How useful is toeplate?

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tenngun

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Some of the ‘barn guns/poor boys’ were made with a bone comb piece and a toe plate, even though a Butt plate wasn’t fixed
While I THINK “po’r boys’ are more popular today then in the past, the addition of a plate on this spot may have served its purpose
I think a longer screw would serve to help protect against a split
 

necchi

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So is it decoration or protection or just not foolproof protection?
Well, It's kind of like a "sippy-cup".
Ya know the kid needs to learn to drink fluids on his own, but ya get tired of cleanin up the mess, so ya get a cup with a lid and spout.
Now comes the tough part,, how long will it take for the kid to figure it out,,,,,,,,,,

Same as toe plate,, what's the rifles market? (which kid?) And how long will it take,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
 

LRB

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Depends on the period and type of gun. Early guns were wider in the butt, and less curved. No need of a toe plate. As time went on, butt stocks got more curved and less thick making it more desirable to have a toe plate
 

Bergmann

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I have seen many rifles with cracked stocks at the toe which had toeplates installed.
So is it decoration or protection or just not foolproof protection?
Much depends on the curvature of the buttplate and the manner in which a toe plate is installed! The sharper the curvature, the thinner and more prone to damage is the toe! Also, many toeplates are installed using a filed angle to match the curve of the buttplate! This allows the toeplate to slide up and over the toe of the buttplate giving little, if any protection in an accident! On really thin toes I generally, and where possible, use a square notch where toe meets butt! This makes it harder for the Butt's toe to move if dropped. On iron mounted southern rifles I sometimes use a copper rivet through the toe and butt to help keep the toeplate secured in the notch! Some original rifles I have seen had iron rivets! Also part of the equation is the grain direction of the stock! Grain running parallel with the wrist/toe is generally going to be stronger than grain which runs parallel with the barrel. Accidents do happen and a properly installed toeplate can help - but it's not a cure-all! Something else that will help if one is in doubt: Drill the rear screw hole just large and deep enough to lightly engage the screw threads. Put some epoxy ( yeah, I know ) in the hole and screw in the well waxed screw ( make sure to move it a bit before the epoxy is firmly set - just in case you later need to remove the toe plate). Once the epoxy ( I usually use JB Weld for this ) dries the screw/toeplate is secure and the wood isn't under pressure from an overly tight screw. I know that's not how it was done "back in the day" - as witness to lots of broken/cracked toe buttstocks! But the objective is a gun which is less likely prone to breakage!
 

muzzlediscipline

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Much depends on the curvature of the buttplate .. as witness to lots of broken/cracked toe buttstocks! But the objective is a gun which is less likely prone to breakage!
Thanks for the comprehensive reply. It is the best I have found. It would also explain the number of toeplated rifles I have seen with split stocks. The critical element is likely the screw hole size. Big enough to just take the threads and not wedge the wood prestressing the stock. I got a quick lesson when my Kibler carving practice set came and a quick light tap on the bench edge popped a nice chunk off the toe. It glued invisibly and after installing the buttplate hasn't been a worry. First thing I did assembling the kit was to install the buttplate just to protect the toe.
 

tallpine

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The main determining factor as to if the toe is going to break out is the way the grain runs in the toe. If it has severe grain run out it is more likely to break, toe plate or not. This can be prevented by drilling a hole under the buttplate that crosses the grain and glueing in a wooden dowel .This has worked for me, YMMV.
 

Josephg

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Practical, can be ornamental. Can be a structual support as on this forty five pound slug gun. The toe plate on this piece butts up to the boxlock action for support
Millard toe plate.JPG
 
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oldwood

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Tallpine's right. if the wood grain is in a quarter sawed direction , (flat sawed and perpendicular to the vertical direction of the butt plate) , there is a possibility of the thin wood at the lower butt to break off. Most old rifles had a toe plate , no mater if the grain was quarter sawed or slab sawed. ( Slab sawed means , wood grain running either vertical or any other direction besides quarter sawed.) You decide if a toe plate is desired. You da boss........oldwood
 
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