How to do the World's best oil finish


December 14, 2006, 03:04 PM
I hate doing wood work and especially stock refinishing, but over a 30 year career and for person use I was forced to do so enough to finally find a GOOD oil finish that looks like a real custom oil finish should look like.

Here's my directions to get a true custom gun oil finish with the "egg shell satin finish" that everyone talks about, but which you almost never actually see:

Do all sanding, staining, and whiskering.

Buy a pint can of Minwax Antique Oil Finish:

I have no idea what's in this stuff, but it drys to the absolute HARDEST, waterproof and solvent-proof finish I've ever seen, with the possible exception of an epoxy finish like Remington's "Bowling pin" finish.
This stuff is totally unaffected by lacquer thinner when fully hardened, and unlike tung and linseed oils, on a hot day a sweaty face on the stock won't raise the grain.

Here's how I apply it.
First, do as the directions on the can specify, by applying a thin coat, allow to stand 5 to 10 minutes until it starts to get sticky, then buff off with a clean, lint-free cloth.
An old linen sheet works great.
Let dry 24 hours, then apply again.
I put on 3 coats this way.
This starts to fill the grain, and speeds drying for the later steps.

After three coats as a sealer, apply a thin coat and allow to dry BONE DRY on the surface.
This may take 24 hours or more, and in some cases of really open grain wood, the first may not dry at all.
Using finer steel wool, steel wool the finish off the wood. As you steel wool, the surface coat will turn "muddy" looking so you can see it.
Be careful around proof stamps and sharp edges to not round edges off or thin stamps.

After steel wooling the stock down to bare wood, clean the stock with brushes or compressed air, then apply another coat, allow to dry and steel wool off.
Continue this until the grain of the wood is 100% FULL, and you can see NO open grain.
When held up to a light and sighted along the grain, open grain will look like tiny scratches in the surface.

Usually 4 coats will fill all but the most open grain.
After the last coat is steel wooled off, THOROUGHLY clean the wood.
Then, apply a thin coat and allow to stand for several minutes until it starts to get sticky.
Using several clean cloth pads thoroughly buff the surface until all traces of finish are off.
This is a "color coat" that will give the bare wood more of a color without any build up on the surface.
After buffing, allow the wood to age out and fully harden for 3 to 4 days.

After aging, buy some new burlap at a fabric store, and make a small pad from several layers.
Briskly buff the wood to burnish the surface and bring out the egg shell luster.

The advantages of the Minwax Oil finish are:
It's HARD and incredibully tough.
It's water and solvent proof.
It can be repaired or overhauled by adding more oil and buffing.
Scratches can be filled by coating and steel wooling again.
It's a REAL oil finish that looks like those seen on British double guns and American custom rifles.
It's a life time finish that never has to be done over ever again.
All the finish is IN the wood, not ON it so it looks like an original.

Here's a 1950 Marlin 39-A I'm in the process of restoring. The stock was originally an oil finish that was varnished some time in the past.
I scraped the old varnish off, lightly sanded it and finished as above with Minwax Antique finish.
The stock shows a perfectly smooth surface with no open grain at all, and has a extremely smooth, velvety feel.

If you enjoyed reading about "How to do the World's best oil finish" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
December 14, 2006, 03:24 PM
That's really smooth and attractive dfariswheel! Good work! :)

December 14, 2006, 04:52 PM
Wow, that does make for an excellant looking finish. I've never tried that. I've got several stock projects coming up and I'm definately going to try it. Thanks. :)

December 15, 2006, 02:46 AM
says it contains
Cobalt 2-ethylhexanoate 000136-52-7 0.2%
Solvent naphtha, petroleum, medium aliphatic 064742-88-7 65%

MSDS for Cobalt 2-ethylhexanoate is here. (

Also do you know what astroturfing is?

December 15, 2006, 12:52 PM
Looks awesome.:cool:

December 16, 2006, 12:33 AM
Sorry if that sounded curt. It is an excellent finish. I need one for an old Western Field shotgun stock I've stripped and sanded and will try it.

December 16, 2006, 05:17 PM
ohhh, man he's got a lever gun.. Model 71? the fact it's on a lever gun makes it twice as nice.....That finish really is georgous Dfariswheel. a job well done. Thanks for the tutorial. :)

December 16, 2006, 06:11 PM
Has anyone tried the Sam Maloof finish? It sounds like it turns out pretty similar without much work. Sure does make for a pretty finish. I'm curious about it but don't know anyone who uses it.

December 16, 2006, 06:15 PM
Applying a thin coat

As a first step, how do you apply it? Natural bristle paint brush? Or is the stuff water soluble?

December 16, 2006, 07:32 PM
It sure as Hell is NOT water soluble.
Clean up is with paint thinner.
It's like a medium weight oil.

I've used brushes, a paper towel or cloth pad, and in one gooey case, my fingers to smear it on.

Again, follow the can directions for the first three "sealer" coats.
Apply a medium coat, allow to dry 5 to 10 minutes, then buff off with a lint-free cloth.
Let dry 24 hours.

After the first three coats, apply a thin coat and let dry bone dry, steel wool off, and repeat until the wood is full.
You want a coat just thick enough that it won't run.
As the wood pores fill up, it drys faster.
The last few coats dry so fast, depending on the weather, you can put two to three coats on during a long day.

December 18, 2006, 06:10 AM
Thanks for the tips Farris. I have a stock I`m about ready to redo for an 1891 Argentine and I`m going to go along with your method. By the way ... great looking job you did.

December 22, 2006, 12:49 PM
That finish looks great. Thanks for the tips

December 22, 2006, 01:14 PM
That sounds a whole lot easier than boiled linseed oil. I am always fighting runs and stuff floating through the air that wants to stick to the stock.

Your works looks beautiful.

Robert Hairless
December 24, 2006, 06:53 PM
Can it be applied over a Birchwood-Casey Tru-Oil finish? Or must it be applied on bare wood only?

December 24, 2006, 06:58 PM
Doesn't that antique Danish style oil have stains in it? For good wood I like straight BLO better.

December 24, 2006, 07:38 PM
Robert Hairless:

You have to remove all old finishes so the Minwax can soak into the wood.
Minwax is what Tru-Oil was supposed to be.

Minwax USED to sell the Antique Oil finish with a walnut stain mixed in. Apparently they've discontinued it, and now sell only the clear finish.

Give this stuff a try. It's MUCH better, harder, and tougher than any linseed oil, and is far more waterproof.

Robert Hairless
December 24, 2006, 07:57 PM
Thanks, dfariswheel. As luck would have it I've just completed a refinish with Tru-Oil. Next time, though, I'll use your method. I trust you.

February 17, 2007, 04:06 PM
I'm giving this a try now. Stock has the color coat on and has another day to dry before I hit it with the burlap. It's done a beautiful job of filling the grain, I think it'll finish out a beautifully as you say.

Good stuff and a good method.

February 17, 2007, 04:50 PM
i can't see the pic?

February 18, 2007, 02:26 AM
Quick question, I basically start applying this stuff in place of a wood filler, then continue on from there? Reason I'm asking Is I'm hitting the hardware store tommorow and trying to figure out if I need wood filler as well.



February 18, 2007, 03:06 PM
From what I've seen on this piece, unless the wood is badly in need of filling, I'd start with the Minwax. Might take more coats to fill in, but you'd have this finish all the way through. Plus, the filler might keep the Minwax from working as it should.

I need to get some burlap tomorrow, it'll be ready to buff by then, then I'll post a picture of it.

February 18, 2007, 03:43 PM
This tutorial should be a sticky...:)

February 18, 2007, 05:53 PM
How do you deal with the checkering? I have an old shotgun I'd like to try it on but I don't want to wear down the checkering on it by rubbing with steel wool.

February 18, 2007, 06:02 PM
I was looking for this for weeks.

Those jaberwalkies must have hidden it.

February 18, 2007, 07:00 PM
Filler - skip it in most cases. It may not be the same color (whether or not you use stain) as the wood. Most wood used in gunstocks is dense enough that it shouldn't need it.

Checkering - put masking tape over the checkering and then *carefully* trace the outside border with a razor knife. Use hi-tack tape, like the blue 3M painter's tape.

February 18, 2007, 09:39 PM
Thanks for the replies, Minwax it was. Working on a stock off a franken Garand that I got suckered into (it was my first Garand, so of course I did all my research after I bought it). Took me a WEEK of sanding with 80 grit (yes 80, not 800)to get down to good wood (and that was after, stripper, steaming, etc.) Managed to keep the stock shape correctly, and the wood and metal still meet right. Was mainly asking on the filler as the woods pretty grainy (it'll pull you whiskers when shooting), and it hasn't cleaned up much with all the sanding.


And yes I did eventually work down to a reasonable grit on the sandpaper

February 20, 2007, 09:03 AM ( M1 had a lot of little dings and nicks that I didn't try(didn't really want) to remove, so I cleaned up actual roughness and splinters, etc, and sanded it a bit, so it's not a really smooth, perfect surface. Took about two weeks in current weather; warmer weather, it'd have taken a few days less, I think.

Not the best of pictures, but I can tell you that this finish is as smooth, the grain as filled, as you could wish for. Feels pretty hard, too.

Dfariswheel, is there a way to make it more of a matte finish instead of glossy? For some things that would be a better appearance, I think.

February 20, 2007, 07:51 PM
"is there a way to make it more of a matte finish"?

