Salt Wood


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boonjee1
March 3, 2011, 09:33 PM
Im looking at purchasing a browning broadway in the near future,and was wanting to know if they was anyway to find out if they used the salt wood in 1973.

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Rembrandt
March 3, 2011, 09:37 PM
Salt wood resulted from a process used on Brownings to speed up the curing time of wood...the salt would draw out the moisture and speed up the drying process, unfortunately the salt residue remained in the wood grain and caused metal corrosion where the metal and wood made contact. This was not a Browning problem, but a supplier problem.

About 1965, a large wood supplier sent wood not only to Browning for FN's use but also to Bishop, Fajen, Winchester, Ruger and to the US Military for M-14 stocks. This company was drying their walnut using granulated salt, by covering the wood with salt and placing it in quonset huts.

The wood dried so quickly that the workers said they could actually see a steady drip of moisture coming from the wood. The wood was already cut into the appropriate size planks and no one thought that any salt residue would remain on or in the wood after final shaping, sanding, and finishing.The US Government stopped using walnut for the M-14 rifles and went to other types of wood because properly cured wood was so scarce at the time.

In Brownings case, the problem first showed up starting in 1966 and ends on their guns about 1973. Superposes and T-Bolts made between 1967-1973 should be looked at; Safari, Medallion or Olympian made between 1967-1976; and any A5's 2,000,000 edition Commemoratives should be looked at.

Inspect any place the metal touches the wood. Take out the butt plate screws and look them over carefully. If you find no rust, the gun is probably OK. Sometimes you can test the wood with silver nitrate. Place a drop or two on a hidden spot on the wood, if it bubbles you have a problem

(From "Browning Sporting Arms of Distinction" by Matt Eastman)

Browning procrastinated in signing the wood contract in Europe because there was a price spike. They thought it was a ploy and put off the purchase knowing there was plenty of cheap California wood available if needed. By the time the European wood deal fell through the California wood was gone.

The only figured wood available was planks bought in California but sent to South America for furniture. Browning was trapped and had to take it. This is where the salt curing was being done but Browning missed it being a problem.

They then tried to sell some of these to TRW for M-14 stocks but Claro walnut failed the physical test and was never used. Bishop, Fajen, the Warsaw Missouri pact, bought some and sold it in semi-inlets.

Browning nearly went broke from the fiasco. A serious tax problem about the same time almost put them under and as a result they lost the FN connection and were forced to Japan and Portugal for guns and parts. 1968 was the pre-1964 of Browning Arms. That's why round knob, long-tang, (RKLT) Brownings are more desirable. If a Browning has French walnut stocks it can't be salt wood. All Claro, especially the higher grades, is suspect.

boonjee1
March 3, 2011, 10:15 PM
Thanks for the info.Sure makes buying on line risky.

dogtown tom
March 3, 2011, 10:31 PM
Rembrandt: ....and as a result they lost the FN connection and were forced to Japan and Portugal for guns and parts.
:scrutiny:
FN and Browning have never "lost" any connection and their relationship actually strengthened in the '70's.
Browning was working with Miroku of Japan in 1965 before salt wood was a problem.
By 1977, FN owned 90% of Browning stock.


.

Rembrandt
March 4, 2011, 08:38 AM
You are correct. The term "lost the FN connection" does not mean a total separation of the two companies, only that the financial problems at the time forced Browning to move production of the bulk of it's guns (ie: A-5's, Citori's, .22's, HP, etc). FN remained the source for Superposes and other special firearms.

dogtown tom
March 4, 2011, 10:21 AM
Rembrandt You are correct. The term "lost the FN connection" does not mean a total separation of the two companies, only that the financial problems at the time forced Browning to move production of the bulk of it's guns (ie: A-5's, Citori's, .22's, HP, etc). FN remained the source for Superposes and other special firearms.
Not true.
Browning has never produced a single firearm. They simply import firearms from other manufacturers.

The HP and other FN firearms have ALWAYS been manufactured in Belgium at FN and only the final assembly is done in Portugal. This has nothing to do with salt wood and everything to do with higher labor costs.

Salt wood was not a Browning problem, but an FN problem. Browning didn't source wood then or now......because Browning doesn't build guns.

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