Rifle Stock Repair

by James Hardey 11/15/07

Photo 1

 – illustrates the damaged stock on the left.  The butt plate was missing and the stock was chipped and rotted out about 4 inches on the end.  The wood blank on the right is oak with a grain similar to the original.  I could not find an adequate match for the original wood so my intention was to match the grain and stain the blank to match.

Photo 2

– shows the cuts I made in the stock to remove the damaged section and the slot I routed out of the blank.  With the exception of the router, I used simple hand tools for this process because of the elliptical shape of the stock.  Placing a strip of masking tape where I intended to make the cut proved to help immensely in keeping my cut straight.  The tape also provided protection against chipping and denting from the coping saw on the newly cut edge.  Once the tongue took shape it was easy enough to slowly remove the excess wood with a small wood rasp and fit it comfortably in the blank’s slot.

Photo 3

– using common wood glue I painted the tongue and put a generous portion inside the slot.  Placing the whole thing in a taut sling I rotated it every so often to make sure the glue did not settle in one spot inside the slot.

Photo 4

– demonstrates three views of how I began the shape.  I first cut off the end portion of the blank to size the exact length I wanted as a finished product.  This was made easy by the size and shape of the new butt plate.  The butt plate actually gave me the three dimensions I need to cut and rough out the whole blank.  Look carefully in the bottom left image for the template I drew of the butt plate.

Photo 5

– things are finally falling into place.  Using a wood rasp I worked the shape down to a couple of millimeters of the original stock and the butt plate template on the end.  An electric palm sander did the rest.

Photo 6

– the finished product was a grave disappointment.  After all that work the stain did not act the way I imagined.  I first tested the stain on a piece of scrap from the blank and it seemed to blend well but as you can see it did not work as well on the larger surface.  There is an important lesson to be learned here.