Yes, just don't apply a last "Color coat" and don't buff with the burlap.
After you get the last coat on, steel wool it off, clean everything up and don't buff.
The finish will be more matte.

March 26, 2007, 04:51 PM
Just to try, I took a piece of practice checkering I did on a piece of walnut and applied the Minwax with a soft toothbrush, let it sit a few minutes, then used a soft cloth wrapped around the brush to clean out the excess.

Looks pretty good, and did not to anything bad(filling, etc.) to the checkering. Going to give it a few more coats and see how it comes out.

April 7, 2007, 09:39 AM
I am interested in trying this on some beautiful Turkish walnut that I'm going to make into 1911 smooth stocks. I'm concerned about getting too much or uneven amounts in the counterbore where the grip screws recess. Would you:
a)plug the holes & just apply in the hole & counterbore when finished,
b)not drill holes & counterbores until finished then treat them seperately, or
c)drill & counterbore as usual (early in the operation) and just clean them out
as best as possible between coats.

April 8, 2007, 11:54 PM
Whatever works for you.
The best option is to drill the holes after the finish is done. but you can also clean them out every coat too.

Here's how the Marlin wood looks with the Minwax finish. It looks much better than the photos show:

April 9, 2007, 03:57 PM
Man, That looks really great! I think this thread oughta be stickied.

Thanks for sharing this, dfariswheel!

Brian Williams
April 9, 2007, 04:55 PM
If you want the absolute best finish, just use you hand and either Minwax or what I use is Waterlox.

Sand the wood to desired smoothness and cover the checkering with a good high tack masking tape.

Pour a little minwax or waterlox on the palm of your hand and start rubbing. repeat until the wood is filled. As the finish is pushed into the wood and it starts to get real stiff, add a little more to your hand. It will take time and will wear the finger prints off of your hands and fingertips. This takes a lot of work and pressure from your hands to push the finish into the wood grain of the stock. If you do not feel any heat building up as you do this you are not pushing hard enough or you are using too much finish on your hands. I have not done a stock in a long time but I use this method to finish or refinish furniture. It is the best way I know to fill and finish a piece of wood with an Oil based finish.

April 18, 2007, 01:29 AM
Where is Minwax® Antique Oil Finish available for purchase?

April 18, 2007, 01:40 PM
I got mine at Ace Hardware

April 18, 2007, 04:49 PM
Minwax used to be carried by my local Lowe's hardware store.

The last can I bought, I couldn't find it locally, so I ordered it online.
Unless you plan on doing a LOT of wood finishing, buy the pint size.
It'll go bad before you can use the bigger cans.

Here's where I got it:

April 19, 2007, 11:48 AM
Thanks guys, I'll go get some. :)

April 19, 2007, 01:27 PM
I was at Lowe's yesterday. They had it in stock. Minwax is a common brand so I'd assume most hardware stores would have it. I'm going to try it on the next stock I do. Great looking finish!

April 21, 2007, 09:51 AM
Sheesh, how have I missed this thread for so long?! I've seen many pics of dfariswheel's finishing abilities, and they are quite impressive. When someone says they don't particularly like the work, but does research and produces results like he does, you gotta admire that. I agree with the idea of making the original post a sticky. Like Brian, who has some good tips BTW, I use Waterlox for most projects. But I have used a lot of Minwax products over the years and highly recommend them.

July 4, 2007, 01:30 AM

I agree that your stock has that classic look.

Did you apply any stain to your stock or was there stain remaining when you removed the varnish?

I'd like to get the same color on my BRNO #1 walnut stock (mostly sapwood) that I have stripped and TSPed to remove old oil.

I'm wondering if I need to stain it or just apply the Antique Oil Finish?

Apprieciate all comments.



July 4, 2007, 03:57 PM
My Marlin is a 1950 model and the walnut was pretty much that color.
I used no stain.

Newer Marlin's used a lighter colored walnut, and recent rifles are approaching a blond color.
On newer rifles I recommend using a stain, since the Antique Oil Finish doesn't darken the wood much.

For a good match, buy one of the "red" stains used to duplicate the earlier American gun stock look.
These are often sold as "pre-1964 Red" stains.
These give the walnut a darker slightly reddish, brown color that's the color of older American guns.
Brownell's carry several: (The Pilkington Pre-64 is good, also buy the thinner so you can thin the stain to a lighter tint. This prevents getting the wood too dark). (The Early American)

The trick is to darken and color the wood a little, but to not get it TOO dark and obscure the grain.

July 4, 2007, 09:08 PM
Second both the Gale Early American and the CR. I have used the Gale recently on a very, very light Turkish stock set for an O/U with excellent results. The CR is an old favorite for light walnut and I've even used it on light cherry (furniture) to bring up some of the red color you expect to see.

Be advised that although you don't want to darken the wood too much, if you wipe the wood with a cloth (waste, please, because you'll never get it clean after this) dampened with alcohol, you can significantly lighten the stain effect.

July 5, 2007, 12:15 PM
Mr. Wheel and Mr. Newell:

Thanks for the links and your recommendations; I'm ordering stains from Brownells today. I want a little red in my stock.


July 5, 2007, 07:29 PM
When working with stains, always take the wood outside for a true-color check after the stain has dried.

It doesn't have to be direct sunlight, even an overcast day will give you a look at the real color.

July 6, 2007, 02:40 AM
dfariswheel, Thanks for posting this information.

This thread really needs to be a sticky.

I have done two stocks using this method, and am very pleased with the results.

See photos in this thread. (I post under "ALS" over there).

July 6, 2007, 04:12 AM
I've used Minwax Satin Poly vrnish on several rifles and like the results. I bought a can of the anitque finish but haven't tried it yet. Your stock looks really nice. Better than those I finished with the satin poly varnish which are pretty decent.

July 6, 2007, 03:44 PM
darfiswheel's recipe is certainly reasonable. Just a couple of comments I'd like to make about Tounge oil and Boiled Linseed Oil. BOL will never dry, completely. Thats just one of it's characteristics. Tounge oil, however, will dry to a completely hard watertight finish. I'm a part time wood turner, and I have some wooden soup bowls finished with tounge oil, seven or eight coats. We eat hot soup from them with no problems from soup penetrating the finish. You can get tounge oil in a pure form or with added dryers. I use the pure form for eating utensils, although any finish when completely dry should be food safe. But for decorative finishes tounge oil with added dryers goes a lot faster. It can take pure tounge oil a week or two, depending on humidity, to dry completely.

July 10, 2007, 02:08 PM
I recommend not drilling until you're done finishing. It's quite easy to funnel or otherwise mutilate the holes. The just apply a little finish to them; it won't be visible anyway.

You can also fill the pores by wet-sanding with the finish, producing a mix of finish and sawdust. Once the whole stock is wet-sanded, you wet it all over with finish and wait a bit, wiping it down gently before it gets too tacky. You may need to do it a few times before filling is complete, but it looks great and it won't dull your checkering tools.

July 12, 2007, 06:06 AM
I tried something: after the last steel wool cutting-down, I got just a bit of Minwax on my fingers and rubbed it into the surface, kept rubbing until it felt 'dry'. Kept doing this until the entire stock had been covered, then set it aside to dry. When dry, hit it with the burlap.

This gave a finish about halfway between the steel-wooled down surface and the gloss finish, looked very good on that piece.

December 5, 2007, 10:20 PM
What's the next best thing to use after the Minwax? NO ONE in town has it - not Lowes, not Ace, not the specialty paint stores. I'm trying to refinish a stock for my dad for xmas, and if I order it online I might not get it done in time :(

December 5, 2007, 11:48 PM
Lowe's carry a "Danish Oil Finish" but I have NO experience with it.
You can order Minwax online and get it fast if you're willing to pay for faster shipping:

A fast Google search will turn up more.
Just call and ask about fast shipping.

December 6, 2007, 08:05 AM
I couldn't find any at the big box or hardware stores either.

Finally got it at a local lumber yard that specializes in furniture
grade and specialty woods.

December 6, 2007, 12:54 PM
I've read that minute steel wool particles may rust so I use bronze wool (Marine Supply Store), 3M pads or 600, 1200 grit wet/dry paper - wet.

Good reference book FWIW: "Understanding Wood Finishes" by Flexner.

Anyone have experience with this?

December 6, 2007, 01:45 PM
I've read that minute steel wool particles may rust so I use bronze wool (Marine Supply Store), 3M pads or 600, 1200 grit wet/dry paper - wet.

They may, that's why it's a good idea to wipe the stock off carefully using a tack cloth after using steel wool. :)

Many ways to skin a cat.

December 6, 2007, 02:56 PM
"When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have
enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.

"Twice as safe, twice the headaches." :)

December 6, 2007, 03:58 PM
Well, I lucked out. The Ace Hardware that I called told me that they didn't carry it, but I went by anyway and there it sat on the shelf. The guy said they sell lots of it - probably because they're the only place that has it.

December 6, 2007, 07:57 PM
I've read that minute steel wool particles may rust so I use bronze wool (Marine Supply Store), 3M pads or 600, 1200 grit wet/dry paper - wet

When I went to LCC the guy who taught stock making detested steel wool . He wanted you to use wet/dry garnet paper to mud with . And never any that was black because the color might bleed into the wood .

December 7, 2007, 04:14 AM
I understand all your objections to the steel wool and a
bronze wool would be better if easily available, but if you
follow the directions you shouldn't have a problem.

