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Everything posted by watsonmil

  1. Dear Eric, Those links are an absolute joy to look at. I am personally related to a couple of the items pictured and I note you are related to at least one . Thank you for sharing . ... Ron Watson
  2. Dear Arnold, I do not know the answer to your question, ... or for that matter whether it can be answered with certainty. I should think ( speculation only ), that if a smith were patronized by a specific Daimyo that he might well be forbidden to make swords for the merchant class and/or consider himself to haughty to stoop to serving the merchant class. ... Ron Watson
  3. Dear All, As of June 21st, 2014, ... the NMB now has a new section unto itself : Tanegashima / Teppo / Hinawaju ... Discussion on Japanese Matchlocks and early firearms. Brian is currently working to filter out previous threads on the subject from the various sections previously used by members posting questions, describing their firearms, and in some cases the historical use/background and moving them to this new section ... a huge task. To quote Brian and I most certainly concur with him : " I think that already we have more English info on these guns here than any published book. Should be a great resource. " Those of us interested in this subject are most fortunate to have this new section added, and I would hope that as many members as possible join in the discussions or start a thread of your own. Just because you may be a novice to this Japanese/Samurai Art form does not mean you should be backward in participating. We have some very learned people here as members such as Piers Dowding, Ian Bottomley, Justin Grant ( whom is getting very good ) and others. If I have left anyone out without specifically naming you ... it was not my intention. I do know for a fact that because of the free giving/sharing of knowledge of these gentlemen, that they have spurned an interest by the number of people who now read and/or contribute to our collective knowledge of the Tanegashima. On a personal note, ... I am thrilled with this new section and I am quite confident that those surfing the Internet for information will eventually end up here and hopefully become members. Again I will quote Brian ( Site Administrator ) : " I think what we also need now is a picture thread, where everyone can upload pics of their own guns. A picture library of sorts. " PLEASE if you own a Japanese Matchlock or Antique Japanese Firearm ( not WW1 or WW11 please ) .... Take this opportunity to photograph your gun and post. ... Ron Watson
  4. Dear Arnold, The same as today .... MONEY :D ! ... Anonymouse Ron
  5. Dear Brian, There is no harm in trying. I have sent an e-mail to the seller. Hopefully we will get a response .... for the kind of money he seems to be looking for ... I should hope so ! ... Ron Watson
  6. Dear Brian, No, ... if there is one thing I'd bet the " family jewels " on ( taking into consideration I don't use them much anymore ) is that according to the internal sliding rod guides ( note I said guides and not guide ) which narrows down the possibilities of what the brass pan cover arm ( rod ) had to fasten to ONE, ... and the push rod's position next to the serpentine pin, ... I am 99 44/100 percent positive I have it all correct. I used the same rod as previously used when I had incorrectly assumed it was for a pin storage compartment and soldered on the brass push lever. The only other modification I had to do to the rod was to drill a tiny hole and insert a steel pin for the square edge of the serpentine pin to catch and move. This logic seems simple now, but when you are working from logic rather than photographs trying to understand someone else's mechanical ingenuity who has been dead for nearly 400 years it is not so simple. The later pistol also having an automatic pan cover opener I am certain operated on a different system ( later improvement ) ... and I can PROVE this. Look at the photograph from Sawada's book and you see a BRASS LEVER the same as I reconstructed ( Munetoshi's design ). Now on the later pistol, ... do we see a brass lever ... NO, ... but we do see a TIT on the pan cover which goes into the opening on the side of the pistol replacing the BRASS LEVER of the earlier system's design. I would love to see how the gunsmith got the later version to operate but unless someone can convince the present owner to disassemble the lock ... we shall never know, and my brain already hurts enough from reconstructing Munetoshi's design to not delve into solving the other design. ... Ron Watson
