Thursday, 22 May 2014

Heanel Mod 1, Cleaning the Stock and Metal Work

A semi restoration.

While resealing and lubing the action I thought why not treat the stock?

When I first acquire a new (to me) rusty old air rifle, I always rub the metalwork down with some gun oil or 3 in 1 and some very fine wire wool and wipe clean with a kitchen towel - this removes the rust and shows me the condition of the metal. 

A quick rub with some oil and wire wool helped matters no end.

I can see either how much bluing or enamel is left and whether any of the rust has left any pitting, giving me the choice of leaving it as it is or completely rubbing down and cold bluing or painting with enamel spray paint.

State of the rifle when I first got it.

I did this to the Heanel Mod I when I first picked it up and found the barrel to still be in really good condition, and even though the compression tube wasn't so hot, the metal still looked dark where the bluing was worn. 

Lots of rubbing with 3 in 1 and 0000  wire wool and the metal is looking quite respectable.

So recently, when the stock was off and the rifle was apart, I thoroughly rubbed down every part until all the dirt and rust were removed. It took about an hour of rubbing which did reveal a little pitting along the compression tube just below where it sits in the stock. 

Pitting below fore stock line.

Having already spent a half hour doing this when I first got the rifle, most of this session involved the removal of accumulated grime, and seeing as it was over 75 years old, some of the grime was a little tough to remove. Once cleaned, the metal looked pretty decent, so I decided to leave it with it's protective coating of oil; besides, the rear sight and front sight hood are missing and I wouldn't really consider rebluing until they were replaced with original parts.

Rear sight in need of a competent bodge.

Front sight still useable.

The stock is made of walnut and has a lovely little oval brass Heanel badge on the side of the butt. The brass got a clean when I first picked it up but now that the rifle was apart, I decided to rub down and oil the stock whilst it was removed. 

Nice badge and a very old stock.

I had recently picked up a small pack of three grades of wire wool from my local discount shop, so taking a pinch of the coarsest grade, I rubbed down a test patch on the butt. 

Test patch with ingrained dirt from over 75 years.

It looked good, so using most of the rest of that grade, I cleaned the rest of the stock, first rubbing in a circular motion then finishing off by rubbing along the grain.

Four hours of solid rubbing with rough grade wire wool ... looks good but could be better.

Four hours of solid rubbing revealed a nicely grained piece of walnut. More effort was put into the end grains and the many dings and dents the stock had accumulated. 

The Butt needed extra attention, note the cracks that even steaming couldn't shift.

The wood is old and dry, and although the Danish oil is giving the outside a bit of a rejuve, the inside where the action sits is bone dry, so here I filled any light cracks with superglue and glued on some bits which had chipped off.

Loctite superglue fills those small cracks and rejoins any bits chipped off.

The accumulated years of sweat and dirt were still noticable, so one evening I used the remaining wire wool to get the stock as clean as I possibly could.

Hours more rubbing with wire wool and i'm a lot happier.

This was followed up with a rub down with the medium grade wire wool for about an hour, then about half hour with the fine grade just to get it really smooth. 

Look at the dust and crap on this, you can't beat a good damp cloth to show you what you've actually achieved.

With a fine cleaning of the brass badge, the stock was ready for oiling with Danish oil, which happens to be the only oil I have at the moment.

The first five or so thin layers of Danish oil tend to soak in to the wood before forming a laquer.

I have been told the best way to oil a stock is to rub on a light coat of oil every hour for the first day, one coat every day for the first week, one coat every week for a month, then once every six months to keep it topped up. During this process, the stock should be rubbed down with very fine wire wool after every third coat, and cleaned with a damp cloth. You don't have to follow the instructions to the letter but it gives you a rough idea. I have used this as a guide before and found it to produce very satisfying results. A couple of coats over a year with a light rub down now and again helps stop the sweat and dirt on your hands staining the wood, apparently.

Starting to look as good as I hoped it would.

So this stock got a coat of oil every few hours on the first day. Over the next seven days, it might've had two coats in a day, though I did miss a day due to being just too busy. But I did give it a rub down with wire wool after every third application without fail, just a light rubbing and a wipe with a damp cloth to bring back the silky smooth texture of the wood.

Baby wipes are very good for removing any wire wool bits.

It is important that each layer is as thin as possible, because after the oil has soaked into the grain it starts to build up like a lacquer and if it is applied too thickly it will feel bitty and take ages to dry. If there was the slightest tacky feel to the wood before rubbing with wire wool, I left it another hour and just gave it a wipe with a cloth in the mean time; the worst thing to do is rub down while it hasn't completely dried. Once a good lacquer base had been built up I left it to dry for 15 hours, then, using very fine wire wool I rubbed along the grain in single light strokes to remove any bittiness. A cloth was used to remove all the bits of dust that came off the wire wool, leaving a shiny smooth stock. I could if I wanted apply another thin coat of danish oil but will leave it for now as i'm happy with how it looks.

