antique shotgun stock repair

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Project by Jim55 posted 10-18-2012 11:10 AM 9271 views 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is an antique shotgun stock I restored for a friend. The shotgun is an 1897 Winchester 16ga and has been my friends dove gun since time immemorial. Unfortunately it had to be stored and got caught in a flood.

I cleaned the stock. Opened up and plugged that huge crack and refinished the stock as shown. I did not try to make the wood look like new. That would have been dramatically out of place on this fine old gun. Neither did I try to exactly reconstruct it’s original finish. It’s value to my friend was not as an antique but, a working gun. But I did want to keep within the spirit of the old gun finish. What I did was finish it in a blend of blo blend (“boiled Linseed oil”), a very traditional gun finish but, unfortunately a high maintenance, low durability finish. My blend was adding a little “Tru-Oil” to the blo. By itself Tru-oil is a very durable finish but to me always made me think of a layer of plastic laying over the wood. To me, nothing beats the look of a hand rubbed oil finish. That stock is 12 coats.

Of course I did up the pump fore arms to match. My friend was very happy since he thought he was going to have to by or have a stock made. The results made me happy too.

17 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2802 days

#1 posted 10-18-2012 11:54 AM

Looks like you did an excellent job and the final product looks great. It’s a lot harder to get the final look right on this type of repair than you’d think, and you have succeeded.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 2743 days

#2 posted 10-18-2012 12:51 PM

Is that bondo in the crack? You managed to cover it up nicely with the finish. Bravo!

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 3423 days

#3 posted 10-18-2012 01:05 PM

Very nice repair, Great work!
Finish fits the gun.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

19336 posts in 3077 days

#4 posted 10-18-2012 02:00 PM

nicely done

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4087 days

#5 posted 10-18-2012 02:27 PM

looks good,nice work.

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3185 days

#6 posted 10-18-2012 02:34 PM

The correct way to make a repair or an addition is to make it look like it has never had anything done to it. Make it all look original. I think you have succeeeded in that endeavor. Good work on this project! Your friend should be proud too!!

View luv2learn's profile


2967 posts in 2813 days

#7 posted 10-18-2012 04:20 PM

Looks like a very professional repair to me. Your friend should be pleased.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Jim55's profile


184 posts in 2576 days

#8 posted 10-18-2012 04:40 PM


No. NO Bondo. That was a piece of hardwood dowel. I didn’t have any walnut so used what I had to most closely match the grain. I roughed out most of the crack. Forced CA glue into the small amount left, then fitted in the dowel and matched it to the stock radius.

Getting it all to stain and conform to the appearance of the rest of the stock was a challenge. Lots of staining, wiping, solvent washing… But, in the end I am satisfied that I managed it. I am glad you all see it that way too. :)

View Ken90712's profile


17743 posts in 3699 days

#9 posted 10-18-2012 04:45 PM

Great job looks really nice!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2698 days

#10 posted 10-18-2012 05:26 PM

Nice save !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Roque's profile


65 posts in 2771 days

#11 posted 10-18-2012 06:42 PM

Nice job. It looks great.

View mustang6tee8's profile


15 posts in 2562 days

#12 posted 10-19-2012 11:42 AM

Very, very nice! You saved a piece of history and should be proud.

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3471 days

#13 posted 10-20-2012 08:42 AM

Does your work lessen the value any? I have always been told that restoring an antique gun will hurt the value. If he is going to keep using it, OK. Custom stock work is expensive- probably more than the value of the gun itself.

View Benboy's profile


105 posts in 2771 days

#14 posted 10-21-2012 12:44 AM

That is awesome. My uncle shoots with a Winchester 16 ga. although not one dating to 1867. looks great.

-- If I can't make it, I probably don't need it.

View Jim55's profile


184 posts in 2576 days

#15 posted 10-21-2012 06:52 PM

Knothead62. In this case the value was undiminished due to the extent of the damage to the stock. Note the before pics. The stock was unusable with original finish largely gone. Restoration or replacement was his only options. And it didn’t cost him a dime. I did it because he was my friend and I enjoyed doing it.

You are correct that purchasing such work from a professional can be very costly indeed. You are also correct that altering original finish or refinishing a weapon can have drastic effects on value. The question as to the wisdom of doing it depends on the weapon and potential value.

I am a moderator on a weapons collecting forum. A fellow signed on once and posted that he had a Civil War Spencer carbine and that he had stripped the stock. he wanted to know what to do next. All I could tell him was “Cry.” That scrubbing probably cost him hundreds possibly in excess of a thousand dollars.
Now this shotgun is different. The model 1897 was made in many versions. If it was a WWI trench gun, it would be very valuable and you would want to be very careful about doing anything to it. Te finish I put on this would be all wrong.
But my friend’s shotgun is just a sporting arm made in large numbers. Many are in far better condition for the collector. The value of this gun even discounting the damage would be basically no more than a simple “used gun” price.

This just points out that when dealing with antiques, one should always consult with experts as to what can, should and should not be done.

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