22 July 2011

Recent Arrivals - Two Weeks

The past four days have been interesting!

Yes, I've gotten to know the wonders of the way cosmoline will make an occlusive seal with just about anything so as to not allow you to separate parts with such a seal.  On the SKS that I have been working on that seal has been between the stock and the receiver/barrel assembly.  Getting the instructions right, in that the assembly moves away from the stock in a rotation style movement was a great help!  I had spent time puzzling over the instructions and finally found another set of instructions with pictures to demonstrate the procedure.

Not that this helped, mind you, beyond knowing that you should expect to see some progress doing things the right way.  Needless to say with anything that could be holding the assembly to the stock taken off, it wasn't budging.  No, it was worse than that: I could get just the barest hint of motion and sweat at that and when I released the stock and assembly the pieces came back together again.  That is the power of air pressure working against you.  You are forming a vacuum because of the sealant and when you try to move the pieces apart the air pressure starts working to bring them together again.

What came next was a further application of Aero-Kroil (mainly because it is supposed to go along metal surfaces displacing other stuff) and putting pipe cleaners through any opening that was available, mainly between the assembly at the rear sight base.  After struggling most of the day with that I then put on another application of antique restorer as it had moved the exterior of the stock from a dust magnet to a skin magnet.  Yummy!

The next day, finally, with the use of a rubber mallet... if you don't have a rubber mallet around your house, get one!  Mine has been ever so handy at non-marring use on things beyond pistols and rifles and if you really have to beat yourself on the head with something, there are far worse things than a rubber mallet.  Now, where was I?

Oh!  By holding the receiver in my left hand (like da book said!) and keeping the bayonet locked forward and pressed into a sheet of plywood and gently rapping the buttstock upwards to put force in the wanted direction of movement, I got my very first sucking sound in this project with lots of suck to it.  One or two more light taps with the mallet and then a couple with my gloved hand, then some very continuous pulling and... the receiver and stock were forced back together by air pressure.  The second attempt finally got the parts free as I had introduced some air into the sealant.  Next time I will use that handy-dandy can of compressed air for that to start with.

The parts came free:

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I folded the bayonet back once the parts were free, just like it said in the book.

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More glistening and it isn't gold.

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I now had a major component separation achieved for the takedown!  Throw a party!

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Progress had been achieved!

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Except, of course, for the tablespoon or two of cosmoline that now was congealed inside the stock area and, of course, coating the barrel/receiver assembly.  I am not joking about quantities, and I used up the better part of a shop rag and two paper towels getting the surface amounts off.  Huge amounts came off in the antique restorer rag, as well.  Not just soak in amounts, but glistening puddles of the stuff.

The next day was cleaning all the metal I could get to, removing some of the fun parts like the gas diverter for the grenade launcher and sweating over getting the sight leaf for the grenade launcher up so I could clean under it.  Then sweating to get it back down again.  I debated about taking the front sight apart, but realized that coating the threads of the adjustable pin for the sight was actually a good use for cosmoline.  Anything caught under the ring will soak out when the barrel is heated from firing and that won't be much.  All the exterior surfaces, however, got cleaned... and cleaned... then cleaned again... nylon brush, pipecleaners, tooth-picks...

For anyone wanting to clean rifles with gas block and escapement systems I can't picture living without pipecleaners and tooth-picks.  Project type tooth-picks from your craft store, not toothy tooth-picks from the grocery store.  If you need to push in a small amount of a rag or get something that will conform to a small hole to work away at material adhering to metal, those two are musts.

Yesterday all the exterior components were finished, the bore finally properly cleaned out using first the water based cleaner/degreaser, and then the evaporating one, then lots of swipe downs with Militec-1 patches that still got some blackness on them.  I've come to expect that since I don't have a huge ultrasonic tank for such things or an electro system to force that stuff out.  The bore is chrome lined and when I sight through to a piece of plywood against a wall I get that lovely triangle of inverted image on the top of the bore.  I couldn't ask for anything nicer!

After that comes the first wipe down with drops of Militec-1 on the exterior metal surfaces.

The stock got to rest yesterday to let the restorer stuff do some more work, and I was already getting the hand tackiness feeling on it by the end of the day.

Today the metal got covered over and it is now time to work on the stock.  Cosmoline is no longer being left in orange patches on my cleaning cloths, but it is still felt on the hand.  It is just bad.

Some other discoveries were of some use marks on the stock covered by the finish.  This includes what I think are pieces of tar... or possibly some asphalt... or someone just dropped the stock on the floor of the arsenal and it didn't get wiped down before a finish was applied to it.  Pride of workmanship there isn't for the stock.  And there are times I begin to suspect the finish hadn't even dried before they packed it away.  There are also drip marks from the finish not being properly wiped down.

I'll have to search around and see if I can find a used Yugoslav SKS stock somewhere and refinish that.   While BLO is the 'official' arsenal finish, there are a lot of stocks that soldiers had to finish on their lonesome, so there has to be some variety of that on the military side.  With BLO the way it was put on you can't really tell it was Beech wood... no idea what to do on that front.

On the metal side I need to get the retaining pin in the bolt out so I can, first, clean that because it is still sticky and, second, replace the firing pin with a firing pin and spring combo so the pin can never go through a slam-fire or get locked forward... that is purely a safety issue and as I consider safety to be the first thing with firearms, it has to be done.  So far the retaining pin is not coming out for love nor money... and a bench arbor press that I can put a pin punch into would be a lovely addition to the hardware around the shop.  I know I can get the basic press, but pin punch adapters for the head?  Haven't looked but there must be something for that given how often that routine is done with machine parts.

So that is where things stand as of right now.  The stock has gotten another go-around with blemish remover and antique restorer and is now resting, the heat is bad enough that I am going to rest, and doing that I will look for a low-end bench arbor press with pin punch replaceable heads.

Life is grand.

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