1. No water or alcohol stain is applied after the
steel wool is used.
2. Two coats of finish are in the wood before the
steel wool is used.
3. Clean Thoroughly after using the steel wool,
I used brushes and my air compressor at 100
PSI (probably overkill).
4. The resulting finish seems impervious to water,
bore solvents don't appear to bother it.
5. Steel wool goes after the excess finish well
with little damage to edges, corners and proof
6. I've used it on two stocks, both of which have
seen a lot of sweat (salt water) with no discoloration.

December 7, 2007, 08:25 AM
To answer the question,we,they don't advertise recipes.It shows best on French Walnut which is always on top end guns.

February 1, 2008, 12:37 PM
I am finally ready to start the refinishing process that was described by dfariswheel on 12-14-2006. I'll be refinishing a Rem 700 ADL with decent looking walnut. My question is how to deal with checkering. Several follow-up posts describe in some detail on how to cover or mask the checkered areas as if they just get ignored and are not part of the refinishing process. I have obviously missed something. I want the checkered areas to be part of the refinishing process, too.

Any help will be appreciated!

February 1, 2008, 08:16 PM
To deal with checkering, use a solvent like Lacquer thinner and a solvent-proof toothbrush to scrub all dirt and old finish out of the checkering.
Note that many Remington's have their famous "bowling pin" finish, and you may need a special stripper to remove it.
Brownell's sell one.

After the checkering is clean and dry, use a small brush to brush a thin coat of the Minwax into the checkering.

Allow to stand for a few minutes, then use clean toothbrushes to brush the finish out.
Allow the checkering to dry COMPLETELY, then if needed, apply and remove another coat.
Usually two is enough. You want the checkering protected, but not filled with finish.

After the checkering is totally dry, mask it off with tape and proceed with finishing the rest of the stock.

It might be easier to wait for the checkering until the rest of the stock is almost done. Clean the checkering and tape over, but hold applying the checkering finish until you're within a couple of coats of being finished.

February 3, 2008, 01:02 PM
Thanks for the good advice. It's a project to help me get through the Michigan winter.

February 4, 2008, 10:52 PM
Very timely thread. I've got an old Brno I am currently stripping (a few pics)

Having a bit of trouble getting all the old oil and grime out, especially in the checkering. I may try Whiting from Brownells Any other suggestions? I've been using Formby's Antique Furniture Refinisher. After (if) I get it clean, I plan on using the Minwax Antique Oil Finish. This thing sure is ugly right now.

February 4, 2008, 11:45 PM
Hang in there, I refinished my BRNO #1 using dfariswheel's method, and couldn't be happier.

Sorry no advice on getting the stain out of the checkering, mine is un- checkered.

By the way BMC, welcome to the high road.

February 5, 2008, 04:57 PM
To get the old finish out of the checkering, I ended up using Zip Strip Premium, one of the few products that still contains methylene chloride. That along with a magnifying glass, a dental pick, and plenty of time.

Somewhere on this forum I read too, that dents in a wooden stock could be steamed out as long as the cellulose fibers have not been cut. I was rather dubious, but ended up being very pleasantly surprised with the results. It really did work. Tonight I'm starting dfariswheel's method of using Minwax Antique Oil finish.

February 5, 2008, 07:24 PM
Thanks CZguy.
Mackinac76, post some pics (if you can) so we (I) can see the process.

Notice in my pics how the stock looks bleached out or chalky white in places.

By this morning more oil has leached back to the surface and all whitish coloring is gone. Got to get more oil out of this thing. Can't post a good picture, bad weather, inside pics just don't show enough detail.

February 5, 2008, 07:45 PM
Whiting is probably the best of all methods for cleaning and degreasing wood.

It isn't as easy as it used to be because way back when, we used Trichloroethane.
"Chloroethane" is a super-solvent that is nominally non-inflammable.

I'd mix up a pancake batter consistency mix of Trichloroethane and whiting.
Paint it on and apply heat from a heat gun or lamp, and the grease would "boil" to the surface where the whiting would wick it up out of the wood and hold it.
The whiting would turn brown and orange from the grease. Brush it off and repeat.
Usually two to three treatments would turn a black grease soaked stock back to it natural color.

These days, Trichloroethane is banned due to heath issues, and most other solvents are inflammable.
Today, I recommend mixing the whiting with whatever solvent you can get, Acetone or Lacquer thinner works.
Apply a fast coat of the mix and quickly wrap the stock tightly in a black garbage bag.
Put the bag somewhere OUTSIDE, preferably on a hot summer day on the roof or driveway.
Later when you open the bag, the whiting can be allowed to finish drying then just brushed off.
Repeat as needed, and BE CAREFUL of flames or sparks around flammable solvents.

Unlike most other methods like using oven cleaner or running in the dishwasher, whiting doesn't harm the wood, and there's no chemicals to leach out of the wood later and cause the metal to corrode.

Also unlike other methods, since the whiting actually wicks up the gunk, most of it isn't instantly reabsorbed back into the wood like with most strippers.

February 8, 2008, 05:08 PM
I've searched all over this forum and it seems like the only way to post photos is to identify a URL where they are stored. Do I have that right?

February 8, 2008, 05:32 PM
I've searched all over this forum and it seems like the only way to post photos is to identify a URL where they are stored. Do I have that right?

Unfortunately, I'm the last guy to ask how to post a photo, I don't know how to do it myself. Maybe someone more knowledgeable will chime in.

February 8, 2008, 07:40 PM
My method of posting pics (using a PC):

Upload your digital photos to an image hosting web site such as PHOTOBUCKET , it's free and painless. Once your photo is on the web site, right click on the image, at the bottom of the pop up menu you will see PROPERTIES, left click on PROPERTIES and another menu appears. In the middle of this menu, you will see ADDRESS (URL) Highlight the address "http://....." highlight everything including ".jpg" there may be something after the ".jpg" but you don't need it. Once you have it highlighted right click on the highlight and choose "Copy" from yet another pop up. Click OK and go back to the THR web site. In the "Reply to Thread" box there is an icon that is square, yellow with mountains. Left click and and a pop up appears with a space for your URL address. Click this area, backspace to remove the "htp://", you only need one of these, right click and choose "Paste". Your previously copied URL will appear. Click OK and a string will appear in your text. That's it. You can preview your post to make sure everything is correct.

February 8, 2008, 08:15 PM
There's an even easier method.

Go to Photobucket and sight up.
Follow their directions on how to upload a picture off your computer.
Basically you just click on one of the three gray "Browse" boxes at the top of your personal page.
Find the picture on your computer and select it, then the "UPLOAD" box just below the gray "Browse" boxes.
The pictures will be uploaded and stored on Photobucket.

Once the picture is loaded, look directly below it, and there'll be 4 yellow boxes.
The last box is marked "IMG Code".

Left click on that box and the message "Copied" will appear.

Come back to the forum and start a new post.
Wherever you want the picture to appear, simply Right click and select "Paste".
When the post is entered, the picture will appear.

February 8, 2008, 11:26 PM
Thanks dfariswheel for the instructions on uploading photos. I've attached two photos taken a few minutes apart. This is what the stock looks like after 3 coats of Minwax Antique Finish, applied according to your instructions. I did stain the stock prior to the first coat with ZAR #115 Modern Walnut to darken it just a bit. I'll let the 4th coat dry completely before steel "wooling" the finish off.

Your instructions said to use linen to wipe of the filler coats. Like an idiot, I used an old T-shirt. I learned that regardless of how clean a T-shirt is, it's still cotton and therefore leaves little cotton "fuzzies" everywhere. Next time!

February 9, 2008, 12:43 PM
This is a $50 gun show Rem 510 single shot 22 that someone cut down for a kid years ago.

I helped build it back up for an adult and grain filler and True Oil finished it.
We did not have any of the original Walnut, so we just used some scrap lying around.

February 9, 2008, 08:24 PM
I once got a finish of this quality on a Win. using Tru-oil. It only took 6 months and 100 coats--I am not exagerating! NEVER again!!! I scratched it pretty good 2 days later!

February 10, 2008, 04:28 PM
Not only for this thread, but for the directions on posting photos.

Here is a photo of my BRNO #1 Sporter with Beechwood stock and a Remington model 34, that were both refinished using dfariswheels method. I'm very pleased with the way they turned out. It was time well spent.

February 10, 2008, 05:41 PM
Does that Remington have any stain or just the MAO?

February 10, 2008, 06:26 PM
No stain, just the Minwax Antique Oil Finish.

March 14, 2008, 12:12 PM
This is an update top a few posts I made a few weeks ago on refinishing my Rem 700 stock with Minwax Antique Oil. In general, I'm pleased with the results, although I grossly underestimated the amount of time and work involved, and I'm still not finished. I have followed the procedure outlined by dfarriswheel at the start of this thread. I have applied 4 coats of the filler stage and 8 coats that are allowed to dry and then get steel-wooled off.

I do have two comments/questions.

1. I estimate that about 95 % of the grain is filled at this stage and the remaining 5 % will never be filled. I seem to have reached the point of diminishing returns. I think the stock looks great (or at least as good as this particular piece of walnut can look). Is is common to have some elusive grain that cannot be filled?

2. I have noted from the earliest stages of finishing the final 8 coats, that fingerprints are easily left on the bare wood, and, it's very difficult to wipe them clean without using steel wool. Each time, I have made sure that the finish was completely dry and this happens only after the dried finish is completely steel wooled from the stock. I've had other individuals also leave prints just to assure myself that I don't have some unusual sweat or oils on my fingertips. Is this typical?

