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Tools and Woods with Bob Smalser


 
  Repairing and Restoring Varnished Hardwood by Bob Smalser 2 of 6  

While the breaks at the inletting cure, we attend to the remaining damage… a swivel screw hole and toe chip.  I’ll fill these with wood of the exact species, grain and approximate age from my collection of scraps.

 

From a scrap of identical cut and grain I make a 3/8” plug and slice a patch…

…then drill a matching hole with a sharp Forstner bit (you don’t need a pilot for accuracy… simply tap it with a light brass hammer to set… then drill by hand slowly) …file the chip flat…

…and simply rub or drive the patches to a tight fit without clamping and let cure. The screw hole is deeper than the plug patch and was filled with epoxy.  Line up the grain exactly.  I quit for the day and place the leftover epoxy in the freezer to save it for use tomorrow.

Next day, I reinforce the repaired inletting with epoxy for strength, bedding the receiver tang in the process.

 

First, I rout the wood to receive epoxy with Dremel ball and point cutters to expose fresh wood and to provide enough epoxy thickness to prevent chipping from recoil forces.  Fortunately, this inletting is relatively clean and not soaked in linseed or motor oil as is common in old firearms. 

If it was saturated in oil, I’d have to remove that first with a slurry of Whiting (powdered chalk) and mineral spirits under a little heat to draw out the oil.  If the oil had deteriorated the inletting to the point of punky softness, I’d have to let in new wood like I’m doing at the toe chip and reinlet the stock.

I apply the thawed epoxy from yesterday to the inletting under gentle heat, then thicken the epoxy with a high-adhesive thickener and apply the thick paste…

…then coat the hardware to be bedded thoroughly with paste wax, taking particular care to fill any holes or voids that might get epoxy extruded into them, preventing easy removal.  Toy-store modeling clay applied before the wax fills larger voids nicely.


 
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2 of 6  

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