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Repairing a broken stock.

By Jim

It happens sometimes. You have an antique rifle or shotgun that’s been a little abused, and the toe gets broken off the stock. This particular gun had a stock that was completely cracked all the way through. The original broken piece had been long missing. So it was time to add a new piece back to what was missing.

The easiest way is to grind down the old wood into a fresh, solid piece. Eliminate the splintering and smooth it out. I usually drill a couple of holes in the wood to add some pins to support the new piece that gets glued in place.

I rough shape an older piece of wood and glue copper pins in. Steel pins will eventually rust, but copper won’t.

Looks like a big sore thumb sticking out, but I make sure I have plenty of new wood to work with.

After clamping and letting the glue dry, I begin to work it down to the shape I want.

I follow the original contour of the stock as closely as possible…..

…and blend the new piece with the old wood.

Fortunately, the break in the wrist of the stock was in the area of the checkering, and it’s a bit easier to hide. This too gets cross pinned with copper pins and glued into place. The checkering is recut to help hide the break. Any missing splinters are just left alone for now. If the splinters show too much, you can simply fill in with a mixture of epoxy and fine sanding dust — then recut the checkering and refinish the wood.

A replacement buttplate is then fitted and the final shape is blended as carefully as possible. I match my stains as closely as possible to the original darker finish. One of the tricks I use to hide the break is mixing very fine sanding dust on top of the wet stain to give the finish a bit of texture, like the wood is really old. Antique wood is rarely new and shiny looking anyway.

Hopefully the break doesn’t show prominently and you will have to look pretty closely to see it. If it is noticeable, then it will appear to be an older repair and not a new one. With a bit of time, oxidation will set in and the new wood will age in a similar fashion as the old wood.

The original broken gutta percha buttplate is missing pieces. Gutta percha is a type of hardened rubber that was used to make plates and sometimes trigger guards. In a future blog, I will show you how to cast replacements out of two part epoxy and a coloring agent.

The replacement plate is fitted to the stock and it’s ready to go back to the customer.

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