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Installing a replacement barrel tension screw escutcheon in circa 1954 Winchester Model 70 stock
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November 9, 2023 - 3:22 am
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 The issue here concerns my hybrid Winchester Model 70 that was custom built by the late H. H. Nagel of San Antonio, probably sometime in the mid-Fifties, about which I’ve already posted in another topic. (https://winchestercollector.org/forum/winchester-rifles/early-postwar-model-70-supergrade-rebarreled-by-h-h-nagel-to-22-250-need-some-advice-from-model-70-gurus/#p137235) The build consists of a 1949 vintage Model 70 action with a 26″ sightless custom barrel chambered for Jerry Gebby’s 22-250 Varminter cartridge, the one Remington adopted without modification in 1967 as the 22-250 Remington cartridge. The barreled action is bedded in a mid-Fifties version of the Model 70 Super Grade stock.  Because the barrel is sightless, there is no dovetail cut in the barrel for a tension adjusting nut and the nut, mating tension screw and escutcheon are absent from the forearm of the stock. 

The rifle is quite handsome and in minty condition – but the little forearm hole in the middle of the checkering pattern wasn’t plugged.  I’ve acquired a replacement barrel tension nut/screw/escutcheon assembly and propose to (a) discard the nut; (b) shorten the screw so it won’t protrude above the surface of the barrel inletting; (c) install the screw in the escutcheon with enough epoxy in the threads to secure it for eternity plus six months; (d) weld the escutcheon in the countersink of the existing hole with a bit of epoxy.  

I was about to do this when I thought about some poor future owner trying to adjust the barrel tension and becoming frustrated enough to scar the stock.  A second version of this plan would involve using a slot-less bolt blank of the correct diameter, so Mr. Curious would be looking at solid blue steel in the hole. a third version would be to make a plug from some African ebony stock on hand….. but the reason it’s still on hand is it’s unspeakably brittle and difficult to work and I don’t want to mess with it. Never mind.  

If anybody knows, did Winchester use anything to hold the escutcheon in the hole or just press-fit it? I can’t do the latter because this escutcheon is a slip-fit and there’s no nut on the other end of the screw. 

All advice cheerfully 20230913_180611.jpgImage Enlargerreceived. 

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- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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November 9, 2023 - 3:00 pm
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Tedk said

Tedk said

I’d address this issue the same way Winchester did on the Van Orden Rifle stock by placing a knurled nut that was used on the front Super Grade swivel base (same threads as the escutcheon) in the hole and just threading the screw in. Probably won’t even have to shorten the screw.

  

  

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November 9, 2023 - 4:50 pm
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Hi Zeb-

These are Tedk’s pics of what Winchester did to disguise the superfluous barrel bedding screw hole on the VO stock.  Since it’s a target weight barrel (with no dovetail underneath), the forearm stud (as Winchester called it) would contact the barrel if set in the usual place.  So they took one of the knurled nuts used to secure Super Grade front swivel bases, put it in the hole for the cylindrical part of the forearm stud, and ran a barrel bedding screw in from the outside (the factory SG nut has the same thread).  No epoxy was used on this one.  Since the bedding screw wouldn’t contact the barrel anyway, it didn’t need shortening.

Stock-inletting-bottom.jpgImage EnlargerStock-inletting-top.jpgImage Enlarger

Best,

Lou

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November 9, 2023 - 5:09 pm
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Tedk said

Tedk said

Tedk said

I’d address this issue the same way Winchester did on the Van Orden Rifle stock by placing a knurled nut that was used on the front Super Grade swivel base (same threads as the escutcheon) in the hole and just threading the screw in. Probably won’t even have to shorten the screw.

  

  

  

Ted, an excellent idea.  I haven’t tried the forearm tension screw on my thread gauge set but intend to and, if I can’t locate a suitable nut, can always replicate one.  A quick search has turned up two different styles of Model 70 swivel nuts, the first is round with knurling on its circumference, which I assume is to bite into the inletting to preclude turning off.  It’s displayed and advertised as specifically for the Super Grade. The second nut has a square base and a coned thread section designed to fit into the screw hole.  It is advertised as being for a Model 70 swivel stud screw but closely resembles the nut I have that is part of the tension screw assembly – the square base fitting into the barrel’s dovetail.  Perhaps this is made for the Field grade rifle? another-style-of-sling-swivel-stud.jpgImage EnlargerWINCHESTER-PRE-1964-MODEL-70-SUPER-GRADE-FRONT-SWIVEL-010-SM.jpgImage Enlarger

- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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November 9, 2023 - 5:21 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi Zeb-

These are Tedk’s pics of what Winchester did to disguise the superfluous barrel bedding screw hole on the VO stock.  Since it’s a target weight barrel (with no dovetail underneath), the forearm stud (as Winchester called it) would contact the barrel if set in the usual place.  So they took one of the knurled nuts used to secure Super Grade front swivel bases, put it in the hole for the cylindrical part of the forearm stud, and ran a barrel bedding screw in from the outside (the factory SG nut has the same thread).  No epoxy was used on this one.  Since the bedding screw wouldn’t contact the barrel anyway, it didn’t need shortening.

