a valuable piece of old boat bright work or furniture that is
broken around the hardware?
Yes… my training aid today is
an old walnut gunstock from 1936, but these objects are subjects
of close inspection by discriminating clients, and require a
degree of precision useful for demonstration.
Plus, as the
techniques and materials are slightly different from other
disciplines, it’s also good cross training… the various
woodworking specialties would be well served to cross-fertilize
Want to learn to bed
hardware perfectly? Learn from a stockmaker. Want to
achieve perfection with card scrapers on expensive and fragile,
highly figured wood? Watch a luthier. Restoring original
finishes? A museum furniture conservator. Steambending?
A traditional boatbuilder or chairmaker, of course.
The workpiece was
severely damaged in a fall, and has other problems.
Sometime in its past it acquired a sling swivel that will be
removed, a missing chip that will be repaired, several dents,
and was stripped and refinished separate from its matching
walnut forearm… they are no longer the same color.
How do I know the
stock is original to the rifle? I can’t be absolutely
sure, but examination of the inletting surfaces and comparing
them to the forearm show the walnuts to be of the same age and
probably from the same supplier, which is the single most
important factor in matching color.
The firearm in
question is one of the first of its model manufactured; has some
value, and I’ll restore it… not to new condition, but to appear
like a used but well-cared-for representative of its type in
excellent original condition.
West System 5:1
boatbuilder’s epoxy when thoroughly mixed has a dab of walnut
epoxy dye added…
…and is applied
unthickened to all the broken wood surfaces to be repaired… the
main portion of the stock at the breaks is heated gently to thin
the applied epoxy for the deepest possible penetration into wood
and down cracks with the aid of a thin dentist’s spatula… more
epoxy is applied if necessary…
…the pieces are
assembled and clamped to cure using a few rubber bands
thoroughly waxed first with common paste wax. Cleanup is
with a vinegar-dampened rag.