Friday, February 26, 2010

Shoot Tomorrow

I'm hosting a muzzleloader shoot tomorrow out at the farm north of Hooks, Texas. It's a very informal shoot, just a bunch of guys standing around in the pasture and shooting for the fun of it. We'll probably do a blanket prize match where everyone entered brings a prize for the blanket. Then the top shooter gets first choice off of the blanket, the second gets next choice, etc. Everyone who enters gets a prize. We may have some other matches with prizes or not. Doesn't really matter. The main point is to see old and new friends and to burn up some black powder.

Bill Scurlock

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Michael Lea Fire Steel

Here's a fire steel that Mike Lea gave to me several years ago. It's another great example of his craftsmanship, and it really showers the sparks.

Mike can be found at many big events around the country and sets up a traveling workshop to fix guns on the spot. I camped next to him a few years ago at the Eastern Primitive Rendezvous and enjoyed watching him fix all manner of problems guys were having with their guns.

Bill Scurlock

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

J.B. Hays Spoon

I bought two of these spoons for my boys a few years ago because I have always found an iron spoon to be a handy tool to have in camp. This one is small enough to pack anywhere. I got it from Hayes while at the Fort Frederick trade fair. Nice workmanship and a handy size.

Bill Scurlock

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Iron Spoon

I have carried this iron spoon for almost 30 years on treks, hunts and rendezvous. If I ever knew who made it, I have long since forgotten. If anyone knows whose mark this is or recognizes the workmanship, please let me know.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekend at the Hunting Camp

Spent Friday and Saturday nights at the hunting camp with some of the guys who are still bow hunting. I took my Caywood smoothbore, a 20 gauge Wilson trade gun, and sort of tried to get close enough to a squirrel for a shot. Though I saw a number of squirrels at about twice shooting range, I could not close on them without being seen. The woods are so wide open this time of year that it's tough to stalk. Because I was wanting to look around more than I was wanting to shoot a squirrel, I didn't sit down and stay still. Therefore, I didn't get but a couple of chances at squirrels, and those chances quickly bounced away before I could pull the trigger.

I did see about 10 deer (all does and yearlings) and about 20 turkeys during my scout. The turkeys excited everyone back at camp because we hadn't seen any turkeys since last October. There was beginning to be almost despair over the lack of turkey sightings.

Bill Scurlock

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mike Keller Measure

This measure by Mike Keller dates back a few years too. It's all steel and fire-blued. It was reviewed in "Prime Possibles" in the May/June 1998 issue.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jerry Book Screwdriver

I purchased this hand-forged screwdriver at one of my first western rendezvous in 1977 or 1978. I think it was at the National Association of Primitive Riflemen rendezvous. There was a blacksmith from Iowa named Jerry Book who did some really nice work. This has always been my favorite screwdriver. Over the years I have moved this screwdriver from shooting bag to shooting bag, usually having it in the pouch that I use with my current favorite rifle. For extra leverage, you can slide a wooden dowel or stick through the circular handle, sometimes a necessity for stubborn screws or bolts. Jerry retired from the buckskinning circuit way back in the 80s when he got the opportunity to run the family dairy farm (I think).

Bill Scurlock

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mike Keller Jags

These are some of the best made ramrod tools that I have ever used. Mike Keller made these a number of years ago (8-10?). They were reviewed in "Prime Possibles" after I first got them, but I haven't searched back to see when that was. The ball puller is, hands down, the best that I have used. Its aggressive threads really grip a lead ball. The worm is just really nicely made. I remember that a few months after I first reviewed them, Mike told me in conversation that within a couple of weeks of the review coming out, he went and bought a new lathe. He had money coming in, and he needed a new lathe to be able to fill the orders. I'm always pleased when a review generates business for a craftsman.

Bill Scurlock

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Richard Frazier Mini Tomahawk

Back in the early 2000s, I bid on and won this tiny tomahawk in the silent auction at the CLA show. It was made by Richard Frazier, who was at that time employed by Colonial Williamsburg and worked in the gun shop. Richard retired from CW in 2008. He is a multi-talented artisan and a scholar of 18th century studies. I was pleased to get this example of his work.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rase Powder Measure

It snowed again yesterday, but the temperature was between 35-38 and it melted as fast as it hit. None of the snow from the last few days is left. It got down to about 27 last night. Today it's bright and sunny with an expected high of about 40.

