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LetFly Offline OP
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Keith, more advice please.
I have steamed out the dents and have worked on the across grain scratches as best I can at this point. The right side of the stock has most of these scratches, the left only one small scratch. I am not keen on sanding these out, rather prefer to fill these in some manner or leave as a reminder of the guns use over 116 years. Your expertise and advice appreciated?


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That's always a tough call LetFly. Unless you are doing a complete restoration, i.e., using original methods and finishing materials to make the gun look like the day it left the factory, then I agree with you about not attempting to remove every mark and scratch on a gun this old. But it usually doesn't look very good to have a shiny built up surface finish with scratches and dents remaining underneath either. I personally think a finish more in the wood would look better and more appropriate on an old Lefever anyway, versus some glossy Weatherby type finish where every pore is filled.

I don't know of any scratch filler that wouldn't stand out like a sore thumb. And nothing I see there looks very deep either. You might want to consider making a few more runs at them with your dent removing iron. I know the conventional wisdom says that you can't raise scratches and sharp dents that have broken the wood fibers. However, I have found that often they can be partially raised. They would still be there, but maybe not quite as deep. Instead of just placing a moist pad on top of the damaged area, and applying the hot iron, I discovered that I get better results if I moisten the dent or gouge with common 70% rubbing alcohol first, and let it soak into the wood for a little while. This way, the hot dent iron is generating steam from within the wood instead of trying to force it down in from the surface.

I'm glad to see that you know what you are doing, and are being conservative. So many people get carried away with sanding, and they ruin the detail and lines of the stock. I've got a 16 ga. Lefever, a 16 ga. Baker, and a 16 ga. L.C. Smith that I picked up very cheap as project guns. All of them are shooters, but they are going to need restocked due to someone going nuts with sandpaper.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

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LetFly Offline OP
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Thanks Keith. I have likely overspent on my advice requests... however, here is another. This is a very tight crack in the fore-end wood at the hinge. As the photo shows, there are actually two cracks, close but they do not meet. If not repaired they will meet sooner than I like. The challenge is how to wick glue down into such a tight crack? These cannot be opened at all without risk of injury to the fore-end wood. The crack coming off the interior channel does not appear to be very long. Would this be a place for CA-gap filling as it will wick into this crack nicely? And I do not need to be concerned with finish. The one on the outside has me uncertain as to how to proceed. Once again I am appreciative of any help or suggestion you may offer. I am right at point of gluing up all of the splits and cracks once I have a clear idea of how I will address each one. Thanks.

{on sanding... I have a very nice 1890's Sauer hammer 12b that someone sanded all the wood down to let the metal stand proud including the grip cap. Unbelievable}




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LetFly, I'm glad to help if and when I can. I agree with you about the need to stabilize those cracks in the forend wood. I still don't think that CA is the best choice though. If this was my gun, I think I would go with a thinned epoxy. Warming up the wood will reduce the viscosity of the epoxy even more, and permit it to fill the crack. I'd do the crack on the inside along the forend iron first, and see if I could bring it closed a bit with careful clamping.

Then, after the epoxy set for a few days, to ensure complete curing, I would see if the outer crack will close up when clamped. If it will close up, I'd use the Titebond II wood glue. If it won't close completely, I'd choose the clear epoxy because of its' better gap filling properties, and its' great strength. You could even mask off all the wood surrounding the crack, and use compressed air to blow the glue or epoxy down into the crack. Wipe away the excess on the surface with a rag moistened with acetone or denatured alcohol. The repaired crack may be somewhat visible after finishing, but the side view makes me think you should be able to draw it closed. If so, I would choose the Titebond II for that one. Either way, at least you will sleep well knowing it isn't going to get worse.

It may also be wise to try gluing up only a couple of the cracks in the head of the stock at one time, rather than trying to juggle too many all at once. You have plenty of time between now and April!


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

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Keith, what brand of epoxy do you use?

Thanks

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For stock repair, I mostly use the clear 105/205 Epoxy from West Systems. It seems to be just as good as regular Accraglas for wood repair, but lower in cost per ounce. The last time I bought some, I found some good deals on E-bay. I've learned to be very careful in weighing or measuring out my quantities whether I am using a 1:1, 2:1, or 4:1 product when mixing my resin and hardener. And of course, it is very important to mix the Parts A and B very thoroughly in order to have a good result.

My quest for the best adhesives for gun stock repair started when I saw the vast differences between the miraculous near invisible repairs made by professional stock repair guys like Dennis Earl Smith, the Stock Doctor, the average neighborhood gunsmith, and the complete idiots who use stove bolts, nails, and gray epoxy.

I just read a short but informative article called "The Science Behind Epoxies" in the Winter 2020 Tools and Shops issue of "Fine Woodworking" magazine. It gives a fairly quick and simple explanation of how epoxies work. I'm no expert on the subject, but I try to get my information from people who are. The facts I've relayed here in the past about epoxies have come from PhD Chemical Engineers who develop and make the stuff.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

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LetFly Offline OP
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Making progress. Next to work on the split in the stock.

The wood surgery: Airbrush set at 20#


Stock head:


Fore-end:

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LetFly Offline OP
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Update from the Lafever project: (thanks, Keith and others for your advice)

Stock head
Before:


After:




Head pins (2)


Split in butt of stock
Before:


After:



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Looking good! Have you tested the locks to ensure that they fit the newly repaired mortises?

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LetFly Offline OP
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Yes, glued up with all hardware in place. Required for a perfect fit.

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