  7. Dear Eric, I had at one time discussed co-authoring a book on the Tanegashima with Piers. Given the high cost of printing and the VERY limited interest such a book would get ... kind of put us/me off on following it up. Publishing a book is a very expensive proposition and I at least can ill afford to lose a wad of money. The only alternative I have bantered around is something a friend who specializes in Grenades ( also of limited collector interest ) put together some years ago and that was to write the book and have the necessary photographs and text printed by a commercial printer on decent stock but with 3 holes punched with the intent of allowing the buyer to place the pages in a three ring binder. It would not be pretty, ... but to me at least it would be an economical way of disseminating the knowledge before one or the other of us are too old or worse dead. This I have not discussed with Piers. We had bantered about asking Ian ( although we never approached him ) to contribute. By doing a book in this fashion one need only print up a limited number until sold out and then print up another batch of pages. It would even work out to add a supplement as new information becomes available. To do this project myself would be very difficult as I have no mastery of either spoken or written Japanese and I am not so sure that I am even scholarly enough on the subject to tackle it. In the meantime I will try and write an article now and then for the NMB and give opinions for what they are worth. It is better than not doing anything ... even though I sometimes come across as a crusty old man. ... Ron Watson
  8. Dear David, I believe the meaning is : Type 38 - Model of 1905, ... found in Long, Short and Carbine configurations. It is somewhat unusual to find the Chrysanthemum in place rather than either ground off or disfigured if captured during WWII. The Type 30 was used by front-line Japanese forces in the Russo-Japanese War. Although it was a major improvement over the Type 22 rifle (also known as “Murata”), it had some reliability and safety issues. Based on combat experience, an improved version, the Type 38 rifle, was introduced in 1905, although not all units received the new version and, as a result, a mixture of models was retained by the Japanese Army into World War I and even later into World War II. Part of the above information courtesy of Wikipedia. ... Ron Watson
  9. Dear Eric, Yes indeed I was rather rude and it really did not hurt me in the least to re-read Shigeo Sugawa's book. Is his English book so full of MAJOR errors, ... I would have to say no. Could he have or could his translator/interpreter have done a better job ... yes. I don't think he meant his book to be a scholarly work but rather a primer or introductory book on a subject little appreciated or understood in the West ( and even less so in my opinion in Japan ). Perhaps I am somewhat biased in my opinion of Sugawa in that I expected at least a cursory reply to my snail mail letters of some years ago, .... but even with my bias, I would find it difficult to rate his book as scholarly. It is an excellent primer no more no less. Eric, ... I accept that my reply to your queries was on a whole indefensible and I extend my apology. I must however in defense say that I took your post as a bit of a personal attack rather than just genuinely questioning my reasoning. It is still does not excuse my rudeness and for that I am sorry. ... Ron Watson
  10. Dear Eric, Ah, ... nitpicking are we ? You are getting as bad as the Nihonto purists. In my posting I actually extend to Shigeo Sugawa a great deal of credit for having published in English. " Some of his writing has inaccuracies. However having said that, ... we English speaking students would be at a great disadvantage without his book. " Along with some of the inaccuracies pointed out by Piers ... ( Piers, .. I along with you have been silly enough to bend to Eric's post ) and re-read Sugawa's book. If we are going to worry about DETAIL ... I would like to point out that his description of loading a Tanegashima or practically ANY muzzle Loading firearm requires the use of a wad between the powder and ball, ... or at the very least a PATCHED ball. In the case of the Tanegashima for the first shot at least a wad is ALSO rammed down the barrel AFTER the ball to hold the bloody ball from rolling out the barrel ... ( smooth bore remember ). This last wad is usually not necessary after the first shot as the fouling inside the barrel provides enough friction to hold the ball in place. He makes no mention of this and believe me it is IMPORTANT. Quickly looking at his on-line site, ... I notice he writes : " The barrels of Japanese matchlocks usually are seated very deeply in the gun stocks and are held securely by three or four bamboo pins. " He fails to mention that a goodly number of Tanegashima have brass stock rings ( dougane ) rather than pins holding the barrel to stock. Also while we are on the subject of his web site, ... his photographs of Seki guns and Mino guns portray the exact same firearms. Granted they come from the same area, but it is never the less confusing to those without a knowledge of Japanese localities. Yes, ... I am also guilty of nitpicking, as I am guilty of making an error in my own writing on ANY subject. NOW, ... having wasted a goodly part of my morning catering to silliness, ... I base my criticism or rather statement that Sugawa to ME is more of a collector rather than a scholar in the fact that I at least have found him un-approachable. This is not the way of a scholar. I have written him BOTH in English and Japanese on more than one occasion and finally gave up as no response was forthcoming. In contrast, ... I have written to the curator of the Tokugawa Museum, and also the Curator of Japanese Arms at ... I believe it was the Tokyo National Museum and in both cases I received lengthy replies and my observations were noted and acknowledged. These to me are the actions of scholars. There we go, ... I hope I have answered your objections/disagreements Eric . ... Ron Watson