Please don't discount that I maybe I'm being anal about this. Maybe I'm just too fussy.

March 14, 2008, 05:40 PM
On some wood there does seem to be some grain that just WILL NOT fill.
I've got a thin "streak" of open grain on my Marlin that simply refused to fill.
Whether this is some type of contamination, or just something about the wood I don't know.

I've seen it on several other walnut stocks. In each case, the wood had been previously finished with an oil finish.

As for the finger prints, this is something you see on extremely smooth surfaces.
I recommend giving the finished wood a good buffing with NEW, CLEAN burlap.
Go to the fabric store and buy a yard or 1/2 yard.
Cut it up and make a 3 or 4 layer buffing pad.
Use that to briskly buff the wood, being careful not to "burn" or wear through the surface on sharp corners or edges.

Then, apply a couple of coats of Johnson's Paste Wax.
Allow the wax to dry 20 minutes after application before buffing it off with a soft cloth.

This will protect the wood, but like all slick surfaces, it may show fingerprints.
To maintain, just use wax.

March 14, 2008, 10:14 PM
Thanks, dfariswheel for the sound advice. I was wondering whether a wax coating would help. I'll finish soon and head to the burlap polishing stage.

As I said, I'm pretty happy with the finish and it does look much better than the original.

March 16, 2008, 03:55 PM
After three coats as a sealer, apply a thin coat and allow to dry BONE DRY on the surface.
This may take 24 hours or more, and in some cases of really open grain wood, the first may not dry at all.
Using finer steel wool, steel wool the finish off the wood. As you steel wool, the surface coat will turn "muddy" looking so you can see it.
Be careful around proof stamps and sharp edges to not round edges off or thin stamps.

After steel wooling the stock down to bare wood, clean the stock with brushes or compressed air, then apply another coat, allow to dry and steel wool off.
Continue this until the grain of the wood is 100% FULL, and you can see NO open grain.
When held up to a light and sighted along the grain, open grain will look like tiny scratches in the surface.

Can you clarify something for me?
First three coats (sealer) were sponged on, wait 5 - 10 minutes, wiped off. Left to dry, came back the next day and repeated. Fourth coat was left on overnight (dried just fine), bronze wooled off. Here's where I need some help. Twice I have bronze wooled it down so there is absolutely no gloss, everything is matt finish. Should i be leaving the "shinies" in the "small scratches" that you refer to as open grain? I put the third coat on this morning and it is already dry to the touch. I think I'll wait until tomorrow to take it off just to make sure it is dry.

March 16, 2008, 05:50 PM
Unless you actually sand it down, the "shinnies" will still be in the wood grain.
This is normal, just keep applying coats until the wood grain fills all the way up.

As long as you can see the shinnies, the wood grain isn't full. Keep working.

As the wood fills up, the Minwax will dry faster and faster, and you can apply coats more often

March 30, 2008, 10:53 PM
More pics of a Minwax Antique Oil Finish


Some afters

Thanks dfariswheel for your time and experience and to others for their patience. It took several filler coats (ten), just kept going until 99% of the grain looked filled.

April 21, 2008, 10:12 PM
BMC, is that wood spaulted?


April 27, 2008, 12:28 PM
BMC, is that wood spaulted?

Jason G:
Sorry I didn't reply sooner. If that spelling is correct, I don't know the term.

April 27, 2008, 02:09 PM
Sorry I didn't reply sooner. If that spelling is correct, I don't know the term.

Now I'm curious, what does it mean.

April 27, 2008, 06:42 PM
I get more hits with spalted.

Search for spalted in this page and look at the 1911 grips

Wood with fungal or bacterial rot, those are killed and the wood stabilized as it can be weak. It looks like that stock my qualify though it may have happened after it was placed on the gun.

June 29, 2008, 07:39 PM
Nah, he just ran out of stain :neener:

I'm going through my second refinishing project now. First I did was a Savage 85A and it turned out really nice. Now I'm doing my Yugo SKS.

September 11, 2008, 05:23 PM
Sir, I missed the pictures of your stofk refinish with the Min wax. I wonder if you would tell me what the finished product looks like. Does it give it a shiny, glossy finish. I do have your instructions for doing it, but have no idea what it looks like. I just got an old 39A and need to refinish the stock. Thank you. James

September 11, 2008, 07:05 PM
Check page two of this discussion, the pictures are there.

The finish can be either a gloss or the famous "eggshell" luster oil finishes are known for.
If you leave a surface coat of the Minwax on, it will have a gloss look.
Steel wool it off and buff with burlap gives the eggshell luster as shown in the photos on page two.

September 11, 2008, 10:58 PM
Old thread . . .

The finish looks good, but I'm not convinced this statement is accurate:It's a REAL oil finish that looks like those seen on British double guns and American custom rifles.

When something like the Minwax product says "oil finish" . . . the word "finish" is generally an indicator that the stuff has something other than solvent and oil in it - usually varnish or polyurethane or something. Yes, it probably DOES have oil (tung or linseed) in some percentange, but as good as it looks, it's not genuinely a "real" oil finish.

Someone brought up the presence of cobalt compounds . . . these are drying agents, which helps the finish to, well, dry faster. When I refinish a stock, most often with pure tung oil, I usually add a bit myself - you can get it at Home Depot where it's sold as as "japan drier."

September 12, 2008, 12:01 AM
I believe "oil" finish is just that. Tung oil is a naturally drying oil. Boiled linseed, or unboiled for that matter, is also somewhat of a drying oil. Most anything labeled "Oil Finish" is a combination of oil and some type of dryers. Varnish is an example of partial oil finish with a lot of dryers.

Tung oil dries harder than linseed oil. I have used pure tung oil on a re-finish job on an old Parker shotgun. The goal being to get the stock as close to the same as the forend which due to metal and wood ware could not be properly refinished. It took about 13 coats, all were cut 50% with turpentine.
An old favorite with furniture makers was 1 part tung oil, 1 part varnish, and 1 part turpentine. I haven't tried it on gunstocks yet but I imagine it would be similar to slow drying varnish.

September 12, 2008, 06:17 PM
Varnish is an example of partial oil finish with a lot of dryers.
Varnish typically is comprised of some sort of resin and a solvent. (Turpentine, mineral spirits, etc.)

September 12, 2008, 10:25 PM
Varnish typically is comprised of some sort of resin and a solvent. (Turpentine, mineral spirits, etc.)

Actually you've hit it almost right on the head. I inadvertently used the term "driers" to mean
anything that aided drying, whether by evaporation or chemical / polymerization.

A varnish composition suitable for producing a liquid crystal aligning film
having a thickness of several tens to one hundred nanometers having 1 to
10% by weight of polyamic acid or soluble polyimide, and 90 to 99% by
weight of a solvent which comprises 5 to 80% by weight of at least one
compound selected from a group of solvent components A and 20 to 95% by
weight of at least one compound selected from a group consisting of
component B and component C where the group of solvent components A
consists of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone and dimethylimidazolidinone and the
component B is alkyl lactate, and the component C is
R1-O(C3H.sub.6 O)nH (I)
where n is 1 or 2, R1 is an alkyl group having 4 carbon atoms when n
is 1, and R1 is an alkyl group having 1 to 4 carbon atoms when n is
2, is disclosed.

Thanks for helping clear that up. As I get older I seem to confuse myself by either thinking too much or not enough.........

September 13, 2008, 02:00 AM
Hmmmm, I'm about to start working on refinishing my Mosin 91/30 wood, has anybody done this to one of those? Mine's kinda blondish-looking, any tips on removing the old finish and cosmoline? I read the earlier tip, what's "whiting"? Any ideas about what might be a better-looking stain for this?

September 13, 2008, 09:45 AM
How this techinque apply to laminated stock? I have couple Boyd's laminated stocks need to be finished, wonder if I can apply this method here. Thanks

September 13, 2008, 11:44 AM
In answer to the earlier question about whiting.

Powdered and washed white chalk (calcium carbonate), used in putty, metal polish, whitewash and sometimes added to paint to improve the paint's opacity.

Look for it at a paint store or a stained glass store. It is also used to soak up putty oils when installing stained glass using lead came. Seems to end up everywhere (fine dust) when you use it.

Also, laminated stocks are still wood. If the old finish is removed for some reason, I see no reason this would not work.

September 14, 2008, 12:22 AM
A varnish composition suitable for producing a liquid crystal aligning film
having a thickness of several tens to one hundred nanometers having 1 to
10% by weight of polyamic acid or soluble polyimide, and 90 to 99% by
weight of a solvent which comprises 5 to 80% by weight of at least one
compound selected from a group of solvent components A and 20 to 95% by
weight of at least one compound selected from a group consisting of
component B and component C where the group of solvent components A
consists of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone and dimethylimidazolidinone and the
component B is alkyl lactate, and the component C is
R1-O(C3H.sub.6 O)nH (I)
where n is 1 or 2, R1 is an alkyl group having 4 carbon atoms when n
is 1, and R1 is an alkyl group having 1 to 4 carbon atoms when n is
2, is disclosed.
Looks like it was taken from the specification of a patent - are you the inventor?

September 14, 2008, 01:38 AM
Yes and no, but it does substantiate your solvent and probably resin claim.

October 10, 2008, 08:25 AM
I signed up for this forum so I could take the time to thank dfariswheel for his instruction how to finish a stock. I used my 30+ year old pellet gun stock and was simply amazed at the end result. Hard as rock, this finish survived a 3 foot fall onto concrete with NO detectable harm. Great thread-should be a sticky.
Thanks again-Pete

October 10, 2008, 09:04 AM
Plus 1, on this thread being a sticky.

