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Posted: 6/28/2009 9:26:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2009 4:18:18 AM EST by shack357]
Trying to repair my grandfather's Marlin 39A. The stock is cracked/broken at the tang(common area for breaks in the model). He bought the rifle new in the 1940s and I'd rather fix the old stock if possible to preserve original parts rather than buy a replacement-next to impossible to find a correct style stock anyway. I'm thinking of gluing the old stock and then sanding and applying wood filler before refinishing it-feasible or should I scrap the idea and just track down a stock? I'm probably going to pick up the rifle from him this week so I'll know just how bad the break is in a few days.

I'm not buying or otherwise owning the rifle, I simply want to fix the gun I learned to shoot with and my grandfather has made it clear that if at all possible he wants the original stock repaired. If it won't work for functionality, I will glue the original enough to keep the pieces together so he'll at least still have the stock it came with. As far as replacements, Numrich is sold out on all the 39A stocks they list, and the last time I called marlin they did not have an uncheckered stock available for purchase, so availability is another cioncern when it comes to replacing the stock.
Link Posted: 6/28/2009 10:20:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/28/2009 10:22:46 PM EST by Zardoz]
If it's a clean break where the pieces fit together well, Elmer's glue will fix it right up, and it'll be stronger than before.
If there are places where chunks are missing, you can glue it together where it does fit together, then after that sets, fill in the voids with a paste made from wood glue and pre-stained sawdust*. Thus completes my personal knowledge of stock repair.
When glue squeezes out of the joint, LEAVE IT ALONE until it is completely dry, then remove it. Wiping it while wet only serves to coat the wood with it so that it will not take a stain.

*This makes the repair pretty visible, but it will be fairly strong.
Link Posted: 6/29/2009 6:33:09 AM EST
Another trick I've used is to run a brass screw thru the repaired area after it's been glued together. Cut off both ends and file them flush with the wood. You'll have a small brass 'pin' that's still visible afterward. BSW
Link Posted: 6/29/2009 9:24:44 AM EST
You're better off trying to repair the stock.
Back in those days, Marling fitted the stock by induction heating the receiver tangs red hot, then pressing the stock on.
This burned the wood to a perfect fit, then the wood was sanded with the receiver to give a tight wood-to-metal fit.
Later stocks weren't fitted that well, and a new stock will have gaps and won't fit nearly as well.

As above, a good repair is a good water-proof wood glue, and if needed a brass stock reinforcement pin. This is how the military repaired wood.
You can buy the special pins from Brownell's that are better for the purpose than wood screws:

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=617/Product/STOCK_REPAIR_PIN_KIT

For gap filling, sand some sanding dust off the stock itself, mix with a 5 minute epoxy and use that as a wood putty. Nothing will be a perfect match, but this is less noticeable than using a commercial "plastic wood".

Link Posted: 6/29/2009 2:03:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/29/2009 2:06:42 PM EST by shack357]
Picked up the rifle today, at some point one of my uncles "fixed" it as well. Two 1/4" bolts through the pistol grip area and several nails in the side of the stock as well. It's an ugly break, but the good thing is the break is right in with the grain. All I'll have to do is set the nails deeper and come up with less visible reinforcements for the PG area. Needs a good reblue as well, but that's not likely to happen. The gentleman who I take bluing jobs to only blues in cold weather(very understandable) and is quitting due to health problems-he may not be rebluing at all this winter.

Edit-serial number is G 43XX-is there a chart of production dates anywhere? He thinks he bought it in the late 1940s for $65.
Link Posted: 6/29/2009 3:21:06 PM EST
Get the nails and screws out of it, degrease with an acetone soak, CAREFULLY spread the cracks and run in AcraGlas (not the gel)bind with rubber bands.
When cured, drill c couple of 1/8" holes where theyll do the most good and glue in brass rod, trim, sand and refinish.
Brownell's sells threaded bronze rods with an appropriate bit for this repair. Chuck the rod in a drill, smear the threads with AcraGlas and run the rod in.
Link Posted: 6/30/2009 9:57:08 AM EST
"G" rifles were made in 1950.