Was cleaning up in the workshop this weekend, and ran across some more neat stuff. Pictured here is a powder measure made by Dave Rase that I bought from him at the CLA show in 2002. He only had a couple when I saw them, so I snapped it up. I'm need to add it to one of my shooting bag sets.

I remember that Dave donated a similar measure that year to the silent auction. There was a lot of bidding on that one. I think it brought in about $250.00. A high price for a powder measure, but certainly a unique, handmade measure, plus the money benefitted the CLA.

Bill Scurlock

Friday, February 12, 2010

More Snow

It did continue to snow last night. I guess we ended up with 4-5 inches on the raised surfaces. I took some pictures of my dogs, and our cat who kinda thinks he's a dog sometimes, on our walk this morning.

Top photo is Juno. She's the oldest. Next is Kate, who was having a ball pitching pine cones to herself in the snow. Then, when we got down by the county road (about 1/4 mile), I turned around, and there was Kitmo, the cat. Now Kitmo usually walks with us, but I didn't really expect him to this morning in the snow.

It's supposed to be about 40 for a high today and upper 40s tomorrow. The snow won't last long.

Bill Scurlock

Thursday, February 11, 2010

First Snow of the Season

Yep, it's the first good snow we've had in a couple of years. The top picture was taken right after lunch. The lower picture was at about 4:20. The temperature is right at freezing. The weather folks are saying maybe 3 to 5 inches tonight. It's kind of neat, but I'll be glad that it will be gone in a couple of days. It's a wet, slushy snow that will make a mess.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, February 8, 2010

Susanne Bicio Update

Lanny said that Susanne was home this weekend, but is still having a lot of trouble with dizziness and depth perception because of the different "input" she is getting from each eye. She's spending most of her time with her face down to aid in the healing of the new retina attachment. Her gunmaking schools are being rescheduled for March. The doctor says she should be better anytime, and advised patience.

So, any of you who are awaiting an order or some communication from Susanne will also have to be patient while she heals up and gets back on her feet.

Bill Scurlock

Friday, February 5, 2010

Susanne Bicio Eye Surgery

We have received a phone call each of the last two days from customers who have ordered books from Susanne Bicio and haven't received them and haven't been able to raise anyone on the telephone. The reason for this is that Susanne has had at least two emergency eye surgeries in the last couple of weeks to try to save her left eye. She has not been able to work, and if she can't work, there's no one to run her business. Her husband, Lanny, has his own job, unconnected with Susanne's business, and he's working 14-hour days.

So, if you have business pending with Susanne Bicio, please be patient. She has been a good customer and advertiser for a number of years. I'm confident that she will take care of your orders just as soon as she possibly can. I also know that Susanne and Lanny covet your prayers on her behalf. She is a fine rifle builder and, by all accounts, a good teacher of the art.

Bill Scurlock

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This Week

Cold and rainy here today. It's about 38 degrees right now. No chance of the white stuff, just rain.

I'd like to be saying that I'm heading to one of the two shows this weekend, the Lake Cumberland Mini CLA show in Kentucky or the Artisans' Show in Pennsylvania, but I'm staying here to work. If you want to find out more about them, go the the CLA website and find the links. They are both going to be excellent shows.

Bill Scurlock

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Working on March/April

I'm back to working hard on the March/April issue, trying to finish up this week.

I talked to a friend from back in the 70s and 80s a couple of days ago. Bill Bagwell was one of the original members of the Piney Woods Muzzleloaders club (here in Texarkana) back in about 1970. He was also one of the first men in modern times to recreate hand-forged damascus knife blades (also back in the 70s or very early 80s). Bill said he's still making knives and generally doing well.

Back to work,
Bill Scurlock

Monday, February 1, 2010

Antique Blowing Horn

This blowing horn was brought to me by a guy at church. It came to him through the family. His family name is Merrill and there is a "Merrill" engraved on the horn. The names on the horn are: W.R. MERRILL, R.K. SNAKE, H. POPE and OW. There are also initials N and MA next to the guy with the pipe. Near the base is ALA/C.CO/OCT24/AD 1857

By all appearances, the style looks consistent with the date on the horn. I have shown it to others who know old horns, and one of the theories for all of the names and initials on the horn is that it was a hunting-club horn. The mouthpiece is wooden. It appears to be a replacement with a repair of the neck covered in what I think is groundhog skin.

Bill Scurlock