Advice Please - Fixing Cracks in Enfield Stock

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Is there a product that can help replicate this reddish brown, or something that will replicate the antique look of a 156 year old Enfi3ld whose finish was never messed with?
 

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Patrick H

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I don't know what an original Enfield's color is. You are so far along with so much alteration I am not even sure what is appropriate at this point. It's a judgement call now, and your piece probably doesn't have much collector value left.

You can:

Clean the entire stock and refinish (please, no sanding) , OR
Knock off the shiny surface that bothers you, but not the underlying color. OR

You can then touch up the finish with an oil based wiping stain in the lighter areas, OR overall, if you've cleaned the entire stock.

Then hand rub a few drops of boiled linseed oil overall, once a day or every two days, until you get the eggshell luster that pleases you.
Note: I said drops and I meant drops. I drip them from a bamboo barbecue skewer onto stock I am touching up.

I recently cleaned up a very abused Legion Hall M1 Garand using alcohol, cotton balls, oil-based walnut wiping stain (wipe on and quickly wipe off...then repeat as necessary) and boiled linseed oil.

MAJOR CAUTIONARY NOTE:

Rags or paper towels soaked in linseed oil will BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!!! Store them under water in a three gallon pail of water until you can throw them away.

I cannot believe I am actually giving you this advice. I always advocate the most gentle approach to cleaning an antique. You have moved beyond "gentle" on your own, so now I am trying to help you make it look good on the rack from ten feet away.
 
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Re collector value...this was what the "patch job" looked like before I started te repair. Ugly. And epoxy glue meant it was repaired in the last few decades.
20190520_213925.jpg
20190520_213952.jpg
 
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I appreciate the help. Alas, had I not read the tip elsehwere re using 0000 steel wool, I never would have taken off so much...groan. A learning experience, unfortunately...but any serious collector would have looked at the varnish and told me "its not original". Then they would have criticised the stock repair, etc. Anyhow....live and learn! Main thing is that I needed to restore it into shooting condition ... gently, yes gently :frown:
 

Patrick H

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Well I'm sure not trying to beat you up. I agree that the stock was already compromised by the varnish--not to mention the cracks. However, a gentler approach could probably have removed that varnish an left most of the linseed oil treatment underneath. These things collect tons of hand grime, powder and cap fouling and gun oil, too, so I think it's not a bad idea to clean them gently. Don't beat yourself up over this. Just manage your enthusiasm!
 
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Arguably, uncovering the LW and other markings makes it more collectible than a non-original varnish finish. Back during the ACW, would any armourer (i.e. post-manufacture, perhaps while gun was having parts replaced) ever refinish a stock with varnish?
 
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Well I'm sure not trying to beat you up. I agree that the stock was already compromised by the varnish--not to mention the cracks. However, a gentler approach could probably have removed that varnish an left most of the linseed oil treatment underneath. These things collect tons of hand grime, powder and cap fouling and gun oil, too, so I think it's not a bad idea to clean them gently. Don't beat yourself up over this. Just manage your enthusiasm!
Well, after seeing just how much the 0000 took off i almost couldnt get to sleep that night. The only thought that saved me was "its not original anyhow". Well, lets see what the antiques guy can do for me. I wont touch any more of the finish until I consult him.
 
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Patrick H

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Arguably, uncovering the LW and other markings makes it more collectible than a non-original varnish finish.
I sure don't think it hurts to remove an inappropriate finish like that--it's just a matter of how it gets removed. I think your instinct is correct that the shiny varnish was probably applied by the same person who did the epoxy glue job. I agree that you revealed some very interesting markings, and that's a bonus. To me, it gives the piece more of a sense of having been carried by that one individual soldier. So, like I said, don't be too hard on yourself. You're still going to love owning this piece. Just take away the lessons you have learned.
 
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Finding the LW initials pin-pricked into the wood, was like revealing a personal history of the gun. You can feel the history when you pick it up. Its a powerful feeling, and that's why I am so hooked on collecting ACW weapons. Since it wasn't, nor would ever be a top tier collectable, I am OK with my "mistake". And it reinforces the reason I pose questions on the Forum...to learn from others before attempting any fixes. You will be happy to know I haven't made any attempts to clean up the metal parts...well, just the gentlest of rubbing with 0000 steel wool and oil to get rid of some rust that was crusted on the lock plate, without affecting the patina at all. I have no reason to touch the barrel. So basically, just get the stock structurally sound enough to go and safely test fire the gun. There are no structural flaws in any of the metal (no pitting in the barrel whatsoever) so I doubt she's gonna blow up, but I want to put 5-10 rounds through it (using the rope method to pull the trigger) before I trust it.
 
