Alright, calling you stock finishing experts!


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mshootnit
March 1, 2010, 07:23 PM
I am 3 coats of boiled linseed oil into a project and I want to have that subtle "hint" of red to the stock color. The stock is American walnut on an M1a. I have the straight brown color going now, or maybe what you would call amber-brown. No red to be seen except when its "wet" with oil as I am rubbing. I really (and I mean really) prefer that small hint of red in the color. Is this a function of just adding more coats of BLO or do I need to add in another oil? Now I am not talking major red like stain, I am just talking the nice subtle old hint of red color you see when the light hits the grain. Any thoughts?

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mshootnit
March 1, 2010, 07:32 PM
PS any general advice on this project is appreciated! I got the stock thinking it could use a few coats of BLO and I have been heating up the BLO till it was barely touchable, then hand rubbing into the wood, wiping down and putting away. I have burnished the stock twice with 0000 steel wool to smooth it out some. On the right track? I have been playing it by ear doing what seems best at the time. Now mind you I am working around the metal prefering not to take the rifle apart at this time where it is factory bedded.

Al Thompson
March 1, 2010, 07:46 PM
I "think" that on the next coat of BLO, you should add some red stain to the BLO. I got a birch stock to that shade your talking about by staining red last, before putting the sealer on. Hopefully, there are some more experienced folks that will chime in.

paducahrider
March 1, 2010, 08:32 PM
Howdy!
There are many ways to accomplish your goal.
First, you must determine if you want the finish IN the wood or ON the wood.
Old-time oil finishes were allowed to penetrate into the wood, and fill the pores, while newer finishes are more likely to be an external finish.
If your going for the new finish, the tint can be easily applied as the top coat, since it will not penetrate into the wood to any great extent.
However, if you are going the more traditional route, with an oil finish, as you seem to have indicated, the tint should be either applied to the bare wood before oiling, as a stain, or in the form of a tinted finishing oil.
I would definitely take the stock off the rifle, as you can get a lot of steel wool bits into the action even if careful, plus, it's almost, if not impossible, not to get finish onto the barrel and action, and between it and the stock, which can harden up like glue later, and make disassembly difficult.
Since you've already started the process, you must ask yourself if you want to start over.
If not, one solution would be to tint your own oil (artist supply houses, like Hobby Lobby have tinting agents) or hit the net and find some pre-64 Winchester finishing oil (I've recently seen it on ebay, and it was once called "red oil"), which has a slight reddish tint to it. This can be applied many ways, but, since it aint cheap, it's wise to rub it into the stock sparingly. It doesn't take much (except elbow grease, of course!), but expect to apply many coats, then cut them back off (The old timers, and Roy Dunlap, used raw linseed oil, cut with burlap, ACROSS THE GRAIN, to cut off the first coats and fill the pores) this is VERY time consuming and HARD WORK. The wood pores, if done this way properly, will be filled, forever, and the finish, in the eyes of traditionalists (like me) will be part of the wood, rather than a superficial coating. It will weather well and is easily touched up. (#0000 steel wool will work for the cutting off process, but can leave scratches)
By the way: commercial paint store BOILED LINSEED OIL is NOT the best type of oil for gunstocks. Artist supply houses (HOBBY LOBBY again) has much more highly refined oils which work better. Don't fall into the trap of adding "driers" to speed up the process, as some are toxic, and won't do what you probably want anyway.
A quicker method, which works fine with many folks, is to use "tung oil" to fill the pores because it dries quickly and can reduce the number of coats. One problem with tung oil is that a measurable percentage of people are allergic to it, and will be affected when they snuggle that warm stock up to their cheek.
Some apply a few coats of linseed (or even the proprietary :Linspeed Oil"), by rubbing them onto the tung oil surface, with high pressure, as this will cause the finish to SHINE!!
The English method, supposedly used at Purdy, was to soak the stock in hot oil, ALLOW IT TO THICKEN, THEN cut it off with burlap, check on pore filling, then do it again(and again and again,etc,,,) if needed, until it suited the maker. This took weeks.
One more thing: any wood will look good if you prepare it properly first. That means using the proper methods to give the wood that last touch, BEFORE the finish is applied. Some finishers stop sanding with #600 wet or dry sandpaper, but, take my advice and visit an auto paint supply house and introduce yourself to #1000, #1500, #2000 and #2500 grit sandpapers, if you want a truly sensual experience when you feel the sanded wood.
Fingers, rubbed across wood, sanded with #600 grit, can be HEARD.
Fingers, rubbed across wood, sanded with #2500 grit are QUIET, because it's so much smoother, and creates less friction. You WILL notice the difference, and nothing will ever be the same, when it comes to finishing.
The tiny scratches, from #600, will eventually resurface, sometimes years later, especially if the pores are not filled properly (which they seldom are), but the #2500 grit is FAR smoother, because of tinier scratches.
Finishing is FUN, but it is also very time consuming.
The good thing is that the principles are very simple
It's just a matter of patience, and more patience, and,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Good Luck.
Thanks for your time.

