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Thread: Hardening a frizzen

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Hardening a frizzen

    I have to do something I never had to do. My friend brought over one of those cheap Spanish flinter pistols he picked up from an estate sale. It will not spark because the frizzen is too soft and I am sure it is made from tool steel and not hardened properly.
    I usually replace parts and locks but this gun is not worth spending $2 on. So my dilemma is what temperature do I temper at after hardening to get the best spark.
    I plan on heating it cherry red and dumping it in water but it will be too hard and brittle.
    It's funny that after over 50 years of building and repairing muzzle loaders, this is the first time I am faced with this.

  2. #2
    44MAN; I do not remember the correct temp, (crs) I do remember that when I "halfsoled" frizzens with a piece of saw blade I tinned it with soft solder, then hardened it. When the solder joint between the two parts melted it drew the temper to the correct point (heat from the back side). Maybe that will give you a temp to work with, sorry I do not remember the draw color.
    Nick

  3. #3
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    44man, you'd be safer to quench in oil than water. Both quench mediums will give the same outside hardness but the inside of the oil quenched won't be quite as brittle. After hardening polish the face of the frizzen. You want to heat to about 300-325. This will give you a light yellow color on the face. You can to do this in a toaster oven. When you reach the desired color just requench in the oil. If this doesn't work the steel is probably of a lesser quality than anticipated, and you may need to use something like "Casenit"...Ray
    I've got the itch, but don't got the scratch.



  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    A lot of the spanish frizzens won't harden worth a s^%t. I use Doc Carlsons hardening compound which I find is much better than Kasenite. I also quench in salt water bath as I find that works best. Back to the spanish frizzens most will surface harden abnd wear through is short order. I think the steel is alloyed with swiss cheese. I prefer to get a frizzen tht is close from TOTW and fit it to the lock if I have to. If the lock is the Maslin style consider replacing the whole lock as the rest of the spanish locks are no better than the frizzens and a cheap lock in a flinter is a sure ticket to either flinches or disgust.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I fixed it, IT SPARKS!

  6. #6
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    44man, did you reharden or reface the frizzen...Ray
    I've got the itch, but don't got the scratch.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARKANSAS PACKRAT View Post
    44MAN; I do not remember the correct temp, (crs) I do remember that when I "halfsoled" frizzens with a piece of saw blade I tinned it with soft solder, then hardened it. When the solder joint between the two parts melted it drew the temper to the correct point (heat from the back side). Maybe that will give you a temp to work with, sorry I do not remember the draw color.
    Nick
    Done this myself.
    Heat in lead pot and cool slow. Soft and time to work it into shape.
    Cut and bend so to say.
    Heat to cherry red and pop it into water. Hard as glass and will break
    just as easy if you try to bend or shape.
    The act of soldering the sole onto the frizzen will make the sole just the
    right hardness.
    This is how I have soled a Frizzzen and might be better ways . But its a start.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCSO View Post
    A lot of the spanish frizzens won't harden worth a s^%t. I use Doc Carlsons hardening compound which I find is much better than Kasenite. I also quench in salt water bath as I find that works best. Back to the spanish frizzens most will surface harden abnd wear through is short order. I think the steel is alloyed with swiss cheese. I prefer to get a frizzen tht is close from TOTW and fit it to the lock if I have to. If the lock is the Maslin style consider replacing the whole lock as the rest of the spanish locks are no better than the frizzens and a cheap lock in a flinter is a sure ticket to either flinches or disgust.
    What do you think of TC frizzens. I think I may have already worn one out after onlya few hundred shots.
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  9. #9
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    What I've done is used Kasenit.....heated to proper temperature (cherry-red in dark room, magnet will not stick), plunged into Kasenit, heated back to cherry-red, quenched in quart of oil (water can cause stress cracks), cleaned up, redo entire process, clean-up again, and then draw temper by heating to light straw color/oil quench in well-lit room, taking care to not go to brown or blue, as by then it's gotten too soft again......

  10. #10
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    T/C will re harden well for you. MTN gave the right instructions for kasenit, I prefer a little different technique and I use Doc's compound. I have hardened these by wrapping in leather and sealing it in a tin can and then quenching the whole works when it is red hot, but that takes a real eye for the heat. A good harden job on a T/C frizzen should give you 500 plus shots as high as 1000.

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    KCSO, what do you use for heat?.....I'm limited to a couple of propane torches (one won't put out enough heat even for Kasenit)......your method is as good, and probably better, but lack of good heat source means Kasenit for this boy......

  12. #12
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    I got it red hot and put in Kasenite, then kept heating it and melted the Kasenite on the surface. When red hot again I dropped it in salt water. I drew the temper at 350 degrees in the oven for an hour and just let it cool down.
    Once the proper temper is reached you don't have to quench. Just let the metal cool slowly.
    I make springs by hardening and then tempering in 600 degree lead for an hour. I fish out the spring and set it on the top of the pot and unplug it. Never had one break yet.
    I am spoiled from buying good locks that never need any work. A good frizzen will last forever, unlike the old ones and some of the cheap junk.

