Vol. 29, February 2011

Postcard from U.K. – Flint knapper Will Lord’s cottage, December 2010.

Finally – the heat of summer is upon us. Now I know you older members don’t really like the warmer weather and I’m with you all the way. But on the positive side, the sooner we get it over and done with, the sooner we can start another black powder burning season. Makes good sense to me – Roll on autumn!

But what to make of all the world-wide weather extremes? Australia’s widespread long drought has now been broken by bucketing torrential rains causing vast devastating floods. More closely to home we had a rare December snow fall in the north-east high country just six days before Christmas. Unfortunately we hadn’t foreseen this cold snap – and consequently we had no events planned. Tipi’s in the snow anyone? Perhaps on postcards, but maybe not for everyone.

Our delightful frontispiece of a cottage in the snow is a beautiful reminder of cooler days in the midst of our summer heat. That thatched roof English residence also happens to be the home of Will Lord – flint knapper. Will’s family have been knapping black Brandon flint for over 35 years. Will came across our website on the internet and established contact, offering us a direct supply of black flints if we could muster a reasonable sized order.

A small sample of flints was forwarded and found to be of excellent quality. You members responded with estimates of personal requirements and so an order was placed just as England froze up for Christmas. Will got the parcel away and those black rocks arrived in the early New Year mail.

As for the white Christmas effect, Will made this interesting statement about snow. “The snow is a total pain regarding the flint knapping as the flint is porous and it therefore freezes inside which changes the way it behaves – I keep it covered over, so that helps a little.” About now I’m thinking, there’s another reason why those hardy Mountain Men slept with their rifle next to them under the buffalo robes. Right smart!

Saturday 20 Nov 2010. Looking out at portion of the Time Line. The crowds came on Sunday.

Time Line – selling re-enactment to the masses

This new event held on the 3rd weekend of November 2010 promised much by way of showcasing the Rendezvous sport and hobby, both to the public and to other re-enactment groups. Jim Walker, Bob Ellis and the Chookster attended and enjoyed a marvellous time interacting with the many interested visitors of all ages.

Bob had numerous queries about his tents and we made several sales of trade blanket goodies. The value of attending, plus the goodwill generated, should not be underestimated, and once again there were one or two good bargains to be snaffled up.

Unfortunately the weather can be overly warm this late in November but the event is promised for an earlier date in 2011. We’d love to see more Club members coming along to witness so many other well researched re-enactors playing out their personas.

Jim & Bob rest in the shade after selling the Rendezvous concept to the public. Time Line 2010

Another of Ian’s D.I.Y. projects – Reshaping Flints

Many flintlock shooters have more than one lock to supply with flints. If you do have two or more flinters its possible the locks may require different size flints. In this case you may be fortunate enough to be able to remodel larger flints to fit your smaller lock. Here is a method that I use to transform blunt flints, of either 5/8” or ¾” size into good sharp ½” flints that then fit my small Siler lock.

For this project, you need to save your old worn out larger flints and when you have collected a number you can rework them to the required smaller size.

You will need to make a knapping tool. Mine is a very simple one – I use a piece of ¼” (6mm) brass rod say 4”-6” (100-150mm) long. I file a ½ moon notch in one end – see Fig.1.

Figures 1 & 2

Next, clamp your old worn flint in a vice using a leather pad, as per the way you normally clamp it in your lock, with the edge to be reworked / sharpened facing up. See Fig.2 above. And remember Safety First – wear Safety glasses.

Now place the notch of your knapping tool on the blunt flint edge (see Fig.3.) and tap the tool end with a hammer. It should break off a small shard of flint. If it does not, then tap the bloody thing a bit harder. Conversely, if it shatters the flint, don’t whack the tool so damned hard next time. You’ll soon get the hang of it! Continue along the complete edge so that it is squarely shaped and sharp all along.

Figure 3

You now have a sharp new flint, albeit somewhat shorter than the original. That’s when it’s mighty handy to have a second rifle possessing a smaller lock. To recut the flint to a specific length, continue either knapping the sharp edge, or reverse the flint in your vice and knap the back edge to the required length.

A word of caution here, your remodelled smaller flint must be knapped sufficiently short so as to just clear the frizzen of the smaller lock when in the half cock position.

If you wish you could also knap the sides to make a narrower flint, or a four sided flint – offering four times as many shots. There you have it – it doesn’t take but a few minutes to get a new supply of smaller flints – or maybe a small pile of gravel for the fish bowl. Watch your top knot! Ian Convey.


Murray wishes to remind all that subs fall due 31st March 2011. The new fees are $30 single member, $50 family member. Murray urges all members to pay up promptly or risk losing their traps, half the horses and all their hair. Please forward your subscriptions direct to M. Convey, 2806 Colac/Ballarat Rd, Dereel 3352.

The Free Trappers pay homage to Robert Timms for his generous donation, also to members Clive and Veronica Brown for their kind letter and supplementary support.

Flint Hint

Use a clean cloth to wipe the edge of the flint and the frizzen face between shots.

