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Old January 28, 2014, 03:37 AM   #1
FrankenMauser
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Fitting a butt pad without a belt sander...

I've been slowly resurrecting a derelict Stevens 258 shotgun for a while, and am somewhat stuck on the final operation.... Fitting a replacement butt pad/plate.


But, trimming this thing down, without a belt sander, seems like it'll take a few months. Progress is insanely slow with files, or sandpaper over a file. I simply do not have access to a bend sander, grinder, or any other power tool generally used for the job.
Anybody have any hints, tips, or tricks they'd like to share?


---

If you're curious....
I managed to pick up a butt pad and spacer that had been fitted to a Mauser stock (itself adapted for a bubba'd Springfield 1903A3, with sections added from a 10/22 stock ), which had enough extra 'meat' to be trimmed down for the Stevens stock. The holes in the butt have been plugged, filled, and re-located for the new pad and spacer (white line spacer, and hard black spacer, plus an old Pachmayr Decelerator (~1970s vintage?)). I just need to get the thing 90% shaped, so I can break out the bedding material, fit it properly, and take it the rest of the way.
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Old January 28, 2014, 06:32 AM   #2
hooligan1
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Frankenmauser that's the only way I have done those "grind tofit" style butt pads, with wood rasp and common bastard file until fit is desired then I wet sand those spacer's edge until they look nice.( get all the file marks out).
It's definitely a chore but it's rewarding.....
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Old January 28, 2014, 11:04 AM   #3
Pahoo
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Rough cuts, grind/sand, smooth and finish.

Frankenmauser
This is going to sound a bit extreme so kindly follow the spirit of how I approached my most recent project.. ....

The last one I did, was rather oversized and I had a lot of material to work with. I too had a spacer to deal with. First off I put masking tape along the edges of the buttstock. This is to protect the wood. I then aligned, marked and mounted the spacer and plate. Actually, on this one, I had to plug old and drill new mounting holes. I attached the spacer to the plate, using double sticky tape. While still mounted, I marked my outside and "noted" the contour I had to match at the toe and heel. Remove from buttstock and then;

Rough cuts on my band saw; while watching my lines and contour.
Rough grind/sand the outline again, ............ "
Various grades of sandpaper; ..................... "

Remount/refasten plate and spacer and mark for final fine hand sanding ....

Good Luck and;
Be Safe !!!
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Last edited by Pahoo; January 28, 2014 at 01:52 PM.
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Old January 28, 2014, 01:49 PM   #4
Dixie Gunsmithing
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Do you have access to a hand held disc sander, or do you have a disc sander attachment for a drill? I have used these in the past, but you have to keep a watch on the contour of the pad as you sand it.
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Old January 28, 2014, 02:22 PM   #5
MoGas1341
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I personally was in the same boat when fitting a Limb Saver to my Model 70. The old Pachmayr that was on there was hard as rock, and didnt fit the contour of my shoulder at all, and would catch me under the collar bone if firing from a bench.

Anyways, I attached the Limb Saver and scratched the outline of the stock into it. Then I placed the butt pad into my bench vise with the outline facing me and proceeded carefully with a rasp and bastard file just as hooligan1 said. After I got the pad close to where in needed to be in repect to the stock, I proceeded to wet sand it with a sanding block starting at 400 grit and working it up to 1000 grit for finshing work.

It takes alot of time and patience, and is painstaking but it does look excellent when completed. If I recall, It took me 3 days, at 2 to 3 hours each day (taking breaks every 30 minutes or so, due to my wrist injury) Unless you have access to a power tool of some sort (which you stated you did not) I don't know of a way to 'speed up' the process without sacrificing quality and risking ruining your butt pad. Patience is key. Best of luck!
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Old January 28, 2014, 02:25 PM   #6
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A small belt/disc sander doesn't cost much, and is handy to have around.
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Old January 28, 2014, 02:40 PM   #7
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Just takes time !!!

An important point, for me anyway, is that the buttplate/spacer is always in my hands, while working. I use power tools but always bring the piece to them. Also, I don't do any tool work with the piece mounted to the stock. ...

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 28, 2014, 04:22 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies, guys. I'll have to look around, to see if I have a better rasp somewhere. Right now, the only rasps I can locate are pretty gnarly, and inappropriate for this job.



Quote:
Do you have access to a hand held disc sander, or do you have a disc sander attachment for a drill?
Nope. I could buy an attachment, but I don't see myself using it very often. I'll have to see what the local hardware store has, when I'm there later.

