Restoring An Ancient Pump Shotgun Forestock


By buddy Bob is a gunsmith,and lately we have been collaborating on some of his projects.  The first one was a split and broken  forestock on a client’s ancient shotgun that might have been on the Mayflower.  The stock had obviously been damaged and repaired many times, and the evidence of those campaigns was abundant.  I could identify at least four different adhesives employed, including polyurinate foam, yellow glue, liquid latex construction adhesive, and something like an acrylic resin gel.

The strategy for the repair was complicate by the fact that these repeated incidents of damage and repair had resulted in the loss of some of the original material at the fracture line.  No matter what, this would make the re-gluing an adventure.

On top of all of this the broken piece, being from a functioning firearm, was pretty fully contaminated with lubricant oil.  Thus the cleaning regimen required was multi-faceted, including solvent soaking (acetone and naphtha) and many hours with a magnifier and dental tools to scrape and chip off the accretions that would not dissolve.


For the solvent cleaning I swabbed the surfaces repeatedly with my cleaning solvent mixture on cotton swabs, cosmetic sponges, and sometimes just cut pieces of blue paper towels.  The amount of oil that can be in a wooden gun part is pretty astounding.  Because of the repair strategy I was going to follow I needed to get the entire interior of the stock squeaky clean.


An additional issue was a split in the stock that had not become detached.


I gently pried it open and slipped some cotton fabric into the split, then wicked in acetone to remove as much of the oil as possible.


Once that was done I introduced West epoxy into the crack, closed it and swabbed off the excess with acetone, then clamped it up to harden overnight.


The next morning I went over the inner surfaces one last time with acetone.  Once that cleaning was concluded, I was ready to reassemble to broken pieces.  That comes next time.