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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a wipe down with a treated cloth I noticed a "new" chip in the top front edge of the stock where it abuts the receiver alongside the tang. I was going to just fill it and buff it until I noticed another tiny spot on the other side of the tang where the finish looked bubbled up. When I pressed on that spot with my fingernail another small, thin piece of walnut flaked off :shock:. The stock is a nice looking piece of solid walnut but the inlet side of the trouble area is soaked black and ugly from oil, age and dirt. The oil seems to have soaked all the way through to the finish causing some minor delamination. Is this stock history? Is there any way to restore the wood under the finish? The wood in this location is only about 1/16" proud of the receiver--not much room left for sanding. The affected area is fairly small--about 1/4" wide and 3/4" long on either side of the top tang. Any ideas how a rookie woodworker might get a reasonable outcome?
Thanks, 2k2c
 

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Hello 2kind2clays: Well unfortunately, walnut as it ages being exposed to gun oil, cleaners, sweat, minerals from your hand etc take a toll.

Your stock can be "stripped" without sanding, and refinished. will it continue to "chip or flake" most likely yes. Not knowing what kind of gun you have, or how old, I really can't offer much more other than to have your stock, proffesionally refinished most likely will run almost as much as a new stock if stocks are still available from the manufacturer. If it's an older gun, where stocks are no longer available, you may need to get one made. I would need much more info as to type of gun, does it have checkering, type of finish, before I could give you more suggestions.

Regards Dave
 

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The oil can be removed from the wood. There are gunsmiths who specialize in this type of work. I had it done to my grandfather's LC Smith a few years ago. If I can find the name of a gunsmith who does that, I will post it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The gun in question is no collector's item but it has been lightly used and I would like to stabilize the wood near the tang rather than have it erode away over time. I am thinking about drilling an array of 1/32" holes from the inlet side, maybe a few going all the way through the finsh to try to anchor the less stable wood. Then I would inject each hole with CA cement then fill and refinish. What do you think?
 

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The holes are a bad idea. I think Brownells sell a product that will remove the oil from thge head of the stock. After it's clean, seal the inletting, the tiny chips can be repaired with Acraglass. We have some stock people that can add to this.. Bushrod
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am thinking that the holes are necessary to give the filler an anchor. Unfortunately the chips are just slightly too deep to permit sanding down to "good" wood--unless I sand the proud metal down too :wink:

I need some way to "rebond" the surface to keep more pieces from flaking off. That is another reason for the tiny holes and CA glue.

I don't think I have heard of using Acraglass on the finished areas of walnut, is it stainable? I wonder if a stockmaker would be able to harvest some walnut from under the butt plate to make some veneer to fill the chips? How would these grafts be attached? CA cement?

FYI: The chip on the left side is about 1/16" square, the "new chip" on the right is about 1/16" x 1/8". Both chips are about 1/32" deep and I can see that there is some loose walnut just waiting to flake off next to the chips you already see. I need to stabilize those areas before there is more flaking.

 

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2kind2clays,
You can remove the oil from the wood with a "whitening" agent. The stuff Brownells sells is Diatomaceous Earth and is availble from a pool supply outlet or from Brownells at 50 times the normal price. Remove the finish from the stock and make a paste of the DE and a solvent and put it on the stock. It will yellow which means it is drawing out the oils. You will need to do it a number of times until it has no effect.

I hope you saved the chips. If you did just glue them back on. If not some can be found on the butt that can be used for a repair. The original chip is the best to use as it fits perfectly and would be invisible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Chips are gone, they were too small to notice as missing when they flaked off. The wood where the chips were lost is not stable enough to permit re-gluing the chips. Can you see where there is still some thin wood lifting in the upper right corner of the photo--next to where one of chips was lost? I am still thinking that drilling small holes into the wood below the chips from the inlet area, then super gluing and filling is my starting point. Maybe even drilling though the finished, loose wood then super gluing and filling to stabilize the flaking. Then I can work on repairing the cosmetic damage. As for the chips, I was thinking about removing a horizontal slice of walnut below the chip and then gluing/shimming that slice so that it is slightly above the top surface once again--then sand flush and refinish. I've seen wood swelling products, maybe I could sweell the wood near the chips enough to allow me sand the chip away without lowering the top surface below the receiver?