mshootnit
March 1, 2010, 08:39 PM
when you say "cut them off with burlap" do you mean rubbing the dry stock with burlap across the grain between coats?

paducahrider
March 1, 2010, 08:45 PM
Howdy!
There are many ways to accomplish your goal.
First, you must determine if you want the finish IN the wood or ON the wood.
Old-time oil finishes were allowed to penetrate into the wood, and fill the pores, while newer finishes are more likely to be an external finish.
If your going for the new finish, the tint can be easily applied as the top coat, since it will not penetrate into the wood to any great extent.
However, if you are going the more traditional route, with an oil finish, as you seem to have indicated, the tint should be either applied to the bare wood before oiling, as a stain, or in the form of a tinted finishing oil.
Since you've already started the process, you must ask yourself if you want to start over.
If not, one solution would be to tint your own oil (artist supply houses, like Hobby Lobby have tinting agents) or hit the net and find some pre-64 Winchester finishing oil (I've recently seen it on ebay, and it was once called "red oil"), which has a slight reddish tint to it. This can be applied many ways, but, since it aint cheap, it's wise to rub it into the stock sparingly. It doesn't take much (except elbow grease, of course!), but expect to apply many coats, then cut them back off (The old timers, and Roy Dunlap, used raw linseed oil, cut with burlap, ACROSS THE GRAIN, to cut off the first coats and fill the pores) this is VERY time consuming and HARD WORK. The wood pores, if done this way properly, will be filled, forever, and the finish, in the eyes of traditionalists (like me) is part of the wood, rather than a superficial coating. It will weather well and is easily touched up.
By the way: commercial paint store BOILED LINSEED OIL is NOT the best type of oil for gunstocks. Artist supply houses (HOBBY LOBBY again) has much more highly refined oils which work better. Don't fall into the trap of adding "driers" to speed up the process, as some are toxic, and won't do what you probably want anyway.
A quicker method, which works fine with many folks, is to use "tung oil" to fill the pores, dries quickly and can reduce the number of coats. One problem with tung oil is that a measurable percentage of people are allergic to it, and will be affected when they snuggle that warm stock up to their cheek.
Some apply a few coats of linseed (or even the proprietary :Linspeed Oil"), by rubbing them onto the tung oil surface, with high pressure, as this will cause the wood to SHINE!!
The English method, supposedly used at Purdy, was to soak the stock in hot oil, ALLOW IT TO THICKEN, THEN cut it off with burlap, check on pore filling, then do it again(and again and again,etc,,,) if needed, until it suited the maker. This took weeks.
One more thing: any wood will look good if you prepare it properly first. That means using the proper methods to give the wood that last touch, BEFORE the finish is applied. Some finishers stop sanding with #600 wet or dry sandpaper, but, take my advice and visit an auto paint supply house and introduce yourself to #1000, #1500, #2000 and #2500 grit sandpapers, if you want a truly sensual experience when you feel the sanded wood.
Fingers, rubbed across wood, sanded with #600 grit, can be HEARD.
Fingers, rubbed across wood, sanded with #2500 grit are QUIET, because it's so much smoother, and creates less friction. You WILL notice the difference, and nothing will ever be the same, when it comes to finishing.
The tiny scratches, from #600, will eventually resurface, sometimes years later, especially if the pores are not filled properly (which they seldom are), but the #2500 grit is FAR smoother, because of tinier scratches.
Finishing is FUN, but it is also very time consuming.
The good thing is that the principles are very simple
It's just a matter of patience, and more patience, and,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Good Luck.
Thanks for your time.

