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Thread: Dents in wooden stock

  1. #1

    Dents in wooden stock

    Quick one guys. I am aware that the best way to get superficial dents out of a wooden stock is with a damp tea towl and an iron but can anyone give me a bit more detail than this - how wet, how long etc etc etc.

  2. #2
    Hard to describe really just wet enough so that you get enough steam hold the iron on for a few seconds and keep repeating until dent comes out you wont do any harm by having it to wet ! This process works best on oiled stocks depends what finish the wood has

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by david t View Post
    quick one guys. I am aware that the best way to get superficial dents out of a wooden stock is with a damp tea towl and an iron but can anyone give me a bit more detail than this - how wet, how long etc etc etc.
    as previous post will only work on oiled stocks.wet a cloth(not soaking)and apply to dented scratched area and run a soldering iron over it gently until the blemish is gone.simple but take your time as it will be worth it.slowly does it and ensure you do not overheat the area.good luck richard.

  4. #4
    This is one of the most magical processes in gunsmithing but will only work if the wood fibres are dented (i.e. forced down) and not if they are actually broken. It is not uncommon if the damage is caused by a unevenly applied force (such as a corner) to see both effects in one area. Don't let this put you off - the process can nearly always lessen the appearance of the damage but may not remove it altogether.

    The process works best on a stock which has had the finish stripped off (since it allows the water vapour to penetrate deeper and faster) but will still work (albeit more slowly) in any circumstances where the finish allows the water vapour through.

    After lots of experimentation, I have settled on the following as being the best setup for most occasions:

    A soldering iron - the sort used for making circuit boards and with a wide tip if possible - you can use anything that gets hot enough but a soldering iron is more controllable.

    Some old cotton tshirt material - it needs to be cotton and two thicknesses of tshirt cut to about 2"x2" is ideal.

    Some distilled water - you can use tap water but in some locations and on some finishes, this can leave a white residue.

    Switch on the soldering iron and get it as hot as possible. Dip the tshirt material in the distilled water until it is wet (don't worry if it is dripping). Line up the soldering iron a couple of inches over the dent, put the material under the iron and on the dent, lower the soldering iron on to the material so you get a puff of steam. Lift the iron when the steam stops so it heats up again and repeat.

    Keep the material wet. If you have several dents, do each one a little before moving on and returning - for larger dents, start at the edges and work inwards. Be patient - if it works at all, it will ultimately bring most (if not all) the dent up but it may take some time. Break your arm patting yourself on the back because it is truly magical to do.

    HTH
    Knots

  5. #5
    As a rule I always do this on a stripped stock, one that I am going to apply a new finish on, I use a normal steam iron, ye you use for ironing clothes, and one of those spongy, yellow, blue green cheap washing up cloths about 9" square. Soak the washing up cloth lay it on the dent and plonk on the hot iron and watch the steam hiss about. Once it subsides re-soak the cloth and repeat until the dent is lifted or lessened. Dry stock. Allow to well dry then re-finish.

  6. #6
    Its quite amazing how large dents you can actually raise - I am rebuilding an old wooden yacht at the moment (yes its taking too much time and getting in the way of stalking). Yesterday I had a couple of big dents in one of the mahogany planks - looks as if they had been hit with a big lump hammer. Gave the wood a good soaking and then used a hot air gun. Five min later flat surface.

    With any wood, its a good idea when youhve finished sanding to wipe over with a good wet cloth. It immediatly shows up imperfect sanding. Then run it over either with a hot air gun, or over a gas flame. The water soaks into the grain and raises it. When you heat it the water turns to steam and blasts out all the snding dust from the poors. You then want to rub it over with say 320 grit very new sharp sandpaper, to take off the whiskers. Repeat the process a couple of times.

    Then take a clean yellow duster and give the wood a really good polish. After a few minutes it will then start to shine. Once it is really well polished you can then apply the finish.

    Another trick is to warm the wood up to just uncomfortable to hold temp, and then apply the first coat of finish. As the wood cools, the finish is sucked into the wood - useful whether its an oil finish on a fine gunstock, or varnish on brightwork on a boat.

  7. #7
    I leave the dents in hunting rifles. Gives 'em character.~Muir

  8. #8

    Some more details

    Utter novice in rifles, but was taught carpentry by a cabinet maker. You want the iron HOT (not red hot, obviously, but hotter than a modern clothes iron) - an old fashioned, cast-iron iron you can heat on a gas ring is best. Alternatively use an appropriate piece if solid iron (with a smooth surface) clamped securely into something like a mole wrench. You will need to make a good seal with the wood for the steam to penetrate, so if you are working on a curved surface you will need to press at the right angle or use a matching shape of iron.

    Multiple layers of wet blotting paper or - best of all - commercial paper towel (the individual ones, not the soft stuff off a roll) works better than fabric. Obviously anything containing synthetic fibres is a bad idea. If you're doing it right the iron will dry the paper in a few seconds, so careful you don't burn through and damage the wood. Press very firmly and watch you don't burn your hands on a jet of steam.

    If you're unsure buy a small piece of walnut timber from ebay, or get a free sample from a worktop supplier, dent it with a hammer and get some practice in advance.

    An oil finish won't help, and it will be lifted in any case if the steam penetrates beneath it successfully. Also remember to let the wood dry for a day or two before you re-oil - you have just re-inflated the wood fibres with water. If the wood fibres have actually been broken or cut then the process won't work so well.

  9. #9
    Ahhh well it seems that all the dents I have raised in the past plus the stock re-finishes must have all been a dream because an electric steam iron is what was used along with a sponge cheap dish cloth...................... but no cannot be must have been a dream it seems .


    Ahhh well as they say ignorance is bliss.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    Ahhh well it seems that all the dents I have raised in the past plus the stock re-finishes must have all been a dream because an electric steam iron is what was used along with a sponge cheap dish cloth...................... but no cannot be must have been a dream it seems .


    Ahhh well as they say ignorance is bliss.
    If you can get it to work with a steam iron, I'm not knocking it. Much easier it that works. My experience is on furniture rather than rifle butts. To completely remove a dent in wood I've always needed a hotter iron. Also chap who taught me took perfectionism to the extreme.

    Forget to mention - don't use coloured blotting paper! And unless you strip the whole piece it can be harder to re-match the finish than get the dents out, especially if it has a patina.

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