October 21, 2008, 09:18 PM
Now how about some lessons on cold bluing. I'm about finishd with the stock and am going to tackle the Cold Blueing next. Any do's or don'ts? Most people have told me "DON'T", but I'm thick headed.
Mine is a 1974 39A and it looked like when they bought it they just tossed it into the bed of a pickup and let it bounce around for years. I rescued it a few months ago. I'll post pictures if I ever finish. James

October 21, 2008, 09:42 PM
P. O. BOX 16235

:):) This stuff is the BEST that I have ever used.:):)

It was developed for taking care of antique furniture. It will give you the best hand rubbed finish. When I finished a gun cabinet, it was all I used to seal the wood with. I put about 5 coats on it to seal it up, then twice a year to maintain the finish. No problems.

October 21, 2008, 10:58 PM
"Truth" is, cold blues are best for touch up of small scratches.

While results do vary, most attempts to cold blue a large area wind up a smoky, streaked blue-gray color.
Some people have fairly good luck, but even then, the cold blue looks nothing like a hot salts or rust blue job, and the finish is not durable at all.
It rubs off and rusts easily, and tends to turn brown rather quickly.

Best advice if you try it is to spend a LOT of time and effort degreasing the metal.
One of the best of the cold blues is Brownell's Oxpho-Blue.

October 25, 2008, 06:24 PM
While looking around in the Woodstain department of our local big box home supply store (Home Depot) I noticed something of interest to this thread. I saw that MinWax had released a "New Color" of their oil based stain in "Gunstock". I bought a pint of it and am going to re-do my Marlin 336 Walnut with it. I will post results and review of stain, so far it looks very promising and looks to be the right shade of "Red".
Thanks for all the info.

Minwax "Gunstock 231"

Here is the link to it;


October 25, 2008, 07:00 PM
Apparently, that's just a oil-based stain, not the oil finish.

They used to make a "Walnut" version of the Antique Oil Finish, but then stopped and make only the clear.

October 26, 2008, 11:43 AM
Correct, if you desire to darken or "Redden" your gunstock prior to application of the Antique Oil this "Stain" is suggested as an alternative to the Brownells products (Stains) mentioned earlier in the thread. The post was not to suggest an alternative for the Antique Oil application or technique. I am going to apply a little of the Minwax "Gunstock" colored stain to my 336C stock and then a judicious application of Antique oil per this thread. Will this work alright? I read every post in the thread and just dont think that my stock will be dark enough with the Antique oil alone, I found it at our local Tru-Value hardware store for $11.00 a jug.Thanks for sharing this technique with everyone, I am a intermediate woodworker and have used many materials and techniques up to and including "French Polish" with Shellac. I was very glad to read about the durability and ease of application for the Minwax product. Gunstocks have always been either too shiny or not durable enough. This may solve a long standing problem for me. Many thanks! ;)



October 26, 2008, 12:09 PM
On the topic of oil stains vs dyes, don't underestimate the penetrating power of alcohol dyes. They can go right through and color dry Tung, Formby's Tung Oil Finish, or shellac coatings. I've even used it to color Marlin's Mar-Coat.

October 26, 2008, 07:09 PM
Probably the best looking gun stocks of all were the old British and American "Red" walnut finishes.

Winchester used it up to 1964, and it's not much seen these days (along with real walnut).

When I wanted a red walnut stock I used Tandy water-based leather dyes.
These can be blended and thinned to light tints to prevent dyeing too dark.
Best, these don't sit on the surface of the wood like many oil-based stains.
The water-alcohol based dyes sink right in.
Since they do soak in deeper, rubbing the oil finish with steel wool doesn't tend to rub the stain right back off.

If you have some clean, non-oil soaked walnut, the Minwax stain should do great.

November 10, 2008, 03:31 PM
Aways back someone said not to buy a large can of Minwax Oil Finish because it would go bad ::
What happens to it and how would we tell is bad?
I'm doing a Riverside Single Barrow now has two coats on it and I'm liking it already.
Got my MOF at Ace $10.49

November 10, 2008, 07:01 PM
Like a lot of wood products and paints, Minwax will "gel" in the can when it gets old.

It literally thickens into a jelly-like substance and smells different than the good stuff.

When using Minwax, wipe the can cap and threads really well before sealing.
The can WILL glue itself on the can, and even Vise-grips often won't get it loose.
I hated it when I needed to apply a coat, I could hear it sloshing around in the can.... still good, and couldn't get the %^@#*% CAP OFF.

November 10, 2008, 10:16 PM
One trick that works well with some varnishes, finishes, and paints is to use butane from a lighter refill can to purge the air from the can before sealing it. The butane is heavier than air and will displace the air in contact with the finish, preventing oxidation.

November 10, 2008, 11:53 PM
Neat trick.

March 19, 2009, 08:55 PM
Back to the top,I was glad to have seen this,so I subscribed,still not sticky I see....

May 11, 2009, 08:33 PM
Probably the best looking gun stocks of all were the old British and American "Red" walnut finishes.

Winchester used it up to 1964, and it's not much seen these days (along with real walnut).

When I wanted a red walnut stock I used Tandy water-based leather dyes.
These can be blended and thinned to light tints to prevent dyeing too dark.

dfarishwheel, do you have a recipe or some guidance on creating this stain? I am going to refinish a 1956 Model 94 and would like to have an alcohol/water soluble stain like this to treat the wood before I start oiling.

rcmodel helpfully pointed me to some commercial products, but with hazardous shipping and such they were running to $30 delivered, which seemed a bit steep when I know I can re-create them at home with simple chemicals or commercial dyes if someone had a "homebrew" recipe.

Would the "Chestnut Ridge" stain possibly be close match as an alternative?

May 12, 2009, 07:44 AM
Good information here. So much so that it's been requested to go I'm gonna put a dab of glue on it.

May 13, 2009, 08:10 PM
Thanks 'Tuner.
Saves me from having to search every time someone asks about the technique.

May 13, 2009, 11:32 PM
Anybody use Arrow wood finish?

July 1, 2009, 12:18 PM
Just a FYI: For the winchester red cast in color of there finish there is a product out on the market to day called Herter's French Red, it comes as a stain or wood filler. Brownell's has it.

February 11, 2010, 08:30 AM
I can't find "Minwax Antique Oil Finish." Checked Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and True Value. Even the Signboard for Minwax products at Home Depot did not list this product.

Can anyone recommend a retail establishment that would carry this finish?

Also, will this finish work on Birch? Or am I better off with a poly?

February 11, 2010, 09:13 AM
... I called Menards and they said that they have it!

February 11, 2010, 11:40 AM
Also, will this finish work on Birch? Or am I better off with a poly?

I used it on Walnut and Beechwood and am pleased with the results. The photo shows a Remington 34 with walnut over a BRNO #1 with Beechwood.

February 11, 2010, 04:39 PM
Just wanted to throw this out there, great stuff!

twice barrel
February 16, 2010, 07:25 AM
Think I'll give the Minwax stuff a try next go around but I just used the last of some Watco Danish Oil finish I had on hand to rejuvinate the stock on an old 22 rifle I picked up last week. My guess is the two products are very similar.



March 12, 2010, 09:18 PM
I use the Watco oil, but only because I've never tried the Minwax. The Watco takes a long time to harden imho, but the endresult is fabulous.

March 12, 2010, 11:16 PM
I have refinished 3 stocks using the method exactly as outlined on page one with wonderful results. I refinished 1 glossy and 2 eggshell with different sheens.
Hands down, this finish is bombproof!!!! Follow the directions, take your time and you won't be disappointed.

twice barrel
March 18, 2010, 01:14 PM
Well, I've been to 2 different Lowe's, 1 Home Depot, 1 WalMart and a local hardware store without success. They each carry more than one MinWax oil finish but not the red can stuff mentioned here.

Has it been discontinued?


March 18, 2010, 10:53 PM
Has it been discontinued?

No, but I had to go to a store that specializes in woodworking to get it though.

You can also find it on the net.

March 19, 2010, 10:53 AM
If you have a "Menard's", that is where I got mine.

April 28, 2010, 11:50 AM
Got mine at "Menard's" also. Great Product.

July 4, 2010, 06:51 PM
I know this is an older post but do more people have some pics that are ipdated of there stocks that are finished? the ones that were on here are gone, also and reviews after doing them a while ago, still holding up?

Plz help bc im about to work on a 375 Dollor stock and dont want to ruin it, since the shotty was only 300.

Centaur 1
August 17, 2010, 11:20 PM
Here you go, Marlin 336SS 30-30.

September 15, 2010, 02:45 AM
I know this is an old thread, but application of gunstock finishes will be easier and much better if you use a........ahem.......Kotex.

My father was a finish carpenter and taught me that.

September 16, 2010, 10:34 PM
Neat trick. I've been using .30 cal patches

October 11, 2010, 07:39 PM
Back from the past! :D

Had a 1200 stock to refinish today and couldn't find the Antique Oil so I settled for Minwax Tung Oil finish. We'll see what happens. I put the first coat on thinned with Japan Drier - another experiment. The hope is that it will penetrate the birch better. Again, we'll see.

November 27, 2010, 10:05 PM
do you have a nipple and cleaning kit for black powder 45 philly derringer

November 28, 2010, 02:52 PM
This is great! I've been experimenting with different oil and other finishes for the past few years. The results here look terrific!

