Here's my fireplace, after a couple hours frustrating labor.
I intended to mount these bits using horseshoe nails, which is what Dad used at home (although I'm sure he didn't do the work - probably Jim Howald did it). My masonry drill is one-eighth, and it should be one-sixteenth or so. This means that the hole for the first bit is in the right place, but is too large - the horseshoe nail just falls out. Putting two nails together back to back works quite nicely, so that's what I did. It took me 30 to 45 minutes to come up with that solution, and that's without a shot or two of good old thought provoker.
The rifle is a .50 caliber Sharps. It's a breech loader, and uses a paper cartridge and a separate primer cap. You opened the action and slid a cartridge in. The tail end of the cartridge stuck out, and was neatly trimmed off as you closed the breach, thus filling the pan with powder. You inserted a paper cap, cocked the hammer and let fly. If everything worked right, there would be one helluva bang and kick, followed by the noise of a dying buffalo - or Indian, or Mexican bandit, or bandit, or coyote, or something. I've never fired it, although it certainly would shoot and I wouldn't hesitate to shoot it with black powder and light loads.
So up the bits went, and I think they look pretty good.
|Civil War Souvenir|
The two decorative iron pitchers originally belonged to someone that lived somewhere along General Sherman's scenic route through the South. You see, my father was born in Loveland, Ohio (a small town North of Cincinnati). In this town, where everyone knew everyone else, including their personal business and proclivities, there lived an elderly man who had served as an officer with General Sherman. If memory serves, this is the same man who shot at my (then) juvenile father and his friends for pulling some sort of Halloween prank involving pyrotechnics and fertilizer, but perhaps not. Anyway, when Sherman marched through the South, there were certain curios and antiquities that, ah, were not too closely watched. Blatantly, the man looted several homes. This fellow is no relation of mine, by the way. The relatives on my father's side were busy out West, guiding settlers' wagon trains, killing Indians, and staying out of that crazy war. When this officer finally died, his estate was auctioned off and my grandmother bought a few items. These decorative iron pitchers are the items I inherited. Kind of nice, huh? I'll probably move them elsewhere when I hang the rifle.
|US Civil War Calvary Ring Bit|
I think if anyone were caught using a ring bit today, they'd probably just be shot out of hand and the world would be a better place for it.
This next bit is an officer's bit from the US Calvary. You can tell by the 'U.S.' engraved on the bit, complete with fancy scroll work.
|US Calvary Officer's Bit|
And there you have it. My fire place, now decorated. As I say, I'll move the pitchers somewhere else when I hang the rifle. The rifle needs better hangers than horseshoe nails.