Are there any tricks for color and texture matching some sort of wood filler to repair chips like these? I know enough that plastic wood would look worse than the chips that are already there. Maybe blend sawdust taken from under the recoil pad with clear epoxy as a filler?

 

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Lets address the cause of the chipping. The stock needs to be rebedded. It was fairly recently brought to my attention that a stock should not actually touch the reciever in the side slab area. This area is not intended to take recoil and if it does the stock will chip, crack or do something much much worse to let you know that it is not happy. The area around the stock bolt should be the only real contact point, the stock should be made to take recoil there and only there. Liab's rebedded my 3200 last spring and you can actually see light through the stock in the area where the side slabs meet the reciever.

Oil? From your pictures the stock looks relatively oil free. I've removed oil many times from military stocks while refinishing. If I were you I'd strip the end grain of your stock only (no visible stripping should be obvious from the outside of the stock). Then I'd turn your stove on to its lowest setting, we are talking about barely warm. Wrap the end of the stock in paper towels and put it in the oven. If there is any real oil in the wood it will sweat out and the towel will become damp with oil. If necessary do this several times until the stock stops sweating oil. This process would probably be faster if you use the Diatomaceous Earth along with a little nice even heat.
 

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I agree with mjm on both counts. The wood is not oil soaked, when it is it is black. The metal has set into the wood and recoil has caused the chips. The blunt front end of the stock can take some recoil but the portion of the stock that is chipping has done so from shear forces from the metal hitting the thin strip of wood that is proud of the surface of the action.

I have never seen a paste made up of anything that disquises a missing piece of wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Your descriptions of the fit between the wooden sideplates and the receiver are correct. The chipped areas (both sides) clearly contact the receiver--maybe even with a bit of negative clearance. I will carefully refit these areas after the chips are repaired and before the finish goes on so the stock bolt is most heavily loaded and the chipped areas have a few thousandths of clearance. Good catch there. I wonder if anyone ever just uses a shim on the stock bolt between the stock and the receiver to provide some clearance between the stock and the receiver in the sideplate area?

My photo does make the inlet area look pretty dry. When I wipe the area with a lint-free cloth soaked with solvent it does come away with a yellow stain. There is oil there, but maybe less than I was imagining. When I first removed the stock the trigger group looked like it had been packed with axle grease--almost like the wheel bearings in a boat trailer. I had assumed (it seems incorrectly) that this caused the wood failure.

Now about these chips... Does anyone have advice or can anyone steer me to a source where I can learn techniques for grafting and blending wood harvested from the inlet area or stock bolt hole to fill in the chips? I still haven't glued the "still attached" chips back down, do you recommend epoxy, CA glue or Elmer's? Other?
...2k2c
 

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If you shim the stockbolt, then the shim is what takes all the recoil. The larger the area for recoil absorption, the better. What needs to happen is to have those areas relieved and preferably undercut so the contact is neglible. The stock bolt should be pulled up to show any heavy contact and that area should have wood removed or relieved, if it is not a recoil absorption portion of the stock.

As far as a glue, I would use a cyanoacrylate adhesive with an accelerator. It is the new version of the old super glue but it is light years ahead. The other advantage is that you can put on the glue and get it in position and hold it in place and add some accelerator and it is rock solid in seconds.

The trick to adding some wood is to use a flat file and make the bottom of the chip uniform both in dimension and width and depth. The sides should slope out so that the piece you install has a shape that tapers to a smaller bottom. When it is then shaped down to the correct contour you are not staring at a vertical cut glue line. Cutting or filing the glued chip requires a light hand so you do not bust it out. Use a gentle stroke and take your time to get it to grade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the detailed inputs Customstox. I've not seen 2-part CA glue before, I assume that I can get this at an R/C airplane shop.