Ready for a good rub down with wire wool finally.

After the third day, I put the trigger guard and action back on the stock; any further applications will be made with the trigger guard left on but the action removed. 

After three days all bits and blemishes were rubbed out of the stock, I was left with a very smooth base to apply more very thin layers of Danish oil.

I was very pleased with the results as there are some lovely grain features in this walnut stock, and even though I couldn't remove all the dings and scratches it's still a damned sight better than it was originally.

Stock with many layers of oil, rubbing and wiping after a week.


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.

And the Lord said "Let there be Weasels", and there was.        

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Heanel Mod 1 DRP, Fixing and reassembly

Heanel Mod I DRP

Even though this air rifle was 75 years old there were still a lot of sharp edges on it, so I needed to get the draper mini drill out and deburr the compression tube. 

I thought it wise to clean the inside first as I didn't want to clean it with bits of deburred metal everywhere. It would also be nice to see if any damage had been caused by the nail that was embedded in the leather piston seal.

Hole left by the rivet in the piston face.

I used medium guage wire wool clamped onto and wrapped around the cleaning rod, it was dipped in white spirits and the inside of the compression tube was given a good all round scrub, and this was followed with a fine grade wire wool and then kitchen towel. 

Coarsest grade of wire wool removed most of the crud.

The inside of the compression tube was mirror smooth and shiny along the whole length, however some of the leather piston seal had stuck to the end of the tube, so I carefully chipped this off with the end of the cleaning rod. Now I could see that there were slight markings below the transfer port caused by the head of the nail, though these were nothing of concern. I did notice that the transfer port ran from the centre up to the barrel and by using the cleaning rod as a guide could see it was about 3 cm long.

White spirits stops most of the crud from collecting on the outside of the wire wool.

Using a craft blade I scraped the hard surface off the leather piston seal and shaved off any lumps and bumps off the face, 

A sharp blade brings life back to what appeared to be one knackered piston seal.

but not from around the hole left by the nail. Pouring some 3 in 1 oil into a milk bottle lid, I put the leather seal in to soak for a few hours.

Soaking in 3 in 1. A red plastic back plate give a flat surface for the leather seal to sit on.

When it came out, I placed it on a kitchen towel to soak up the excess, then pressed hard against a table surface. 

Remove as much excess oil as possible, it's going to smoke for a while as it is.

The seal appeared to have a new lease of life and a compression test proved there was new life in it now. Leather seals need a quick push to start to seal the compression tube unlike O ring and parachute seals which will seal straight off.

One restored leather piston seal.

I deburred the cocking slide and the pivot pin holes from the inside of the tube, 

Still has sharp edges after 75 years.

then screwed the grub screw for the barrel lock bar right in and deburred any metal created by the cocking linkage. 

That grub screw should come right out now.

White spirits and kitchen towel were used to remove any metal grindings from the inside of the compression tube, then I used 3 in 1 oil on some 0000 wire wool and cleaned every external surface of the rifle while it was dismantled.

0000 wire wool and oil removes rust but leaves whatever bluing is left on the action.

Now the leather piston seal was soft with no excess oil when pressed. It was screwed back on to the piston body, then the piston unit was replaced in the compression tube. 

A polish and light greasing.

The trigger housing has enough spring tension to hold the main spring in place with its preload.
With some Abby LT 2 grease liberally spread over the original main spring and spring guide, they followed on behind. I could always order a new spring later and this one was still a lot stiffer than the length of spring I ordered a while back.

The original main spring.

The trigger housing inner sleeve was still well and truly spring loaded and with it lined up, I carefully squeezed the forward end into the rear of the compression tube. I then gently tapped the rear of the rifle against the floor until the inner sleeve was back in place. 

This shows how much spring tension there is in the trigger housing.

The spring tension of the sleeve was enough to hold the main spring under preload and with the aid of a screwdriver the holes were lined up, 

All lined up.

the trigger was lined up and the pivot bolt fitted. With the safety in the off position and the trigger pushed forward, I replaced the end cap. With the end cap lined up, the retaining pin was fitted, it required the aid of a hammer to drive it home fully.

That pin takes some effort to fit as well as remove, so bear that in mind if you have to do this.

This was finger tight as there is a cut out in the stock for it to fit in.

The grub screw that holds the barrel locking detent bar unscrewed easily now that the end of the hole had been deburred.

