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Please, help to identify my hinawaju


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Marc these photos are absolutely fantastic!!! Measurements are great too with the ruler in the pic, that means I can digitally scale it off the ruler.

Wonderful gun, absolutely love it! Sorry to hear about the situation with your bisen not lining up correctly :( They're a fickle creature. I have one I'm struggling with right now on a restoration I'm doing for a customer. 

Piers, this is a pretty out there question, but in your opinion, which is better? The ones that end just before the touch hole, or the ones with a slot cut in them? Have you noticed any appreciable change in ignition time or anything else?

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Arthur, Bisen slowly degrade with heavy use and poor cleaning. As the Bisen grows loose, a square head will shut diagonally, messing up the hole in the butt. (Tazuke-Ryū gun Bisen tend to have a round head, which will always line up correctly.)

If the Bisen has a cut channel across its face, fine for a while but eventually that too will no longer line up. Not sure about ignition timing, which really relies more on how you add the powder.

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Every little bit of info like that is useful for me Piers. This explains why some of the older guns I've been restoring seem to have issues with the bisen not squaring up right anymore.

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One part I'm struggling with making right now is the pan cover pin.

I'm not quite sure how they were made. My first attempt just now was a failure. 

If anyone has super closeups of one or insights, I'd greatly appreciate. My first attempt was using a brass rod that I had to file down considerably but leaving extra material for the head. I then drilled all the way through to hollow it out and the hole was way off center when it came out the other side.

Were these completely hollow? And if so, were they made out of a solid rod, or out of a rolled sheet?

Thanks for any insights in advance guys!

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Yes, they were completely hollow, a tube with a lipped top, and with horizontal holes across the bottom. You should be able to insert a wire down from the top, to support a rain protector, somewhat like a cocktail umbrella.

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Fantastic, that's what I thought. Have a pile of old guns here I'm holding onto/restoring for a friend, and none of them have pins for me to look at.

I'm very happy with the overall shape of the first one I made, but had a severe screw up with drilling it out and realized "huh, they probably didn't do it this way".

So, is it a rolled sheet or a drilled out rod? Got any clear photos I could have a look at? The way to really tell I think would be to look at the underside of the head, and see if it's flush or concave.

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Without pulling my guns apart I cannot answer that immediately, Arthur, but there does seem to be some variety among them. My gunsmith drills down through brass screws, (I believe), though I have not seen him actually doing it.  I can recognize work by him at a glance, though. In fact I have adjusted the shape of the 'mushroom' at the top of his work in the past to make it flatter, as I find it too prominent and square-shouldered.

 

The first 6-Monme' Hinawa-ju I bought was missing the pin. When I mentioned it, the Banto immediately and casually reached over and pulled out one from another gun's pan lid/cover. :shock:

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This is the bottom of the pin on my Kumamoto Castle 7-Monmé long gun. Dated 1847.  Pin wired in place. Really tough to get this shot but I think it shows evidence of a rolled sheet. (with the top perhaps furled in some way?)

 

 

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It looks to me like there is a seam on the head as well, so they probably rolled it first, inserted it into a wooden or metal plate with a hole of the same diamter drilled out, mashed it with a hammer, then drilled it out a little at the top to clear out the excess material. You can see looking at it that it looks like it was done with a square bit Japanese hand drill.

A lot of the parts on these guns were not made at all like people think. 

Some things were cast, some weren't, and it's really dependent on the style.

For example, it seems like none of the parts on Kishu guns were cast. The square shape that people notice about them is a biproduct of the manufacturing method. How they were done was they cast a tapered plate out of brass, and cut everything out of that.

How do I know this? If you hold up a lockplate, hibasami, outer spring, etc, they're all of the same thickness and taper. If you look on the edges there are often still sawmarks that they didn't completely hide, especially on the inner side of the outer springs.

I can't really speak with any authority on other regional manufacturing methods currently though. Aspects of these are far less complex than people think, and some things are far more. I'm finding different brass mixes for different parts on guns, and it is consistent throughout. Very intentional.

Another thing I haven't seen others comment on is the use of silver solder. I assumed it was anachronistic to use that, but after looking over lots of different locks I've started finding it more and more. Talking about Kishu specifically, the way the head of the hibasami is attached is through silver soldering.

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Hello Arthur,

 

I do not have the knowledge to explain you how it was originaly made, but the way I have done mine is with silver soldering. The good thing about Japan is that you can find almost all material you need.

 

So I purchase in my favorite DIY shop a tube of brass at the right caliber, and add a drilled  2 or 3 mm piece of brass at one end. Insert the tube into the brass piece, and sold with silver low temperature. Not from outside, but the inside part of the junction between the brass piece and the brass tube.

result is good, as you can only see from the top a very thin line of silver. Once polished, impossible to tell the difference.

Then put this assembly into my drill, and with a fine file, shape the pin, the way and size I wanted. On the original pan cover, if you look carefully, you can tell what was the original size of the pin.( different color or some scratch).

 

Hope it helps Arthur.

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Definitely does! 

Same line of thinking I had looking at the wear on the pan cover to gauge the pin size, so I think our brains work in a similar way.

I'll give your method a try, it seems very similar to other parts I've seen!

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Just attempted making the roll pin from scratch, and got it on my second try! Not perfect as the seam twists along the length of it rather than being totally straight, so room to improve there, but this is definitely how they did it.

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How's this for a first attempt? I have room to improve here. The hole for the retaining leather is too high up sadly, and I wasn't able to get the seam on the roll pin straight (hand forged it from a small sheet of brass). I tried to imitate the flaws in the hole at the top that seem to be prevalent on originals. Still need to do a final polish and patinate it.

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