Carved Shield

Mountain Man – Superb wood carving by Bill Wilson – Silent Auction

There are several reasons why we’ve avoided perpetual trophy events, thus although Bill’s carving was eminently suited as a perpetual award shield, we decided it should be used as a Club fund raiser. We modelled our “member’s only” silent auction along the well established lines used by I.S. Wright auctioneers of Ballarat for their highly regarded militaria postal auctions. All bids are recorded and the winning bidder actually pays the lesser of his bid or the amount of the second highest bid plus 10%.

A pleasing high number of bids were received with John Morland outbidding them all.
John’s generous bid was accompanied with the words – “recon thet mountain man would look fair dandy hangin’ in me lodge.” Right on – he’d look swell in any home! Your Committee are considering that the funds generated might be put to long term promotions with the purchase of a Laser 12” Portable DVD Player and accoutrements.

This new fangled device could be programmed to showcase our activities and used in conjunction with our established static displays at Living History events, also at combined Council of Muzzleloaders displays at the various gun shows. In this way Bill’s wonderful contribution will long continue to draw much attention to our Club’s black powder doings. Our grateful thanks go to Bill and Beryl Wilson of Bundaberg.

Club Camping Calendar

April 22nd – 26th Easter/ANZAC day long weekend. ANZAC day 2011 coincides with Easter Monday creating opportunity for a five day Rondyvoo at Bernard’s Cache, Caveat. Yes, Tuesday 26th is a public holiday! Come, see and share the results of our working bee labours. Weatherwise, this is the most pleasant time of the year to camp.

June 11th-13th Queen’s birthday holiday weekend. Our 7th Annual Winter Quarters in the central highlands – Bernard’s Cache, Caveat. Definitely the next best time to camp!

September 16th – 19th our traditional Spring Rendezvous weekend extended from Friday 16th through to Monday 19th. It’s the following best time of the year to camp! – Where? – Why, Beaver Creek at Whorouly, of course!

As recommended by Glen Mitchell – Hand sewn mocs by Paul Etgen $165.


Poppen Mocs: 2500 Co. Rd. 25, Cardington, OH 43315 U.S.A.
For those with no inclination to sew up moccasins, yet want the utmost comfort, Glen Mitchell has asked me to feature these mocs that he located on the internet. Glen has made contact with the makers, Paul and Jenny Etgen of Ohio, USA and is quite taken by their service and the apparent quality and comfort of their mocs. Glen forwards this photograph together with description from the internet. They are not cheap but then best quality never seems to come cheap, does it? Look out for Glen’s new mocs at the next Mountain Man old timey dance doings.


These wonderful hand sewn centre seams are slightly antiqued with dyed threads and soles. Poppen mocs all feature a double sole of heavy pig skin, elk vamps and deerskin lining with an additional foam midsole for optimum comfort. We take custom orders and for this antiqued feature we charge an additional 10.00 dollars! Poppen mocs celebrates their 30th year of business! Feel what the buzz is all about and order your pair today! Sincerely, Jenny and Paul Etgen.”

Mappo at Beaver Creek, September 2010


Garry Leonard Kingsley Mappin. – Mappo, aka Senator Festus T. LaGarse, passed away 12th January. A kind friend and dedicated re-enactor who understood persona and authenticity; he shared our passion, but sadly far too few rendezvous’ – gone too soon! “Running in Virginia, walking in Georgia” – Fondly remembered!

Foraging at the Forge

As previously announced, Trapper families and friends were invited to eat and be merry at a “non period” sleep-over barbecue, at the Pioneer Forge home of the Mitchells. It would be “just a little something to kick-off the New Year right” as Glen put it.

Nigh on thirty Buckskinners enjoyed the abundance of good food and drink that was only surpassed by the warm friendship, light banter and fun times shared by everyone. Special welcomes were extended to Eddy and Elsa Benc who had travelled hundreds of miles from Adelaide, South Australia to attend, also to our newest member, George Mohr from the nearby hills.

Many camped overnight at the Forge or at the nearby local hall, so partying continued until well after midnight, only to recommence with good hot coffee at the cock’s crow. Special thanks to Anthea and Glen for opening their home for a third year running.

Working Bee – Sat/Sunday February 12th & 13th

This weekend has been earmarked by Bob and Jim for completing the roof of our open-faced shelter at Bernard’s Cache. Other minor chores such as levelling of the earthen floor and fireplace works are also needed. Modern camping with possible fire restrictions! Please liaise with Bob Ellis if you can attend to lend a hand, telephone 03 5796 2753 or mobile 0412 368 034.

Bob Ellis at Time Line 2010, photo by Rhys Hawley.

Your help is needed! Seymour Alternative Farming Expo, Feb. 18th 19th and 20th

Members are required to help man our static display for a day, two days or three, whatever you can manage. We are not promoting sandals, shorts or singlets – we will be there to showcase our alternative outdoor camping experience and hobby, so please don your Trapper, Longhunter or other chosen pre 1840’s fur trade era costume.

This will be our third year of advancing black powder shooting sports at the Expo. Our Populous Place Permit will allow members with appropriate licence endorsement to attend with their favourite flinter and accoutrements for display purposes only (no powder). Please contact Bob Ellis if you can donate a little time to promote our sport.

Winter snows cottage photos courtesy Will Lord – flint knapper.