Sunday, August 29, 2021

Fulfilling the Promise: My Superb Neck Knife and Perfect Quilled Sheath

In 2018 I asked Jud to make me the finest neck knife in the world. He did! (Please see my blog post from October 9th, 2018). 

I had met Andy Ruffner at the CLA Show that year and was impressed with his fine porcupine quill work and his mastery of brain tanning deer hides and use of natural dyes in all his work. Here was the man who's talent was equal to the task of making the world's finest neck sheath for the finest neck knife!

The completed sheath is breathtaking in its detail and authenticity, shown here for the first time! And Lally House, herself, bestowed the highest praise that could ever be given for a project of this magnitude when she exclaimed her admiration and approval!

Andy and I agreed to enter the knife and sheath in the President's Display at this year's show. We didn't win first place but the knife and sheath were praised and appreciated by all who saw them!

Andy's wife kindly prepared and presented to me a beautiful book documenting the fabrication of every aspect and detail of the making of the sheath and the preparation, dying and attaching of the quills. 

A Jaeger Rifle from the Distant Past

An enthusiastic and knowledgeable collector from Owensboro, Kentucky found and purchased this impressive Jud built Jaeger Rifle at the CLA 25th Anniversary Show. This rifle is unique in many ways.

First off, it is the first rifle that Jud completed after reaching Alaska, but it was started in East Lansing before Jud moved his family to Tenderfoot Hill, near Delta Junction. It has only Jud's name in small letters on the lock side of the barrel - Jud did not start numbering his rifles and knives until the next rifle which was the first that he started and finished in Alaska.

The gold in the prominent gold inlays, (which are three dimensional, and contain lots of gold) was from gold that Jud himself and a local friend panned from tailings adjacent to Tenderfoot Creek which is close by Jud's property when he first arrived in Alaska. At the time, the price of gold was quite low - less than $200 per ounce, which may partly explain the exuberance and quantity of the gold inlays. 

All the precise and fine engraving and gold inlay work was done by Coleman Lantern in Jud's temporary shop which at the time was a small room in his house. Jud did not acquire electricity for his property until a number of years later.

I am overjoyed to know that this fine Brennan Rifle, this impressive work of art, has found a knowledgeable and appreciative home among true Brennan enthusiasts in Owensboro!


Progress on the Pair of Traveler's Pistols (Codename: Lonestar)

Latest photos from my August 28th trip to visit Jud at Tenderfoot Hill. The pistols are nearing final shaping, pouring of the entry thimbles then staining of the stocks. Beautiful wood! The colorful cigar box contains the lock parts for the second pistol. 

Jud has a surprise planned for the buttcap. Hint: See codename! 

Jim Bowie lay dying
   His powder was ready and dry.
From flat on his back 
   Bowie killed him a few in reply.
And young Davy Crockett 
   Was smiling and laughing
The challenge was fierce 
   in his eye,
For Texas and freedom
   A man more than willing to die!
Jane Bowers "Remember the Alamo"

Saturday, August 21, 2021

A William Antes Rifle Nearing Completion

I am enormously indebted to Brad Emig of Cabin Creek Muzzleloading for his detailed and fine documentation of an original William Antes Rifle in a private collection. The accurate photographs and measurements and a wax casting of the thumb piece of this original rifle made it possible for Jud to create a bench copy of the original rifle for me which is my favorite of all my Jud built longrifles and a tack driver to boot! (See my blog entry from April 5th 2016 on this blog site)

Now Jud has endeavored to create another rifle based on that original.

The first group of photos were taken last June as the architecture was being completed, and the second group are of the rifle as finish is being applied. These most recent were taken on my trip to Tenderfoot Hill this past Friday.


A Pair of Traveler's Pistols for an old Friend

Jud has been working very hard to finish a pair of traveler's pistols for our old friend Ed. I have traveled down to Tenderfoot Hill twice in the past three weeks to follow the progress on these fine pistols. Every part is hand fabricated by Jud including the completely handmade locks, trigger assemblies, trigger guards, and the swiveled loading rods.

It has always been a shared joke among those in the know, that pistols should be much easier to make and much quicker to complete since they are smaller than a longrifle. Of course the very opposite is true since the maker must do all the same work in a much smaller space.

I hope to obtain more views of these fine pistols in the weeks to come.