin (sic) and American black walnut stock”. Based on Barnett’s description, the Crockett gun kept its original mountings and most of the walnut stock, thereby retaining a good portion of its original appearance including its patchbox and extensive silver inlay work. The historical rifle eventually made its way back to the Alamo and is on display along with its history at the Alamo’s Long Barracks Museum in San Antonio. James M. Graham, while not one of the better known Kentucky gunsmiths, might be responsible for one of the more significant surviving Kentucky rifles in American history.

Marriage Records of Franklin County, Kentucky, p. 70; Franklin County, Kentucky Will Book 2, 1824-1854, p. 163: Federal Census of 1840 and 1850, Kentucky Division; M. Newland, “Old Betsy Crockett,” The Trafalger Times, Issue #7, July 2000 (official journal of the Staffordshire Branch of the MLAGB).

Quillwork Bag by Cathy Sibley

Photo supplied by P of KY.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dog Bone Bowie Knife by Leonardo and Eduardo Fontenla

This classic bowie style have a blade forged in Damascus steel rain drop pattern with 250 layers of a blend of 1095 and 15N20, a blend of steels with different carbon contents, providing a desired mix of hardness and toughness. The chassis is a twisting pattern welded of 150 layers of the same material. The defense is forge-welded with 150 random layers of steel and the collar the number of sheets welding is one thousand. The grip are built in bone with silver pin and washers built in german silver (alpacca) with a nice filework. The scabbard is made of vegetable tanned leather with german silver fittings.

This knife and scabbard were made by brothers Leonardo and Eduardo Fontenla of Forja Fontenla, viewers from Argentina.

Copy supplied by Eduardo Fontenla with photos by Valeria Parillo.

Burl Pipe Box by Steven Lalioff

Several years ago I acquired this historic pipe from a fellow that claimed to have found it while doing foundation repair to his home in Otsego County in New York State. It is a very fine example of an original 17th century, Iroquois (Oneida?) clay pipe. The pipe, (16.5 cm long), is hand formed,  highly burnished, and pit fired. I have seen very few examples of these classic pipes outside of a museum case. The rarity and fragile nature of the pipe inspired me to create the protective case.

  It was a long Winter here in the Midwest and making a neat little burl pipe box was the perfect project to wait out the remaining chill of the season. I can't create such a thing in a time clock sort of way but instead, I keep it along side my other projects and work an hour or two on it at a time. The goal is to make the box just large enough for the pipe to easily be removed, but not so large as to allow the pipe to rattle if shaken. The lid required the most effort, it needed to slide easily but still retain enough friction in the grove to hold itself closed. stable ash burl is the perfect material for such a project. It took perhaps 500 or more times to test the lid, remove it, scrape a little here and there and test the fit again. When you make such a thing, forget about time, it's irrelevant. I hope it still fits well when Summer humidity sets in!

Photos supplied by Steven Lalioff.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's In Your Bag, Manfred Schmitz?

Allen Martin Lehigh Rifle
Art DeCamp Screw-tip Powder Horn with Spots
Hunting Pouch by Manfred Schmitz

bulletbag, pennyknife, tow worm, ball puller, cows knee by Manfred

Copy and photos supplied by Contemporary Makers' European Correspondent, Manfred Schmitz.

Ken Gahagan Knife

Photo supplied by Ken Gahagan.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Flintlock Rifle in the Style of F. Klette by Lowell Haarer

.50 caliber
larger Siler lock
Rice barrel - .38 inch, 'C' profile
most of the brass parts are handmade
Aged brass and wood finish

Copy and photos supplied by Lowell Haarer.

Knife by Barry Myers

damascus blade and guard  
stabilized maple burl handle
my one hundredth knife

Copy and photos supplied by Barry Myers.

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Thank you to all those who died in the service to our country and to their families.

Photo from Wikipedia.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Engraved Box by Shane Emig

This neat little box was chase engraved using hammer and chisel just the way it was done in the 18th Century.  The design was inspired by an early Dickert patchbox that features bilaterally symmetrical designs in the Baroque Style.  The entire design was All Free Hand Drawn.

Copy and images supplied by Shane Emig at Cabin Creek.