I'll be trying this one soon.

Doug B.
December 1, 2010, 05:54 AM
Blain's Farm and Fleet also carries this product. Now that I have seen the final results, I will pick up a can tomorrow. I have a Marlin 336 that is crying for a re-do.

December 10, 2010, 03:16 PM
I just saw this thread because I am refinishing an old stock for a friend.

It is a bolt action sporterized Mauser he bought about 40 years ago.

The wood is good but the finish has varnish and it is pretty beat up. But the wood is good underneath......he has kept the rifle in good shape. I already have the varnish stripped off and the stock didn't need much sanding to get it to bare wood. I told him I need to get it to bare wood if the oil finish will work properly. It is nice walnut so he doesn't mind at all.

(ETA: The metal is in extremely good shape also. My friend treats it like his baby.)

It is an 8mm Mauser and my friend says it was made at the Brno[sp?] factory, but someone sporterized it decades ago, prior to my friend buying it. He put a scope on it and uses it for deer hunting up here in Michigan every year.

(I have no idea what company made the stock but it really is in good shape other than the varnished finish. It has also been glass bedded.)

He LOVES this gun and asked me to "fix up the wood for him". I was honored he wants me to refinish his favorite rifle.

(He doesn't shoot it much other than right before and during deer season. Then it is cleaned up and stored in his safe until next deer season. He must shoot it well because, like this year, he usually gets a deer.)

Anyway, and finally getting to the point, I have always used the stuff dfariswheel suggests and was searching the internet to see if the pros or more experienced people felt it was really all that good.

I was happy to see my favorite pro gunsmith touting the old Minwax Antique Oil Finish stuff. (I always referred to it as "the stuff in the red can made by Minwax", when telling people about it. I always forget the darn name! :o)

What I didn't do in the past though was steel wool all the finish off after a few coats.........I'll try that this time.

What I used to do was steel wool the finish agressively after about 5 sealing coats and put another 3 coats on, then, after 10 minutes, wiping with cotton cloth. I have alot of store bought burlap also lying around. So, I'll try that.

Once again, THANKS DFARISWHEEL!! (You are the tops!!)

This is the kind of thing I can accomplish because I don't have much machinery and am basically an ordinary Joe.

One little trick you can use dfariswheel is to mix a little minwax stain with the oil on one of your later "final" applications to give the stock a little more color. Not much, just a little. (My friend doesn't want this on his because the walnut is dark enough in his opinion.)

You might try this mixing on your first "final coat" the next time you do this.......if it doesn't turn out good in your opinion, it is easy to remove. But you'll be set back about 2 "preliminary coats" Oh, maybe not set back that much but you get what I mean.

You might already know this but you can also use water based stains first.....I have some old water based stuff that I use if I KNOW the owner wants that color because I don't want to try and sand off the soaked in water based stain if he doesn't like it.

I would always use the water based stain when I used to make the old types of persimmon wood heads for golf clubs. Works good but I don't like to sand it off......worried it might remove too much wood in the process. (Most people liked the red tinted walnut water based stain color FWIW.)

(With the old persimmon wood heads, it DID remove too much material from what the old golf refinishing pros told me. Maybe that is unique to persimmon but I never tried water based stain unless I was told by the owner that he WANTED it stained that color. And, I never removed it so I don't really know if too much wood is removed if the guy didn't like the color. They just had to live with it I told them in advance.....but no one ever minded in the end.)

With persimmon wood heads you had to worry about removing too much wood because of the fitted metal sole plate and overall swingweight of the club. That's why I told them......"you have to live with this color if that is what you choose".

December 22, 2010, 01:56 PM

That model #34 really looks good, I've got a model #33 I'm finishing now, yours is in a little better shape than mine is, it was left "unattended" for many years. Nice arms sir!

February 20, 2011, 02:55 PM
Thanks much for this dfariswheel,
I'm a longtime Minwax user, but didnt know of this particular product. Sounds like it will be perfect for my present project, I am carving from scratch a new stock for an old .22 i have. So I’m glad I stumbled across your post- timing is great and your detailed instructions are excellent. The piece of walnut I started with is what i'd grade as "pretty fancy", so I was definitely looking for a fine oil finish vs any of the common plastic/varnish/urethane gunk. I’ve also used enough linseed oil in the past to know what lousy protection it is for gunstocks.
Now if I can just FIND this product, I’ll let you know how it comes out. ! Striking out everywhere so far…

March 9, 2011, 06:56 PM
thanks for your great post. i'm going to try it. I went looking for the AOF and couldn't find it anywhere until I stopped at an old hardware store. They have 3 quart cans (all older than me :) and these are the ones with the Walnut stain in them.

Is this good to use? I'd like the wood a little darker anyway since it is really light in the unfinished state. Anyone live in SE PA looking for the "red cans" with Walnut let me know. No Menards in this area so I had to keep looking.

Thanks again for the fun!

March 16, 2011, 05:17 PM
I found the Walnut version of the AOF...should I use it for the first coat or two or the last instead of the clear version...since I want a little color? Thanks.

April 10, 2011, 11:47 PM
OK, so this looks like a great idea for my M1 Garand, but my question is, "How do I strip the old finish off?" It is a CMP M1, so is that just an old oil finish? I know that I have some dents to steam out before starting the MAOF, but not sure about the original "GI" finish.

April 16, 2011, 07:50 PM
Sorry, I just noticed this.

A good method of stripping a stock is Formby's Furniture Stripper.
This will remove the old finish without harming the wood and leave it ready for light sanding and the finish.

When sanding just be careful not to remove the stamps in the wood.
Cover them with tape or your thumb to preserve them.

April 19, 2011, 07:51 AM
Great, Thanks for the help!!

April 29, 2011, 02:29 PM
Thanks so much for the original post and all the information in the replies.I am always appreciative of new ways to skin a cat. It may indeed be the "Best" oil finish available but I will reserve opinion until I do one. I have done many stocks through the years and like most old guys started out with linseed oil and then every concoction that came on the market searching for the perfect finish. Along the way I discovered a product named "Waterlox".The original sealer is the only one I use. Awhile back this subject came up on and I posted the following about Waterlox:
For finish I sand in beginning with 220 or 320 wetdry paper about 2inches square on a backing block like thick leather with a 50/50 mixture of "Waterlox" and mineral spirits. Waterlox original sealer and finish is the one you want available at Woodcrafters and online about $30 a quart. Sand with grain a small area at a time using generous amounts of the mixture.For first two passes (About a half hour or so on a buttstock use the same grit.Allow to dry between passes.For the third and forth go to 400 and use straight Waterlox.The dough(sanding residue will have filled the grain and any damage you couldn`t steam away. If you want real shiny go to 600 or 800 grit. For satin rub it out with fine steel wool and wax with a good paste wax like Johnsons.
Advantages are it gives a real handrubbed finish like Linseed oil or tung but drys much faster. Waterlox is tung oil,linseed oil,gum esters and phenolic dryers .They`ve been around since 1910 so must know what they are doing. I`ve found it gives a very durable weather resitant finish that is easy to repair when a ding occurs.
For stains to blend in a light area that you mentioned I use the powdered water soluable stains (available at Woodcrafters)and mix them with alchohol.You can apply the stain after the second or third pass with the finish and it will penetrate through the finish.A light touch with the 400 wet dry and Waterlox after the stain drys well and you can blend it in.
In that search for the perfect finish this method had a few things that appealed to me .First , you start with a stripped clean stock and after steaming dents,oil stain removal etc. you do no dry sanding and you don`t go anywhere near it with steel wool (I hate leaving bits of steel embedded to shine like stars after the finish is done). Second, you don`t whisker for there is no need for it. Refer above that the mixture of the waterlox and sanding residue fills the grain. Third, the drying time doesn`t require 24 hours hang time.I use the sun to speed things up .I can usually do a complete stock in one day or two at the most.

October 13, 2011, 09:56 AM
I've been looking for the Minwax antique oil finish and I've found it on a few different online retailers. I'm confused though, one place advertises it as
Minwax antique oil finish
while another advertises it as
Minwax antique oil finish -interior satin

Can someone clarify this for me?

October 15, 2011, 04:44 PM
I've used Citri-Strip spray to strip gun stocks. I like the fact that it has low toxicity, and it has done well for me in taking off the original finish.

I get my Minwax Antique Oil Finish off the shelf at Menard's.

Doug B.
October 15, 2011, 05:01 PM
I picked my Minwax Antique Oil Finish up at my local Farm And Fleet in Chippewa Falls. I like the product, however, I did take some 0000 steel wool to the final finish. After three coats and steel wool lightly between coats, it was a bit shiny for my liking. Turned out a beautiful satin when I was done and appears as though it will protect very well. I allowed about 2-3 days between coats giving each layer plenty of time to "firm up".

October 16, 2011, 11:16 AM
I've always bought the Minwax by the galllon, it's a lot cheaper that way.

I used it in my cabinet shop, and still use it for my wood working projects...


October 16, 2011, 05:42 PM
DM, I don't think you can get the Minwax Antique Oil Finish in a gallon container.

October 18, 2011, 06:15 PM
DM, I don't think you can get the Minwax Antique Oil Finish in a gallon container.

I bought it by the gallon for many years for my cabinet shop, perhaps they no longer sell it that way? I closed my shop quite a few years ago...