A fair bit of wear and tear on this grub screw over the years, but it was easily fixed.

The bar and spring were removed, cleaned, greased with a little LT 2 and put back, with the head of the grub screw in a little deeper so that the cocking linkage wouldn't damage it again. 

Detent bar and spring all cleaned up.

 With a little grease on all the moving parts, the cocking linkage was slipped through the bridge and slotted into the compression tube, 

Guide for the articulated cocking linkage and threads for the fore stock screws.

the unlocking latch and breech were placed back in the forks and the pivot screw was replaced followed by the locking screw.

The pivot bolt goes in so much easier with the barrel broken.

It was a lot easier to tighten the breech pivot screw with the barrel unlocked as if it was ready to load, and this was without a breech seal in place.

The old leather breech seal was well beyond repair so I resorted to my trusty box of rubber O rings, 

Leather breach seal well beyond repair.

I did not have a three mm O ring of the right diameter so I cut one to the right size and super glued the ends together. 

New breech seal made from a section of rubber O ring.

It was made a tiny fraction larger so it would sit in the breech under its own pressure, the breech was closed to push the seal all the way home and a perfect seal appears to be produced.

New rubber breech seal fitted into place.

With the rifle lubed and put back together, I fitted it back into the stock, using a screw driver to hold the trigger tension spring back until the trigger was in place for the spring to fit over the tab.

Easing the tension spring back to fit on the back of the trigger.

Then it was a simple matter of fitting the stock screws. Each screw was fitted loosely at first allowing the action a little adjustability in the stock. This way all the screws attached correctly and then were tightened up fully. There is nothing more annoying than tightening one fore stock screw all the way home, only to find the other side won't fit.

Rifle back together, i gave the stock a rub down with wire wool to discover some lovely wood.

All I need to do now is build or bodge some sort of rear sight, the original sight is a simple affair so should be easy enough to make a rough copy. The safety still doesn't work, but I have an idea on how to remedy that, and the barrel lock could do with a new spring behind the detent bar. Anyway, the rifle fires with some authority now for it's size, but I will have to wait until I get a new chrony to find out what power it is producing.


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Heanel Mod 1 DRP Strip Down

It's been a long time since my last blog entry, but i've been so busy - a new job, fixing the garden, kitting out the new LDV, feeding the family, and of course waiting on my wife hand and foot so she will agree to let me buy new air rifle bits and a chrony! So here it is...... finally!

The Heanel after a quick tidy up with a cloth and oil.

The more I research about the Heanel Mod 1, the more intrigued I become. There's not a lot of info on the net about it but you can find a bit if you look hard enough. With a complete strip down and replacement of internals and breech seal, as well as fixing the rear open sight, it will be a neat little rifle.

Fixing the rear sight should not be too taxing a project.

There is no scope rail so the rear sight really needs to be fixed, and the safety at the back of the compression tube doesn't engage even though it does look rather snazzy.  

A solid looking but ineffective safety.

I popped a Wadcutter in the breech to see how well the rifle fired ... nothing came out of the barrel, and on inspecting the breech end of the barrel I could see the back of the pellet sitting half an inch down the barrel. The leather piston seal had most likely dried up, so adding ten drops of 3 in 1 oil down the transfer port, I worked the break barrel up and down a few times and left the rifle to stand upright for a few hours. After a wait I then cocked the rifle and fired it into a bucket of sand, and sure enough, the pellet shot out of the end of the barrel.

So with some time on my hands, I thought I would strip her down and have a shufty. 

The stock is need of some serious TLC, if not major surgery.

The stock, which is well worn with age, was removed by removing the leading screw on the trigger guard and and two smaller screws set at 90 degrees either side of the fore stock, all flat head and the fore stock screws threaded at the end as they pass through a metal cup.

The sleeve around the fore stock screws stops the wood being chewed up.

Fore stock screws threaded at the tip, very tidy.

The trigger tension spring is fitted into the stock and connects to a tab on the back of the exposed trigger blade.

Tab on the back of the trigger for the tension spring, the block next to the pivot hole is the safety catch.

Should fit back into place easily enough.

Trigger tension spring built into the stock.

The trigger pivot had a small circular nut with a flat head that screws onto a bolt with a flat head slot just like you find on a Diana 16.

Nut for the trigger pivot bolt.

This runs the width of the compression tube, and the flat head nut was only finger tight. 

Nut removed and bolt ready to slide out.

With the trigger out of the way, I could see how the safety moved and was supposed to hold the trigger to stop it releasing the latch rod. It looks like it should work unless it's just worn with age, as nothing appears to be broken.

Safety bar inside the rear of the trigger housing.

As I want to get access to the compression tube unhindered, I removed the breech, barrel and cocking linkage. 

