Perrrrrrrrfect. I've never used it before with my other firearms. Rather I just worked really slow with gun oils and the finest wire wool I could find. It was miserably slow work but I got really great results in the past. However I imagine I'm going to be leaving more patina on this than those firearms so this is going to be very interesting for me.
Now I just need to learn up about using antlers.
Saw, I have some rusted bits of steel and iron laying around in my spare metal pile. Do you think I should practice on that first before I get my barrel?
So I managed to find a few tanegashima online that had about the same dimensions as my barrel, and some of them even looked fairly low caliber. Here's a reenactor however with one that's about the size of mine. Soooo maybe it's not a chop after all.
LOL, he is a friend of mine who lives up in Takahashi! I think you'll find that the caliber of that gun is quite a bit larger. Each member has a gun that suits him/her. Weight and balance will be important if they are going to be firing the thing throughout the year.
Some of the earliest new-fangled Western guns that began to arrive at the end of Edo were too long for the height of the average Japanese gunner. Some were chopped down for ease of use; others were manufactured locally in stepped-down sizes.
Haha you've got some very cool friends! Well I did see a grouping of other ones that were roughly the same barrel length as mine on a good pinterest grouping and it's giving me more of an idea of what I'm gonna be building.
I still don't think it's cut down, but I'm curious about why it has such a low caliber.
Also, if we can't identify it for sure where it was made, I might try doing something interesting with it. What can you tell me about kishu teppou? I saw the thread on here but I'm hungry for more info
Maybe Kishu/Wakayama/Negoro/Saiga could be your field of study, Arthur.
We know that teppo were brought first from Tanegashima to Kishu, or at least that this is one of the best-recorded movements of guns and gunnery. The knowledge spread around the country from there. A gun manufacturing tradition was rooted in Kishu, and the Negoro-Ji Temple was a center of armed monks, at least until it was destroyed and gun manufacture moved to Osaka.
There were also lines of gun influence into Kyushu, some recorded and other rumoured, and one castle battle in Kyushu is supposed to be the first where guns played a significant role on the battlefield.
I have handled but never owned a Kishu gun. They tend to have serpentines and other brasswork which are square or rectangular in cross-section, but you already know that from your reading. They usually have a little ring in front of the trigger which has various names but not as yet any fixed explanation as to their purpose. This fact particularly bugs Eric on this site. Perhaps an answer will appear one day. Perhaps Kishu guns continued to carry early influences within their DNA.
Your barrel is maybe a good test bed for you. You can probably do anything you like with it. Keep us informed of your progress!
Hmm... maybe I could become the Kishu guy. That's an exciting thought....
I managed to make the acquaintance of a muzzleloader builder tonight who also happens to be a firefighter and he is considering taking a commission for building the stock for this thing He has a nice piece of cherry wood lying around. Which leads me to the question of the types of woods used actually if anyone here knows. From what I've surmised Oak, Cherry and walnut were what was out there.
Piers, where would you recommend I get started studying Kishu guns? Got any books that would be a jumping off point for me to go my own direction?
And how rare are kishu guns? I imagine they are very valuable in Japan.
Most Japanese gun stocks are made of 赤樫 Akagashi (Red oak) also called Ichii gashi or Ichii akagashi, and some 白樫 Shiragashi (white oak) although these are word for word English translations not necessarily corresponding to the actual trees meant. You can find J websites that sell it.
Unaware of any Tanegashima made with cherry or walnut.
Great picture there. Do you have the complete original?
Again you ask a question I cannot answer, regarding the final coat on a Tanegashima. Some of the darker ones used 'yaki-urushi' or burnt lacquer, and many had cord bound diagonally around the stock before burning to produce a tiger stripe effect, 虎杢 toramoku. With carefully selected cuts of wood you would get this pattern naturally, and it must have been quite desirable, even when artificially produced.
The stock wood unfortunately might be a little unauthentic then unfortunately, but the guy willing to help me build this stock has a really nice piece of cherry and some walnut in stock that he cut himself. He showed me some of the work he's done with the same cherry tree and it's really stunning. I am going to try and finish it to look as accurate as possible, but since I am not likely to find Japanese species of wood here I might have to make do... If you do hear anything about other kinds of trees being used, please let me know!
I'll see what I can find out about the finishes
Also, it may sound like a stretch, but I have this weird feeling that my barrel is actually a kishu... I have only found one barrel very close to it in almost all features except rear sight, and it's a kishu gun. If it turns out that's what I got then.. well.. life is weird man.
And it's got a signature! Sadly a lot of the signature is destroyed from corrosion though
I need some help though. I have no clue how to upload photos straight onto here. It seems like I have to use outside websites or something? I tried a pencil rubbing and these are so shallow that I had no luck.
Please let me know how to properly upload photos as soon as you can!
Kunitomo, Kishu, Sasshu? Arthur, I can find no record of this smith, either in Kunitomo, Kishu, Sasshu or Sesshu. Are you sure it is Sadasugu and not Sadatsugu? Is there not a family name before Sadatsugu?
There was however a Kunitomo Sadatsugu from Noshu 濃州
Can you post two or three shots of the Mei from different angles?
So now I'm looking up references for Satsuma guns. Man they are... different... Fun rebuild though. I was able to stop the active rust it looks like, or at least really slowed it down. Unfortunately there were areas when I got this of exposed bright iron, and I contributed in a couple of tiny tiny spots being over eager with a bamboo tool I made. Overall though, I'm happy with it. I'm letting the Boiled Linseed Oil soak in and do it's thing for now.
That first gun by this smith I just sent btw looks to have been rebuilt or added onto at a later date with all of the brass bling added on, but it's still a good old Satsuma stock.
If you guys find anything out about him, please let me know! Luckily I was able to save a part of his signature, but a lot of it was already dust when I got it :/
Arthur, those three characters are exactly what Jan suspected above. 摂刕住 means Sesshu Ju, or "living in Sesshu" = "living/working in Osaka". The character 摂 tells us at once the smith is from Settsu/Osaka. This is not his name though. Normally the name would follow after Sesshu Ju, but you say it is unreadable?
Even if it had been a Satsuma barrel, Satsuma in the south of Kyushu is hot and humid and their trees are different from the climes of further north; they are also liable to attack by insects, which is why they are generally heavily covered in lacquer.
PS Two of your links above do not work, but the gun you found is by Tanaka Zengoro, who 摂州住 lived/worked in Sesshu. ( 刕 can mean Make, and is used in names but I think it may be the old character for 州. Are you sure you have read it right? )