I have a couple rifles with Birch stocks. I have one left in the 'white', but am considering staining my latest 22 (Savage 46). Normally it is HARD to bring out the grain, get a very fine sanding, and get the stock dark. Has anyone had success in this arena. I seem to think that Red Mahogony, despite the name, gives a nice dark walnuty appearance, because when I slap oil on plain walnut wood, it comes up a nice reddish hue.
I will likely use Watco's Danish oil to protect it after the stain, but may consider Tru-Oil (which I understand is not true oil, but made from oils).
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January 3, 2009, 05:07 PM
You need to use "Spirit" stains, alcohol based stains instead of oil based.
You'll never get nice coloring using oil based or water based stains on birch stocks.
I once created a nice richly grained birch stock by painting my color and grain with shoe dye and then Tru-Oiling over it. That worked well but was very labor intensive and was before I learned the magic of spirit stains.
Sprit stains are carried by Brownell's and others in assorted tones. Brownell's sells a 'kit' of four shades that can be used creatively. Four 2 oz. bottles in a box for something like $34.00 dealer pricing, as best I remember the price. I've been using the batch for several years because the spirit stains go very far.
It's the answer.
January 3, 2009, 05:26 PM
In woods like birch and maple that are extremely tight grained you won't have much luck using pigmented stains like Minwax or such. There's simply no place for the little pigments to hide and be trapped as the binder dries.
You best bet is to use some kind of dye. I've had real good success with Trans Tint
What brings out the grain with pigment stains like Minwax is the pigments get trapped in the grain and contrasts with the light hard wood areas. There's no getting around the fact that birch just doesn't have big old thick grain like walnut for instance.
What you can do to maximize the grain that is there is to use a black dye first, sand off the surface and you'll be left with some contrast in the grain.
What's pretty cool about this stuff is you can layer on different colors of dye and then tint your final coating a color that will change the the undercoat colors. Through the years a lot of folks have gotten the idea that mahogany is a deep maroonish color. Funiture manufacturers, never one to argue with the buying public, soon began dying their tables a deep red, then a coat of amber, then a brown tinted lacquer.
If you want to use Danish oil or the like, that will be another reason not use Minwax. The binder in Minwax is an oil type and when it evaporates and dries, it's stuck on the wood pretty good. Danish oil will re-disolve the binder and you'll be taking what little color you managed to get to stick on the stock off with your rubbing pad.
January 3, 2009, 05:30 PM
How about these:
The Briwax will work, I don't think I'd try the other stuff. You really don't want anything with pigment. IMO.
Oh yeah, one other thing with dyes. WEAR RUBBER GLOVES!!!
January 3, 2009, 06:47 PM
This just popped on the RFC forum. My gun is not a Win, but I surely like the reddish hue of those rifles:
Wonder how much 2 oz. will do?
January 3, 2009, 08:03 PM
It looks to me like they use it on all of their guns. If I had to guess, I'd say it's basically a tinted tung oil type solution or possibly even varnish with a fast drying agent. Perhaps Japan drier.
It may be what you're looking for colorwise but I'll bet if you put a coat of it on your birch stock you'll be able to wipe it completely off with a rag and lacquer thinner and your stock will be only be minimally darkened. The more you put on to darken it the less wood grain you will be able to see.
I think it says 2 oz will do a couple of stocks.
January 3, 2009, 09:15 PM
tapaderas is an alcohol based stain, and Winchesters had walnut stocks.
What gives a good result in walnut may not help much in birch. As nitetrain said they are entirely different woods.
I'd have to go so far as to say that you will not get results on birch that look like the pictures in the Tapaderas site even though the stain is a spirit stain.
With stains it's not like painting a wall where you can pick a color and the wall will be that color. The same stain will give entirely different looks on each type of wood it's applied to, and in fact it's very possible to get two different colors on two different pieces of the same species of wood.
January 3, 2009, 09:27 PM
I could see on several of those Winchesters exactly where they put the finish on. It was a matter of the sheen. It might be alcohol based dye but when they talk about letting it dry a few minutes and buffing it up there's more to it than just dye. If it's just alcohol and aniline dye on bare wood you can buff it till the cows come home and it won't shine.
January 3, 2009, 09:32 PM
Good points all. My Rem 552 is walnut - looks may better than the original finish with just Watco's. I guess I'll stick to the dies.
January 3, 2009, 10:54 PM
I've used Fiebing's Leather Dye (bought from Tandy Leather Co.), which is alcohol-based. I got good results mixing 25% Mahogany, 25% Medium Brown, and 50% Denatured Alcohol. A very little bit goes a long way.
After staining, I finished the stock with Pure Tung Oil cut with mineral spirits.
I was refinishing a non-descript birch potbelly M2 carbine stock with a walnut handguard, and got a pretty good match.
(Fiebing's may have already phased out their alcohol-based dyes. Get some quick if you want some.)
January 3, 2009, 11:31 PM
Min-Wax has a new stain especially for gunstocks if you can find it. I used to use Tru-Oil and recommend it, but now use Min-Wax Antique Oil Finish. Hope this helps.
January 4, 2009, 12:11 PM
Their description of what they do says that after coloring they use oils (furniture and gun oils are mentioned) to obtain their desired sheen.
The same description says flat out that their coloring product is alcohol based.
January 4, 2009, 03:17 PM
January 4, 2009, 07:25 PM
Gents: I have an ACE hardware store near my work. (Its a huge mom/pop store). Think they have alcohol based stains? I'll drop by tomorrow.
January 4, 2009, 09:22 PM
I have had very good luck with Rit Cloaths Dye and rubbing alcohole. Cloaths dye comes in many colors and can be mixed for even more.
Chewing Tabacco, Coffee and Walnuts (freash from the tree) soaked in rubbing alcohale also works really well for staining.
then Clear coat it with what ever you want. a can of spray on clear works, so does floor polish.
January 5, 2009, 01:10 AM
Chestnut Ridge has the Military gun stock spirit stain you desire. www.chestnutridge.com/images/inv/MAWAL1.asp Brownells sells it too. Is great stuff and makes birch stocks a nice even color....... WEAR CHEMICAL GLOVES. Do not ask how I know.
Ohio Gun Guy
January 5, 2009, 01:15 AM
you may try a gel stain and let it dry longer than required... 2-3 days.
January 5, 2009, 12:23 PM
Folks: Does ANY local type of store (hardware, hobby, etc.) sell any of this DYE stuff???? I just called a HUGE mom/pop harware store, and they have NO alcohol based dyes. I know Home Depot and Lowe's won't!
BIY - wish I had the Chestnut ridge stuff for my M1 Carbine stock! This Savage 46 project may need something lighter like Cherry.
January 5, 2009, 05:05 PM
I've always had to order all my stuff online. You might try an artist supply store if you have one near by.
January 6, 2009, 01:58 AM
Places to find those dies are fabric shops/hobby stores and also well-supplied leather shops.
Also, have you tried just finishing with tung oil? I have refinished some birch stocks in the past and got great results with just stripping it thoroughly, then hand-rubbing in tung oil in a light coat every few days for a week. Looked great. Nice, darkened wood finish. But maybe you are trying to make it look different.
January 11, 2009, 01:51 AM
Here's the Fiebing's alcohol-based dye I mentioned above (post 11):