December 12, 2011, 01:52 PM
Dfaris, thanks for the tutorial. It was a great help to me when I picked up this old High Standard pump gun. It only had around 10% of its original blue left and the varnish on the wood was peeling in spots, but it had a smooth action and the pawn shop was only asking $90.00 bucks for it. I got it home and stipped it down to bare metal polished it with 320 grit emory cloth and spent the next 6 days giving it a slooooowww rust blue on the steel. While the steel rusted I set to work on the wood, using the tutorial you posted. The only thing I did diffferent was to leave on the last color coat instead of wiping it off and buffing. I like the high gloss better. Oh one side note, the manufacture code on the barrel if I'm decoding it correctly makes it a Sept of 1965 build, when I removed the butt plate I found the name A.E. Reid carved into the butt and a one dollar bill stuffed in the bolt hole for the stock retaining bolt. The bills date is 1969, when I finished assembling the gun the dollar went back into its home for the last 42 years. Once again, Thanks and God Bless and have a Merry Christmas.

December 24, 2011, 01:02 PM
Great looking wood on that shotgun. I wouldn't guess it is the same piece, as so much curl came through in your refinishing. Very nice looking finished product.

December 24, 2011, 01:04 PM
BTW does anybody have photos of that oil applied on a birch stock? How messy will things get if I fill the grain and dye the wood before oiling? I really do not want a blonde finish on my birch stock.

December 24, 2011, 03:05 PM
BTW does anybody have photos of that oil applied on a birch stock? How messy will things get if I fill the grain and dye the wood before oiling? I really do not want a blonde finish on my birch stock.

Sure, here is a picture of a Remington 34, and a BRNO #1 (Birch Stock)

December 24, 2011, 03:11 PM
The gun on top(Rem?) is more what I am thinking. What technique did you use on that stock?

December 24, 2011, 03:19 PM
I really do not want a blonde finish on my birch stock. Try doing some expermenting with a propane torch on the stock.

You can add interesting tiger strip or other by scorching patterns in the stock with a torch.

That is how a lot of old Kentucky rifles & ram rods got that look.

Only they did it with tar soaked twine or cannon fuse wrapped around a plain maple stock & lit on fire.

See this thread for some photo's:


December 25, 2011, 12:35 AM
The gun on top(Rem?) is more what I am thinking. What technique did you use on that stock?

I used the "world's best oil finish" that this thread is about on both of them. That's why I posted that picture, so that you could see the difference between Walnut and Birch.


Thank you for that link. With winter coming on I want to try something like that. :)

December 25, 2011, 09:34 AM
I thought that looked like walnut...

December 25, 2011, 09:40 AM
This torch idea is very intriguing. I could see how wrapping it or laying a stripe grid down would create quite an effect. I am compelled to research this more. Thank you for the input.

December 25, 2011, 10:04 AM
Wow, surprisingly could not find anything to help on Google. I can imagine how to do it, but I am positive freehanding this will result in a shotty finished product. So- i suppose the rope laid areas are where the stock wouldnt be burnt, but what about the residue left behind from the tar? wouldnt you have to wipe or sand this out-thus ruining your burning effect?

December 25, 2011, 11:36 AM
Finish sand, burn, and finish sand lightly again.

The remaining scorch marks will still be there ready for finish.

If you want to see what it will look like, apply water to wet the stock.
That brings out the color just like the oil finish will.

Only thing is, after the water dries, all the little "whiskers" will pop up out of the grain and you will need another going over with 0000 steel wool to knock them off.
But that's a good thing.

You don't want whiskers popping up later in your oil finish anyway.


December 25, 2011, 09:03 PM
thankyou for your help so far- I will report back with my findings-but this may take several days(weeks) to get around to.

December 25, 2011, 09:16 PM
Hey, no hurry.

I have a 1911 National Match build I started in 2002 that I still havent got a Round Tuit to polish & blue yet.

Stuff Happens!


December 27, 2011, 07:47 AM
An alternative to the torching technique is a stain that works well on light wood like birch and maple. It is "Aquafortis" stain available at Cain`s Outdoors and other sites that deal with blackpowder rifle building.

December 28, 2011, 07:42 PM
Thanks for the input Sarge. I am rather undecided still. As of today i am thinking less is more. Maybe put an ebony fore end cap on, stain it dark and call it what it is....BUt check back in 10 minutes, I will have probably changed my mind.

January 16, 2012, 08:40 PM
OK CZGuy, I am getting real close to applying finish on my project, but I have one more question. Did you stain the birch stock or is that a natural color with the worlds greatest finish? IF I stain the wood, when i steel wool the sealer coats down wont i wear some of the stain off as i repeat to fill the grain? Please let me know the proper chronology of these steps.

January 16, 2012, 11:52 PM

My Birch stock has no stain at all, that's just the way it came out using this technique. To me it's alway been a little light. If I were doing it again I would stain it darker. It's all personal choice.

February 9, 2012, 10:19 AM
Have any of you done this to a Mosin?

February 10, 2012, 07:02 PM
There's no reason you can't.

Much depends on how oil soaked and dark the wood is, but the finish will work.

February 29, 2012, 12:16 PM
First time refinishing a stock and have been using this method. I am on "Stage 2" which is apply, wait 24 hrs and steel wool off. I am hoping someone can clarify how "bare" the wood should be, do I want to steel wool off until I am literally sanding the wood, or just enough to remove the top shiny layer? It seems like an awful lot of steel wool would be needed to completely remove the previous finish.

This is underway with a Mosin, which has had cosmoline cleaned from.

March 2, 2012, 08:19 PM
When you start steel wooling the dried coat it'll turn "muddy" looking and you can easily see when you are down to bare wood.
You don't want to actually "sand" the wood with the steel wool, you just want to remove the coating from the wood's surface.

This allows the next coat to fill the grain more. Continuing to apply coats, let dry and steel wool it off the surface allows the Minwax to completely fill the grain until it's totally full and level with the surface.
When it is, you can hold the wood up to the light at an angle and you won't see any open grain.

This gives you an old type oil finish that's IN the wood, not ON the wood like the old custom British and American guns.
Of course, if you want you can simply smooth a final coat over the wood and allow it to dry for a surface finish.

March 3, 2012, 11:29 AM
Thank you for the clarification. I have applied 23 coats at this point and it looks about halfway done. Will post pics when I finish, good on you for the suggestion!

March 6, 2012, 12:07 AM
If you have 23 coats on, you must be applying awfully thin coats.

There's no problem with that, and it is easier to steel wool the coat off when it's thinner.
I usually applied a little thicker coats and it usually took about 5 to 8 coats.
However, it required some hefty rubbing with the steel wool to get them off.

April 1, 2012, 06:55 PM
im in the process of striping my walnut stock on my 1970 marlin 336. it looks a bit lighter than i would like it to end up. can i use an oil based red oak stain that i already have before using the antique oil finish? any suggestions or tips for doing this? will it last though the steel wool stages of the antique oil finish??

Doug B.
April 1, 2012, 07:58 PM
I would be somewhat concerned that the oil based red oak stain would seal the surface to a degree. You may not get the penetration that the oil finish is inherently known for. I have never attempted this and I'm sure somebody will pipe up that has.

Interesting question 7th.

April 1, 2012, 09:02 PM
A better option is a water or spirit based penetrating stain.

These are usually alcohol or spirit based and penetrate instantly and deeply.
You can mix your own using Tandy water or solvent based leather dyes, or buy a dye from Brownell's.

The spirit or solvent based dyes dye dark, fast, so you usually thin them with th appropriate solvent to prevent getting too dark a color.
The Tandy water based leather dyes work very well and can be thinned with alcohol if desired.
As always, experiment on scrap wood to get a feel for the color and how dark it colors.

These penetrating dyes will soak in far enough that if you stain JUST a little darker then you want the steel wooling will remove enough to bring it to the correct shade.
When working with stains use thinner coats of the oil to limit steel wooling.

Brownell's stains:

For leather dye, use Fiebeing's for a spirit stains, and buy the thinner that goes with it.
For Tandy water based, don't buy the Cova dye, it's more a paint than a stain.
The Tandy water based comes in many colors and mixes and blends perfectly. Colors are true.

April 1, 2012, 10:00 PM
ok so whats the best way to get an idea of the final wood color? i read somewhere that wiping with mineral sprits will give an idea what the oil finish color will be. have you found this to be true? i was originally going to use stain because a few places have lighter blonde swirls on the wood but if the color is similar to what it looks like with mineral sprits than i may just leave the wood unstained.

April 2, 2012, 07:50 PM
Mineral spirits or just water will usually give a good idea of the finished color.

April 11, 2012, 03:44 PM
well i followed the instructions from this forum and here are some before and after on my marlin 336 texan.



needless to say I am quite happy with the way it turned out!!!!:):):):cool:

Doug B.
April 11, 2012, 06:52 PM
Geeeeeeez.............that's purdy!!

Nice job!

April 11, 2012, 08:36 PM
Looks better with the old "egg shell" luster of a good oil finish instead of the hard gloss of a varnish.

April 11, 2012, 10:09 PM

Great job, that brought out the beauty of that stock perfectly.

August 30, 2012, 09:27 PM
I just started down this path on a somewhat crappy looking stock on a Hawken Rifle.

Pictures to come.

August 30, 2012, 10:46 PM
I just fitted a new Dupage stock to my M1. Four coats of Pure Tung Oil cut 50/50 with mineral spirits, then an hour soaking with Fairtrimmers Military oX, topped with two coats of Tom's 1/3 military stock wax. All spread out over a couple of weeks. I'm happy!