I may buy some various strips of thin walnut to use as my chip fillers instead of harvesting some from my inlet area. This way I can practice cutting a few plugs until I get the color and texture that I like. My chips are tiny--1/8" x 1/16" is the "big" one, aren't these too small to file? I am thinking that my dremel wth a tiny diamond burr grinder under magnification will allow me to properly prepare the cavity dentist-drill-style. I could use a 1/8" end mill or drill and go stright into the chip then use 1/8" walnut round stock to plug the hole. Might be worth an experiment. This would allow me to rotate the plug to align the grain before accelerating the CA glue.
...2k2c

I'm heading to the bench now to see if I can measure the pressure between the receiver and the delicate parts of the stock inletting as I tighten the stock bolt slowly. Now I am wondering if I lost a shim from between the stock bolt hole exit and the receiver when I pulled the stock bolt out? I've never seen a gun set up with shim there, but there is some reason why the chipping occured now and not 20+ years ago...
 

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You can get that glue at Woodcraft or order it online if one is not nearby.

The idea is to enlarge the chips so the width is a bit more manageable. And yes there are files that narrow. I have a bunch of them but they are so damn small I can never find them. :?
 

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Before you alter any of the wood fit you need to establish what caused the problem...

I have seen such chips occur on a gun when the gun was fired with a loose stock bolt - the recoil literally hammered the action back into the wood and caused chips to splinter off - any "free play" between the stock and action will cause this.

This could explain why the problem has just occured even though the gun is quite old.

Jonty
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Bolt too tight and the stock splits when it swells. Bolt too loose and the walnut chips off. I guess I needed Goldilocks to help me get it "just right" :( .

Thanks for all your inputs. You guys are too smart--the gun did double the first time it was fired after its "long rest", that 's why I took the stock off in the first place, after the double. Okay, I have a decent torque wrench in the toolbox. I've heard 12 foot-pounds suggested before for shotgun stock bolts, sound like a safe number to use? I usually tighten the bolt until it starts to resist, then gave it about another 1/4 turn. As I think about it, I was able (barely) to break the bolt loose the first time with a very large Craftsman blade screwdriver--how tight could it have been before?

With the stock bolt torqued to ~10 ft-lbs the stock is very snug--no play, no rocking, no flexing--yet the reciever already looks like it is cutting into the stock where the chipping occured. Going tighter seems counterintuitive. This is why I theorized that I lost a shim when I pulled the stock bolt out the first time. Could it be thet the stock fibers are breaking down and the "double" compressed the wood at the stock bolt exit hole allowing the stock to push forward impaling itself (a bit) onto the receiver at the chip site? Time to buy a Cynergy with a synthetic stock I guess :roll: In the pictures I think you can see that the blunt forward parts of the wood sideplates look like they make good, flush contact with the receiver. I would have expected this contact to ensure that the top of the stock does not absorb the recoil. I guess not.

I will relieve the wood at the chip site when I get that far along in the refinishing process. I can picture real trouble (e.g. more chipping) in that area when I start cutting/filing/sanding to create some space between the receiver and the chipped area.
 

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2kind2clays, I think JMLJonty is on the right track. A stock configured like yours is optimally bedded with the tang recoil lug (the part where the draw bolt fits) and the blunt front abutments simultaneously bearing against the receiver, favoring the lug as the main recoil transmitting zone. Stating that a stock like this should only bear via the tang recoil lug and not contacting the receiver with the front abutments is somewhat misleading, in my opinion. Like Jonty states, there should be no free play possible between the stock and receiver; even with the draw bolt tight and the recoil lug bearing, recoil flexing could still cause damage to the front of the stock if the abutments wouldn't bear against the receiver at all and there would be minimal play, just allowing the receiver to hammer- or vibrating back against the top edges of the stock. This possibility could certainly be eliminated by generously relieving the front contacting zones of the stock, but this would be all but a professional fit.