Quote:
A small belt/disc sander doesn't cost much, and is handy to have around.
When it comes to tools, I'm bi-polar. For some jobs, cheap tools are just fine. But, for other jobs, I want quality - something that may last the rest of my life. If I can't afford the good tool, I don't want anything at all. ...and a belt sander is one of those that falls into the "buy quality or buy nothing at all" category.
I've been watching local equipment auctions for a good deal on a belt sander, in particular, but there's always a bidding war that breaks out and ruins my chances.
One of these days....
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Old January 28, 2014, 05:22 PM   #9
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Go to Harbor Freight. I have one of their discs sanders. It was cheap and I've used it for 5 years or more. Simple and bulletproof. And even though I gripe about Ryobi tools, I have one of their belt sanders. Can't kill it. I got a Makita belt sander to use when the Ryobi dies, but 8 or so years later the Makita still waits its turn.
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Old January 28, 2014, 06:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 603Country
Go to Harbor Freight. I have one of their discs sanders. It was cheap and I've used it for 5 years or more. Simple and bulletproof...
That's what I did. Bought it really cheap at HF with a discount coupon & I have used it pretty much just for recoil pads over the past 15 years. My only complaint is that since I don't use it very often & I have to store it some place!..LOL

I bought a jig for recoil pad grinding but got rid of it because I never used it - I would rather free hand.

Good Luck!

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Old January 28, 2014, 08:08 PM   #11
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First thing is to even up the butt stock wood. Depending on what had been on there, the stock itself could be chipped, curved, misshapen, etc. So you need a solid, straight place to start. That could require not a sander but a band saw. The job can be done with a miter saw also, or even a miter box. Make sure to support the front end of the stock/gun so looking down on the cut will show a straight line 90 degrees to the barrel. Don't take off too much; you are trying to true up the stock, not cut it down. (Unless you want to do that for a smaller shooter.)

Once you have a solid place to work with, hold the pad tightly and use a pointed punch (an awl) to mark the places for the butt plate screws. Make sure to leave enough pad to allow the toe to extend the line of the toe of the stock. Then set the pad aside and drill the holes for the screws (undersize so that the threads bite but the wood doesn't split and it doesn't require enough force to bugger the screw heads. Then mount the pad, use soap on the screw threads and install them. If a screw needs to go into an old screw hole, make a plug to fit the old hole, and glue it in before drilling for the new screw.

Once the pad is in place, with some overlap all around, use masking tape on the wood around the pad and begin to cut the pad down.

If the pad is much oversize, you can put the pad on temporarily and scribe the stock shape on it. Then you can take the pad back off, and cut it down on a band saw or with a hacksaw until you get it to where a minimal amount of work will be needed to fit it.

It should go without saying, but the lines of the pad should continue the stock lines. Many beginners will cut the toe of the pad in a line parallel with the barrel of the gun rather than continuing the stock line. This always looks like heck and is the sign of inexperienced DIY work. (See above about leaving enough pad for this.)

Jim
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Old January 29, 2014, 01:15 AM   #12
FrankenMauser
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Thanks for the reply, James.


Quote:
Go to Harbor Freight. I have one of their discs sanders. It was cheap and I've used it for 5 years or more. Simple and bulletproof. And even though I gripe about Ryobi tools, I have one of their belt sanders. Can't kill it. I got a Makita belt sander to use when the Ryobi dies, but 8 or so years later the Makita still waits its turn.
The HF belt sanders are $80 right now. For $10 to $35 more, I could have my pick of an equivalent (4" belt/6" disc) new Porter Cable, Hitachi, Skil, Genesis, Rikon, or Ryobi at a local shop (Black and Decker is there, too, but I'd rather flush the money directly down the toilet, than waste my time with a B&D ). But, I still can't justify the expense right now.

Lately, I've been pouring quite a bit of money into several project firearms, a new-to-me home, and some other firearms-related purchases - with a new safe in the very near future; and there may be a vehicle purchase coming soon. So, I just don't think I could get the wife to understand why I had to buy a belt sander to finish one "junk" shotgun.
A belt sander may be just a drop in the bucket, compared to some of the other purchases; but it's a risky tactical move.
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Old January 29, 2014, 07:04 AM   #13
hooligan1
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Hey Bumblebug why don't you store that dude at Frankenmauser's for a little while?

Frankenmauser good luck on all those chores buddy I feel ya, cant wait to see those other projects and this shotgun when its finished..
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Old January 29, 2014, 08:51 AM   #14
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Hre's a little secret on the "brand" equipment like Ryobi and others, they are all made in either Taiwan or Hong Kong by only around three manufacturers. The one company who makes the Ryobi tools makes several brands, and just puts a name on them. I think they even do the design work too. The Taiwan guys seem to make a little better equipment as a rule, as I have a Porter-Cable table saw from there, and it actually is made well.

From Wikipedia:

"The Ryobi Tools brand is owned by Techtronic Industries of Hong Kong, an original equipment manufacturer for brands such as Craftsman. RYOBI, and RIDGID".

They make a few other brands they don't show on their website.

http://www.ttigroup.com/en/our_brands/

The machinery from Enco, Grizzly, and several others are made by the same Chinese manufacturers, just with different paint jobs and stickers. You can't find any equipment affordable, that is well made, like the German equipment, without paying really big bucks, or US made, like Kalamazoo in sanders.

Now that I've said my spill, I own several Chinese made pieces, and to be honest, they do their job, some better than others. I have a Harbor Freight belt sander that is actually heavier made then most brand belt sanders. It uses castings, instead of bent sheet metal and plastic. So, in the end, Asia will get your hard earned bucks whether you want it or not.