  11. Dear Peter, Shigeo Sugawa ... the author or webmaster or whatever the correct term is, is well known as the only Author to publish a book on the Japanese Matchlock in English. He is basically a collector, ... and not really a scholar ( he might have a different opinion of himself ). I personally have found him un-approachable. Some of his writing has inaccuracies. However having said that, ... we English speaking students would be at a great disadvantage without his book. The only real Japanese authority ( scholar ) regarding the Tanegashima is Sawada Taira with his book Nihon no Furuju ( in Japanese ). It would be nice to have an English translation, ... but none so far and I am not even positive he is still alive. By the way he is also sometimes in error which I proved in restoring the Automatic Pan Opener Pistol by Munetoshi. I am hoping one day to obtain a copy of his work even if it is in Japanese, ... but being difficult to find I've had little luck. DO YOU HEAR ME PIERS DOWDING ?? ... Ron Watson
  12. Dear Mark, I'm not sure if I'm the Ron you refer to, ... but indeed I am looking for a Waterwheel tsuba to compliment some lovely fittings on a sword I own. I would prefer something at least 75 mm in diameter and 80 mm would really turn my crank. It would be nice to have some waves involved as well ( gold tipped ) ... might as well wish for the moon. ... Ron Watson EDIT : On reading the whole thread I can see, ... I'm not the Ron referred to, .... my apologies Mark et al.
  13. BING-GO Brian, ... a perfect answer. Yes occasionally one sees a solid brass pin ( as with my automatic pan opener pistol ), ... but this is generally the exception rather than the rule ..... ... Ron Watson
  14. Dear Brian, Please photograph as you go along for an " How to article ". Even though I prefer using all hand tools ... doesn't mean everyone does. I hopefully have a photo coming from a friend showing the reverse side of an Ama-ooi. Whether it is one like yours I do not know. There are a few varieties ESPECIALLY on how they attach. I will post photo when it arrives. I guess I could take one of mine off, ... but having fitted a couple, and having a couple nice and tight and original, ... I am hesitant. ... Ron Watson
  15. BUMP. Sorry about that but it was only up for a few hours. ... Ron Watson
  16. By chance does any member of the NMB happen to own a copy of this book. : The title is "Edo ni Asobu" 江戸に遊ぶ The English pronunciation is I believe : Rokusho , volume # 19 . There is a pipe ( kiseru ) pictured in this book that I would like to research. Please PM me at my private e-mail address : watsonr@mts.net if you can help. Thanks, ... Ron Watson
  17. Please Sign all posts with at least a first name and initial. Here you go : See: Scroll down a bit for pictures of saddle. viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10751&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=saddle+parts&start=15 ... Ron Watson
  18. Dear Brian, Thank you for bringing yet another example to our attention, ... although employing a somewhat different mechanism for opening the pan cover it accomplishes the same task. This seems to be a quite a bit later version of an automatic pan cover opener, ... and to me at least on casual inspection ( not having it in hand to examine its mechanism ), ... it would appear to be somewhat of an improvement over Munetoshi's automatic pan cover opening mechanism. It is unfortunate that the pistol is mumei ( unsigned ). Sadly the shop who have the pistol have apparently done no research and there is little point in me writing them as my experience with the Japanese dealers and Tanegashima research has been dismal to put it mildly. I believe from what I can translate they are looking for in excess of $ 10,000.00 US for it. Another very rare example which I would love to research given the opportunity. The description given by the dealer seems to ( rough translation ) indicate that the gun was left unsigned to avoid repercussions from the Shogunate because of firearm restrictions on pistols. I have not found any decrees outlawing the production of pistols during the Edo Period. Perhaps someone knows of some particular decree, ... but I have been unable to find one. There were decrees on the number of guns produced each year however, ... so given the penchant for having a law for