Flintlock Tinder Lighter




Introduction: Flintlock Tinder Lighter

About: Woodsman and field tutor on a week day. Life long inventor, designer, engineer for the rest of the time. From items that make life easier to items with no reason to be....other than the idea popped into my hea…

As so often with my instructables this one starts with a bit of a story. As part of my job I teach survival skills and woodland craft, both of which involve fire lighting. I also run treasure hunt birthday parties that are pirate themed.

I am always looking for props to use and I have a number of items to show different ways that fires have been lit over the years.

I came across the idea of tinder lighters made from old, unsafe flintlock pistols. Intrigued with the idea I went Googling, in amongst all the standard rebuilds was an oddity, it still looked like a pistol but the barrel had been slit and hinged, that was it, I had the idea I wanted!

A tinder lighter that at first glance is a proper flintlock pistol!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

As I am still without most of my machine tools this all needed to be done with hand tools and graft.

Tools I used (you don't need all, I used them as I had them :)

  • Jigsaw
  • hand saw
  • Hack saw
  • Router
  • Surform files
  • Wood files
  • Metal files
  • Needle files
  • Wood chisels various shapes and sizes
  • Power hand plane
  • Power sander
  • Pistol drill
  • Set of small drills
  • Gas torch
  • Silver solder and flux
  • Soft solder and flux
  • M4 dia thread tap

Materials Needed

  • Flintlock lock assembly (purchased online, cost a bit but I could not make one for less)
  • Brass trigger guard
  • 15/16" dia thick wall mild steel tube
  • Odds and ends of brass and steel
  • Piece of wood for stock ( I used Mahogany... I now have a lovely bit of walnut for my next build :)
  • 3mm diameter piano wire
  • 1/4" OD copper tube
  • 1/4" ID copper tube
  • Various screws and bolts
  • A drawing of what I am about to build

The drawing is just an aid, I am making this up as I go along.

Step 2: The Stock

The piece of mahogany was cut to a rough outline with the jigsaw the slot was then cut with a router for the barrel to fit. the wood was 50mm thick and I thinned it down with the power plane angling both sides so that the handle part ended up wider than where the barrel fits. I also sketched out the position for the lock.

As the barrel is to be hinged I cut it down the middle with my hacksaw.

Step 3: Fitting the Lock and Trigger Gurad

Sorry not many photo's of what I did as I was so engrossed in doing it, suffice to say it took me a day to rebate the lock and get everything to clear, I also started to fit a trigger guard I happened to have around but decided it didn't look right so I silver soldered some long tangs on it. All the rebating was done with drills and small chisels.

Step 4: The Trigger

The trigger was drilled, sawn and filed to shape and a simple pivot pin mounts it to the trigger guard. It was cut to length and then fettled until it was a perfect fit to the sear that releases the cock.

Step 5: Make Ready for Hinging the Barrel

I cut a disk of brass to block the barrel at the muzzle end and a short length of the barrel tube for the tip this will all be held in place with a brass band that I cut and silver soldered together.

The breach end of the barrel was drilled and tapped M4 diameter for a fixing screw that comes up from the trigger guard tying them together on the stock. the end of the barrel was blocked with a small piece of sheet steel that also fills the gap between lock and barrel. I also filed a seat opposite the lock for a hinge pivot.

Step 6: Hinge the Barrel

The top half of the barrel was filed at each end to take a piece of 3mm diameter piano wire for the hinge which were silver soldered in place

A small brass hinge was silver soldered at the breach end of the barrel and a slot cut in the muzzle end for the pivot points.

Step 7: Shaping the Stock

Everything was then stripped off and filing and cutting began on the woodwork, this is all very much by feel and look. It is easy to spoil the look so don't go at it like a bull in a china shop!

Once I was getting close I reassembled the pistol to asses and finesse... Oh and I cut a piece of brass to go on the opposite side of the stock to hold the lock screws.

Step 8: Fine Finish and Polish

Once happy with the shape of the stock I went over it with finer and finer glass paper then french polished it.

Step 9: Spill Holder

The spill holder is a piece of 1/4" dia copper tube with cotton rope threaded through it, the tube has a brass hinge silver soldered at one end that attaches it to a small pivot block fixed into the barrel, this allows it to swing up and fold flat. There is a second piece of copper tube fitted over the 1/4" tube and is used as a snuffer, to put the spill out. As it is a little difficult lifting the spill I have since added a small brass hook to which I will attach a light chain when I find a suitable one.

Step 10: Tinder Holder

To get this to work some tinder is required as the sparks from the lock will not ignite the spill directly.

I have used Grade 0000 steel wool which is stored in a tube in the muzzle of the barrel.

Step 11: How It Works.

For once I have actually managed to embed the video:)

Let me know what you think.

Regards Rog8811

Flintlock tinder lighter from Rog8811 on Vimeo.

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    5 Discussions


    4 years ago

    That is just badass!


    4 years ago

    You have my vote! awesome work!


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you :)

    Mystic Mimic
    Mystic Mimic

    4 years ago

    Could you give me the links that you used to get the lock and trigger?