|Building a Muzzleloader - Fitting the Lock|
I'll tell much of the story with photographs, so each page may be a bit slow to load. Click on any photo for a larger image.
Fitting the lock was a relatively simple procedure. The factory inletting fit the profile quite well, with no unsightly gaps around the edges. I cleaned out the frazzly wood shavings from edges in the inletting using a small, sharp knife and 120 grit sandpaper. I removed high spots on the wood the lockplate rests on using sandpaper and a small sanding block.
When working inside inletting, care must be taken not to round the edges of the stock at the inlet, nor to enlarge the inlet more than necessary. This is one reason why a sanding block is so handy, used with small pieces of sandpaper. The block gives you more control over where and what you're sanding, and a slip is usually less likely to do damage. Go slowly, so you don't remove too much material at once -- as Dad always says, you can always cut more off, but it's hard to cut on.
The bolts, which are through-bolts and go all the way through the stock, didn't quite line up with the threaded holes in the lockplate, and were barely long enough to engage the threads. I solved the alignment problem by filing the holes to widen them a bit, using a small round needle file.
I held off on the bolt length issue until fitting the barrel and tang to the stock, to see if I would need to inlet the lock deeper, or simply sand some wood off the opposite side of the stock.
Here you can see some dark spots in the inlet, indicating high spots of wood. I removed very little wood, just enough to ensure even contact, as should always be done whenever possible. I rubbed the back of the lockplate with a pencil, then placed it in the inlet. The pencil "lead" stayed on the wood where it made contact, highlighting the high spots.
This shot illustrates the fit of the lockplate in the stock, which is very good and required very little additional work. Note the hole to the right -- that's where the forward bolt will thread into it.
Here's the final fit of the lock. Notice there's a bolt in the hole now, and in sanding I've removed the harsh lines from around the flat area.
Filing the forward bolt hole.
After fitting the barrel to the tang, I installed it in the stock. I was delighted to see that the depth of the factory inletting for the lock was perfect -- the lock fit right up against the side of the barrel, just as it should, and the hammer and nipple lined up well.
I was tickled when the lock wound up right against the barrel, and the hammer and nipple were properly aligned, without further inletting.
Now that I knew the inletting depth was proper, it was time for some serious sanding. Using a small plywood sanding block and 100 grit sandpaper, I attacked the flat portion of the stock opposite the lock, where the bolts run through. This side of the stock had been left noticeably thicker than the right side, and even after much sanding it still is.
I removed enough wood to ensure that the bolts would properly engage the threads in the lockplate with the brass washers installed. I doing this, I was careful to keep the sanding block square to remove the wood evenly. This took quite a while, but patience counts in this kind of work -- if you get in a hurry, you'll usually mess something up. Retire to the porch, put on some good music, and let the "sawdust" fall where it will!
Here you can see the bolt heads, without brass washers in place. Initially, the bolts would barely engage the threads in the lockplate, even without the washers. This is the side I worked down by sanding.
After sanding, with polished washers and bolts in place. Again, I've rounded the edges of the flat area, to produce warm, smooth lines rather than the harsh lines most factories leave.
Lock adjustment was performed when installing the trigger assembly.
Next page - Fitting Barrel to Tang.
- Russ Chastain