paducahrider
March 1, 2010, 09:02 PM
Howdy.
Yes, "Cutting off" means rubbing it across the grain, but the stock is not exactly dry.
My old finishing books call for the oil to be thickly applied, left to thicken (but not harden) to where you can wrinkle it up by pushing on it across the grain with your thumb, before cutting off.
If you cut it off too soon, it will be too thin and more of it will be removed before it soaks into the wood and fills the pores, thus prolonging the process. At best, it will take several applications. Thicker coats are harder to remove, and you will find that the steel wool will stick to the finish if not pushed hard enough, but, once you get the hang of it, the result(properly filled pores) will help create a much more durable finish with more depth.
Thanks for your time.

desidog
March 1, 2010, 09:21 PM
Paducahrider is right on.

However, I'd add that if you're going to actually shoot it; don't go overboard.... i spent a lot of time on my M1A stock, so much so that dinging it hurts me deep down; i had to buy a cheap synthetic GI stock for bushwacking.

I also got a M1A handguard in walnut from brownells for it. it looks gooood without the brown plasticy thing on top.

Good luck.

Kentucky_Rifleman
March 2, 2010, 01:12 AM
I really (and I mean really) prefer that small hint of red in the color.

That's how I ended up with my wife :rolleyes:

I've never used BLO before, so I can't help you with that. I would say that if you have to back up and start over, consider Tung Oil. I tint the raw wood before applying the first coat of TO using Minwax stain. I let that cure for 24 hours, then start with the TO. I'll admit TO is a pain to work with at the outset. It takes a full day for a thin coat to cure completely, and with the first 2 or 3 coats it can be a longer cure time because the wood drinks so much of it in.

After 3 coats though, it's simple. Just rag it on and let it dry for a day. I like to steel wool just enough to knock off any grain the TO raises, then wipe clean and apply a new coat.

I typically use 12 - 15 coats, depending on the porousness of the grain. The benefit to Tung Oil is that it's an "in-the-wood" finish and hard as nails when fully cured. It's easily the toughest wood finish I've dealt with.

Here is a little Remington .22 Scoremaster I reworked. The photos don't do the little rifle justice.

KR

madcratebuilder
March 2, 2010, 06:39 AM
If you keep working with the BLO you well need to add color to it. Current BLO has driers and other petroleum products added to increase the gloss. If you want a BLO finish similar to the old war time stocks look for a product sold as PLO(purified linseed oil) it's much closer to the BLO of old. Found at custom wood boat supply houses.

If working with BLO thin the first few coats 50/50 with turpentine as it well increase the penetration of the oil and speed drying time.

BLO well darken and develop a red tint as it ages.

I use Tung oil on my newer mil stuff. It takes about twenty coats to fill the pours and it stabilizes the wood making it much harder on the surface, plus it's a easy touch-up if you scratch the stock.

This is a SA stock with Tung oil.
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/madcratebuilder/crop9.jpg

USSR
March 2, 2010, 07:19 AM
I am just talking the nice subtle old hint of red color you see when the light hits the grain. Any thoughts?

You mean like this?

http://ussr.clarityconnect.com/WinM1a.jpg
http://ussr.clarityconnect.com/WinM1b.jpg

This stock was done with a stain that I developed, which is listed in the For Sale part of this website.

Don

zoom6zoom
March 2, 2010, 09:33 AM
The red tint is a result of the finish aging.
I highly prefer tung oil to BLO. Here's a Garand that I just completed. Multiple coats of tung on a new walnut stock set.
http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g180/zoom6zoom/gun%20stuff/Collection/HRAGarandR.jpg

navajo
March 2, 2010, 11:11 AM
Good advice here.
Check the CMP site, they tell you how to get close to the patina of the Garand.
Check differents site. Good step by step photo instructions.

mshootnit
March 2, 2010, 05:52 PM
those are some very nice pics. Considering that I am on coat #5 maybe I could keep steel wooling and working more coats in. Sounds like I may need to go to PLO or Tung oil to finish out!

Shung
March 2, 2010, 06:14 PM
I used to use a read TEA in the warm oil.. gives the thing the needed colour.

fireman 9731
March 3, 2010, 12:22 AM
I used to use BLO then I found Tru-oil. I will never go back to BLO. Tru-oil dries much faster and harder. And it is easier to work with.