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Patrick H

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Finding the LW initials pin-pricked into the wood, was like revealing a personal history of the gun. You can feel the history when you pick it up. Its a powerful feeling, and that's why I am so hooked on collecting ACW weapons. Since it wasn't, nor would ever be a top tier collectable, I am OK with my "mistake". And it reinforces the reason I pose questions on the Forum...to learn from others before attempting any fixes. You will be happy to know I haven't made any attempts to clean up the metal parts...well, just the gentlest of rubbing with 0000 steel wool and oil to get rid of some rust that was crusted on the lock plate, without affecting the patina at all. I have no reason to touch the barrel. So basically, just get the stock structurally sound enough to go and safely test fire the gun. There are no structural flaws in any of the metal (no pitting in the barrel whatsoever) so I doubt she's gonna blow up, but I want to put 5-10 rounds through it (using the rope method to pull the trigger) before I trust it.
Well...yes on the "rope" method. We are now talking about a prudent way to move forward. CAUTION! Rope method!
 

Lanyard Puller

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Location
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Wood;
KUDZIT
with a soft rag and patience to remove varnish and paint. Small areas at the time. Kramers' Best antique restorer to get the color and oil back into the walnut.

Metal:
"Frontier Metal Cleaner". A metal ball with very wide strips of something.. It will NOT scratch or leave any marks.
Used with liberal amounts of Balistol. It won't run or harden if used as a 'storage wipe' {inside locks, etc}.

Been on the road for awhile so missed the conversation. Late advice isn't very good. :unsure:
 

Jobe Holiday

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When firing anything that I may have doubts about I have always used a well padded bench rest device with the rifle securely tied to the bench. The old Dixie Gun Works back woods primitive method of using a tire and a string is a recoil disaster waiting to happen to whatever you are test firing.
J.
 
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Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
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Wood;
KUDZIT
with a soft rag and patience to remove varnish and paint. Small areas at the time. Kramers' Best antique restorer to get the color and oil back into the walnut.

Metal:
"Frontier Metal Cleaner". A metal ball with very wide strips of something.. It will NOT scratch or leave any marks.
Used with liberal amounts of Balistol. It won't run or harden if used as a 'storage wipe' {inside locks, etc}.

Been on the road for awhile so missed the conversation. Late advice isn't very good. :unsure:
I can personally vouch for the Frontier pad. It's a scouring pad that looks coarse, but it's very gentle. It will remove surface rust without removing the blueing underneath. Or, in the case of unblued metal, it will leave the patina intact. I found out about it on the Parker shotgun collector's site. Frontier Big 45 pads. Use on metal only.
 
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Yes, light powder loads to start, and I was planning to use a well-padded bench rest. All good advice, and it confirms I am on the right track. After all the work to get the cracked stock fixed, the last thing I was gonna do was fire it out of the rubber tire, and watching it spin off in some random direction and clatter onto some rocks....groan....

So how many grains of powder for the light load, and how much for the full load? I must say I haven't looked into that yet.

Frontier Pads sound very useful. I will definitely look them up along with the Kudzit and Kramer's. That's why I post to the Forum!....so much collective knowledge out there, and people are so eager to help....thanks everyone.
 

bibskinner

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Jun 4, 2019
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With all respect and kindness to your friend, I think you should ignore his suggestions as to the conservation of your rifle stock. He is suggesting varnish as an adhesive, which is a bad idea. Varnish is a sealer and a top coat. It is not an adhesive and it certainly wouldn't be shock resistant in this application. What it WILL do very effectively is seal the surfaces inside your cracks, so that when they open again, no glue will be able to bind to them satisfactorily. Your main options at that point will be either restocking or permanently hanging on a wall.

All of that having been said, YES, you should definitely test your varnish IN CRACKS on scrap pieces of wood. Use a chisel and light hammer blows to start multiple cris-crossing cracks down grain lines. Then drip the varnish into the cracks and clamp as best you can. When you are satisfied that it has all dried and cured, hit the test piece sharply with a hammer several times right on the end grain. You will be simulating repeated recoils of the barrel into the back of the inlet. Let us know how that goes. Most importantly, if the joints fail as I expect them to fail, try to reglue them with something else at that point and repeat the test. You will see for yourself what I am trying to convey.
Brownells acraglass is the answer to your problem. it dries slow enough to penetrate deep and hold I have had it hold and the stock break next to it.
 


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