Recently I wrote an
article on restoring the stock of an old World War
II rifle that I bought.
If you have not read
it you might want to check it out
I was very happy with the way
the stock restoration came out, and was excited to shoot it
now that it was all fixed up.
One of the major parts of that
restoration was to fashion a piece of wood for the end of
the stock where the bayonet lug went. It had gone missing
long ago, so the bayonet lug just flopped around on the end
of the barrel. I had dovetailed the little piece of wood I
made into the end of the stock and glued it. The bayonet lug
screwed into the new piece I made so I was certain it was
To my great surprise and
amazement after 5 or 10 rounds the bayonet lug, with my new
piece of wood, popped off the end of the stock and slid down
to the end of the barrel!!! I was flabbergasted! How could
this happen, dovetails are not supposed to come apart that
way. The most intriguing thing was that neither part of the
dovetail was broken. It would not slide back together, so I
had to take the bayonet lug, put it back together, and
re-attach the bayonet lug. Here’s a picture showing the
direction it came apart.
So how could this happen? It
took me some time to figure that one out, but I think I have
the answer. The first problem was that I used standard
Titebond wood glue. Heat actually releases this type of
glue, and let me tell you the barrel of that rifle gets HOT
after a few rounds of 30-06. So first off the glue failed.
Secondly my dovetail itself was
a problem. It was tight, but it was not heavily splayed.
Remember that HOT barrel? Well chances are the heat swelled
the wood of the original stock enough to allow some air in
the joint. Then the recoil of that powerful 30-06 round
drove the piece of wood with the heavy bayonet lug right off
the end of the stock. It would be like you drove it off with