Richards Laminate Stock and Glossy Finish with Tru Oil (LONG)


November 20, 2005, 09:16 PM
Figured I'd post one for the archive since I had some trouble researching this project.

I bought my Father a Richard's Microfit stock in the Dual Thumbhole Sporter style for his birthday last year. He wanted a glossy finish and I wanted to try Tru Oil, but found little information on how to accomplish this. After lots of gun forum/guitar forum/knife forum work I got a general idea, but most people are finishing in satin or matte. Here's how I got the gloss:

First, Richards stocks are pretty nice for project work. This one on a Remington 700 long action took just a bit of Dremel work to fall in easily. I pillar bedded the action and floated the barrel, but that's just my preferences. The stocks do, however, have blade marks and need a lot of smoothing. You really need to start with some coarse grit (100-220) and get the marks out. They are also a bit thick in places such as around the thumbhole so you can blend to taste. The forearm caps are also a square block, left unfinished.

I let him sand this down until he liked the feel and then started finish sanding. I went up in increments from 320 up to 1500 wet/dry paper. After that, I went to 0000 steel wool. The Rosewood caps have pores you can't sand through without uncovering more. The laminate will have some gaps due to the cutting process and you can choose to fill these or sand through. I'd sand through in retrospect. Before you lay oil on you CANNOT have a stock too smooth. One word of warning.....0000 steel wool will remove wood, but not the hard glue between the sheets of wood. Too much wool work will result in waves, which can be smoothed with 1000-1500. When she is smooth wipe it with hot water to raise the grain. The wood will stand up in places you thought were smooth. 1500-2000 does a nice job on this (just go to Auto Zone and buy A LOT, you're gonna need it). I used hot mineral spirits but be warned this stuff is flammable! I heated water to boiling and then dropped a cup in the hot water with mineral spirits after the flame was out. I liked to use mineral spirits to clean the stock because it evaporated out quickly and gives you an idea on how the stock colors will come out.

After smoothing, it's time to fill the grain and gaps in the pores of the wood. Honestly, the laminate part should have few gaps. The Rosewood will be a pain. Most sites tell you to use some Tru oil and sand paper to create a slurry of sawdust that will fill the pores up. This will come out darker than the Rosewood around it and I prefer to fill them with clear Tru oil. Either way you lay on a THICK coat of Tru Oil with your finger (I think a rag wipes too much away) and let it dry. Take 0000 steel wool and buff off the excess when it is dry. Keep doing this process until the pores are full. If you see that 0000 steel wool wipes into the pores and you can't get a flush finish, then you need to buff out with 1500 paper to get it nice and even. I DO NOT recommend the Birchwood Casey stock filler/sealer. It does fill, but it sands off poorly and dulls the finish. Tru oil itself does a better job.

Once the pores are filled you can keep laying on thin coats of Tru oil. Just put a small (1/4 dime sized drop on your index finger and rub against the grain in a small area. How smooth you have sanded will determine how far you can stretch it. If you are really smooth a small drop will cover 8". I rubbed in circles and then against the grain to help fill small imperfections. The oil will get tacky in about 2 min. When it does, move on to the next spot. You do not have to have a perfect finish yet...we'll get to that.

When the gun is oiled, you have some options. You can start final finish or you can take the finish off with 1500 paper and keep repeating the process. Why? Because during this phase the wood becomes translucent and takes on a shimmer you can't see in the pics. The reds will acually shimmer silver as you turn the stock and the golds look like Tiger eye. The Tru oil will also add a deeper/warmer look the more you lay in. I don't call it "yellowing", but it's close.

Final finish. Ok, here we go. Once you have it where you like it you can lay on a coat of oil on about half the stock and then rub the excess off with coffee filters. I got the idea from repairing CD's with coffee filters and peanut butter. Tru Oil acts like a plastic and the felt they give you to finish with won't get a mirror sheen. I tried a BUNCH pf products. The flat v shaped filters work best. Rip off the the seam because any rough edges will create a gouge. Rub the oil off aggressively with the filter. It will feel like rubbing off honey. will lay in a very thin, very smooth coat. It will take you 3-5 coats this way (you are no longer sanding in between) to start to see a shine.

