Shaping metal in the forge.

Shaping metal in the forge.
Jud working at the forge: Fire blazing!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Making of the Mansker Suite: Part 1 The Rifle

An enormous amount of work is involved in the making of a documentary copy of an emblematic original rifle. This is especially true of the Mansker Rifle. The original, carried by Kasper Mansker is now in a private collection. Jud was invited to make the accurate measurements and esthetic appraisal of the original with the aim of crafting documentary copies of this important historical piece. He has subsequently made 5 documentary copies, one of which is on display at the Mansker's Station historic site in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

The image above shows Jud engraving the silver cheek piece decoration, unique to this rifle, that was incorporated as a design motif into all of the pieces produced in the Mansker Suite of rifle and hunting accouterments.

The following pictures show the shaping, carving and inletting of the unstained curly maple stock.

To prevent a documentary copy from being mistaken for an original it is customary to mark the rifle as shown in this picture.

The antecedents of the Kentucky Rifle

Considering the esthetics of the Kentucky Rifle it is interesting to contemplate its origin: Gunsmiths and artisans from Germany accustomed to crafting the short, accurate Jaeger Rifle found themselves in Eastern Pennsylvania among immigrants of British origin who idolized the graceful long and slender lines of the British Fowler. These two flintlocks evince the two esthetic paths that fused into one with the advent of the Golden Age Pennsylvania Kentucky Rifle.


Queen Anne Flintlock Fowler

The second in this series of European long arms from the author's collection is this long and graceful fowler in 20 gauge that Jud created especially for my late wife Laura and this post is dedicated to her memory.

The buttplate was hand hammered out of a solid 100 oz bar of silver using a hollow in a stump as a rough form. The trigger guard, sideplate and thimbles were similarly fashioned out of pure silver. The stock is a match with the Jaeger Rifle from the previous post.

Here is the inscription/dedication on the buttplate:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Old World Flintlocks by Jud Brennan

The next three featured works from Jud are a rarity and represent a departure from his usual genre. These are authentically interpreted, highly finished and bright, a series of weapons in the European Style from the author's collection.

The first is a Jaeger Rifle in 62 cal which has been the author's primary hunting rifle in the Alaska wilderness and used on two occasions. The theme of the engraving comes from Classical Mythology and is "Diana on the Hunt".

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Coming up ... The Kasper Mansker Suite

Jud has created this suite of Tomahawk, Rifleman's Knife, Powder horn, Possibles Bag with Patch Knife, Powder Horn, Priming Horn and Powder Measure as an historically accurate set to accompany the rifle which is a documentary copy of the original Mansker Rifle which now resides in a private collection. Jud has made several other documentary copies of this rifle, one of which is on display at the reconstructed Mansker Station Fort in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

In the following weeks this blog will feature insights into "the building of" this fine set.

Jud's work to be displayed at the Midland Center for the Arts

Jud Brennan has been invited to display two of his flintlocks at an exhibit at the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art at the Midland Center for the Arts in Midland Michigan.

The exhibit is called "The Art and Science of Fine Firearms" and will run from October 6th through December 23rd 2012. Jud has selected two weapons, a rifle and a pistol from the author's collection to be exhibited at this show. He is pictured above holding the rifle. Both rifle and pistol are illustrated with photographs in the two entries below.

Jud's work at the Midland Center for the Arts

The Pistol

This contemporary flintlock pistol was inspired by the work of Jacob Young, rifle maker of Sumner County, Tennessee. This pistol has appeared previously in this blog (see first three entries for October 2011) with the original rifle that inspired it.

From the author's collection

Jud's Work to be displayed at the Midland Center for the Arts

The Rifle

The rifle is a contemporary original flintlock rifle architecturally reminiscent of the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania rifles of the Golden Age 1790-1810. The patchbox, side plate, trigger guard, cheekpiece inlay and ramrod pipes are pure silver. The handmade lock is color case hardened and the breech end of the barrel features engraved gold inlay. 

Beautiful proportions and exquisite decoration. This is truly a magnificent work of art!  

From the author's collection