Our Repair Methods
A well done and strong repair to a gunstock does not detract from the usefulness of the gun, nor does it reduce the value of a valuable gun very much. However a poor repair can have a serious negative affect on both. With only a few exceptions, we guarantee all of our repairs to be as strong as when the gun was new. Depending on what we are given to work with, most of our repairs are not detectable, and most of the rest are at least not noticeable. The greatest benefit of repairing a broken stock is that it retains the original stock, and thus much more of the value of a fine gun, at a much lower cost than a replacement.
A good repair requires a working understanding of stress analysis, bending moments, strengths of materials, wood working, etc, and a fair amount of ingenuity and logic. When we receive a gun stock for repairs, the first thing required is a complete disassembly and careful analysis of the damage, to evaluate why it broke, and how extensive the damage is. A clean break thru the wrist often includes several cracks inside of the broken surface, and all must be attended to in the proper order and manner. Some of the photos we have included will illustrate this clearly. This is one of the reasons we can not give a firm cost of a repair without actually having the stock to inspect. After we analyze the repairs needed, we will notify you of what we recommend and include the cost for your approval, before we do any work on it. There is no cost for the analysis, and we will be glad to return the stock to you if you do not want to proceed. We have only returned one stock in the past 6 years.
We use only special epoxy resins with coloring dies
Epoxy is stronger and does not deteriorate in normal firearm use as do almost all glues. In addition, any broken piece of wood must have the mating surfaces cleaned by scraping or sanding to remove all of the oil and dirt and provide a clean surface for the adhesive to adhere to. This removal of a layer of wood from both faces of a crack creates a void, which will be filled with epoxy. No glue will do this. Omitting this step is the reason that most amateur glue repairs are doomed to fail. A good measure of this is that about 70% of the broken stocks we receive have been repaired previously with some type of glue, at least once, and some up to 5-6 times. In addition, if the broken surfaces have a lot of irregularities or splinters, the two can almost never be mated back together in the original position. The inner surfaces must be cut back to where the two parts only touch at the visible surface edges. This insures that the repair is as undetectable as possible.
Many old stocks we receive are heavily oil soaked around the action and other areas. Since no adhesive will adhere to this oil soaked wood, the oil must be removed first. We have developed a chemical bath that will remove all of the old soaked in oil, dirt, finish, old glue etc. Then we can start with good dry wood and expect to have a solid adhesive joint. This and another bath can also remove old ink, and metal corrosion stains. If your old stock has turned very dark or almost black, we can restore that to the original wood color, without heavy sanding. This is a great benefit in retaining more of the original wood, and eliminating over sanding the wood where it joins the action, butt plate or locks. These chemical baths do not damage the wood in any way. However if we have to use a chemical bath to remove the soaked in oil, it will also remove all of the finish, and refinishing will also be required.
All wood has weaker and stronger layers of grain. If the grain is inappropriate for maximum strength at the wrist, it will break very easily. Then if just glued back together, it will break again in another weak layer close by. This is a common problem, and to avoid this, we almost always install several long steel threaded rods thru the break and the weak area, which strengthens the entire wrist of the stock. We use this method in other areas too. Some badly broken stocks have required 7 or 8 steel pins to strengthen them in various places. All steel pins are set in place with epoxy .This can get fairly complex, For instance consider a clean break thru the wrist of a stock. To get the steel pins in from the inside, they must be installed in one half thru the crack face, and then when the two halves are united, they all must enter holes drilled in the other half. However there is more. In order to get the epoxy into the bottom of a long small hole, another hole must be drilled to intersect it at the bottom to let the air out when the pin and epoxy are installed.
We usually install 4 or more steel pins thru a broken wrist. These usually are 3-4" long, so each pin goes into each half about 2". This requires drilling 8 holes for the pins, and 8 more holes to vent them, or a total of 16 very precisely located holes, all from some hidden surface on the stock. Some are drilled from under a tang or lock, and some must be drilled from a part of the broken surface. Stress analysis tells us that all of the steel pins should be just under the outer surface of the stock to give the most strength. This is another complication. We must avoid any drill from breaking thru the surface. We have tested this method and have verified that 4 steel pins made of threaded rod placed just under the surface are stronger than a solid steel rod of 3/8" diameter placed in the center of the stock. We have actually done this test. We have also tested many types of adhesive. All glues have some fault for gun stock applications. They shrink, dry out and get very brittle, deteriorate with oil, time, ultraviolet light, change color, etc. The epoxies we use have none of these faults.
If wood is missing from your broken stock, we can install new wood inserts to complete the stock. We have a collection of old stocks that we use for this, but getting a perfectly matching piece of wood is almost impossible. We match it as close a possible, and then use a variety of special stains to make the new wood as unnoticeable as can be done. People have asked why we don’t just take a small piece out of the inside of a broken stock to use for an exterior insert, but these do not match any better, as they have not been exposed to the sun, oil, dirt, etc.
We believe we have developed the best repair methods available, and we stand behind our work.
Doug or Pat Fulton at 307-462-4593, 10am-7pm MST
22 Sage Hill Rd
Glenrock, WY 82637-1843