Antique Blunderbuss and rust under varhish
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Thread: Antique Blunderbuss and rust under varhish

  1. #1
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    Default Antique Blunderbuss and rust under varhish

    Hi All, First post so if it is the wrong place or any other violations my apologies!

    I have a late 19th century blunderbuss I bought a while ago. It was my first purchase and I likely overpaid etc but live and learn... It appears that is was covered in some type of varnish, over the entire piece wood / metal. There is now some light surface rust under (it appears) the varnish, and on some of the few non varnished surfaces. Ideally I would like to remove the varnish / rust of the metal and possibly the wood ( and just oil it - or what ever is best). Any suggestions on how to do this without removing the patina or reducing value? here are some pics it.

    Thanks


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  2. #2
    Senior Member LRDGCO's Avatar
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    Welcome!

    So, what you have there is most likely a late 18th century or early 19th Century firearm known as a dragon, a type of blunderbuss particularly favored for maritime use. From the photos, that appears to be a brass barrel, correct? If so, that further suggests a naval or maritime origin. Do you know whether it's original or an aged reproduction?

    What's the plan? I would discourage much in the way of use. A brass barrel of unknown age is not something I'd be willing to light off 3 drams or so of black powder in...

    There does appear to be some light surface rust on the lock work where the protective lacquer has worn away or was not applied. Some judicious use of steel wool followed by Barricade, for example, should solve that. Other pieces of the lock work seem quite rusty under the lacquer. And the brass barrel seems to have been hit with the lacquer too. Getting that off isn't too hard, but, again, what's the plan? If it's to be a wall hanger, stopping further rust on the non-lacquered bits would be a good place to stop, or that and clean off the brass. If we knew it were a genuine late 18th early 19th Century piece, I would say stabilize the rust and leave it at that. If it's some kind of reproduction, by all means, go to town with the methylated spirits and phosphoric acid, plum brown the lock work and clean off the brass.
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  3. #3
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    Agree with LRDGCO it all depends upon if it is original in which case if you do too much removal of the panting you will devalue the piece and some history will be lost.
    If it is an old reproduction and not worth as much and has no sentimental value,
    tear it down to bare wood and metal and refinish/ restore to your hearts content
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  5. #4
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    Lott made reproduction blunderbuss guns, the gun has no historic value and the patina is fake.
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    Senior Member square target2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMLamp View Post
    Lott made reproduction blunderbuss guns, the gun has no historic value and the patina is fake.

    When i looked at this yesterday i thought the two lock screws looked modern but the rest to me looked old so i didn't comment.
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    Just for grins and giggles, what did you pay for it.
    We will not judge you, just would like to know.

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    AZHerper NGF Addict! gvaldeg1's Avatar
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    I have looked at a couple of sites where Lott brass barreled blunderbusses sold for about 500 bucks.
    NRA MEMBER

  9. #8
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    HI Everyone thanks for the advice. So that was one of those purchases that I started to regret on the drive home...doesn't happen often, but we all have those moments. The Seller (antique market) had it listed as a 1873 "High quality" Blunderbuss, paid about 1000 for it (CND), I had a small inheritance of a couple thousand bucks burning a hole in my pocket. I usually wait and debate these kind of purchases, research etc. I'm better with Bayonets and swords - always wanted a flintlock, got one.... On the up side I can clean it up with out ruining it's value!

    Here are a couple pics of a pistol I also got at the same time, this one I feel better about, paid $500 for. It was listed as a "1865 French Gentleman's pistol" If anyone has some thoughts on this let me know, no rust on this guy!

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    For some real expert advice on what you have there are 2 forums that specialize in muzzle loading firearms.
    The Muzzle Loader Forum.
    The American Longrifle forum.
    The later deals only with American guns.
    They helped me build my first flintlock.
    Good people

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