The photos on this page show a collection of Defibaugh gunsmith-related items that were purchased in 2013, and are included here by permission. A letter is included at the bottom of this page that was provided by the seller, and explains the provenance of the items. The first item that is highlighted below is a rifling bench for producing cut rifling in the bores of long rifle barrels.
The rifling bench is attributed to the Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith William Defibaugh, Sr. who was an important practitioner of the Bedford School of gunsmithing. The bench is said to have also been used by William's gunsmith son David Defibaugh.
The first photo, immediately below, shows a side view of the Defibaugh rifling bench. It consists of a rifling guide supported by a wooden work bench. The tube on the left is the barrel to be rifled. The tube on the right is the internally rifled guide that turns the cutter as it is drawn through the barrel so that the rifling is cut as spiral grooves. The bench has one integral wooden vice that is incorporated at the front left-hand leg, and another that is incorporated into the right-hand end of the bench.
The following photo provides a view of the pull-handle end of this antique homemade rifling machine. The movable jaw of a wooden vice is visible at the end of the wooden table. The end of the table forms the fixed-in-place jaw of the vice. The handle of the vice is blocked from view by the rifling machine.
The next photo shows the projecting elements that engage the grooves in the rifling guide to turn the rifling cutter as it is drawn through the rifle barrel.
The top of the next photo shows a wooden template for carving a Pennsylvania long rifle stock from a blank of wood. The bottom of the photo shows a barrel clamped in place on the rifling bench.
The following photo shows one of the clamps used to secure a barrel to the rifling guide during the rifling operation. The rectangular hole in the wooden part of the rifling guide appears to be for securing the rifling guide to the work bench.
The following photo shows the wooden vice that is constructed integrally with the rifling bench.
The following item is a spring-loaded 'dog' that is used with the square holes in the rifling bench to secure items to the bench.
The following photo shows that the stringers are dovetailed to the legs of the Defibaugh rifling bench.
The next picture shows the handle end of the Defibaugh rifling guide, and shows that the end of the work bench incorporates another wooden vice.
The next photo shows the buttstock end of the Defibaugh stock template. The hole in the template allowed it to be hung on the wall of the gun shop.
The following photo shows a framed picture of David and Milton Defibaugh in their youth, with one holding a full stock long arm and the other holding a small pistol. A cane made by Milton Defibaugh is positioned on the right side of the framed picture. The 2006 book "Bedford and its Neighbors" includes a very clear copy of the same picture, and indicates that Milton is on the left. The individual who purchased the items in August of 2013 wrote in November of 2013 that David is on the left in the picture (see below). I think David is on the left because the individual on the left looks older in the 2006 book, and David was nearly nine years older than Milton. I think the picture is printed backwards because the pistol is held in the left hand, the rifle is held backwards, and (in the 2006 book) one can see that the lock and cap lock are on the left-hand side of the rifle. Furthermore, I have seen a portion of this photo printed mirror image, with the individual in the tall hat labeled "David Defibaugh" using an adhesive note.
The following letter about the rifling bench and other items shown on this web page was provided by family historian William Defibaugh when the items were purchased in 2013.
The following description of the photos was written by the new owner of the items in November of 2013, a few months after obtaining the items.
For additional information on how rifling guides were used, see "History No. 13: Rifle Making in the Great Smoky Mountains" (6.1 MB pdf).
The Gunsmith Index provides access to biogaphical information on Somerset and Bedford County riflesmiths, and the long rifles they built.
The home page provides access to other regional history information.