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Ithaca 37 Restoration Project

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by drcook, Mar 11, 2013.

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  1. drcook

    drcook Member

    Jun 11, 2011
    I originally stuck this in the gunsmith section to show folks about lazer welding and how it can save an old gun. Now that I see that you guys are interested in seeing old shotguns saved, I moved it here with updates on the stock. I have been redoing the stock also. The inletting for the action typically gets oil soaked. Acetone, kitty litter, Citristrip mixed with kitty litter all have been used to suck the oil out of the wood. Acetone will not hurt the wood but will remove finish of course.

    I am restoring a 1948 Ithaca 37 16ga. The original post(s) are on Shotgunworld and the Ithaca forum.

    I wanted to share this with you all so you can see what is possible with today's technology, ie: laser welding.

    This post is posts put up over a couple days time, I didn't edit out the chronological parts, just cut and pasted it together.

    Here are some pics of the 1948 as it was when I opened the box. It was a bit misrepresented. Next time I won't simply take a gunstore's word that it is a little rusty, even if they are supposed to be an upstanding institution over in the Poconos of Pa, right in downtown Stroudsburg, Pa.

    The left side of the receiver is how it came out of the box at the receiving FFL. Needless to say, I was a bit perturbed at Dunkleberger's. They also fibbed about the knurling on the magazine nut as I was going to swap it onto another gun I am restoring. I guess gunstore employees and used car salesmen go to the same school.

    The only salvation is I only paid $150.00 for it. Plus the barrel to receiver threads are as tight as can be. The safety is tight, all indicative of not much use.

    Regardless, as I said, I am salvaging it. I have got all but the very worst pits out. They are too deep. What little is left will not be visible under casual inspection and the bluing should hide it pretty well. The gun is cleaning up/polishing out nicely. The only place any of the pits will remain is at the back of the left side of the receiver.

    It will be going next week to get blued. I have a friend who will blue the entire gun for me for $40.00 with it being all polished out.

    I bought some stripper and going to do the stocks. The mechanicals are good and tight, with the exception of the left hand shell stop spring, which we all know is a known Ithaca weakness.

    I have bought new screws for the receiver.

    The barrel is 28", modified and the barrel is ok inside.

    After it is all polished out and the wood stripped, I will have new pics and of course will post the final result.

    Too bad I don't have another 275.00 right now. The full choked 48 16ga at the local pawnshop is begging to be restored.





    Work is progressing. All the rust and corrosion is removed from the pits. I have an email out to a company that does lazer welding to see if it is cost effective to send it to them and have them fill the pits in.

    I didn't take a picture of the barrel, it has sanded out and polished perfect, as did the trigger guard and other pieces.

    If this works out and they don't want too much, I will send it to them. I am also going to check a couple other places out also.



    I received the actual estimate. $ 125.00 to fix the pits at locations 1 & 2 in the picture below.
    Location #3 is just some minor "frosting", I can live with it as the setup and welding would be another $25.00. The bluing will hide it. The top will be glass beaded prior to bluing, so any minor imperfections on the top will be hid, blended in.

    The barrel is all cleaned up, as is the trigger guard. All the rest of the parts are now rust free. I think I said I bought new receiver screws. All in all, this is going to be a 'nice" gun when I am done.

    A friend told me about using 2 parts spar varnish, 2 parts BLO and 1 part turpentine or mineral spirits makes a really nice stock finish. I believe I am going to try it out.


    Back from being welded. Needless to say, as the below pictures testify, he does a really nice job. If I can find someone to touch up the engraving for a reasonable price, I will however, it is not as important to me as the pits being gone. The next set of pictures will be after I draw file it down and polish the weld flush. Then the final set will be after bluing is done.

    Remember the first picture is what it looked like





  2. drcook

    drcook Member

    Jun 11, 2011
    Here are some pictures. As you can see, the acetone does not damage the stock.





  3. Charger442

    Charger442 Member

    Jun 19, 2009
    South Texas
    cool project. i had some pitting on a 37 with the short barrel and 8 shot tube from the 70s and it wasnt bad enough to contemplate laser welding. i did do a nice parkerized finish on it and it pretty much filled the low pits and you cant even notice them now. the guy i had do the park job on it, cleaned out the rust in the pits before filling them.

    keep up the good work, i love Model 37s.
  4. drcook

    drcook Member

    Jun 11, 2011
    It is hard to get a good photo with the glare. The line (discoloration) is a shadow. Overall I am pretty happy about this. There are a couple scratches and some small pits that I can't get out without some very aggressive sanding and some of the engraving was lost (as to be expected).

    While it is definitely not a silk purse, no longer is it a sow's ear. The best part ?

    I won't have to put a bag over my head with eye slits cut to hide my identity when I go hunting with this gun, nor will I have to be ashamed to lend it to someone.




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