Stock-inletting-bottom.jpgImage EnlargerStock-inletting-top.jpgImage Enlarger

Best,

Lou

  

Lou, Thank you very much for the two images and for your and Ted’s good advice. That is obviously the answer and the method I’ll pursue.  In examining Ted’s image of the inletting, I can see the round, knurled nut you describe, in the bedding screw hole.  I also see what appears to be a square-based swivel nut in the rectangular mortise closer to the forearm tip, which I assume is for the shooting sling stud.  Are the round, knurled nut and the square-based nut interchangeable or are they diffeimage-of-SG-repro-forward-swivel-base-screw-set.jpegImage Enlargerrent in function?

Bill

Subsequent comment:  I think I’ve answered my own question.  The round, knurled nut is made to fit into a circular mortise in the bottom of the Super Grade stock’s inletting, surrounding the bedding screw hole. The bedding screw hole is countersunk from the outside surface of the SG stock to accommodate the escutcheon. The coned section of the square-based nut is designed to fit into a hole of larger diameter to mate with a target swivel screw.   

Further subsequent comment:  I’ve just thrown another twenty bucks or so down the Super Grade rabbit hole. Guy on eBay apparently makes and definitely sells reproduction Pre-64 Winchester nuts, screws, sling swivel bases, et al.   A repro SG forward sling swivel screw/nut set (2 screws, 2 nuts) was sixteen bucks plus tax and shipping.  I just need one of the knurled nuts, which apparently are called “bushings” by the knowing, and hope the repro quality is adequate. The only way I could get an original WRA part would be to rob a gas station and buy an entire set of original SG bases and related parts.  Anyway, I owe Ted and Lou each a drink of cheap whiskey… 

- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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November 9, 2023 - 8:42 pm
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Bill,

Pretty sure the repros have a different thread

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November 10, 2023 - 1:27 am
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Tedk said
Bill,

Pretty sure the repros have a different thread

  

By my thread gauge, the repro bedding screw set (screw/bushing/escutcheon) is cut with a 10-36 thread. When it arrives next week, we’ll see how the repro SG forward base screw set threads are cut. Different vendors so it should be interesting. 

For my own education, could someone please tell me the thread count of the original WRA factory bedding screw, which I now understand to be the same thread as on the Super Grade forward swivel base screw?

Thanks

- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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November 10, 2023 - 2:49 am
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Good Luck

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November 10, 2023 - 2:07 pm
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Hi Zeb-

Unless I am mistaken (and I just checked), the original Winchester parts are all 10-36.  Meaning forearm stud, barrel bedding screw, Super Grade forearm swivel base screw, and SG forearm swivel base nut.  The screws differ in head diameter and length, of course, but have the same thread.

The repro barrel bedding screws I’ve got are also 10-36.  I presume this is b/c they were meant to work with the factory barrel stud on the assumption that most people needing to replace the screw still had the factory stud in the barrel.  IIRC, however, at least some of the repro SG swivel sets use SAE 10-32 machine screws and nuts.  So the swivel nut would bind on the barrel bedding screw (original or repro).

Let us know if the parts you’ve ordered fit.  FWIW… I have a repro knurled swivel nut that’s 10-36 I can send you, along with a repro barred bedding screw that fits it.  The nut would also fit a factory bedding screw but I don’t have any that aren’t at least a little buggered.

It’s also worth mentioning that it’s possible (???) that the factory barrel stud would sit down in the inletting sufficiently that it would not contact the underside of you rifle’s custom barrel (without having to deepen the inletting). Depends on your barrel contour, which IIRC is a little heavier than a standard Winchester barrel but does not have the rear sight barrel boss.  Might work just fine, you’d have to try it… 

OTOH… In Ted’s VO example, the barrel is the Medium Heavy straight taper Target barrel.  Those barrels are the same diameter as the barrel boss on the Standard barrel at that point, so if the target barrel didn’t have a dovetail underneath (and most don’t), Winchester couldn’t use the regular barrel stud to attach the dummy screw b/c the flat top of the stud would sit up in the enlarged barrel channel.  Hence, they “buried” a SG swivel nut in the part of the inletting meant to accommodate the cylindrical (actually conical) part of the barrel stud.

