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Tag Archives: muzzleloader

Announcing a new design of spring vise for big locks, and now it functions with medium and small springs! Right hand locks only.

Click on any photo to see the details.

Here is a large lock, with a long mainspring. The elbow of the spring is in the ‘U’ of the vise, and the swivel foot of the screw is centered on the tip of the spring. Tighten the screw until the spring can be lifted out of the lock. So simple.

Large spring

Shown below is the large spring compressed and lifted out. At this point, you can unscrew the vise, and put your spring aside. Easy enough to re-compress and install it.

Spring out

There is a middle screw location for smaller locks, such as the ubiquitous Siler, and others. This idea came from Jim Chambers when we were discussing one of the prototypes. Great idea, this position adds so much versatility.

Siler size

The innermost location can be use for frizzen springs and cracking pistachios. This location was suggested by Eric vonAschwege on one of my earlier versions. Thank you, Eric.


Years in development, and after many versions, this tool is the latest version of a long-needed vise for removing gunlock springs safely. Safety for the workman and protecting the spring from breakage, were the biggest concerns in the design. A critical design consideration was the broad range of locks and springs that need to be compressed and removed.

This design of this vise grew out of a need to manage the large and powerful gun lock springs that started coming out on the market, notable examples are Chambers’ Round faced English locks and R.E. Davis’ Colonial locks. These are long and mighty mainsprings, that need to be handled with care, and removed with a proper vise.

Thankfully, Jim Chambers was willing to partner with me to produce these units. They will be available from Chambers Flintlocks on line and at shows. We will carry some at the shows we attend, to sell and demonstrate their function. If you want to order them by mail or phone, call Jim or Barbie Chambers.

I attend the 18th Century Artisan’s Show, Dixon’s Gunmaker’s Fair, Contemporary Longrifle Association show (CLA). I try to have vises in stock, and carry them at shows.

Price of unit: $40 each, plus $5 shipping and handling, and any applicable sales tax.

Send personal check or money order for $45, to Tom Curran, 1 Center St., Chatham, NY 12037

Alert: these are currently sold out.

This tool is made to smooth and contour the ramrod of a muzzleloading rifle.  This unit has grooves of different radii to match the diameter of the rod you wish to smooth.

Scraper, 1 1/2" x 2"

Scraper, with grooves from 1/2″ to 1/4″

It is made of casehardened mild steel to an .04 depth, and a Rc hardness of 62, about as hard as steel will get. You can grind or stone the face to refresh the cutting edges should they ever get dull.

View of scraper cutting edges

View of scraper cutting edges

Use a rasp or a plane to rough the rod down from a split blank or a larger dowel. Note in the rasping picture, there is a fence of pine behind the ramrod to take the thrusting of the rasp. Turn the rod continually while rasping, watching for straightness and diameter.

Rasping the taper on the rod

Rasping the taper on the rod

Planing out the high spots

Planing out the high spots

The scraper is especially good for tapering the rod to fit in the stock of the gun, also it shines in forming the ‘tulip’ or bulb on the loading end of the rod. Just scrape lightly, keeping the ramrod almost parallel with the side of the groove. In this way, you can easily control the depth of your cuts. If you try to cut too aggressively, you may develop ridges, which will have to be rasped or planed, and scraped again. If you try to scrape against the grain, you may develop ridges. In this case, turn the rod around and scrape from the other direction.

Smoothing and tapering

Smoothing and tapering, rod is almost parallel with flat of scraper

These are currently sold out, and will post when available again.