September 6, 2012, 07:03 PM
It's finished!

I'm happy with the way it turned out!

September 6, 2012, 07:59 PM
That has the "egg shell" luster of the old oil finishes.
Unlike them, the Minwax is a more durable finish and far more water proof.

September 26, 2012, 12:40 AM
loved the finish on the two guns i did so much that i redid an old desk that i was converting to reload bench. looks so great I'm thinking of doing the same on a headboard I've been planing on building.[/url][/url]

September 26, 2012, 08:23 PM
Beautiful look.
That's a lot of work, but it's a lifetime finish. Damage it and all you have to do is apply another coat or two.

October 1, 2012, 05:48 PM
The desk came out very nice. That is a beautiful finish.

October 27, 2012, 05:06 AM
Hi I've been reading about your experience with minwax antique oil, it sounds good
Only to find I can't buy it in the uk, I have a client in Texas and has sent me two tins to try, I've jumped in at the deep end and started to use it on a pair of stocks and for ends to a pair of purdeys. Hopefully they will come out good so I can put some pictures up

October 27, 2012, 07:13 PM
Good luck.
I think you'll like the results, even though it's a lot of work.

November 10, 2012, 03:39 PM
I have recently bought a new gun. It's a 12g. Franchi Falconet Precision S. The gun is lightweight o/u wich I will use mainly for hunting here in northern Norway.
The wood is walnut and quite nice looking, even though it's not a masterpiece, it's not to bad. Looks like it could use some additional treatment to withstand long days out on the mountain in rainy weather however. We do get alot of weather here in Lofoten islands! Do you think it would be a good idea to apply the minwax to a new gun or would it be overdoing it? What about the inside of the front stock, where the wood is raw and allmost dry. Should it be oiled to? Looks like it wants to soak alot of water in there. My first thought was to smear the stock with some linsead oil. Don't know what kind of treatment it has from the factory but from the smell I'd say it is some kind of linsead oil.

I ordered a can of minwax just to try on some other woodproject I have going. Before I smear it on my new gun I thought I'd ask someone who knows.

Thank you for your great post.

November 10, 2012, 08:25 PM
Much depends on what the existing finish is.
If it's a polyurethane or lacquer finish the Minwax won't be able to penetrate the wood. It'll probably still work well since it could use the existing finish as a sealer.
I'd probably at least lightly sand the wood to smooth it up and remove some of the current finish so the Minwax could soak in.

I always put a coat or two inside on the barrel channel, inletting, and especially the butt. The wood in the butt is open grain, and that's where moisture can soak into the wood quickly.
I applied coats to the butt until it was well sealed.

After you get the inletting, barrel channel, and butt sealed with Minwax and it's had a week to fully harden, I'd apply a medium-heavy coat of Johnson's Paste Wax to all areas.
Don't wipe the wax off, just let it harden for 30 minutes or more and then assemble the gun.
The wax will prevent any water from soaking it.
In fact, you can also wax the metal the same way to prevent it from rusting.

December 21, 2012, 03:29 PM
what would you reccomend for a pepper laminate stock finish

December 21, 2012, 08:05 PM
Most any wood finish will work on a laminate, including the Minwax Antique oil finish.

Some people use polyurethane for laminate.
Thin the first coat considerably to get good penetration, then thin the other coats about 5% to improve brushing.
Lightly sand between coats.

December 29, 2012, 12:53 PM
I've got the Minwax Antique Oil Finish on order and it should be here in a few days. In the meantime, I've stripped one of my Romy M69's down to bare wood using Citristrip. Wonderful stuff. I've then steamed out most of the dings and dents.

In prepping for the MAO Finish, I wanted to make sure I had finished prepping the wood properly. I do NOT plan on staining this first one. So I was thinking of dry sanding with 220, then 320, working my way up to 600. The 600 grit I bought says "wet or dry" and it is black. Should I stick to dry? Also, should I just dry-wipe the dust off the stock after each sanding? Or wet-wipe it down and let to air dry?

Once the sanding is done, should I do anything else to prep the stock before starting the Minwax treatment? Once at that point, I think I should be good with the advice given starting in the OP of this thread. Thanks all!

Doug B.
December 29, 2012, 04:04 PM
I like to use a shop vac with a genuine horse hair brush to remove the sanding dust. It leaves NO dust unlike tack cloth if not used properly. Gets in all the tiny spots much better as well.

December 29, 2012, 07:48 PM
Use all sand paper dry.

One method for a smoother finish and to clean sanding dust out and open the grain for a finish is to "whisker" the wood.

Use a damp sponge or rag to wet the wood a section at a time. While the wood is still damp, use a heat gun or stove burner to heat the wood and force dry it.
This will cause the moisture to turn to steam and this blasts the sanding dust out of the grain and opens the grain up.

It also causes tiny splinters of wood to stand up. Use 0000 steel wool or a synthetic polishing pad to gently rub the wood lengthwise.
Steel wool or the synthetic pad will catch these tiny splinters and cut them off, where sand paper will just press them back down.

Depending on the wood, you may have to whisker it 2 to 3 times to remove all the splinters. When you dry the last time, don't rub it down.
This will leave the grain clean ans open for the first coat of finish.

Be careful not to scorch the wood by over heating, you just want to dry it, and you can easily see it dry.
Also, after the last dry, use a vacuum to vacuum off any dirt left on the surface.

May 30, 2014, 05:01 AM
wow! this gun looks very awesome:)

May 30, 2014, 09:35 AM
With the oil finish wet-sanding technique. A 1948 Winchester 52B I got cheap with ruined wood but good metal. Got a Wenig rough blank, inletted the metal, shaped with a draw-knife and scrapers, glass-bedded. Was going to checker but my daughter says no. Left-handed stock but righty action.

May 30, 2014, 09:38 AM
Having trouble with attachments. Here's another. Buttplate is ebony I got from a luthier.

December 27, 2014, 10:09 AM
Not sure if anyone is still following this thread but found a faster way to completely fill the grain on a new stock.

I save the sanding dust and use it to fill the grain. Apply a heavy coat of Minwax with a brush and smooth it out with you finger. Then dip the tip of your finger in the dust and rub it in to the stock. After 3-4 hours, sand it down with 220 and then 320 grit sand paper. The finish is not hard and will continue to fill the grain. After two or three coats of doing this, all the grain will be completely filled.

Had a small split on the left side of the butt on a beautiful new exhibition grade walnut stock and it absolutely filled it up on the third try. Can't even see where it was.

Thank you dfariswheel for starting this topic 7 years ago.

December 30, 2014, 09:10 PM
Filling the grain with saw dust will usually give a "muddy" look to the finish and prevent good absorption of the first coats of finish.

I whisker the wood by wetting it, drying with heat to make the tiny splinters stand up, then wipe the wood with a Scotchbrite pad.
The pad will catch and cut the tiny splinters off instead of just pressing them back down like sand paper will.
I used to use 0000 steel wool, until I realized that steel wool is soaked with oil to prevent it from rusting.
The oil can contaminate stock finishes.

After whiskering several times, I dampen the wood and quickly dry one more time but don't rub down.
When the damp wood is dried with a stove burner or heat gun the water flashes to steam.
This actually steam cleans the wood by blasting out the sanding dust.
This opens up the grain so the first coats of finish can soak in deeper.

However, if you have a crack or defect the sanding dust works very well to patch or conceal the damage.
Old time stock workers would mix sanding dust with glue to make a filler that would match the wood.
Today, you can use one hour epoxy to make filler or patch material.

April 15, 2015, 08:43 PM
I had never redone a stock like this before I found this thread. Below was a Stevens 311 from @1919, horrible shape, finish mostly off it from disuse.

Came out beyond my best expectations!

April 18, 2015, 07:57 PM
Very nice job.

April 28, 2015, 12:37 PM
I bought a TC Renegade in 1976 and am replacing the walnut stock with a beautiful curly maple stock. I plan on using a walnut dye with a tad of red. My question is does this finish darken much with age? Would it have a tendancy to obscure the grain over time?

April 30, 2015, 09:50 PM
A true wood dye will not darken with age, but will gradually lighten, instead. Keep it out of sunlight most of the time and that won't happen.
After using dyes instead of stains in my furniture business, I'll never go back to stains.

June 16, 2015, 10:42 AM
excellent...keep the pictures coming

I'll have to try this on my next project, an 1893 Marlin 30-30

July 8, 2015, 06:27 PM
Long time between posts here!

Anyway a buddy of mine sent me the link to this post I haven't went through it all but I did my first custom rifle with Minwax Antique oil and have been very satisfied with the results. I don't live in a wet conditions and this rifle will never travel with me to them as it's mainly a pronghorn and range toy.

I haven't done too many stocks, but the last one I did I used Citri Strip to remove the old finish.

Here is what I started with.

Once I got all the old finish off I sanded the stock to 600 grit.

Then I used Minwax Antique Oil finish cut with thinner about 50/50 and followed instructions I found on Kevin Weaver's (Weaver Rifles) tech page. I don't think it turned out too bad, I've been thinking of sending it off to Alhmans to get it checkered now.

July 8, 2015, 06:29 PM
Here are the remainder of the pictures.

July 8, 2015, 08:51 PM
Nice looking wood and finish.

July 9, 2015, 01:48 PM

If you enjoyed reading about "How to do the World's best oil finish" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!