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Old 12-01-2008, 06:05 AM

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Flanged Bedding Pillar How-to

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Submitted By: Hipshot

Making a bedding pillar for the 10/22 is a piece of cake for a machinist. The rest of us seem to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for some little doo-dad that can be substituted with very little effort for a bedding pillar.

The flanged washer in the VQ bedding system is tempting but does not really qualify as a pillar since it does not prevent the take down screw from compressing the wooden stock. I think that most will concede that by definition a pillar must surround the take down screw and support the action while providing an anchor for the head of the screw and preventing any possible compression of the stock.

I've tried various schemes using a short piece of lamp ferrule, with and without a washer epoxied into the bottom of the inletting. They worked, but have always left me looking for a more eloquent solution.

If you have access to a drill press and a few basic tools you can make your own flanged pillar from a readily available brass fitting. The total cost of the piece in this illustration was $2.30. The total time required to make the pillar was about 20 minutes including the time required to take a few pictures of the process.

This picture shows the finished flanged pillar compared to the VQ bedding washer.

(Click On Thumbs For Larger View)

While a one piece pillar might be the ultimate part, producing one really is much more involved and might be better left to a machinist since it requires providing a ledge inside the fitting for the take down screw head to rest upon.

This pillar utilizes the existing escutcheon to retain the head of the take down screw. I believe it will function as well as a similar one piece unit.

Here is a picture of the original brass fitting. I found it at The Home Depot. The brass fitting section is usually located at the back of the store, and not in the normal hardware section. Other styles of fitting might also work. Just be sure that the small end is for 3/8" barb fitting and that the flats are at least 3/4" across.

Get started by cutting off the threaded portion with a hacksaw.

Chuck the fitting up so that it can be turned and the flange can be shaped by holding a file against it. Fortunately brass is rather soft and can be easily worked with many woodworking tools. I removed the bulk of material with a wood file, and then switched to a regular metal cutting file for the last few thousands to give a smoother finish. This goes pretty fast. I had decided beforehand that I would countersink the flange into the floor of the inletting so I elected to leave it at .100" thick. The flange must be cut much thinner if you want to install it on top of the inletting without countersinking, ala VQ bedding washer. The VQ seems to be about .030" thick and raises the action in the stock an equal amount when installed.

Be careful to hold the file flat against the cut in order to assure a surface that is 90 degrees to the axis of rotation. I mounted the piece in a small 3 jaw chuck on a wood lathe for ease of picture taking, but a drill press with a half inch chuck would work equally well...you will just be working vertically rather than horizontally as shown in this picture.

If you have selected a hex fitting such as the one here, you will need to file it round. This one was 13/16" across the flats. I filed it down to 3/4" diameter since that is the size of the forstner bit I planned to use for the installation into the stock. If you plan to greatly reduce the thickness of the flange, you should probably cut it into round first.

The finished pillar ready to be cut to length and installed.
Old 12-01-2008, 06:32 AM

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How-to Install the Pillar - Part I

Submitted By: Hipshot

I'll continue this How-to by showing how I installed the flanged pillar in my stock. It requires enlarging the diameter of the take down screw hole and drilling a countersink in the floor of the inletting.

Remove the escutcheon and drill out the take down screw hole with a 7/16" bit. This is the size of the existing escutcheon hole and is also the size required for the new pillar, so it's just a straight hole all the way through. Be sure the drill bit remains centered in the existing hole while drilling. It may be helpful to start with a smaller diameter bit and work up incrementally to 7/16". Lay the stock upside down on the drill press table. Make sure it is flat on the table.

Turn the stock over and temporarily insert the newly made flanged pillar. Trace around the flange to help in lining up the forstner drill bit later.

Secure the stock to the drill press table and drill a 3/4" diameter countersink. This will position the top of the flange at the desired height relative to the floor of the inletting. The odds of free handing this countersink hole are very slim so be sure to securely clamp the stock to the drill press table with clamps and stop blocks as necessary. I've turned the table here to allow the grip to overhang and allow the stock to index on the flat portion of the trigger guard inletting. You want the floor of the inletting to be perpendicular to the drill bit. Chuck a 3/4" forstner bit and carefully line up the bit with the circular outline in the stock which you just traced off the flange. Spend the time to assure that the stock is secured and lined up exactly under the drill bit. A misaligned countersink leads to more work and a sloppy installation.

Start the countersink by drilling just deeply enough to establish the position of the hole. Without moving the stock, reinsert the pillar and check for proper positioning. If satisfied, continue drilling the countersink hole. Proceed in very small increments and check the depth by turning the pillar over and inserting the flanged portion into the countersink, checking the depth against the thickness of the flange. Sneak up to the final depth very carefully. I left mine about .010" above the floor of the inletting. I don't think that this height is critical but must remain above the floor of the inletting.

This is the finished countersink hole.

We are now ready to cut the pillar to length and epoxy it in place. The length of the shank of the bedding pillar will be equal to the depth of the takedown screw hole (from the bottom of the countersink to the outside of the stock) minus the height of the escutcheon. I held the flange of the bedding pillar upside-down in the countersink, using it as a stop while measuring the depth of the take down screw hole with the tailpiece of my dial caliper. Lacking a caliper, I believe a wooden dowel or other small object could be inserted full depth in the hole and marked to establish the depth.

From the above measurement subtract the height of the escutcheon. In the case of my stock, the hole measured .765" and the escutcheon measured .265", leaving .500" as the required length of the shank of the pillar.

(Continued in the next post)
Old 12-01-2008, 07:03 AM

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How-to Install the Pillar - Part II

Submitted By: Hipshot

I marked the desired length on the shank of the pillar and used a cutoff wheel on a Dremel to cut it slightly over length. I held the pillar over the end of a drill bit to make the cut. Next time I will just slip it over the mandrel shown later.

I realized that I needed to spin the pillar in order to true the cut and further reduce the shank to the desired length. I made a makeshift mandrel from an old bolt stop by applying a couple wraps of masking tape. Next time I will also use the mandrel when making the initial cutoff.

I spun the pillar as a fairly low RPM on the mandrel while truing up the end and reducing the length to the desired .500" using the side of the same cutoff wheel on a Dremel.

We are now ready to coat the inside of the hole and the pillar with epoxy and glue it in place. I went to the extra trouble of using a burr on the dremel and forming a ring on the inside of the take down screw hole, just for a little added grip. I used JB Weld epoxy, but I believe any quality epoxy or bedding compound would work.

Since I couldn't use the take down screw to hold things in place at this point, I just installed the stripped down receiver/barrel using a rubber tourniquet.

I let the epoxy set up overnight before completing the final step of re-installing the escutcheon. I applied a small amount of epoxy in the hole and to the escutcheon and then seated it by drawing it into the hole using a small bolt and nut. I used a few Q-tips to clean up the excess epoxy from inside the hole and in the threads of the escutcheon. As intended, the escutcheon came out a few thousands proud of the stock. I sanded this down flush with 220-grit sandpaper, followed with 400 grit.

A view of the inside of the stock showing the installed flanged bedding pillar.


The installation of a bedding pillar is just one step in bedding the action of a 10/22. A search on bedding and pillar bedding will yield hours of reading on the subject.

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