I’m not positive where this trick really came from, I didn’t invent it , I got it out of a book on carving and fitting rifle stocks. I’m sure other trades must have used similar techniques for ever in the past. I had gotten a nice custom Belgian made double barrel shot gun, the only problem was the stock was broken. Actually the broken stock is the only reason I could afford the gun. Also I’m left handed and had never had a shot gun that was properly fitted to me, so I was reading up on stock fitting, cast on, cast off, and other aspects of fitting the stock and how it affects your shooting when I came across this little trick, it makes fitting small parts fool proof. The gun stocker would smoke the action of a gun or rifle over a candle, depositing soot on it, then press it into the stock or the stock into it. When removed soot is left on all the high spots, now the high spot are pared off and it’s done again, after several cycles you have a perfect fit. In this repair I have used a variation of this idea.
This is an early 20th century manufactured hutch, which is loosely based on earlier design. It is part of a complete dinning set owned by the customer. It was dropped while moving [I see a lot of that] and the entire under carriage was in pieces when I got it. The two horizontal stretchers were broke in multiple places, one spindle was broke in two and there were multiple chips and scratches.
Here’s a picture of the left rear leg ,with part of a bead broken off and a scrape of paint where the piece was dropped.
In this picture the damage was trimmed with a chisel and the paint scraped off with a razor blade.
After cleaning up the break the wood for the patch is held up to the break and the general shape of the necessary patch drawn onto it.
The approximate shape of the break is drawn onto the patching material.
This is the important picture and it is the only blurry one , you can still see that I have drawn a line on the surface of the break with a soft lead pencil, the graphite replaces the gun stocker’s soot. Next I rub the patch into the break transferring graphite to the surface of the patch. Now just pare off the dark marks on the patch which are the high spots. Continue rubbing and paring until the patch fits perfectly and glue it in place.
Shape patch to blend int the old surface.
Color and polish to match and blend in.