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44man View Post
    I drew the temper at 350 degrees in the oven for an hour and just let it cool down.
    Farenheit or Celsius degrees ?

    You may find useful the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKKhIOx707M

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  14. #14
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    You might want to check the barrel on that pistol before giving it back. Years ago, Bob Olsen sent in pictures to the Buckskin Report, of a barrel he had sawn in half, that belonged to one of his deputies. It was from one of the cheap Spanish pistols. He had originally took it to Bob with the same problem as you are dealing with, a soft frizzen. Bob, being rather strong minded, cut the barrel with out asking first, just so it could never be fired. His deputy was a bit put out at first when Bob told him what he had done, but got a better attitude after seeing what the inside looked like.
    It showed that the barrel had been drilled from both ends, with the drilling just in the same basic neighborhood where they met in the middle. Rifling was done with the same method. Needless to say, not accurate at all, and most likely unsafe to shoot at all.
    Bob kept the barrel in his gun shop for years, since it was a good example of a cheap firearm, and what to expect from one. I'll bet his son Lance still has that barrel.
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    Old thread, but like some help.

    I have a Bondini 'Wm. Moore', 45 cal Flintlock. It was from Dixie, I bought it used.

    frizzen pictures.

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    Any thoughts on hardness?

    there are two sets of gauges ( sorry, brain dead, cannot spell - groove in metal where the Flint strikes the metal) - higher one is with the Flint bevel down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunor View Post
    Old thread, but like some help.

    I have a Bondini 'Wm. Moore', 45 cal Flintlock. It was from Dixie, I bought it used.

    frizzen pictures.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	167391
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	image.jpg 
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Any thoughts on hardness?

    there are two sets of gauges ( sorry, brain dead, cannot spell - groove in metal where the Flint strikes the metal) - higher one is with the Flint bevel down.
    As long as it's sparking good, you are okay.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    I know this is an old thread but some of this is just bad info! First hardening compounds, such as Kasnit (which is no longer available BTW) is for use only on mild steels that will not harden using the heat&quench method like high carbon or tool steels, you should never use one of these compounds on hardening steels but only for case hardening mild steel! Contrary to some of the advice here you do not draw temper case hardening after using one of these compounds, only the outside is hardened a few thousandths deep and the insides remain soft and ductile, drawing is not only unnecessary but can cause some loss of the desired surface hardness. High carbon and tool steels as well as alloy steels such as 4130, 4140 etc, that through harden must be draw tempered after hardening but NEVER use a hardening compound on these steels, it is not needed and the added compounds will make the steel prone to cracking even after tempering.

    There are two distinct methods of hardening steel, case hardening for soft steels that can not be through hardened and the high carbon alloy tool steels which are through hardened but some of what was said here is combing the processes of both which is a big mistake! Before hardening the type of steel MUST BE determined and the correct method used for that type of steel, mild steels are either carbon packed and heated in an oven then quenched or a hardening compound used but either way drawing after quenching is not done because except for a few thousandths of the surface the steel remains as ductile as it was before heating. The hardening steels like tool steels are heated to temperature and then quenched followed by draw tempering but these methods are NOT interchangeable between steel types!


    The reason hardening compounds or carbon packing is even necessary for soft, or mild, steels is that they can not be hardened by heating&quenching and will remain soft and ductile despite the heat&quench if nothing is added. Draw tempering after case hardening does not make the part any stronger. Tool steels already have the necessary carbon or other alloys in the metal composition to harden BUT unlike soft mild steel they will harden all the way through and become brittle, drawing brings back the balance between the correct hardness and ductility but if hardening compounds are used on these steels the part can remain prone to cracking even after drawing.
    Last edited by oldred; 05-02-2016 at 11:23 AM.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    You might want to check the barrel on that pistol before giving it back. Years ago, Bob Olsen sent in pictures to the Buckskin Report, of a barrel he had sawn in half, that belonged to one of his deputies. It was from one of the cheap Spanish pistols. He had originally took it to Bob with the same problem as you are dealing with, a soft frizzen. Bob, being rather strong minded, cut the barrel with out asking first, just so it could never be fired. His deputy was a bit put out at first when Bob told him what he had done, but got a better attitude after seeing what the inside looked like.
    It showed that the barrel had been drilled from both ends, with the drilling just in the same basic neighborhood where they met in the middle. Rifling was done with the same method. Needless to say, not accurate at all, and most likely unsafe to shoot at all.
    Bob kept the barrel in his gun shop for years, since it was a good example of a cheap firearm, and what to expect from one. I'll bet his son Lance still has that barrel.
    Many years ago, I bought a blunderbuss kit. The barrel was drilled only from the front end. But the drill angle was off a little. So they re-centered it and continued drilling. when you look down the barrel you can see it too. Almost a 1/4 inch step in the middle of the barrel where the drill was off center. I would not be surprised to find out that they just used a drill press on it, instead of a lathe though. I need to make a new better barrel for it one of these days. Obviously the original barrel is a non-shooter of course.

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