Outdoor Life - - IN THE SHOP - —John B. Snow

Touch­ing up wooden stocks doesn't have to be in­tim­i­dat­ing. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Re­move a Dent

The key is steam. Take a reg­u­lar iron and set it on high. Grab an old T-shirt, wash­cloth, or a cou­ple of .30-cal­iber-size cot­ton clean­ing patches and dampen them. Hold the cloth in place over the dam­aged area with the iron. The steam will raise the wood. Re­peat un­til flush. With fine sand­pa­per (600- or 800-grit), knock down any raised grain or high spots.

Fix a Gouge

Now you’ve done it. You banged your stock against a rock and have left an un­sightly gouge. Start by fol­low­ing the steps to steam out a dent. That will min­i­mize the gouge. At this point, you can ei­ther sand it un­til the gouge is gone, which will leave a dip, or use a two-part epoxy like Dev­con. Mix the epoxy, fill the dam­aged area, let the epoxy set up for the time in­di­cated in the di­rec­tions, and then sand it down so it blends in.

For mi­nor scratches, you can use Wood Filler Sticks, which are like wax crayons and come in dif­fer­ent col­ors to match your gun stock. Just rub the stick across the scratch and work it in with a soft cloth.

Re­store Faded Wood

Once you’ve steamed and sanded a stock, the wood can ap­pear faded and worn. This can hap­pen when the stock is ex­posed to the el­e­ments as well, par­tic­u­larly wa­ter. Brownell’s Stock Rub­bing Com­pound is to your gun what car wax is to your truck. Rub in this mildly abra­sive com­pound, and as you buff it off, it will re­store lus­ter and pro­tec­tion to your stock.

Bring Back Color

Another way to

make a faded spot go away is to ap­ply a light coat of Tru-oil by Birch­wood Casey. Use this spar­ingly, ap­ply­ing a lit­tle at a time with a foam brush or your fin­ger­tip. Be­fore the oil sets up, which takes about 10 min­utes, wipe it down with a soft cloth. Let dry for 24 hours, and re­peat as nec­es­sary to bring the color back to where you want it.

Pro­tect Your Stock

One of the best ways to pro­tect wood with a nat­u­ral fin­ish is to use some kind of wax-based or oil-based prod­uct (but not Pledge). Howard’s Feed-n-wax wood pol­ish and con­di­tioner con­tains a mix of oils that will pre­serve and shield your stock from the el­e­ments. Wipe it on, let it sit for 20 min­utes or so, then buff it off with a clean cloth. T/C’S Bore But­ter, which is used to lu­bri­cate the in­side of your black­pow­der ri­fle bar­rel, also works well in this ca­pac­ity.

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