Refinishing rosewood grips


January 5, 2008, 11:49 PM
Can anyone give me some info on the best ways to stain or urethane a set of rosewood grips. I really just want to bring them to a luster without changing the color. I tried a paint on urethane, then the spray and it looked like crap. I have sanded them down now and need to find out what I can do to bring it back to a nice luster. Have I already ruined them for good? I am new to this process. I have stained doors, but never had this much trouble. The grips just don't come out smooth. Got some Ideas??? PM me.

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January 6, 2008, 12:00 AM
Or better yet, just drop me a PM.

Old Fuff
January 6, 2008, 12:03 AM
Are these stocks checkered or smooth?

Generally speaking rosewood is so hard that you can use progresively finer sandpaper until they take on a semi-gloss and then put on an coat of paste wax and rub it out.

An alternative is to use a gunstock finish such as True Oil. Apply several thin coats and then rub it down with #0000 grade steel wool.

Also see this thread:

January 6, 2008, 01:42 AM
I agree with Old Fuff. That would be the best way to go. The temp and humidity has to be right when you spray urethane type finishes to get good results.


January 6, 2008, 11:31 AM
Rosewood is best left unfinished.
It has a lot of natural wax in the wood, and some types of finish just doesn't like to stick to it.

The suggestion to sand them very smooth and polish or buff them out with carnuba wax is the best way to go.
That is the way Hogue finishes thiers.

January 6, 2008, 12:55 PM
You may have to seal the rosewood. Several coats of shellac should work; rub with fine steel wool between coats. I've also used the clear acrylic aerosol sealers found in craft stores (for sealing charcoal, pencil drawings) to good effect.
In regards to urethane; Minwax Wipe-On Poly is easy to apply with very nice results. The gloss seems to go on heavier than the satin. If there are any pores in the wood you will have to apply multiple coats, using steel wool or sanding between coats, until the finish is built up enough.

January 6, 2008, 11:04 PM
Are these stocks checkered or smooth?

They are smooth Old Fuff. Right now they are a dull finish since I sanded off that urethane that was not smoothing out. I think I will try to just sand them out and buff them with the wax. Oh, they do seem to be pretty porous too. Thanks guys for the help. I will try to let ya know how it goes for me.

Any other suggestions are welcom too, for current and future reference.

January 6, 2008, 11:34 PM
Good Brazilian rosewood, as used in guitars, and such, has pores, small voids, in it. These are what give the wood the really high freq., bell like, harmonics These voids add a depth to the finish, are usually desired, and will not affect the coloring of that beautiful wood.

Brian Williams
January 7, 2008, 01:08 PM
Be careful many people are allergic to rosewood.

January 9, 2008, 04:34 PM
before, I can tell you that finishing is a pain. Furniture types treat it with acetone first, to remove most of the oil, then apply finish. Anymore, I just fine-sand, buff and wax. Looks lovely. Wear a mask while sanding and buffing, though. Some tropical woods can cause lung inflammation from the dust.

January 9, 2008, 05:11 PM
or sand and do the tung oil treatments to raise the color contrast. Varnish as you like, if you wish. I think that a thin matte [or none] finish looks really "cool", but ... you can repeatedly varnish and sand until the offending voids are filled and smooth.

My problems are 1)brazillian hardwood is very hard to get, because of there government restrictions, and 2) the stuff that I have found barely approaches "fair" . I've got a bunch of blanks, but they are not as nice [ie. color and porosity] as I would like. If you want to throw yours away, please throw them MY way. :)


January 11, 2008, 12:34 AM
Agree, the best thing for Rosewood is just polish it with it's own oils, but if you must put finish on it, i.e. a grip cap or forend cap, rinse it several time over a period of days with acetone, or even better, the purest ETOH you can get. I did one using ether once with excellent results, but hard to get, fairly expensive, dangerous, and a bit tricky to work with.

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