Many years ago now I wanted to build two, three quarter scale flintlock rifles for my then two small daughters. I was buying stock wood from Fred Miller back then and contacted him to ask for a piece of excellent maple thick enough to split in half lengthwise so that I could make two nearly matching stocks for the small rifles. He sent me a great blank, which I subsequently band-sawed into rough shaped stocks. Even before that time, I had purchased two barrels in 32 caliber. They were originally 13/16 inch across the flats. I cut the barrels to a length of 32 inches and then re-machined the octagon to just a little under .695" across the flats. I made breech plugs for the barrels and, somewhere along the way, found very small butt plate and trigger guard castings that were an appropriate size to use on these rifles. After purchasing the small locks from Stan Hollenbaugh, I had what I needed to get started.
All of that thinking and gathering was more than 17 years ago now. As these things happen, both of my girls are grown and have left home....the youngest is a country singer in Nashville and the oldest one, married and living in New York, just recently had our first grandchild. As they taught me during my plebe year at the US Naval Academy, “time, tide, and formation wait for no man.” Time had truly gotten away from me in the maelstrom of life and making a living and I never did get a chance to finish the little rifles for my own daughters.
So now, almost two decades further on, I started in again. With my grandson just two years old right now, I was determined to get this done in time for him to use it as a lad. More specifically, at my age, if I missed the boat this time, the opportunity would have passed forever as I am rapidly running out of "air speed, altitude, and ideas" It took two years of on-and-off work to complete....but it is finished for him now.
But most importantly to me, I hope that, along with the little rifle, will go a sense of history......particularly American history.....how this nation came to be.....how important and miraculous it is that the men and women who established and preserved this nation founded a Republic that has allowed so many for so long to live in a state of freedom unknown through almost all of human history. My life has been but a link in a chain. My father taught me most of what I know, from working with my hands to the patriotism that led me to serve the nation in a Navy uniform for a quarter century. My daughters, and now my grandson, are the next links in that chain. More important than the carving and engraving or the barrel or the lock or the wood that went into building this little rifle is my hope and prayer for my grandson's part in preserving our true history and this Republic......