Locking screw for the breech pivot bolt removed.

The locking screw for the breech pivot came out easily and I unscrewed the pivot from the forks, carefully as I didn't have a very wide screwdriver and did not want to damage the head. 

Breech pivot bolt unscrews a lot easier if you break the barrel.

The breech moved forward and I was able to lift the cocking linkage from the compression tube and slide it through the retaining bridge, which, like the block that holds the main stock screw, was seamlessly connected to the tube.

Some pretty spotless welding.

The cocking linkage is held together with tubes of steel that have been riveted out either end, I would most likely damage them if I tried to remove them.

Best leave the cocking linkage as is, for now.

The breech seal is made of leather and using a small flat head on a small screwdriver, I gently worked the seal out from the outer edge.

Leather breach seal is well past shimming.

It came out in one peice but looked a little beyond repair. 

One shagged out breech seal.
The leather was old and dry and some had come away, sticking in the breech seal hole, so even with soaking in oil and shimming it would not work again. Such is life, but it was nothing a peice of rubber O ring and a bit of glue couldn't fix; a new one could be made with thick shoe leather and a craft knife or correct sized hole punches.

That is a 38 for sure, makes the rifle 75 years old by my reckoning.

The year of manufacture is stamped on the breech block and here I found the number 38, so did Neville Chaimberlin bring this air rifle back with him in 1938 to tell the nation we shall have peace in our time? Most likely not, but this air rifle is a solid piece of engineering just like the rest of the German war machine of that time. This rifle is very similar to the Weihrauch HW 35 in much of it's looks and design features, perhaps it's a German thing but I reckon the influence is obvious.

Here you can see the influence on the Weihrauch HW 35.

The breech lock bar fell out nicely and I could see how it was designed to move, limited by the pivot bolt.

All holds together nicely, but not when you remove the pivot bolt.

The detent locking bar was held in place by a grub screw on the underside of the compression tube which means a very long transfer port. Years of the cocking linkage rubbing against the bottom of the compression tube had deformed the flat head of the grub screw, but being a softer steel it was easy enough to reshape the flat head. 

Years of cocking has worn the outer edge of the grub screw hole and the top of the grub screw itself.

Now I could tighten the grub screw but not remove it, this was because the cocking linkage had also deformed the end of the screw thread in the compression tube slightly.

Screws in but not out, easily sorted though.

As the safety runs through the centre of the back block, the retaining pin runs below this and was a bugger to remove as it had most likely been there since the start of World War Two, but with the compression tube in a vice, I was able to loosen the pin by gently tapping the slight overhang back and forth with a hammer. 

this pin did not want to drift out without some serious persuasion.

Once it was loosened, I was able to drift it out and the back block and safety came out.

End cap, safety, and pin. Knock the the small pin out of the safety tab and it should all come apart.

It was now possible to see a short, spring loaded inner sleeve which is the trigger housing that held the spring guide in place.

Drifting the spring loaded trigger housing out enough to get a grip on.
 By putting the compression tube vertically in a vice, I could drift the sleeve out a little via the trigger slot and then use flat nose pliers to remove it completely.

Drifted out a little and pliers will remove it the rest of the way.

With this removed, the main spring pushed the spring guide back over an inch.

Inch and a half of preload on the main spring.

The spring guide and main spring came out easy, revealing a cleanish guide and a fairly worn spring that had most likely been in there for 75 years. The piston moved easily down the compression tube with the aid of a screwdriver and was pulled out the end. 

In need of a good clean and a new main spring in an ideal world.

There was a little oil from where I had previously put some down the transfer port over the spring and piston, the leather piston head seal was grey and nasty from this oil and years of dirt. 

Old and worn leather piston seal.

When I gave the piston a wipe clean, I found a rivet embedded in the leather piston face, which was a sure sign that some numpty had ran out of pellets at one time and decided to see what else the rifle could shoot.

After a clean and there is a rivet embedded in the face of the leather seal.

Anyway, I prised out the rivet/nail and unscrewed the leather seal and spacer from the piston body, and even though there was a nail shaped hole in the piston face I reckoned I could save the seal, or at least give it a go.

And there lies the culprit.

I took the old main spring to the shed where I have a couple of lengths of different diameter spring that I once bought for some forgotten experiment, one was a fraction wider and would fit the piston, though the wire diameter was maybe a tad smaller. I also picked up a pack of three different grades of wire wool which would be ideal for cleaning the walnut stock, and I still have a load of Danish oil left that will bring out the grain a treat. So there, a few things to fix and clean and the rifle can go back together, most are already done as I write this, so further blog entries will be coming any day soon.


Wing Commander, Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe