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Old December 8, 2012, 01:21 PM   #1
Idaho Spud
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Homemade wad cutter

Don't have a local store handy in this neck o' the woods so I made a cutter from a fired 30-30 case. Removed rim. Cut up the shoulder with my Dremel til I got the diameter wad I wanted then dressed with a file & paper. Drilled out the flash hole (I use a drill bit to push wads out of the case body). Wife brought home a wool sweater which we washed 3 or 4 times til it shrunk and we acquired the right thickness. Dipped a small patch in my home brewed "bore butter" last nite, chucked "cutter" in the drill press, then cut the greased wads out. Now I get wads perfect for my 36 Cal Navy. The Ox-yoke brand were just a touch larger than I needed. This'll work til I get to a Harbor Freight and acquire some punches.
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Old December 8, 2012, 02:38 PM   #2
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Good job, Idaho.

I think that one of the most enjoyable aspects of this lifestyle is the things one can do for ones' self.

You talked about purchased wads being a little off in size but they are a little off in price too.

The Harbor freight punches cut a good sized wad for .36 but there is nothing in the set that is really right for .44. It is close and I certainly use them but I found that when I wanted to start loading cartridges I really needed to make my own for .45LC.

Anyway, It is my humble opinion that you are on the right track.
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Old December 8, 2012, 04:23 PM   #3
4V50 Gary
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Black powder enthusiasts tend to roll their own. Kudos.
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Old December 8, 2012, 04:53 PM   #4
Idaho Spud
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Thanks, guys. Had to try my wads out so shot 3 cyls full til fingers got too cold to seat caps! Need to get a cap seater. Had a little snow last nite so quit early. Wads work fine, much better for me than the store-bought. The guy who got me to get a BP revolver has already wimped out and shoots only smokeless loads in a conversion! haha. Most fun I've had in ages. Ya gotta have patience, I told him. He has none.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:34 AM   #5
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Mr Spud,
I've also taken wool trimmings from hemming & sleeve shortening a Confederate wool uniform and felted them. That is, you boil the wool and then dry it in the dryer. That way it thickens and gets fuzzier. Dry it, THEN punch out the wads. Lube them after punching them out. Otherwise you squeeze out a lot of your lube. It's much less messy to cut them out when they are unlubed. I use a 3/8" hole punch chucked into my drill press and you can punch them out over a block of wood. I use the 7/16" for 44 cal. Beeswax & lard 50/50 or beeswax & olive oil 50/50 as lubes. If you want softer for winter use then 1:2 beeswaxlive oil (drop a little piece of blue crayon to color the winter mix to tell the wads from your summer ones. You can get a whole set of punches for $5-$10 from Harbor Freight.
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Old December 9, 2012, 01:12 AM   #6
Doc Hoy
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There are two sources which come up frequently

The first is Durafelt which some like as a good raw material for wads. I don't know where you get it but someone will wade in and tell you.

I like to go to thriftshops and pick up felt hats. You have to make sure the hat is 100% wool. If it is not marked or if you can't be sure, stay away from it.

Generally a men's hat has felt that is thick enough to make acceptable wads. It is not as good as Durafelt but it works for me. A woman's felt hat is generaly made of felt which is less dense than a man's hat. You will feel the difference.

This source might sound a little hit-or-miss, but every time I have been in a thriftstore, I find a hat which would make the wads I use. I am still on the second hat I ever bought for wads.
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Old December 9, 2012, 03:43 AM   #7
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For what its worth, I just bought some all wool felt from McMaster. Haven't tried it yet. They have several thicknesses and different densities.
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:39 AM   #8
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..http://www.durofelt.com/
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:08 AM   #9
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+1
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Old December 9, 2012, 10:54 AM   #10
Idaho Spud
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Thanks for the ideas, guys. Looks like I'm gonna get quite a few hundred or thou out of this sweater. I tried greasing the Ox-yoke wads from the pkg. and it seemed too messy. I'm gonna stick with letting the material dry a bit then cutting out the wads. Each to his own, I guess. The wife also got me a felt hat, but it was a in such good shape, in the style of what an Earl of the manor might wear, so I kept it to wear for laughs. She calls me lord, now. Now I can pretend my home is my castle.

