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How NOT to case harden a Parker
Unread 07-27-2020, 08:18 PM   #1
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Andy Clark
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Default How NOT to case harden a Parker

This forend iron belongs to a Parker that was restored and color case hardened by a well know company here in the Northeast that will remain unnamed. I purchased the gun a couple years ago. 2 weeks ago I decided to take it out and shoot a couple boxes through it. Upon taking the gun apart to clean and put away I noticed these cracks in the forend iron. My first course of action was to completely disassemble the gun to examine it for other fractures or cracks. I could not see any other visible damage but was highly concerned. I called a metallurgist friend who owns a machine shop in my town. He agreed to examine the frame and forend iron. Not only did he find the forend iron was through hard, he also found the frame to be equally as hard and the roll joint was fractured as well. I then brought the parts to a local gunsmith to have the parts annealed so Fred could magnaflux the parts. Fortunately all the parts are fine except the forend iron and joint roll. The forend iron has already been mapped on the optical comparator and is going in the gas box tomorrow to be micro tog welded. I intentionally am posting pictures of the annealed parts so as not to give away the obvious. I guess the moral is be very careful when it comes to re-case hardening parts!
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Unread 07-28-2020, 07:23 AM   #2
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Yikes
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Unread 07-28-2020, 08:14 AM   #3
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For what its worth ,I've seen more than one forend irons cracked in that exact spot that had not been in an oven since they left Parker ...the roll joint I have not seen cracked
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Unread 07-28-2020, 09:17 AM   #4
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I have come across a few other forend iron which cracked after Color casing. The issue is they were probably either not annealed prior to re case hardening or they were brought up to too high a temperature. I also had a forend latch break in half when I was making a new forend and carefully tapped the latch in to the wood with a rawhide mallet.
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Unread 07-29-2020, 12:05 AM   #5
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Metal fatigue
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Unread 07-29-2020, 09:11 PM   #6
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Appears to be quench cracks. I've seen a few. They like to begin at stress risers like holes and radii.
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Unread 07-31-2020, 11:38 AM   #7
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I've seen two forearm irons crack in the same area that hadn't been re-case hardened. One was on a GHE-20ga that I was purchasing from a well known dealer in Parkers that had done some work to the gun himself.

When I was buying that gun & it was in the inspection period. I found a crack in the forearm iron at the exact spot this iron is cracked. I liked the gun and decided to call Brad Bachelder to get his advice on if the crack was repairable. Brad explained that it's fairly common to see cracks at that thin spot, his opinion based on some of his experiences was that a good portion of the irons cracking in that location was due to over tightening the iron mounting screws and poor wood to metal fit where the iron is bedded in the wood. These are old guns, wood can shrink, change shape, get oil soaked & people work on the guns which can change fit as time goes on. Brad told me that even he had cracked a couple of irons in that location until he figured out what to watch out for when assembling a Parker forearm.

I'm not saying the OP's take about his forearm being over hardened isn't correct, I'm just giving a different perspective based on my experiences and Brad's knowledge he shared with me.

Brad repaired that GHE forearm with laser welding and you couldn't tell where it was repaired.
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Unread 10-04-2020, 09:29 AM   #8
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Brad was an absolute gentleman, highly skilled at his craft and great to work with.
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Unread 10-04-2020, 05:50 PM   #9
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I would fire up the WayBack machine and journey to c. 1919 Meriden for a sit-down with the Storm brothers, originators and perfectors of the mesmerizing "oil on water" sheen achieved on the old jewels.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 04:37 PM   #10
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I suspect the forend iron cracked for the same reason that Parker added a radius to there early hammer gun receivers. I believe it could be avoided by design, depth of carbon (case), and by quenching temperature. Annealing doesn't reduce the depth of carbon, but will reduce the hardeness.
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