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Thread: Warped SMLE Mk I*** Forestock

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  1. #11
    Really Senior Member Ridolpho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobD View Post
    Englishman, I am intrigued about the steam box, can you explain the design? How does it fit over the fore-end and seal, and how do you generate the steam - is it just a tube coming off the spout of a kettle?
    Rob: I use a big oven roaster (turkey size) pan with doors cut in the ends. I put water in and sit it on top of a single element hot plate. I've used this to straighten bow staves and the key is definitely to get the wood to the right temperature through and through. When it's correct the wood bends like plastic- quite amazing. If you get it wrong it cracks. For rifle stocks I prefer the boiling linseed oilicon/ torch method as it doesn't seem to affect the wood at all. The secret, as with steam, is to get enough heat in. I've had good luck with a few and had others crack. My best result was with the forend off of a '41 Fazakerley which had a nasty bend and twist. Straightened it with hot oil 4 years ago and it remains straight today. Regarding the gun in this thread, with the collector value of a good Mk I, I don't think I'd touch it. If I was intent on shooting it a bit I think I'd just try it as is or, better yet, shoot a different one.

    Ridolpho

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    Contributing Member 303 Gunner's Avatar
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    Tonyd, I will definitely keep everyone apprised if anything comes of it. Fortunately, I have another unwarped Mk I stock that could be duplicated for the rebuild

    Englishman, no worries, I definitely didn't read it as a flippant response. And thank-you for taking the time to write up the details of the steam box. It is certainly something I will be looking into.
    Last edited by 303 Gunner; 03-08-2019 at 06:28 PM.

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  6. #13
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    Peter Laidler's Avatar
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    I'm no woodwork expert or wood technologist but as apprentices we did have two superb woodwork teachers who taught me the little I still remember. And it's this......... You CAN straighten a fore-end in much the same way as you can bend a butt to make it fit a shooter. But guess what? Yep, got it in one. Unless it is retained in that position - like the curved wooden fenders of a tug-boat, it's going to revert to form. It's called the laws of nature.

    And another thing. There's two sorts of wood. There's wood that has warped and there's wood that hasn't warped - YET!

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    G'day all, this is my first post. I wanted to give some information on the the warped forewood post. My son uses a CNC mill to reproduce SMLE uper & lower forewoods in Australianicon Coachwood one of the woods used by the Lithgow Small Arms Factory here in OZ during the 1940s. The upper wood can be two piece or single for use on "Range Rifles" The end product is very precise having been referenced to the original Armourers drawings and saves a lot of hassles for restorers.


  9. #15
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateo View Post
    My son uses a CNC mill to reproduce SMLE uper & lower forewoods in Australianicon Coachwood
    You should raise a WTS ad in the forum for that...they likely will sell.
    Regards, Jim

  10. #16
    Member Towarzysz_Beagle's Avatar
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    I suggest shoot it and see how it goes.

    Many years ago I had a Lithgowicon No.1MkIII* manufactured in 1919 still in its original wood. It had a warp very similar to this in the forend when I bought it, unbeknownst to me.

    I found upon shooting it that the pressure it exerted on the right side of the barrel near the muzzle caused the rifle to throw shots left to the order of about 1 inch at 25 metres. However despite throwing them to the left the thing strung 10 rounds through a ragged 0.5 inch hole with one flier at this range the first time I shot it.

    I duly drifted the sight and stretched the rifles legs finding it to be an excellent shooter.

    I pondered trying to straighten the wood in the long term.

    However I ended up deciding that even though the aesthetics of having a sight drifted all the way over to the left are unpleasant it was outweighed by how well the rifle shot and elected not to mess around with the wood.

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