May 062015

I’ve just engraved the brass sideplate of a hefty early blunderbuss with rather nice stripy wood that my friend Dick was restoring for a client.  The barrel has a classic ‘strawberry leaf’ motif on the breech, and the new sideplate needed to have a bit of life put into it.  The original would probably been cast and quite 3D but the replacement is rather thin so I tried to get some 3D effect with the simple engraving – it remined me that I hate engraving brass more than anything else – I resorted to my Gravemaster in the end.  The Gravemaster relies on resonance to work, so it depends on tuning the pressure and frequency (see below) so I can’t always get it to cut consistently, sometimes its too fierce and sometimes it hardly cuts at all  – it is a frustrating tool, but it does have its uses and presumably I’ll get used to its foibles and learn to control it one day.  (Added later…. I have sorted the Gravemaster now I hope, but uncovered a mystery – the pressure regulator on the compressor was blowing off above the set pressure and loosing air, so the compressor tended to run continuously which it wasn’t rated to do.  I concluded that there was some kind of leak in the regulator and bought a new one.  The new one worked as I thought it should and now acts as a pre-regulator that stabilises the Gravemaster and it seems to be fine.  When I stripped the old regulator it seemed that it was meant to blow off and not regulate – more of a safety valve than a regulator –  a mystery….



I didn’t do a particularly good job of getting rid of the Brasso!


blunderbuss breech

 Good quality mid to late 17th century engraving

  4 Responses to “Mid to late 17th c entury brass barrelled Blunderbuss”

  1. Hi Tim. Enjoyed your site , I have a complete project for a double flintlock by mc knight of Dublin if you are interested , complete locks ,all screws , trigger guard , trigger plate , triggers , all springs , butt cap , trigger plate rear ramrod pipe , stock wood , ramrod wood , Damascus barrels . Give me a call on my home number 02890963166 . Best regards. Gary

    • Hi, will ring when I get a moment. I just put a photo of a McKnight lock on the blog see Robin’s Lock.

  2. Hi,

    I have a Nock blunderbuss which was originally flintlock. Many years ago it was converted to percussion. I am going to convert it back to flintlock and am looking for either a complete lock or a lock plate with pan and frizzen bridle. I have a few tumblers, cocks and frizzens, the rest I can make. If you are able to give me your e-mail address, I can send you a pdf dimensioned drawing of the existing percussion lock as a pattern. Can you help??

    KInd regards

    Jerry Bourne

    • Hi Jerry,

      email me at, sorry for the delay – I was working abroad and didn’t have a decent PC to hand.
      You will probably need to get a casting of a lock plate or of the pan section that you can have welded into a new lock plate.
      Kevin Blackley can make them and has a large library of moulds, but is not the quickest person on this earth.
      Not sure if Dysons have anything suitable. Both websites can be found in the LINKS page on this blog.

      I can get a pan section welded into a plate, and can make the plate if necessary.

      I am presuming that it is a simple barrel conversion and hasn’t had a new breech fitted – If it has then I would incline to leave it as it si.
      A photo would be useful to get a date so the pan style is right, you might look for any pictures on line that show a similar blunderbuss in its original state. You can probably find several in the archives of Holts or Bonhams – see my beginner’s guide No 1 for the best way to get photos off the sites.


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