I have one too.
This was one of the last years that Marlin rifled the 39-A with the original "Ballard" type rifling, before going to the "Micro-Groove" style.
This rifle is known as the post-war "Third Variation".
It has an unusual front sight, in which the entire sight, ramp, and dovetail are milled from a solid block of steel, and still has the slight "bulge" on the bottom of the finger lever.
Other than one small internal flat spring and the coil mainspring, the entire action and all springs are milled from solid steel, one of the last Marlin's not to use stamped steel parts.
Link Posted: 6/30/2009 11:12:26 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/30/2009 11:56:50 AM EST by raf]
Link Posted: 7/1/2009 6:17:58 PM EST
Thanks for the advice. I have a bid on a stock on ebay-actually for a model 336, but Numrich lists the same stock for the 39A-fitting is expected. That's a backup plan for the event that I can't repair the original. One idea I came up with today(kicking around ideas before doing anything permanent) is to plug the bolt holes with wooden dowels, then sand and stain to match-I'm aware the grain pattern won't match but at least there will be solid wood in the holes-also thinking of trying to get artistic with a woodburner or the like to "simulate" a matching grain pattern.
Once work begins I will start a thread with before, during and after pics. Worst case, I change the stock. Best case is the original turns out decent and the replacement is a prefitted spare just in case of another break. Talked with the gentleman in my area who does rebluing today, he will be doing another batch when we get back into cold weather again-a beautifully done hot blue job for $35-$50, and he makes a special effort to preserve factory markings. I usually throw him a bit extra just to acknowledge the amount of work he does for that $35 he asks for(he's got to be just breaking even. Ideally by Christmas Grampa will have a rifle that looks like the day he bought it.
To all who gave advice, thanks a lot. I appreciate it greatly, and I'm sure he will once it's done.
Link Posted: 7/2/2009 3:23:40 PM EST
One trick I've successfully used to disguise mis-matching grain or a patch.

Buy a bottle of leather dye in either dark brown or even black.
Use a fine artist's brush to paint fake grain over the patch or plug matching the surrounding grain pattern, then apply a finish over that.
I once knew an artist who could paint on such good grain using this method, it was virtually impossible to detect.
He did a plain birch stock for his DCM M1 that looked exactly like fiddle-back fancy grade walnut.
Link Posted: 8/21/2009 7:26:00 PM EST
Just an update-ended up having to use the new stock. Original was too far gone, and the bolts in the wrist were what kept it from sliding off. Took a lot of fitting work, as the stock is not drop in(think Boyd M1 stock and add some work to that). Cuts for the tangs are intentionally undersize and the contours are oversize so it can be properly fitted.
Stock is fitted to go on the rifle, now need to sand to proper dimensions and finish-LOTS of work. Then it's time to be reblued as the rifle's not leaving the family and it's a common model, even though old. I can get it hot blued locally for a very reasonable price, and have found correct style reproduction hang tags to put on it when done. Not trying to make it look "new" for value's sake but I want t t look like it did when he bought it for sentimental reasons.
Link Posted: 8/22/2009 8:57:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2009 9:03:12 AM EST by raf]
Link Posted: 8/31/2009 6:39:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By raf:
OK, thanks for the update. At this point, I suggest buying a similar fore-end so that the two pieces of wood will match. Trying to match old wood with new in terms of color/stain/finish/wear/dings is not too easy, and something of an art. There is not much room for second-tries.

If you go this route, I suggest using Tung oil as a finish. It will mimic the OEM finish, and is vastly superior to linseed oil, wnich was probably the OEM finish.

Tung oil will penetrate and polymerize within the wood creating an impenetrable barrier to moisture, unlike linseed oil, which requires constant re-application to achieve anything like the same effect.

If this is too much, than spray spar polyurethane, which is highly resistant to UV light and water is the way to go. In either case, select a satin finish which always looks good, doesn't spook game on account of reflections, and hides the dings and imperfections in the wood/finish a bit better than gloss.

Whatever finish you select, coat every single inch of the wood, inside and out, fine sanding and then steel-wooling for the final coat or two.

Please do consider reinforcing the obvious weak portions of the stock with threaded brass rod, as outlined above. If you need assistance, IM me.

If the factory had done so, you might not have had to go to all this hassle. If this might be a family heirloom, why not go the extra step now?

Your heirs are very unlikely to be able to get a replacement stock as you did. Just something to think about....


Thanks for the recommendations. Still working on shaping for proper contours, need to buy some tools this week to do it right. The brass rod is a good idea,and will probably get done. Also, since he's not willing to sell this one, and I am fixing it for him and not so I cn buy it, I did manage to find a 39A on gunbroker that's very similar in appearance for my collection. M prefix, so it has the micro groove barrel, but otherwise nearly identical.
Link Posted: 9/5/2009 9:08:18 AM EST
Originally Posted By briansmithwins:
Another trick I've used is to run a brass screw thru the repaired area after it's been glued together. Cut off both ends and file them flush with the wood. You'll have a small brass 'pin' that's still visible afterward. BSW


+1

But dont run it all the way through.

Just screw it in enough to hold the break the cut off the head and file flush with the stock.
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 4:17:55 AM EST
Finished the stock some time ago, gunsmith finished the bluing job last week. Took the rfle back to my grandpa yesterday and gave him the display cabinet shown here with it. Repro hang tags and manual(manual probably not the correct one, but at least it's pre-safety and pre-Golden series.)" target="_blank">
Managed to save the original forearm with decent results. He was thrilled with the rifle.Sorry I didn't have before pictures, but imagine this rifle with little to no bluing on the barrel, lightly pitted receiver and 2 bolts and 7 nails in the stock.
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