you're killin me!
grassfarmer wrote:Nice job. often thought about buying an old beater that is still in good shooting condition and restoring it.
I did this!
Not just because of your thread here, always had a hankerin to do so... your restoration pushed me WAY over the edge.
Found a 1940 vintage FULL choked M37 on gunbroker and wound up overpaying for it ($130). Its dogmeat to look at, but the bore is perfect and the action is buttery smooth. The only pics I have thus far are what is off of gunbroker. The rusting looks worse than it is; nothing deep at all, if it was to be blasted and phosphated there would be zero issues, I'm wanting to try my hand at rust bluing though. The forend looks to be in OK shape, the stock is another matter all together. It looks like it was overtightened with an impact wrench; it is split, chipped and cracked all around the neck, has been cut short on the butt-end and is missing a butt plate/pad. Have been thinking of shortening the barrel and adding my reproduction bayonet mount/heat shield as the other M37 Trench Gun project has changed direction and that bayonet mount/heat shield doesn't have a home at the moment.
Anyone know where I can get an old vintage stock in good shape for this peach?
ETA: maybe like this...
Dang! That's a great looking candidate for a restoration! The receiver looks to be in about the same condition as mine was, but the barrel appears to be in much better shape than mine.
I think that butt stock can be fixed; maybe not to absolute perfection, but good enough to withstand a casual inspection. Mine was in similar condition in the stock to receiver area. I know in my case that the cracking and chipping was not due to over tightening of the stock bolt because I've owned the gun for 58 years and the stock bolt was never touched, either by me or my uncle before me. What happened was that over the years gun oil would get in the stock/receiver gap and soak into the wood, causing it to swell, and also softening and weakening the wood. you can see how much the wood on your 37 has swollen by how much higher the wood is than the metal at the top of the receiver. There isn't much wood
in the little points of the stock adjacent to the trigger housing, so that's where the chipping and cracking is most dramatic.
The fix for those areas is to first get the old rancid oil out of the wood. I did this by heating the area with a heat gun or a hair dryer. You can see the oil become less viscous and rise to the surface. Then, while still warm, I would dunk the end of the stock into a jar of denatured alcohol or acetone to dissolve the oils (do the dunking outdoors, and don't operate the heat source anywhere near the solvents). Repeat the process until you're not getting significant amounts of oil emerging.
Once the area is oil free you can proceed to prop open cracks to allow infusion of glue, prep areas for adding wood where chunks are missing, finding some walnut with an acceptable color and grain match, figuring out how to clamp stuff, etc. The area adjoining the top of the receiver in your pictures looks to be crack and chip free, so it would be just a matter of sanding the wood back to a contour to match the receiver. It looks like none of the cracks go back far enough to involve the checkering, so that's a plus. A lot of work, I know, with no guarantee of success, but with a lot of patience and hardly any money it can be done!
The shortening of the butt end is another matter: I don't know of any fix for that. However, if the length of pull is still acceptable you can probably find a butt plate. If not, a recoil pad could be used, which was probably why the stock was shortened in the first place. On the other hand you may be able to score a vintage stock. If your gun is a 12 ga. your odds of finding one are going to be a lot better!
Jeez! Just seeing your pics has got me itching to get my hands on another one! There's something addictive about doing this restoration stuff. It's not likely to happen soon though. I'm in CA, so Gunbroker and out of state sources are out of the question: by the time I got through CA DROS and local FFL fees your Ithaca would have cost me easily twice what you paid (assuming the seller would even ship to this dump). Saw a 20 ga. locally not too long ago that looked ready for the full treatment, but a hint to my wife that she might like a nice 20 just got me a steely glare.