Gunstock finishing

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Paper, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. Paper

    Paper I can justify anything. Forum Contributor

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    I do an occasional refinish on stocks and am wondering if anyone else here does the same, and what you might use for finish??
    Currently, I'm hand sanding down to bare wood, staining with a favorite redish brown stain, and then hand coating with Tru-Oil. I hand rub the Tru-Oil and then knock it down with steel wool, and repeat the process 10-15 times until the pores are well filled.
    I then toss a couple coats of floor wax on for good measure..

    Just wondering what other options are available??
  2. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Enthusiast

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    Paper...the one unchallenged guru on gunstock refinishing on G&G, IMHO, is StockDoc. Do a search for that name and you'll find some of his threads relating to stock refinishing.

    Having said that, and disqualifying myself as any kind of an expert(ha), I have refinished stocks myself.

    Here's my (redneck) method:

    Sand, sand, sand, and sand some more till the stock is down to bare wood. Use paint remover if necessary. Be sure to sand any reminants of remover off completely.

    Then, I make my own wood stain by dissolving one roll of 4-0 steel wool in pure vinegar for two weeks. This results in a reddish brown stain.

    Apply stain.

    Brush on water soluble sanding sealer. Brush on maybe up to two more coats.

    Then brush on water clear soluble poly-urethene finish. Apply up to two more coats. Sand between coats with 400 grit sandpaper if there is any roughness at all.

    Apply furniture wax as needed.

    Go fire the gun three times, or more, to relax after all that sanding.
  3. Big Dog

    Big Dog Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

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    I generally use Formby's Tung Oil Finish. It seems to work more smoothly and dry more quickly for me than Tru-Oil. I revently picked up a can of BLO, but haven't tried it yet.
    I really like Birchwood-Casey's water-based Dark Walnut stain - soaks deeper and gives better and smoother coverage than the Minwax oil stains I generally use (more color choices).
  4. dave375hh

    dave375hh G&G Newbie Forum Contributor

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    Paper,
    I think you'll find that the pores fill faster if you use 400 grit wet or dry untill the pores are filled. The oooo steel wool tends to deflect into the pores, while the paper goes over them flat.
  5. Paper

    Paper I can justify anything. Forum Contributor

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    Thanks everyone for suggestions!! I'm thinking and thinking..
    I have tons of 400 and 600 grit wet/dry paper (as long as I don't mention work)...

    Thanks also for the steelwool/vinegar stain, and the tongue oil..

    Walmart had TruOil on clearance about a month ago, so I bought 4 bottles for a buck and a half, each, so I'll feel bad if I don't make an attempt at using it, at least on the first stock.

    Speaking of that, my first one (this year) is a Marlin Model 60 that I picked up super cheap.. Some idiot thought that lubing the action with GREASE was a good idea, and then couldn't figure out why the gun wouldn't eject shells, or even operate, for that matter.. Not a big deal.. I have brake cleaner..:)

    Anyway, the stock has no checkering and had only a couple very small dings. I'm about 3/4 of the way through sanding by hand, and should finish up this week, as I only do it for an hour or so while I'm tolerating television. When I get it up and done, I'll post a couple closeups of this one.. For an elcheapo gun, the wood is very nice. Straight, but nice..

    Thanks again, and if there's any other stuff, feel free to toss it on.. I'd like to learn all I can about this!!!
  6. Paper

    Paper I can justify anything. Forum Contributor

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    Well, I sanded and sanded.. All original finish was removed and the wood's a smooth as a baby's but...
    But...
    As I sanded and sanded, a odd finish came about on both sides of the stock.
    Is this what would be called "Fiddleback"?? I'm not 100% sure of what the stock is as far as wood.. It's heavier than birch, and it's very hard, taking several hours to get down to bare wood..
    Anyway, here's a pic after one coat of stain..
    [​IMG]
    I'm going to give it one more coat of stain in a couple hours and let it dry overnight. I'll start on the coat after coat of TruOil this weekend.
  7. Big Dog

