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FAQs 1

Over the years, questions have been asked several times over concerning my rifling bench, construction methodology, usage, and the like, Ad Nauseum.  So much so, I’ve memorized some standardized answers.  (uh….some of ’em aren’t printable on a family website) But! Hopefully you can find an answer or two to help you along the way with your project or rifling job.  ‘Course, all your questions cain’t be answered here, but my old adage “If you got questions, I got answers” is still true, so give me a call.  Just don’t expect me to answer questions about some other style of rifling bench.

Q: Can I rifle on both the push and pull strokes?
A:  Yes, providing you make a cutter that will cut both ways.  But, if you wish to cut in only one direction, just orient your bit so that it grabs metal when traveling in the direction you wish to cut.

Q:  Is it true that you can cut different rates of twist with your latest version of head stock/worm guide tooth set-up with no change over or angle alteration of the guide tooth?
A:  Simply put, yes.

Q:  The wood you use for the worm appears to be soft and I want to use oak or maple for my worm so that it holds up better/longer.  How much stronger are these woods?
A:  Yes, the fir or pine that I use for my rifling worms is considered “soft”.  Do not think for one minute that an oak or maple worm will be any better.  It will needlessly be a much, much, more expensive investment.  One worm down in my shop has over 100 barrels on it.  It shows wear, but is not worn out.  It’s going to outlast my lifetime of another 20-25 years or so, so why would you want to waste that extra money and kill yourself off trying to chisel out the grooves?  As for how much stronger are these woods?  Hell, I don’t know.  I never had need to make one in order to find out.

Q:  You often say “When it comes to boring, reaming, and rifling, weight is your friend”.  So is it possible to make a worm blank with it’s diameter larger than what your book states for adding weight to the rifler?
A:  Yes, it can.  Just turn down a worm blank from a larger piece of wood, such as a fence post or 6X6.  Remember, if you change one dimension on the bench, you may have to change the dimensions on other components as well to insure your bench will work, let alone go together.  ANY component on my style of rifling bench can be (and has) changed to suit the operator’s needs.

Q:  Can I use hot rolled steel rod instead of brass to make your new style guide tooth?
A:  Yes and you can even make it out of a piece of ram rod scrap if you wish.

Q:  I can’t seem to find hog lard in my store.  Can I use something else for lubrication?
A:  I also use peanut oil.  Motor oil works really well, too, but it is a bit on the expensive side.  Remember, if you use left over bacon grease, it smells O.K., but it has salt in it.  Salt causes items to rust quickly if it is left on too long.

Q:  Does the axle on the worm that goes into the handle have to be 1 15/16″ diameter?
A:  Most certainly not!  I often turn blanks with axles that are the same diameter at both ends, or the rear axle is a customer’s request of 1 3/4″, 1 7/8″, etc.  I do this so the customer doesn’t have to go out and buy a new hole saw just to make 1 hole.  Also, if you are turning your own blank and bugger up that axle, just make it smaller and use it….why throw it away or start over on a new piece of wood? (Yes.  Sadly, guys have done this.)

Q: I’m often asked “How do you get your worm blanks true if you are turning them by hand?”  This is a most excellent question and one that is easily answered in many words, but more easily accomplished. Five photographs should help explain how I go about doing it in the shop.

1.  The worm needs still be mounted on the lathe to perform this task.  That being insured, obtain a strip of unmarked paper that is about one inch wide and about 10″ long or so.  Regardless of what you use, one long side of this strip must have a perfectly straight edge upon it.  A piece of typing or copy paper works just fine.  Now grab a pencil and head over to the lathe.

2.  By measuring the worm blank every couple of inches for it’s entire length, find the narrowest point on the blank and mark that spot by a line with your pencil.

3.  Wrap the paper strip around the blank at this point.  Take pains to insure the paper is wrapped tightly around the worm and the one straight edge, as the paper is wrapped around, meets itself perfectly.  No slops, no loose spots, no crooked wraps are allowed here at all.  Git’er wrapped as tightly as possible.  Where the outside end of the strip runs out, mark a pencil line on the inside portion of the strip. You are making a flexible measure to be used several times throughout this operation.

I know it’s a bit hard to make out just where the end of the strip stops, but you can see where the pencil line is placed.  You will notice the right edge of the strip meets itself perfectly.

4.  Remove the strip and go to one end of the blank or the other.  Wrap the strip tightly around the worm again and notice the distance between the end of the strip and your pencil line.  If the two align perfectly, move a couple of inches and measure again.  When they do not touch each other, make a small pencil mark at that spot on the worm.

Keep measuring every two inches until you find a spot that matches up on the strip or you have measured about a foot in length.  Mark this location with your pencil as well.

5.  Now crank up the lathe after obtaining your sanding block that has been loaded with 100 grit paper.  Sand between the lines you indicated on the worm.  Stop sanding every little bit and take a new measurement until the strip end meets the line.  Git’er as close as possible.  I know it’s fun making all that sanding dust, but don’t get carried away and sand too much off.

6.  Repeat this task as much as needed until you’ve gone the entire length of the blank.  When the end of the strip meets the line at the opposite end of the blank from where you started, your worm is pretty dern true.

And In My Not So Humble Opinion…

If your worm is not perfectly true and the same circumference at each end, but are less than a 1/16″, don’t worry about it, you’re in the ballpark.  You can make it up by fudging when you lay out all your groove lines by drawing the lines a little heavy/wider.  But again, don’t worry about it because the average person will not be able to make exactly perfect grooves when chiseling them out by hand anyway.  Your rifle will never know.  Don’t believe me?  I’ve got several chunk gun barrels out there and ever dern one of them is a certified spider killer.  If that kind of accuracy ain’t good enough for you, I suggest you call up my good friend Don Getz and buy yourself a machine rifled barrel as this project is not for you.