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Thread: 1884 Trapdoor Cadet Restoration

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  1. #1
    Member lemmonhead's Avatar
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    1884 Trapdoor Cadet Restoration

    Thought I would share my Springfield Trapdoor project I completed earlier this year.

    I found this specimen locally for $200, probably a little more than I wanted to spend but I wanted a new challenge and this was a good candidate.
    After doing some research I found it interesting that the Cadet model was made in lower numbers than even the carbines. Unfortunately that does not reflect in the price and Cadets have the least value of the Trapdoors.
    I have restored a few 1903 Springfields, mostly stock work and piecing together missing parts, but this was going to be my first experience with metal restoration and rebluing.

    Unfortunately I thought I had pictures of the entire rifle as I received it but I can't find them at this time. My apologies, I am not a very good photographer.

    Here is the rifle as I received it. The stock was broken at some time and then repaired with some wood glue and a rather large brass screw that was counter sunk into the wrist. The buttplate and trigger guard had a significant amount of rust. The barrel bands were a little rusty but at some time the previous owner tried to clean the rust off of the barrel bands and lock plate leaving no original finish and not quite getting rid of all the rust. The breech block, receiver, and barrel were actually in pretty good condition with just a little surface rust on the exterior and still had some of the color case hardening. The bore is in very good condition.
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    Member lemmonhead's Avatar
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    I tried leave the patina of the wood and metal in place and gently remove the rust or repair the stock to leave as much of the original finish as possible.

    First thing I needed to do was re break the stock. This wasn't difficult because once I took the brass screw out it pretty much fell apart.

    Found a separate crack on the buttstock running parallel to the original brake.

    I drilled out the large screw hole in both pieces of the stock
    I then drilled small dowel holes running perpendicular to the cracks, I drilled holes on both pieces of the stock.

    Then using a 1/2" spade bit I drilled out the area of the screw head where it was counter sunk into the stock. I used a 1/2" plug cutter and cut a plug out of a walnut donor stock.

    I cleaned all the areas with denatured alcohol and removed all of the old glue.

    I filled the areas I didn't want the epoxy to run into with some of my kid's modeling clay.

    I used Brownells acraglass with a little of the brown die included in the kit.
    Placed the acraglass and dowels in the holes then clamped the pieces together, then used string that I had saturated with furniture wax to snug everything together a little better.

    After letting the Acraglass dry for 24 hours, removed the clamp and the string.

    Using a file to clean up the epoxy and the plug
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  7. #3
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    Looks like a handful for the restoration, I like those too. After it should be just as good as new...well, almost. Once it's completely done maybe you can show us...you say the bore is good?
    Regards, Jim

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    Since it was going to be hard to blend in the wrist repair with the other parts of the stock I decided to strip the stock using Citrastrip. I steamed out a few of the dents and gouges as much as I could with a wet towel and iron. My wife walked by shaking her head when she saw me using the ironing board and iron. She claimed that this is the only time she has seen me use the iron.

    I took great care in trying to preserve the cartouche on the L side of the stock and right behind the trigger guard.

    Five coats of BLOicon.

    The repair is noticeable but looks strong. The crack was a little too big and old to get a really tight fit. I am happy with end result.
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  10. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    Looks like a handful for the restoration, I like those too. After it should be just as good as new...well, almost. Once it's completely done maybe you can show us...you say the bore is good?
    Thanks. The nice thing about the Cadet models is that they saw very little service and were shot very little. The bore is nice and smooth, no pitting or frosting.

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    This it the process I took with the metal. Again the barrel and breech have a small amount of surface rust and retain 70% of the bluing and case hardening so I decided to keep that original.

    I soaked the parts in vinegar for a couple of days. I thought about using electrolysis on the parts but wanted to give the vinegar a try. I think it worked pretty good. My next project is a little Remington Model 34 .22 rifle. I might try the Evapo-Rust non toxic rust remover.

    Using a stainless steel brush to work off the rust.

    Unfortunately after soaking the lock for a day I came back to find the mainspring had snapped into 3 parts.

    After some filing and sanding. I ended up sanding with 600 grit for the final finish.

    After some research I decided to give rust bluing a try. There are several options out there, Brownells, Rust Blue and Laurel Mountain Barrel brown and degreaser. I have read good things about the Laurel Mountain product. It happened to be the most user friendly and the cheapest. Most rust bluing products recommend that the parts only be sanded to a 320 grit. Laurel Mountain says that you can go up to 800 grit with their product.

    Most rust bluing requires that you decrease the metal prior to application of the bluing fluid. Laurel Mountain says that their product will degrease and blue in one step. I wanted to make sure so I degreased the metal with acetone a couple of times and only handled the metal with gloves.

    After each application and boiling I carded the metal with 0000 steel wool that I previoulsy degreased in acetone.

    After the 6th application I carded the parts, soaked in a bath of water and baking soda to stop the rusting process completely.
    Blow dried the parts and covered in CLP.
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    Last edited by lemmonhead; 04-19-2017 at 11:24 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Quote Originally Posted by lemmonhead View Post
    a little Remington Model 34 .22 rifle.
    I want to watch that one, I have one also. That would make a total of five I know of since I first saw mine. Not very many.

    Quote Originally Posted by lemmonhead View Post
    I decided to give rust bluing a try
    I wondered if you would when I saw the parts stripped and polished. It would be the most fitting. Loots great now. You'll never hide the repair so I think you did right. Looks like a good job instead of an animal glue and electric tape patch.
    Regards, Jim

  14. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    I want to watch that one, I have one also. That would make a total of five I know of since I first saw mine. Not very many.
    This one is pretty rough but again has a good bore. I haven't started on this one yet. I will use the rust blue again. Easy process.

    Rust bluing process suggests using a moist or humid box. My shower with a humidifier worked pretty good.

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    Here it is completed. Need to work up a good load for it. I had some 420 grain bullets that I found at a yard sale and using SR 4749 powder (23 grains) that I tried but was not real impressed with the group. I understand that Trapdoors can be a little finicky on bullets.
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  17. #10
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    This has turned out very nice...

    Regards, Jim

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