I would just remove the feather edges caused by the receiver setting back into the wood and only relieve the front abutments- and contacting zones if the tang recoil lug wouldn't bear fully under draw bolt tension without the front ends taking the main load; then I'd epoxy bed both the contacting faces of the front abutments and the recoil lug under moderate to slightly tight draw bolt tension. You'd have to pull the oil from the wood as per customstox' advice until the wood is dry and lightly sand the surfaces before you could work with epoxy. I use a slow curing, medium viscosity and high impact resistant epoxy for this kind of job, leaving the wet epoxy sit on the wood as long as possible before it starts to set noticeably before I assemble the stock and receiver (receiver waxed with Johnson's paste wax and fully dried); this makes for good penetration and bonding of the epoxy and stabilizes the end grain. From what it looks like, couldn't you just get away with carefully sanding the chipped area and refinishing? I'd rather accept the metal being minimally proud of the wood before I'd take more drastic steps; if done meticulously, I think the result could be pleasing. If the metal is only minimally proud of the wood, the surface can be built up with finish to some point, if so desired.

mjm 3200, I don't know if I understand your description correctly. Generally speaking, the statement that only the area around the stock bolt (=tang recoil lug, tang bridge) should be bearing isn't correct, in my opinion. What about those stocks without a thru bolt and multiple recoil bearing faces? If you quote that "a stock shouldn't actually touch the receiver in the side slab area", do you mean the abutment faces like in 2kind2clays' stock, or the wood to metal fit along the tangs? An optimally fitted stock wouldn't ideally show air between metal and wood. I heard the statement you quoted before, but it was used to justify sloppy workmanship or lack of knowledge; I don't try to imply that would be the case with your stock or gunsmith, however.

BG
 

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BG, you are indeed correct, there are and should be more bearing / recoil areas than purely the stock bolt tang / hole area.

The whole of the area at the top of both photos is supposed to be a recoil surface. Ditto that at the bottom of the stock immediately by the triggers - which cannot be seen in the pics.

Broadly speaking the only areas that should not be put under any recoil stresses are the thin verticle slab sided sections between the action and stock (the thin section that is literally around an 1/8" thick behind which the trigger mechanism is when you view the stock from the side).

How do I know this ? I went to the Browning CustomShop in January this year and saw FN Brownings finest stockers at work - the whole process of stock to action fit was explained to me. They also use a material simmilar in colour to jewellers rouge to identify high spots and enable them to shave these down to get a perfect fit. I also have a copy of their spec sheets which identify exactly which areas should be a recoil bearing surface and which should not. Just as a point of interest the U section at the rear of the safety tang is not supposed to be bearing - whereas the stock bolt section of the tang is !

The gun in the pics looks like either a Citori, or 101 (or simmilar) the principles for these guns are broadly the same.

A poster previously mentioned seeing day light between stock and action - I am afraid that to see such a gap I would class this as poor workmanship. There is a difference between just touching / no visible gap, and a bearing surface that will damage under recoil.

Jonty
 

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Jonty, that's the way I understand it, too.

You wrote:
Broadly speaking the only areas that should not be put under any recoil stresses are the thin verticle slab sided sections between the action and stock (the thin section that is literally around an 1/8" thick behind which the trigger mechanism is when you view the stock from the side).
Are you speaking of the receiver-adjoining faces of the ogival side panels here?

BG
 

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yes, the curved sections at the top and bottom of the head of the stock, which mate up either side of the top and bottom tang.

If you look at the posted photo's the top curved area can be seen right in front of where the wood chips came off !

This is a bearing area, as is the corresponding curved horns at the bottom of the head of the stock as well as the stock bolt tang - the spec sheet advises minimal or no contact at rear of U safety tang and on verticle side slab pannels. The sheet also details clearance specs for forend wood...

Jonty
 
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