Advice Please - Fixing Cracks in Enfield Stock

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Hi everyone...apologies, I have been too busy with work to post an update, and pictures. To make a long story short (until I can give a mode detailed post), the stock repair felt really solid...and I tested it today, with no problems developing. Mind you, it was only a quick test....6 shots, only 2 of which were at full charge 68 grains FF black powder. It was a test of not only the stock, but the barrel too...first time I fired it since I bought it in March. Maybe its the first time its been fired in approx 153 years. Anyhow, its a real beast...couldnt imagine standing shoulder to shoulder with other soldiers while Minie balls were being fired back at me.
I'll try to post pics of the repaired stock in the next couple weeks.
 
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In the center of this picture you will see a lighter coloured circle (the smaller circle....the other circle at left of that is the original inletting for the lock parts). That's where I glued in a dowel using Titebond III. I cut the dowel a bit short and installed a walnut plug to make the repair less obvious (i will stain the plug later for better match).
20190613_174722.jpg
 
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By putting in lots of glue and using the dowel to push it into the cracks (repeatedly), I was able to get the glue into all the cracks where the barrel tang attaches. My thanks to those that suggested doing that as a way to squeeze in glue....it was a big factor in getting good strength. Of course, i clamped the wood in the left-right axis. I also clamped from top to bottom since there was a crack along the top part of the stock along the lock inlet where the stock angles sharply down at the barrel snail (Man, it would be easier if I knew how to add in arrows to these pics). Overall this was the easy part of the repair. The hard part was fixing the huge cracks on the left cheek.
 
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This is what the cracks on the left cheek looked like. These were deep cracks which, if I torqued the forestock, opened up wider. I knew that glue alone might not be enough to hold it....so how to dowel this for added strength???
20190606_073440.jpg
 
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First I squeezed in glue into all the cracks in the left cheek and trigger area, and clamped it for 24 hours. Then I needed to insert a dowel. This next picture shows how I dowelled it. Note again the lighter coloured area in the middle of the picture...this is where I inserted a dowel at about a 30 degree angle from verticle to mate the barrel tang wood to the left cheek wood. Not only would the dowel mate it more strongly, but it would provide strength against the torquing that widened the cracks. This was a tricky repair. I had to carefully line up the drill hole in 3 axes, and had to make sure I didn't drill so deep that I would puncture through bottom of the left cheek/trigger area. The dowel was quite thin (approx 1/8 inch), because I didn't want to weaken the barrel tang area. But I used a piece of bamboo dowel which is very strong and will flex rather than break if torqued. The picture doesn't show a nice circular dowel because of the angle of the hole, and so when I sanded the dowel flat, it looks oblong.
20190613_174809.jpg
 
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These pictures shows how nice and tight the barrel tang area is, compared to the original cracks.
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20190602_122409.jpg


Versus original cracks....
20190520_214056.jpg
 
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These pics shows the left cheek and the trigger area after the repair.


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Note that I used drill shavings/dust that I mixed with the glue to fill the cracks and provide a more matched look. However, I did not fill it to surface, because I need to consult my friend's antigue refinisher buddy for advice on getting as fairly seamless a look as I can. I haven't done that yet, but will do so now that I know the repair is solid and will hold up to the recoil. So, the final steps will be to decide on whether to remove all the old non-original varnish, or just refinish the area that I had removed varnish, and of course fill the cracks flush to the rest of the wood surface......I will need to consult the antique refinisher guy in order to decide on that.

My thanks to everyone that has helped me get this far in the repair process....I truly believe I could not have done it so well without the advice. Any other advice for the final finishing/refinishing will be much appreciated. Once I get the final steps done, I will post the pics that everyone loves to see, and hopefully it looks as good as I'd like it to look. Even if I don't get it quite to perfection, I have the satisfaction of owning an ACW 1853 Pattern Enfield that is in shooting condition.
 

La Tiger

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I think you've done well so far. The repair looks solid and should last.

Since you've removed some of the old varnish, I'd remove all of it. Some sort of a stain would help hide the repaired cracks, but common stains of the Home Depot/Lowe's variety tend to be cloudy and obscure grain if that's a factor. Birchwood Casey has a walnut stain that's a nice brown with red tones. It's water based, but can be cut with denatured alcohol. Laurel Mountain Forge has a range of stains that can be mixed to provide a wide range of colors. They're alcohol based, too. If it looks too dark, wet a rag with denatured alcohol and wipe it off.

I don't know what Enfield stocks were finished with when they were manufactured. Personally, I refuse to use boiled linseed oil (BLO). It never fully dries and provides zero protection against moisture. Formby's Tung Oil works great and dries. There are other finishes out there, but tung oil looks good and is easy to apply. Let us know what you decide to use.
 
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La Tiger...thanks for the tip re Birchwood Casey stain. Gonna look into it....could be an option. I like the brown with red tones, and that seems to be the colour of many of the Enfields. It goes on fairly clear? It's not going to leave a varnish finish, right?

Everyone says that the Enfields were finished with boiled linseed, so that may be my final coating.
 

La Tiger

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La Tiger...thanks for the tip re Birchwood Casey stain. Gonna look into it....could be an option. I like the brown with red tones, and that seems to be the colour of many of the Enfields. It goes on fairly clear? It's not going to leave a varnish finish, right?

Everyone says that the Enfields were finished with boiled linseed, so that may be my final coating.
Glad I could help. The Birchwood Casey stain won't be cloudy like an oil-based stain. There is no varnishes or any type of finish added. That's your job to apply a finish. :D Out of the bottle, it appears very dark, but cut it with water or denatured alcohol and put in a Mason jar for storage. IIRC, it's 4oz. of stain, so I add 4 oz. of whatever I'm cutting it with as a starting point. It's pretty easy to control the depth of the stain by diluting or restaining if it's too dark or too light.

Browse this link. Track of the Wolf has a good of a selection of stains as anyone has. https://www.trackofthewolf.com/List/Item.aspx/392/1
 
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bibskinner

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I think you've done well so far. The repair looks solid and should last.

Since you've removed some of the old varnish, I'd remove all of it. Some sort of a stain would help hide the repaired cracks, but common stains of the Home Depot/Lowe's variety tend to be cloudy and obscure grain if that's a factor. Birchwood Casey has a walnut stain that's a nice brown with red tones. It's water based, but can be cut with denatured alcohol. Laurel Mountain Forge has a range of stains that can be mixed to provide a wide range of colors. They're alcohol based, too. If it looks too dark, wet a rag with denatured alcohol and wipe it off.

I don't know what Enfield stocks were finished with when they were manufactured. Personally, I refuse to use boiled linseed oil (BLO). It never fully dries and provides zero protection against moisture. Formby's Tung Oil works great and dries. There are other finishes out there, but tung oil looks good and is easy to apply. Let us know what you decide to use.
if you will mix 1 tablespoon of linseed oil with one tablespoon turpentine it will dry over nite or quicker wax is the only water repellent and is put on over the oil finish . I have used this finish on all my repairs and it works well.
 
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Whay do y'all think pf this restoration of the finish (ignore the cracks, just focus on the colour and gloss). Not sure if I will leave the cracks for "character" or fill them...what look do you prefer?
20190808_163606.jpg



Compare to this...

20190606_073440.jpg
20190603_234447.jpg
 
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