When you're satisfied, you're done. This stock is wearing about 7 coats of subsequent finish.

If you gouge or make a mistake you can build up a deep coat by doing this. Gently sand the imperfection down with 2000 paper. The, just a SUPER SMALL drop of Tru Oil on you finger run it in until it becomes tacky. Then...whip your finger across in the direction of the grain (both ways) until you don't see any smears, lines or finger prints. You have the right speed it you feel some heat. You can get a mirror shine this way too, but for doing the whole stock it would be nerve wracking.

Armor All (yes, the kind you use on tires and your dashboard) will cause Tru oil to harden almost immediately and bond to the coat beneath it. I would spray into my hand and rub the whole stock down with just the film on my hands. It does, however, dull the finish just slightly so don't do this for final finsh. It helped for the wiping on/off phase to get the nice translucence.

Tru Oil is not that strong. It will dent easily until at least a week after applied. After that it is not as strong as a good poly. It is, however, easy to repair and looks great.

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November 20, 2005, 09:18 PM
That looks very, very nice. Well done!

November 20, 2005, 09:35 PM
I'll stay with my traditional hand-rubbed Boiled Linseed Oil finish, thank you.

November 20, 2005, 09:57 PM
Very nice

Here's a tip for woking with laminates or any unfinished wood for that matter -small dents and "knife" marks - steam the dents/marks with a steam clothes iron to add moisture & heat to the dent, the fibers will take up moisture and swell to fill the dent, let dry overnight and sand. Also, steaming the entire surface after coarse sanding will raise the "wood fuzz", small wood fibers. Let dry overnight and continue fine sanding. Do not steam after a sanding sealer or 1st coat of oil has been applied.

I perfer a mixture of tru oil and tung oil myself to retard drying when hand rubbing.

November 21, 2005, 11:07 AM
Nice job. Very well done!!

September 9, 2010, 09:06 AM
Lycanthrope, not sure if you're still an active member. If so, I wanted to tell you thanks for this post. I used your advice extensively in my own build. In case you're interested, here is my post about it:

Thanks again.

September 9, 2010, 09:19 AM
I'm glad to be of help. I did another stock for my Model 70 a couple years back. They take a lot of time, but most people who are mechanically inclined can do it.

September 9, 2010, 10:35 PM
Ever notice that these laminates have no checkering? It is one of those things which just seems to be "missing" to me. It takes awhile of studying the photos before I recognize what I think is missing. Almost like studying this photo for awhile:

October 13, 2010, 05:06 PM
Lycanthrope, Great write up, Thanks.

I am finishing an old stock belonging to a Stevens model 56 from the late 30's. That is used as practice for finishing this one. It is a CZ 452 American in .22 which has been glass bedded awaiting final final shaping and of course the finish. I am looking forward to seeing the final result.


November 14, 2010, 06:41 PM
Ever notice that these laminates have no checkering? It is one of those things which just seems to be "missing" to me. It takes awhile of studying the photos before I recognize what I think is missing. Almost like studying this photo for awhile:

LOL Good find. Apparently H&K's ad folks who put this brochure together don't know which way is up.

No, these stocks don't have checkering. It's a compromise. I've yet to find a situation where I HAD to have checkering, though.

November 14, 2010, 10:37 PM
Excellent finish and great post - thanks :)

I have noticed that rattle bomb spray Tru-Oil is very thin and penetrates dry wood like a son of a gun. Only you can't (well I haven't been able to) use it to over coat itself. At some point around layer 3, it starts attacking itself on contact. It will craze and carckle. Even with a weeks drying time between coats. Bottle & brush (wipe on) TO does not have this problem.

I like to use TO to build a very nice base as it seems to soak in, sand well, bond to wood like crazy, etc. But I'm a matte guy, and I top coat with spray Minwax spar varnish. I love the feel of the matte Minwax in hand. It has a sort of warm dry velvety feel. Minwax spray spar varnish goes over TO without a hitch - the reverse is not always true.

November 14, 2010, 10:40 PM
The bullets in the magazine of that HK appear to be in backwards. amirite?

November 15, 2010, 02:19 AM
The bullets in the magazine of that HK appear to be in backwards. amirite?
Nope, the magazine is backwards.

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