This page will go over past, current and future restoration projects, as well as items that I have found helpful in restorations.
One thing that I must stress, is that when doing any restoration work is to please go slowly. Also consider that the rifle you are working on, do your homework on the number and type. So please don’t varnish, no polyurethane, NO sandpaper. Sadly all you will succeed in doing is to remove its history, character and make it bloody hard to fix, as well as drastically reducing its value!
Handy tools, find an extra long handled flat head screw driver, that will be invaluable for removing the butt bolt. Get a decent screw driver set as there are a varying sizes of screws and there is nothing worse than burring or garking the screws. A good supply and myriad of toothbrushes will also help in any restoration project. Also make a rifle cradle, it’s not that hard, i will try to post images and diagrams. Buy some cork boards, the cork will protect wood that you may place in a woodwork vice and a piece of leather is another good idea. Acquire a bag of rags, you will need these!!! Also plenty of plastic containers. A hint here, get yogurt containers, both small and large, the ones with good lids and the other small ones. Then get 48mm masking tape and a marker and note what from what rifle or action in the container. Its cheap, reusable and a good method so not to lose things…..it happens! Also purchase Penetrate and CRC, if you can, get the pump spray, get a good-sized one too, im not a big fan of the aerosol, I find the pump bottle more economical!
Also head on down to the local hardware store and get a length of plastic storm water pipe, say a meter and a half and two end caps. Glue one of the ends on, the other just use as a lid. This is what you use to soak the wood work in and “restore” it in. I use that for the bottom woods. Another good idea is a wallpaper tray. I have a bungy cord that fixes the pipe to the wall. You will only knock it over once to see the benefit of this advice! Then you will need a magic solution.
What I use is a combination of Raw Linseed Oil and turpentine. I will try to find some great photos that show the absorption and how well it penetrates. I also have some literature on the subject somewhere as well and post a little more later. I use a 50/50 mix and allow the woodwork to soak, I then vary the amount an application time. But often I will soak overnight and take the woodwork out the next morning. From there I wipe it down and let it rest.
Also get zip lock bags, they are cheap and good value. Put the screws in the bags and mark the bags with all the details. Again you wont truly understand the benefit of this practice till you find a small bag of screws that look important but have no idea where from!!!
Buy yourself decent bronze and bore brushes, there is another even a better trick for cleaning barrels, Ralph’s Bore Cleaner. I’ve tried making my own, but to be honest the bore cleaner that Ralph makes is just stunning and the difference it makes will astound you. I have used one on several occasions and think its well worth it. Check the links page for details. It is stunning for removing fouling from a barrel and upgrading to lead projectiles
When using other commercial bore cleaners do me a favour either take the woods off or use some form of low adhesive masking tape around the wooden areas near the breach, mag well or nosecap. I’ve now been stung twice by so-called friendly cleaners,(Not Ralphs!!) I would hate you too to get the same dribble mark. I will post an image later to show you what I mean.
Also go online and get reference books, they are free and very helpful. I will see what links I can provide to aid there. Get good reference books, you will enjoy them and they will help you spot things that are not right. Even better they will help to see what is a good deals or project. One such book I highly recommend is “The Lee-Enfield” by Ian Skennerton, not cheap but so worth it.
Some of the projects that I will include will be a poor mans L42, a NZ marked No2Mk4 and a raft of SMLE’s, in various stages of repair. There will soon be a recently acquired No5 as well as a Lovells Pattern carbine. There is a Siamese contract rifle in need of wood work, and a Fulton’s regulated No4mk1/2 that had a SMLE rear sight soldered on and woods chopped to hell. And then a No3, a good old P14………So all things considered a weekend or twos work!!!!
What I hope to do is add some pics of completed projects and slowly update this page with ideas, projects or tips and then move onto others projects.