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Ken61 Offline OP
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What is this called? The pointers mark a subtle, darker spiral of coloring that appears the length of the tubes. Since it's regular and goes throughout each ribband section, it must have been intentional, possibly by using strips of a slightly different steel composition when the billet was stacked, in order to bring out this feature. To me, it looks like the steel in one of the three irons was intentionally different to create this effect.

This is usually not brought out when using the Original Parker Process, but is visible when I use my "German School" process, designed to bring out maximum pattern detail. These Parker Grade Three tubes were shot under fluorescent light, the feature is much more prominent in daylight.

Regards
Ken


Last edited by Ken61; 06/12/17 11:54 AM.

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Interesting observation. I'd think different composition, based on your comments about finishing schedules. I wouldn't think it would be worth the effect to do intentionally, particularly since you mentioned that original finishes didn't make the distinction.

The 'twist' appears(?) less turns per inch than lighter areas. Maybe, the darker ones were from a different 'lot' of raw materials, maybe even from a different shop/forger, then stocked and used randomly when making a barrel.

The smaller strips that appear lighter, may have been worked more, possibly had more heatings to reduce to a smaller size than the dark ones. Could be, if materials started out the same, more carbon moved because the lighter ones look 'muddier', less crisp, than the darker ones.

Only thoughts, I'm probably seeing it wrong.

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Ken61 Offline OP
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Well, I'm currently fostering two suspicions. One, the Original Parker Process described by Gaddy may have been the description of their process for twist tubes, as three iron colors considerably differently. And two, the use of logwood was an "industrial shortcut" which saved time (cycles) at the expense of pattern detail. I've found that at the end of my process logwood has little effect, as the steel is already very black.

All this appears to have been common on higher grade tubes, I suspect it was one of the differentiations between higher and lower grades. It's entirely possibly that some U.S. Maker's methods simply were not refined enough to bring the feature out, thus not coloring them to their full potential.

Or, they did show the feature originally, but the ravages of time and additional recoloring eliminated it. I'm leaning towards this explanation, as I'm sure the buyers (U.S. Agents in Leige) were aware of it, and passed that information to the U.S. Makers. It was, after all, a marketing feature that would denote higher quality tubes.

A while back there was a Wilkes-Barre thread with a set or "Very Fine" tubes I restored with this feature. I'm currently coloring a WB "Extra-Fine" set, their highest available quality. We'll have to see if they show the same feature.


Regards
Ken

Last edited by Ken61; 06/13/17 06:35 AM.

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Ken,

I remember reading a thread not too long ago on this affect and remember Dr. DREW added information, but I don't recall where/when. I like the contrast and feel it should be highlighted, not subdued.

John

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Originally Posted By: Ken61
....All this appears to have been common on higher grade tubes, I suspect it was one of the differentiations between higher and lower grades....

....A while back there was a Wilkes-Barre thread with a set or "Very Fine" tubes I restored with this feature. I'm currently coloring a WB "Extra-Fine" set, their highest available quality. We'll have to see if they show the same feature.


Regards
Ken

Only wondering. Is it being considered a higher or fine grade based on color difference, or better materials/methods. If it's better materials and methods, I'd think the barrel maker would use only best materials on highest quality barrels.

Is the darker or lighter colored material being considered extra fine? While they appear to be generally twisted in the same direction, I believe the same material twisted in opposite directions can appear a different darkness than each other.

There does not seem to have been much attention paid to selecting and working matching materials in those barrels. What characteristics of the tubes alone would make them be considered higher grade or extra fine? Only asking to learn.

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Ken61 Offline OP
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Craig,

I'd say the quality standard was due to degree of variation.
The more varied the pattern, the higher the quality. This can include many factors, from number of irons, to size and shape of scrolls, to varying the types of steel within the irons. All can be varied while maintaining the production standards required for the barrels to pass proof.

Remember, we're talking about an artisan industry capable of creating virtually any type pattern, including actual words/names. This is why I'm of the opinion such variations were completely intentional, and used to denote quality.

It's a huge difference when you put a Parker barrel like the one in the pic next to say, a set from a Remington Model 1900 KED or a LC Grade 0.

As for Parker's, it's interesting to note that Grade 2 guns usually have very nice tubes, but the patterns on each tube vary widely, often not matching very well. Possibly this was a detriment when they were made, but now the variation of the tubes make them that more interesting.

You also have to remember that tastes were much more eclectic during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Regards
Ken

Last edited by Ken61; 06/12/17 03:28 PM.

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As an observation: As the grades increased normally the pattern size decreased but you also find fewer deviations in the pattern and few or no end welds the length of the tubes. Baker's Batavia guns almost always show an end weld somewhere. I don't think they cause a weaker tube but they aren't worth bragging over.

Within a given Maker the difference in definition could be pattern size. Where Fine & Extra Fine defines the size of the pattern, thus smaller wires and many more of them within an area of the tube. I missed buying this Ithaca Flues not long ago. It was a late Quality #1 gun with these mismatched Damascus tubes:


The lower(LH) tube has the standard(size) pattern. The upper(RH) extra fine pattern.





I own an Ithaca, Lewis, Quality 2, that has Extra Fine pattern from the breech forward approx. 5", then changes to Fine pattern for the remainder of their length. I can try to take pictures if it is of interest.

John

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Ken61 Offline OP
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Neat stuff. I did a Huskey hammer gun set not too long ago with one tube two-iron, the other Washington.

I suspect such matchings were made by the Maker, and based on tube availability. Possibly due to shipping damage.

I've been experimenting with my own PH, trying to make one tube black, the other brown. Thinking it could be kind'a a Showpiece gun. I'm just not happy with it yet.

I agree, the higher the grade, the better the tube pattern matches for the pair.


Regards
Ken

Last edited by Ken61; 06/12/17 03:42 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Ken61
....Remember, we're talking about an artisan industry capable of creating virtually any type pattern, including actual words/names. This is why I'm of the opinion such variations were completely intentional, and used to denote quality....

Thanks for the follow up Ken. I was coming from the thought that tubes were sourced from Europe in a rough turned state. The pattern was probably not visible at that point, but also likely to change some with final machining and finishing.

Maybe better tubes might have been separated in a larger order, but I don't know if Parker would have dedicated resources to pair up tubes. I can see where a British best gun maker might have specified unique and matching tubes, for some of their guns, but that level care may not have translated to American production guns.

Only thoughts is all. It just seems to me that to select for some characteristics would require tube rough finishing steps that I don't know were actually done.

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Ken61 Offline OP
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From what I've read, it may have been on DocDrew's site, the rough tubes were sent wired in pairs. Totally reasonable if intended for double guns.

It's also reasonable to believe the tube makers were aware of what the patterns would look like when finished. Remember, they ordered specific ribband patterns from the rolling mills.

Last edited by Ken61; 06/12/17 04:23 PM.

I prefer wood to plastic, leather to nylon, waxed cotton to Gore-Tex, and split bamboo to graphite.
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