Last edited by Dixie Gunsmithing; January 29, 2014 at 08:22 PM.
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Old January 29, 2014, 09:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
"The Ryobi Tools brand is owned by Techtronic Industries of Hong Kong, an original equipment manufacturer for brands such as Craftsman. RYOBI, and RIDGID".
Which is why you will never find a Ryobi in my shop. If it has a motor or an engine, avoid the Crapsman logo like the plague.

For Frankenmauser, +1 on the drill disk sander suggestion. I have done several grind-to-fit pads using just a drill disk with 80 grit paper held between my knees while holding the pad in my hand.
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Old January 29, 2014, 11:51 AM   #16
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.

+ 27

A sanding disc accessory for an electric drill (it attaches like a brill bit) costs less then $10, with a pac of sanding discs costing about the same.



I doubletape the stock with yellow masking tape first (stop sanding when the outer layer of tape starts to get scuffed), with the coarsest grit sanding disc.

I only apply the upper quarter of the spinning sanding disc to the pad, to ensure the sanding action is going away from the wood, towards thin air. (which helps avoid marring the stock wood)

Be sure to buy a pad that has an internal steel reinforcing plate that's small enough to escape the sanding, yet still have the pad long enough @ the bottom to extend the buttstock bottom line through to the rear edge of the new pad.

Go slow - it's hard to put rubber back on. .


.
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Old January 29, 2014, 12:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hooligan1
Hey Bumblebug why don't you store that dude at Frankenmauser's for a little while?
I'd be glad to!! Is "1B ID" near Austin, Tx?

LOL...

...bug
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Old January 29, 2014, 12:38 PM   #18
Brian Pfleuger
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The frustration and time factor alone would make it completely worth the $50 that a cheap belt sander costs at Home Depot/Lowes/Harbor Freight. Totally worth it. I wouldn't bat an eyelash. Sell the thing to a neighbor for $25 when you're done.
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Old January 29, 2014, 12:57 PM   #19
Dixie Gunsmithing
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Quote:
Sell the thing to a neighbor for $25 when you're done.
I've seen this done, or worse, take it back to the store claiming it wouldn't work. I would never do the latter, but if a neighbor was interested, well, yes sir-ee Bob. One could put it up on ebay after, just say it was used once, hardly used, and let it go.
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Old January 29, 2014, 01:17 PM   #20
Dixie Gunsmithing
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PetahW

If I recall, all those years ago, when I took my course (North American Gun School), they showed using a sanding disc on a drill in the module on stocks. Back then, around 1980, we didn't have access to all the cheap Harbor Freight items we have now. I know I bought a belt sander attachment, by B&D, for a drill, where you had a cradle mounted on the bench to hold the drill, and the chuck turned the belt. That was when I was first starting up shop, and was buying on the cheap. That and a disc sander, just like you show, is what I first used, and was taught to use, as I improvised until I made enough profit to buy something better.
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Old January 29, 2014, 02:01 PM   #21
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For anyone doing recoil pads/buttplates very often, a narrow belt sander may work better than a wide belt type, unless you are sanding the stock and pad down together.


http://www.maximum-velocity.com/nl/st11_figure3.jpg

Jim
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Old January 29, 2014, 03:05 PM   #22
Dixie Gunsmithing
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Jim,

The little B&D had only a 2-1/2" wide belt, and it worked. I made a little wider table out of plywood, and mounted it on the small steel one, so I had more support, but they will work too, just take your time.

These small belt sanders are good for cutting a multitude of things down in the shop, even sharpening.
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Old January 29, 2014, 04:18 PM   #23
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Quote:
I'd be glad to!! Is "1B ID" near Austin, Tx?
Idaho uses county identification codes as the first two characters on standard license plates. (Vanity plates and specialty plates don't get it.)

1B = Bannock County.


----

I looked around for a sanding disc attachment for a drill, yesterday; and much to my surprise, only Lowes carried one ... which was out of stock. So, if I go that route, I may just have to wait a little longer. It's not like this Stevens is going to grow legs and walk away.
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Old January 29, 2014, 04:55 PM   #24
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Place the recoil pad on butt of stock. And hold it in place as best as you can while you trace a line alone the shape of the butt. Use some kind of pen with an ink you can see on the recoil pad.

Now, using some flat surface, desk top, table top or whatever, place a sheet of coarse sandpaper on it....100 grit or coarser and then while holding the sheet of sandpaper stationary, begin sanding the sides of the recoil pad by moving the recoil pad. In other words, instead of holding the recoil pad stationary and working it with sandpaper, do the opposite. Might want to switch to a finer grit, 120 plus when you get to the line you've traced around back of recoil pad.

You should find this method better and faster when doing it by hand. Personally, I have both a belt sander and power hand sanders to shape a recoil pad. But often have done the final shaping of the pad in the manner I've described.
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Old January 29, 2014, 05:33 PM   #25
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You can also trace the butt stock on a piece of wood so you can do most of the grinding on your pattern rather than on the gun itself.

I've done several using a drill powered disc
Just take your time
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