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Old February 12, 2013, 07:36 PM   #1
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Striped Pennsylvania rifle barrel

So I saw a picture awhile back somewhere on the Internet of a Pennsylvania rifle that had a tiger striped barrel. Can't remember if it was brown or blued. Does anyone know what this finish is called or how it is done? I'm thinking of trying to do a similar finish on a knife I'm making.
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Old February 13, 2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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It was probably not strictly a "finish", but a byproduct of manufacturing the Damascus barrel, made by twisting strands of iron together around a mandrel and hammer welding them together.

Knives with damascus blades are made by starting with a long/narrow strand of steel or iron, folding it, and hammer welding it until it's a solid again, folding/welding, folding/welding, etc - until up to over 100 layers are achieved before the final shaping & finishing.

As far as "tiger striping", that is a finish used on Maple gunstock wood, sometimes referred to as "Suigi" (or "Sugi") that results in an alternating light/dark striped uneven pattern, before the final topcoat/finish was applied.

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Old February 13, 2013, 05:33 PM   #3
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Did it look like this:

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Old February 13, 2013, 05:53 PM   #4
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No, it definitely wasn't Damascus. The bands looked to be an inch or more wide. I'll have to keep my eyes open for that image. It wasn't a finish that I'd ever seen on a penn. rifle before.
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Old February 13, 2013, 07:41 PM   #5
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Actually the original Tiger Striping of the maple stocks was from lumber cut near a large limb junction of a tree that results in a striped pattern of the stock, relatively rare and can be quite beautiful.
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Old February 13, 2013, 09:51 PM   #6
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Tiger striped maple (as well as birdseye) is not really a result of being cut near a limb. You might get a "burl" effect the same way as you do on other species that are cut from stumps. An entire tree can be "tiger striped" or "fiddle back" as it is sometimes referred to. There are a variety of species of Maple and all of them can produce wood that contains the striped figure - it all depends on the tree. I have ask botanists and have never received an answer as to why one tree may be that way and another isn't. Regardless of it is soft maple, or hard maple, sugar maple or red maple, etc. . . . it is something that just occurs in nature. It doesn't seem to matter if the tree has a wet environment or a dry environment either.

I have also worked on original long rifles that have had a "faux" tigerstriping applied to a rather straight grained stock. This was applied in a variety of different ways by the old stock makers which is a whole other subject.

OP - are you talking about an "antique" rifle or one that is custom made? I'm guessing that what you may have seen was actually a "faux damascus"? I have run across several custom rifles over the years that had barrels such as I think you are referring to. I've seen one that was browned and several that were blued. My guess is that it was done by possibly wrapping a cotton cord around the length of the barrel and saturating the cord with a cold blue or a browning solution. At the point of where the cord touches the barrel, the solution (in theory) would be heavier than the space between the tight wrapped cord that was formed by the radius of the cord. You might try experimenting and try different methods like that.

I believe that what you are referring to is nothing more than a "faux" finish - not unlike what is sometimes done with blue to creat a "faux casehardened" look.
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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