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My Marlin 30-30 took a dive off a tree stand last fall and the butt stock apparently hit the foot rail on the way down. The resulting ding is about 1/2 inch long x 1/4 wide x 1/8 deep.
The rifle is a camp gun but I would like to repair my klutziness but not make the aesthetics worse in the process.
Does this sound like a case for a warm iron over a damp cloth or can some one suggest a plan B for me.

Thanks in advance
 

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Try the warm iron and damp cloth first. If it's not a gouge where there's actual wood missing, you are left with lifting up the grain that is still there. If it's gouged right out of the stock (missing material) you're pretty much left with looking for another stock. Last option: call it a memory mark and learn to live with it. At least no one else will have to worry about leaving a mark on the stock. It happens.
 

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Can't really add much to nsb's post except, a 1/8" indentation is too deep to iron out completely. There will always be a crease there. Try it anyway and prove me wrong. I truly do not mind that. But, it will take some of it out, and you can leave the rest as memorabilia. A gouge requires woodworking skill, so you be your own judge there. Memory marks can be good things - I have a couple. Several scars, a crooked finger, a crooked tow, an indented collarbone. All of them are good memories that were once bad ones. I understand I'm preaching to the choir.
 
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The Mar-shield finish is not difficult to remove. You might just go ahead and strip it off and then fill the "gouge" with wood filler and then sand to smooth. Pick a lighter color stain to try and match the forend and after staining add as needed? to the filled spot. A satin poly spray will put a finish back on that's 10x more resistant than the original.
 
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It all depends on if the wood is torn or is it dented. Dent's come out by steaming.
 

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As JBelk suggested, inspect closely with at least 10x magnification and look for broken or torn fibers. If none and the stock does NOT have a polyurethane finish, just an oil finish, steaming will certainly rise the grain back. Some finish may also be removed and should be able to be touched up without too much trouble.

If a poly finish you'll need to remove the finish so that the steam will penetrate the fibers and raise them. I just did this to a 150 y/o stock. Some could be raised, some were tears and couldn't be raised.
 
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