practically everything in Edo Japan ( and things have changed little in modern times ), it may be true. What is not true is Noel Perrin's silliness ( see Giving Up the Gun , Noel Perrin ) in suggesting Japan gave up the gun during Edo times. In truth during a nearly 250 year period of peace with no danger of Foreign Invasion, ... the sword was a much more convenient way of settling disputes as ALL Samurai carried swords and few if any carried firearms on a daily basis and pistols in particular were far too expensive to carry. In truth at the end of the Edo period a full 200 Gunsmiths were still working ... quite a far cry from forgetting the gun in favour or the sword as Perrin would have us believe. In FACT at least one Gunsmith was working during the period 1870 - 1896. I have one of his guns. His name was Rikizo Yoshida and by the inscription on the silver medallion on the stock, ... I believe I have the very last gun he produced. ... Ron Watson
  19. Dear Brian, Yes, ... thank you for noticing that originals are made from rolled brass . If at all possible I work with hand tools or at least as far as I can when re-creating parts. You can buy different sizes of brass tubing from " Model Shops ", ... but the finished product does not look hand made and therefore not as the original. It is important when restoring to use the same type tools ( as much as reasonable ) that the original maker used, as it gives one an understanding of how things were done. Much like when you look at Ford Hallam's work, ... pretty much the tools and techniques that the old tsuba makers used are employed in his work. In this case to be truly honest, ... I should have hammered out the head section rather than use a brass screw, ... but this pin is not terribly valuable ( worth the extra time ) nor is my shortcut ever going to be noticed. Restoration can sometimes be a balancing act . ... Ron Watson
  20. Over the years I have carried out innumerable antique firearm restorations. Often one of the most challenging can be repairing or replacing missing parts on the Tanegashima. Since I haven't bored you all for awhile, ... I thought I might ( although a few may find this helpful ). Quite often a Tanegashima will be absolutely complete but for one little item. The brass mekugi hibuta ana ( hollow pin that fastens the pan cover ( hibuta ) to the pan tray ( hizara ) will have gone missing and be replaced with a solid brass pin or as I once seen a cotter key ! Now then this little hollow pin looks simple but is a puzzle to make . Well lets make one : 1. Gather the necessary tools, ... a small hammer, a good pair of scissors, a hack saw, a center punch, two pair of pliers, fine emery paper ( crocus cloth ), a 9/64 bit ( metric number 68 ), a 7/64 bit ( metric number 75 ) and of course an electric drill and access to a vise and it helps to have a small band sander. 2. Material required, ... a round headed BRASS woodscrew or machine screw ( not brass plated steel ) one inch long ( 25 mm ) .... bloody metric ! .... small amount of sheet brass about 26 -24 gauge ( wall thickness of a .22 shell casing ), ... a little solder, flux, propane torch. Ok, ... here we go: Cut your sheet brass 7/16 inch wide ( 11 mm ) ... slightly wider will not hurt .... by 1 inch long ( 25 mm ). Now take the 7/64 bit the plain end and lay it along the middle of the piece of sheet brass. Using a pair of pliers squeeze the sheet brass around the drill bit working slowly until you have formed a small brass tube. If you have a little excess brass simply tuck it under, ... but if you've measured exactly the two sides should just nicely butt up to one another. Next take your round headed BRASS wood screw and tighten it into the vise head pointing up. Now if it is a slotted screw take your small hammer and carefully peen with the hammer all around and on top until you've completely closed the slot ( do not flatten the top of the screw too much ) Once you are satisfied, ... take your center punch and mark the dead center of the top of the screw ( to accept your drill bit which comes next ). Using the 7/64 bit drill a hole straight down from the top until you are nicely thru the head part of the screw ( make sure you go deep enough however ). Now using the hole you have just drilled take the 9/64 bit and drill to make the hole larger and just as deep. Loosen the vise and raise the screw just enough that you can lay your hacksaw blade flat against the vise. Tighten the vise and cut the head from the rest of the screw ( be careful not to lose the head ). Now clean the hole up a bit using emery paper and/or your 9/64 bit. You should now be able to insert your little brass tube into the head until it protrudes perhaps a mm or two thru the top. It will be a snug fit. Now apply a tiny bit of flux on the underside around where the tube and head meet. Heat with your propane torch and apply a miniscule amount of solder. Allow to cool, ... then insert your 7/16 bit plain end up until it comes even with the top of your screw head NOT