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    Member clutch5473's Avatar
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    Different wood types

    Folks, is there a certain type or color of wood associated with either manufacturer, time of manufacture, or FTR?

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    Big subject.

    Up to WW2, Britishicon rifles were stocked in walnut, Indian rifles in walnut and tropical hardwood, and Australianicon rifles in walnut and various Australian species such as coachwood.

    During WW2, No4 production in UK used walnut initially (British and N American), but then used beech in Fazakerley towards 1945. Long Branch used Walnut and Birch, as did Savage. Dispersal No1 rifle production switched to beech from about 1941, and beech constituted the majority of post-war new woodwork for No1s.

    UK's 1949 FTR programmes and post-war rifle production used Beech, with a small amount of walnut. Long Branch continued with Birch.

    Pakistan POFicon production used what appear to be a mixture of British/US walnut, and a similar dark wood usually described (probably erroneously) as "turkish walnut".

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    Maple was also used in Canadaicon, on a very limited basis. The wood is as heavy as iron and prone to breakage in cold weather plus maple does not take a stain easily. Maple is a very hard and dense wood. I can find the maple stocked #4 just by lifting the rifles in the rack.

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    Maple....., very oily too and difficult to patch. We had a lot of Mk5 Sten gun butts made from maple that came over here in billet block form. I seem to remember that it was these maple Sten Mk5 butts that had the shallow/short butt bolt recess that you had to use the collar and socket. Someone correct me if I'm wrong or got it the wrong way around! TBox, we also had birch No4 woodwork too. Lovely pale wood with a straight grain that the posers in the shooting teams seemed to like. My pal has it on his No7

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    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    Early Oz SMLEs left the factory with Italianicon Walnut furniture, as per the original Brit spec. During the first Great Unpleasantness, alternatives were tried.

    One of these was Queensland Maple, (Flindersia brayleyana). This timber has a nice wavy grain and is sought after by custom guitar builders. It is not a "real" maple as known to North Americans.

    Then there is "coachwood"; Ceratopetalum apetalum. This is the most common timber found on Oz SMLEs to the very end of production. It was also used for the furniture on the Lithgow L1A1s. It is famous for it's "pink" tinge and notorious for splitting much more easily than walnut; hence the threaded brass reinforcing wire found in most Australianicon production. This threaded brass was originally intended as a repair item but became a standard feature on Oz coachwood stocks at a factory production level.

    One of the huge problems in the supply of suitable timber for stocks is the incredible amount of time taken to "season" the timber. This is essential after the partially "seasoned" logs are cut into "flitch" ( rough shapes of suitable size for final machining). If the moisture content is much above 12% at the stage of final shaping, the finished components may warp, shrink or split, or all of the preceding.. If it is dried too fast, for example in over-enthusiastic kiln drying, it may be split well before or during machining.

    On top of all that, there is only a certain proportion of the log that is suitable for stock making. Ideally, only the best lengths of "quarter-sawn " timber is used as this will be subject to the least distortion in the curing and machining processes.

    I can readily understand the modern penchant for synthetics or laminates.

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    I would agree with all of the above, although on UKicon No4's there do seem to be occasional 'blips'. I have & have seen a number of early (1941 dated) BSA & Maltby No4 T's stocked up in what appears to be original to them beech, although by 1943 on BSA production 4T's we seem to be back to American black walnut. No doubt someone will correct me if I have it wrong, as I can only speak mainly from observation of 4T's, but walnut seems to be pretty universal on 43 to 45 production rifles, unless subsequently re-stocked.

    ATB

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    I often wondered about the prolific use of those threaded brass wire things. Can I assume that they were threaded into drilled slightly undersize holes? The question is just HOW did they thread them in withoiut the buggers shearing off.......... because by definition, it must have been hard brass

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Laidlericon View Post
    I often wondered about the prolific use of those threaded brass wire things. Can I assume that they were threaded into drilled slightly undersize holes? The question is just HOW did they thread them in withoiut the buggers shearing off.......... because by definition, it must have been hard brass
    The US used those same brass "stock binders" well into the M1icon Garand era. Somewhere around here I have a 1950s or 60s depot maintenance manual that details their use. As I recall they were supplied pre-slotted on one end like a headless screw, threaded into a specific size drilled hole (just like any other wood screw), cut off as close to the surface as possible and filed flush. A major help with any wood screw is to "lube" the threads (simply dragging the threads across a bar of soap works wonders), but the biggest thing in my experience is using the correct size drill so the hole isn't undersize.

    Speaking of coachwood...was coachwood used in Lee-Enfield production creosoted, as with L1A1s?

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    The original finish for coachwood was a creosote and raw linseed mix. Hence the distinctive smell.

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    Much of the Savage wood has a distinctive red look to it.

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