Let us know how it works out… Laugh

Lou

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November 10, 2023 - 4:36 pm
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An ancient curse: “May you have an interesting life.” Thanks, Lou.  It’s very kind of you to offer.  And I really appreciate the thread information.  If the incoming bushings turn out to be 10-32 instead of 10-36, I may just try to re-tap the threads. If that doesn’t work, I’ve probably got enough round stock on hand to cutoff, drill and tap two bushings. Knurl them with a slotting file. I’m not really set up for metal work – wood is my thing – but Dad left me a lot of taps, dies and some fixtures, enough to fabricate a couple of bushings.  And Oxypho is my friend.  

I’ll report progress (or the lack thereof) as events warrant….

PS  One more thing.  If you have a photo of both sides of an original round bushing, I’d admire to see them.  I was of the impression they were flat on top and bottom but if one side is conical, that interests me.  The ordered ones appear to be flat based and cylindrical in lateral view, the cylinder having two diameters with the reduced diameter facing the inletting. 

PPS As of this morning, I’ve rechecked my eBay orders and it turns out the same vendor has sold me both the bedding screw set (which I have in hand) and the SG forward base screw set (which is coming next week.)  TD Gun Parts Screws etc. in Knoxville, TN.  I’ve just emailed him to ask about the thread count of the base screw set.  If my first order is any indication, he does very good quality work. I’m hopeful because the bedding screw is a 10-36 and there should be no reason for him to deviate from that on his base screws. (However, my close personal friend and legal advisor, Murphy, is not so sure.) 

- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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November 10, 2023 - 6:27 pm
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Hi Bill-

I don’t have a photo handy, but I believe that this photo (lifted from pre64win.com) is a correct factory swivel screw nut.  The repros I have are the same externally except they are not blued.

SG-Swivel-Nut.pngImage Enlarger

When I mentioned “conical” above I was referring to the threaded part of the forearm stud that extends down into the hole on the inside of the forearm.  The swivel nuts are basically cylindrical except that the major diameter of the serrated part of the nut is larger than the diameter of the smooth cylindrical part so that the “teeth” can grip wood and let you tighten the screw w/o the nut spinning.

Best,

Lou

P.S.  Here’s hoping that Murphy’s Law grants a waiver in your case…Laugh  If the same machinist made both parts there wouldn’t be any reason to thread them differently.  Winchester was just fond of “bastard” threads, typically finer (more t.p.i.) than SAE “fine”… Of course Winchester was making guns long before SAE “standardized” machine screws.

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November 10, 2023 - 6:52 pm
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Just got a reply email from Tommy, the repro guy in Knoxville, concerning the set of Super Grade swivel front base screws and bushings I ordered from him:

“Bill, You are correct on the thread size 10-36. Thanks for your purchase. Tommy”

This was in response to my query: “Good morning.  I’ve ordered and you’ve shipped a set of these [the base screw set].  Could you please tell me the thread count? I believe the factory original parts are 10-36.  I’ve been advised some repro parts are 10-32 and it would make a difference for my intended use.”

It would appear I’ve caught a break. If so, I can recommend this repro maker.  His eBay handle is tdail3.  

- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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November 10, 2023 - 10:29 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi Bill-

I don’t have a photo handy, but I believe that this photo (lifted from pre64win.com) is a correct factory swivel screw nut.  The repros I have are the same externally except they are not blued.

SG-Swivel-Nut.pngImage Enlarger

When I mentioned “conical” above I was referring to the threaded part of the forearm stud that extends down into the hole on the inside of the forearm.  The swivel nuts are basically cylindrical except that the major diameter of the serrated part of the nut is larger than the diameter of the smooth cylindrical part so that the “teeth” can grip wood and let you tighten the screw w/o the nut spinning.

Best,

Lou

P.S.  Here’s hoping that Murphy’s Law grants a waiver in your case…Laugh  If the same machinist made both parts there wouldn’t be any reason to thread them differently.  Winchester was just fond of “bastard” threads, typically finer (more t.p.i.) than SAE “fine”… Of course Winchester was making guns long before SAE “standardized” machine screws.

  

Lou, Thank you for taking your time to furnish me the clarifying image.  It’s the same as what I’ve ordered from Tommy in Knoxville and his are not blued either. Perhaps there’s a common maker? I suspect WRA’s penchant for extra-fine threads was to discourage emulation, about like Roy Weatherby’s double-radius shouldered brass. Forget the sales talk about improved ignition; not just every small town gunsmith had a set of chamber reamers that would do that trick and most didn’t want to bear the cost of having them made up for one job.  By all accounts, the late Roy Weatherby was a fine and friendly man. But he was also a born natural marketing guy and not naive about competition.  I suspect Thomas Gray Bennett had some of the same genes. 

Best,

- Bill 

 

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November 16, 2023 - 6:58 pm
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The repro swivel screw set has arrived and the nuts are in fact 10-36 and a smooth fit on the bedding screw. The project will proceed as soon as Higher Authority’s pre-Thanksgiving honeydo list is worked down a bit. She’s invited 17 guests for Thanksgiving dinner. Because  H.A. sets a fine table, they’ve all accepted. For my sins, doubtless.

- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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November 19, 2023 - 12:20 am
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barrel-date-1.jpgImage Enlargerbarrel-provenance-1.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-re-installed-2-1.jpgImage Enlargernut-on-bedding-screw-1.jpgImage Enlarger I reinstalled the barrel bedding screw this morning, with a round nut robbed from a swivel base mounting screw set, in the manner of the Van Orden rifle as suggested by TedK and Louis Luttrell, for both of whose advice I’m grateful. I think it came out well and certainly gives a more finished look to the forearm. It’s hard to tell from the photo but the barrel should clear the tip of the protruding bedding screw by about 1/16″.  I didn’t bother to shorten it. If anyone thinks the barrel might flex enough on firing to bear on the screw, please let me have your opinon on the matter. 

As mentioned already, these reproduction parts came from a maker in Knoxville, Tennessee I found on eBay. I can recommend him because the reproduced parts he sold me are well made and finished and accurately threaded. 

When I pulled the stock off, I found two additional barrel markings that I photographed and you can see them below. The date “4-14-62” may be the date the barrel was made but I’m hopeful it was applied by Mr. Nagel and indicates when his work was done.  I’ll run it by Nagel’s in San Antonio and see if it might help them locate a work order or invoice in their archives. 

The other mark, “Barrel made in Finland” was  probably applied by the manufacturer. In 1962 SAKO barrels had a fine reputation for accuracy and were sought after, so maybe it was a takeoff?  There were and are other Finnish makers- Valmet comes to mind.  Given the date, I would have expected to see a “Bofors steel” mark if it were a SAKO barrel but I’m no expert on the brand.

All opinions and commentary welcome. And again, thanks to Ted and Lou. 

- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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November 19, 2023 - 12:31 am
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Glad your project is moving along nicely, Bill. Investigative technique is solid as well, hoping someone will take the time to do a bit of digging for you.

 

Mike

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November 19, 2023 - 12:55 am
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For comparison of the fonts. barrel-date-3.jpgImage Enlargerbarrel-provenance-3.jpgImage Enlargercaliber-and-maker-barrel-marks-2.jpgImage Enlarger

- Bill 

 

WACA # 65205; life member, NRA; member, TGCA; member, TSRA; amateur preservationist

"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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November 19, 2023 - 5:08 pm
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Hi Bill-

If the bedding screw doesn’t touch the underside of the barrel then I suspect you are good to go.  Normally I would shorten the screw to where it was flush with the top of the nut, since the protruding threads aren’t doing anything other than making you worry… Wink  Of course, when I say “I” would shorten the screw what I mean is that my Brother would do it for me on his lathe so that everything was clean and square…

Lou

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November 19, 2023 - 5:39 pm
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That’s the kind of brother to have. When Dad died we sold his mill and toolroom lathe. I didn’t have room enough for either. But with a little ingenuity I’ve shortened screws on my drill press with a Dremel tool cutting disk. But never as fine a thread as 36…

- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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November 19, 2023 - 9:36 pm
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To conclude this thread, I’m going to put up a series of images I’ve just made of the inletting (and related details) of this customized Model 70 built by the late H. H. Nagel of San Antonio, which I’m beginning to believe was done in 1962. 

So latecomers to this topic don’t have to slog their way through all the prior posts to discover what we’re talking about, here’s a brief description of the rifle:  A 1949 Type II cloverleaf tang Model 70 action, installed in a post-1951 Super Grade stock, re-barreled with a 26″ medium weight, clean (no sights) barrel of unknown manufacture, chambered to the late Jerry Gebby’s wildcat 22-250 “Varminter” cartridge that was later run through S.A.A.M.I. and commercialized by Remington. The original configuration of the rifle from which the action and possibly some other parts were taken is not known, although we can say it was a field grade rifle because the floorplate is not marked “Super Grade.” 

My intention in posting these 23 “internal” photos is to encourage our WACA members with Model 70 expertise to see how many anomalies or otherwise interesting things they can find and tell me about.  You know who you are and I define “expert” to include anybody more than 20 miles from home, so nobody should be reticent. Although that seems not to be an affliction common among WACA members.  Most comments will be received appreciatively and all will be received patiently.  bedding-screw-job-1.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-2.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-3.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-4.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-5.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-6.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-7.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-8.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-9.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-10.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-11.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-12.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-13.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-14.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-15.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-16.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-18.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-19.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-20.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-21.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-22.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-23.jpgImage Enlargerbedding-screw-job-24.jpgImage Enlarger

Thanks in advance,

Bill 

- Bill 

 

WACA # 65205; life member, NRA; member, TGCA; member, TSRA; amateur preservationist

"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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