the top of that mm or two tube above the head ! Insert in the vise with the head resting on top of the vise. Now take your center punch and slightly spread the mm or two of tube. You can now peen with your hammer this mm or two flat around the top of your head. If done right it will hardly be noticeable and most will be removed when touched up on the belt sander or grinding wheel. Since about 90 % original pins have a head that is exactly 1/4 inch ( 6.35 mm ) you can now use your belt sander or grinding wheel to round the sides of the screw head to this diameter. Also I have noted upon examining dozens of tanegashima that the hole thru the pan cover and pan tray are usually 9/64 inch ( 3.57 mm ), ... so one size fits all .... BUT NOT QUITE !! There are a few whose pin hole is larger and in these instances you can follow the same directions that I have given except that you will have to adjust the bit diameter to suit your gun and also the amount of sheet brass to make your hollow pin shaft. Now after inserting your new pin, ... mark off where it protrudes thru the bottom of the pan cover, take out the pin .... and drill a 1/16 inch hole ( Metric bit number 52 I think ). This is for a tiny piece of wire to hold the pin from being lost again. Below this small hole you can use your hacksaw to cut off any extra pin length not needed. Clean up your pin using fine emery cloth ( crocus cloth is best ) and patinate to desired colour. I have assembled a few photographs as a picture is worth a thousand words. As I find the time, I can if there is interest go into other areas of making missing or broken parts. Its up to the members to decide. ... Ron Watson
  21. Dear Justin, Although not a really clear photograph it would appear to be a superlative job in my opinion. I cannot claim to be an expert on inducing or copying patination. Perhaps Ford Hallam will include a chapter in the series of books he is planning. Now that would be a treat. ... Ron Watson
  22. Dear Sir, Anatti or Atti is better than Aunty, ... Antti ! ... Ron Watson
  23. Dear Antti, I'm with Ford, and Chris on this one, ... I find the simplicity very attractive. I've always preferred my women to be without makeup, ... so I do not find overly done up flashy tsuba terribly appealing. It is all a matter of taste. I would happily own such an example and display it. Thanks for posting. ... Ron Watson
  24. Dear Brian, Nothing about restoring a Tanegashima is easy, ... although it may at first look easy ! You are doing fine. Yes, ... Piers is correct about the soot. Now once you have the ama-ooi made, ... the patination requires some experimentation. I like to use the pieces of scrap brass left over from my restoration to get just the right colour. I use what is called : Black Patina for Lead Solder ( available thru stained glass shops ). It works well on brass and if you screw up and want to remove it, ... a light rubbing with fine emery cloth ( crocus cloth ) or extra fine steel wool does the trick. You can try everything from dipping or applying by cloth ( wear rubber gloves ) straight to adding a cap full to 1/2 glass of warm water and then immersing the brass. Watch it continuously as it will start to darken and keep getting darker until removed. Rinse with cold water and allow to set for a few days before applying light machine oil ( 3 in 1 is very good if available ). Now getting back to the serpentine - ama-ooi fit, ... the serpentine should JUST pass the ama-ooi as it falls to the pan. Go slow, ... slight bending of the serpentine has much greater impact than you might visualize. Keep us abreast of your restoration. I will be posting on the NMB tomorrow a " How to make " ... an ama-ooi hollw pin article ... for those interested in restorations. ... Ron Watson PS. I see Justin just posted a patination process that I have never tried, but which you might want to try. No harm can be done.
  25. Dear Brian, Your ama-ooi seems to be coming along nicely. The height of the ama-ooi varies from gun to gun. Rather than give you a definitive measurement ( impossible as they vary ), ... what you do, ... is looking at the side view with the ama-ooi in place ... the top of the ama-ooi should be approximately the same height as to be EVEN with the top of the barrel or one or two mm lower ... but not much ! The Serpentine should be virtually straight. You may have to remove the serpentine from the lock in order to see where it has been bent slightly awrigh. Be very careful as applying too much pressure when straightening it could snap it ... particularly if it is iron ( which yours is not ). It takes very little bending to make a huge difference in sideways movement, ... or perhaps your serpentine is a bit too loose where it fits onto the serpentine pin. This can be adjusted by either a very fine washer, adjusting the inward outward distance of the serpentine from the lock ( although the serpentine should just slightly rest against the lock ). ... Ron Watson
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