    Big Dog Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

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    Very nice 'flame' effect. I occasionally see the same thing in some birch stocks. In others, it occurs as an ugly blotching, but this will look nice when fully finished.
  8. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Enthusiast

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    I like that finish, Paper. You've brought out the natural grain which was hidden before. Congratulations on the fine finishing job you're getting!
  9. Paper

    Paper I can justify anything. Forum Contributor

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    Thanks guys.. I slapped my first of many coats of Tru Oil on this afternoon.. I have this weekend to work on it, but I'm going to be in Cowpens, SC all next week, so it'll be sitting for a while.. I have an issue of that when I start working on a stock, I have a hard time putting it down until it's done.. Kinda like a good book. I can't wait to see how it ends..:D

    Also, I finally located my 1/4 sheet sander.. Man that makes life much easier than hand sanding. I think this weekend I'll be on the hunt for a detail sander..

    I've got 5 more stocks that I want to do, and now my buddy's hinting about a couple of his.. I'll be charging him beer.. ;)
  10. Chris

    Chris Administrator Staff Member Founder

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    It looks really nice!
  11. troy2000

    troy2000 Suspended

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    I wax mine when I'm done, too

    But I usually use Turtle Wax, or some other carnauba-based car wax.
  12. Paper

    Paper I can justify anything. Forum Contributor

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    Hee Hee. I think it'll look way too nice for a Model 60 Marlin..
    While I'm waiting for the Tru Oil to dry, I started on my Mossberg 151K. It's a replacement stock for the one the USPS damaged in shipment... After three months I finally got my insurance payment for that fiasco... :mad:
  13. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Enthusiast

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    On second thought, that wood very well could be Phillipine Mahogany which often has ribbon effect grain.
  14. Paper

    Paper I can justify anything. Forum Contributor

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    There's a chance of that in a Marlin .22??
  15. Big Dog

    Big Dog Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

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    No, it's birch. A good stable, hard, close-grained wood for guns. In many ways, better than walnut and cheaper too. Any Marlin with a walnut stock will have the little black&white "bullseye" spot on the bottom of the buttstock.
  16. troy2000

    troy2000 Suspended

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    I think I agree with the dawg

    The arctic birch on Finnish Mosins has stripes in it a lot of the time.

    That's going to be a pretty stock.
  17. Paper

    Paper I can justify anything. Forum Contributor

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    Aha!!! I always wondered what that thing was for on my Marlin 780 bolt action .22 (second gun I ever got)

    Great info!! Thanks Big Dog!!
  18. Paper

    Paper I can justify anything. Forum Contributor

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  19. Paper

    Paper I can justify anything. Forum Contributor

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    And today it made a nice headshot at 35 yards to one grey squirrel..
    Guess what I'm having for lunch tomorrow??:)
  20. Coldwood

    Coldwood G&G Newbie

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    I use a recipe that was given to me by an antique furniture refinisher, she called it 123 VLT; meaning 1 part varnish, 2 parts linseed oil, 3 parts turpentine. I use oil-based varnish and boiled linseed oil (not raw linseed oil which will never really dry). Measure the ingredients in those proportions into a glass jar and mix well by shaking. Then take a cotton cloth, dip it into the mix, and just wipe it into the wood. Wipe off any excess. Let it dry overnight. Next day take fine sandpaper and lightly go over the finish to knock down any raised grain. Wipe off the dust and repeat the process two more times, for three coats. Leave it alone for about a month to cure and harden. Then apply another coat. You can keep doing this periodically and eventually you're going to get a deep lustrous finish like the top of a grand piano. It is impervious to water. Don't wax it, there's no need. I personally don't like wax because it builds up and I hear it will soften the varnish underneath. I've used this VLT on four muzzleloaders that I've built and assorted knife handles, and I think it's great.
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