Last edited by Idaho Spud; December 9, 2012 at 11:10 AM.
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Old December 9, 2012, 06:25 PM   #11
Gatofeo
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I imagine you looking very lordly with that hat, washing the dishes in your pink checkerboard apron while the "Queen" finds other things for you to do!

Just joshing ya, no harm meant.

I cut my own .36-caliber wads with a 3/8" wad cutter. Perfect fit for all my .36 calibers.
For .45 caliber, I found the 7/16" wad cutter too small. I want a wad big enough to cling to the chamber wall a bit, thereby ensuring a firm fit in the chamber. I use the 7/16" to cut wads for my .44-40 though, where it's just the right size. It could also be used for the .44 Special and Magnum.
For the .45-caliber, some years ago I paid $18 for a .45-caliber wad cutter from Buffalo Arms. This wad cutter is intended for .45-caliber cartridge rifles, and provides a firm fit in my .44-caliber cap and ball revolvers.

I always cut the wads before lubricating, and set a few of the unlubricated ones aside. I can use the unlubed ones as an over-powder wad against the black powder, or lubricate them later with some new lube I'm trying.
But mostly, I lube them with the lubricant named after me: Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant:
1 part canning paraffin
1 part mutton tallow
1/2 part beeswax
All measurements are by weight, not volume.
This recipe is based on a 19th century factory lubricant recipe for outside lubricated bullets, which I found in an old magazine.
I tweaked the recipe a bit by using very specific paraffin and tallow, whereas the old factory recipe simply listed "paraffin" and "tallow."
I've had exceptional succes with this lubricant in all black powder applications: wads, shotgun wads, bullets and patches for round balls.
It's too stiff to luricate the cylinder pin on revolvers, though.

Some years ago I bought a large sheet of 1/4" hard felt from Durofelt. Cost me $27 as I recall, Durofelt ships to the lower 48 for free, and I calculate I can make about 8,000 wads from this one piece.
Later, I bought 1/4" felt, chiefly to make space-taking wads for lighter loads in my revolvers. Beats measuring out corn meal to fill the chamber, and the (lubricated) 1/4" wad keeps the bore cleaner.
Yes, I could use TWO 1/8" wads but the 1/4" sheet felt also comes in handy for making wads for my .50-caliber muzzleloading rifle, between the patched round ball and powder.
The great thing about having a proper wad cutter is that you can custom-make wads, whether bone dry, containing your homemade or store-bought lubricant.
I much prefer hard wool felt, as it's porous and soaks up a lot of lubricant. This does much to keep fouling soft, and moving parts lubricated as lubricant is micro-sprayed over these parts with each shot.
The hard felt apparently has a scraping effect as well, reducing bore fouling.
When I use grease over the ball, the last 1/3 of my revolver barrels (from muzzle back) is coated heavily in foulilng. With lubricated wads, bores are much cleaner throughout their length.
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:21 PM   #12
Idaho Spud
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With the amount of shooting I do and as slow as I am reloading, this sweater should keep me going for quite some time. My recipe for "bore butter" isn't quite as esoteric as some, just Crisco and beeswax. Actually, I don't even know the proportions of what I ended with, just that it seems to work fine, at least now. Mebbee I'll have to make "adjustments" when the weather warms. Just want to say I appreciate the help and ideas from you guys here at TFL. This is a great BP forum. An (old) newbie that's experiencing a rebirth in shooting.

edit: BTW, Altoids tins make great containers for lube, greased wads, accessories, etc. I poured about 3 or 4 with my "butter". Put 'em in "baggies" for convenience. Works great.
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