Contained in a durable leather bag are all the tools needed to keep a firelock healthy.

From top left to right:

LEATHER BAG: Leather is durable and can double as an emergency source of flint pads.

BEESWAX: Cuthbertson suggests beeswax for preserving and polishing your wood. It takes a bit of elbow grease, but the results are nice.

BRICK DUST: Contained in a small tin, finely ground red brick dust makes an excellent soft metal polishing compound when it is mixed with oil.

TURN KEY: Also known as a musket tool (modern term). This piece of kit is essential if you own a firelock. Every soldier needs one!

TOW: Linen tow is the disposable cleaning towel of the 18th century. Tow is a byproduct of the linen industry and makes an excellent scrubber. A little goes a long way. The above picture has two grades of tow, rough and soft.

LOCK VICE: This is not a required piece of kit. In the 18th century, the serjeant would have one lock vice for the whole company. (They didn't want soldiers stripping down their locks on a regular basis and neither do we.) However, the vice is a useful tool for removing the frizzen for cleaning.

SOFT RAG: Once you've cleaned the piece down with brick dust, oil and tow, a quick buff with a soft clean rag will make your firelock sparkle.

OIL BOTTLE: There were three kinds of cleaning oil used in the 18th century. Foot oil (boiled down cows' hooves) was the stinkiest. Sweet oil (olive oil) was the most popular but rare. Palm oil was abundant due to the government's somewhat successful attempt to replace the slave trade with the palm oil trade. It's the best oil if you can get it. Check your local West Indian grocery store.

EXTRA FLINTS: Every good soldier keeps a few fresh flints ready to replace worn out or lost flints.

HAMMER CAP: Also known as a hammer stall (modern term), the hammer cap should really be on your firelock. Having an extra helps avoid the embarrassing situation during inspection when you've suddenly lost yours and everybody is pointing and giggling.

OTHER ESSENTIAL ITEMS: Every soldier should have a whisk and pick for quick battlefield maintenance. Things like lock covers and muzzle stoppers are also useful tools. Last, but not least, the ever powerful barrel worm (a small twisted iron hook for cleaning the inside of your barrel) is one of the more useful items out there.





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