Cleaning and Repairing Decks

Cleaning and repairing decks

After all the boards have come off, examine each deck and determine what work is needed to clean it up.

In a best case scenario, the deck board surface just needs a light sanding, to take down the grain and smooth out any minor high spots. You should not need to sand enough to degrade the scribe lines indicating the positions of the pneumatics.

If, in the course of removing pneumatics, you gouged or otherwise damaged the surface, you will have to repair as best as can be done. Minor voids can be filled with hide glue when the pneumatic is set down; moderate damage will need to be repaired. If you have numbered your boards, and if large splinters remained attached to the pneumatic boards, it should be possible to steam off these splinters then reglue them to their original positions on the deck board.
This is all quite tedious, so best prevented in the first place, by careful removal.

A less successful attempt at removing the last board caused gouges in the deck. Thankfully the chips can be reglued to the deck with not much extra work
Other small repairs to the deck, in progress, with small pieces glued and clamped with painter’s tape

If you know there will be a good amount of time elapsing before you will be regluing pneumatics (as was the case with me), it is a good idea to number each spot in pencil, to make the reassembly more smooth.

Now is also a good time to renew the sealer inside the channels of the decks.
Thick sealing shellac is the traditional choice and will ensure each channel is independently airtight, which is a must for a well functioning action.

Finally, the front edge of each deck (which connects to the secondary valve board) probably has a gasket in place.
Remove the gasket, surface the deck edge as necessary.
Measure and cut new gaskets, but it’s better to not apply them until after the pneumatics have been first been glued down, to reduce the chance of getting glue on the new gaskets.

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