Birchwood Casey also has tons of stuff made specifically for stock finishing, and they have lots of good instructions.

http://www.birchwoodcasey.com/sport/index.html

PzGren
March 3, 2010, 09:10 AM
Thanks for your time.

Well, thanks for writing this up and taking the time to share your knowledge and experience.

I am using BLO since a long time, it was already used in the Wehrmacht for the K98k, and if it is applied properly, it will give much more than surface protection like so many other products. It will penetrate the wood and harden the surface as well.

Just like rust blueing, treatment with BLO is a simple, time proven procedure with long lasting results, inexpensive yet labor intensive.

CZguy
March 3, 2010, 10:00 AM
Just like rust blueing, treatment with BLO is a simple, time proven procedure with long lasting results, inexpensive yet labor intensive.

I agree, after decades of trying everything else, I've come full circle and prefer BLO.

paducahrider
March 3, 2010, 10:59 AM
Howdy!
I agree with CZguy and PzGren,
I have tried many other methods over the years (decades actually), and concluded a long time ago that boiled linseed oil gives the wood a deeper, more protective and, let's be frank, a richer look than the others.
I've sprayed, rubbed, dipped and brushed just about every kind of finish available (including the one using egg whites and lemon juice for filler), and, some work fine but seem to have a negative aspect of some sort.
The "modern" super high-gloss finishes just leave me cold, and, if scratched are a pain to repair. They are as much a tribute to a man with a buffer as anything else. Add to the fact that some modern stocks, with beautiful "grain" are not actually wood at all, but a photo of a piece of wood, glued to a composition stock with as much grain as a paper grocery sack.
Oil can be made to shine also (check into French polishing for a beautiful, but almost useless stock finish), but, once you see and FEEL a well done oiled stock, nothing else measures up.
The downside of oil is the preparation of the wood (which, to be honest, should be done correctly with any finish) and the simple labor involved.
It's truly a labor of love, but, in my eyes, well worth it.
The materials are cheap but the results are definitely RICH, which is the opposite of other methods, from my point of view.
I swear that oiled stocks actually feel warmer to me, but I may be just a bit biased.
Thanks for your time

PzGren
March 4, 2010, 12:02 AM
It's truly a labor of love,

Indeed! Some finishes took me weeks, or rather months. I also tried all kind of finishes. England and Germany have traditional oil finishes commercially available, that need to be rubbed in with the hand and give great results, too. That is what is used by the expensive custom rifle makers in Europe.

Since hunting in Germany is not a sport for the financially distressed, hunting rifles and shotguns that cost over $5,000 are not rare at all but rather the norm. The good ones all have a hand rubbed oil finish. The warmth that develops while rubbing the oil in, gives the best penetration.

It also takes very long and requires patience but it will last long with a beautiful finish that will not scratch easily and not show ugly scratches.

mshootnit
March 4, 2010, 09:49 AM
6 coats of boiled linseed oil now and thrice burnished with steel wool. Starting to get to the point that I feel good about it. Not sure how much more I want to do. Its starting to look like satin and feel smooth...

paducahrider
March 4, 2010, 08:33 PM
mshootnit,
NOW your getting the idea.
If I had to critique the failures of most stock finishers (amateurs or professionals) it would not be the "finish", but the "middle".
Shaping the stock comes at the beginning.
Smoothing the stock (scraping and/or sanding) comes in the middle.
Finishing the stock comes just as it's name states: it's at the finish.
Under-sanding is common, and shows up as file or other coarse marks that no amount of finish will hide, and gloss finishes will make worse.
Over-sanding creates rounded edges where they should be clean and sharp.
Screw holes are a prime location for this problem to show up, but the edges adjacent to actions and buttplates are equally abused.
The primary cause for this problem is the use of the sandpaper without a hard backer. I use a variety of shaped wood blocks to back my sandpaper.
Most are flat, but some are radiused (rounded) to fit into concave curves.
Even when you are cutting the thickened finish off, you must resist the temptation to press too hard, 'cause steel wool is harder than wood (it is STEEL, after all), and if you rub in the same spots with your fingers, you'll end up with (yep, you guessed it!) "finger grooves".
You may not like where they show up either, so go slowly.
Remember, with the oil finish, if you find that the pores aren't well filled, even after you thought you were done, all you need to do is clean it off a bit and add more oil. It's a very forgiving finish, unlike the modern stuff.
Keep chuggin' and you'll get there.
Thanks for your time.

dirtyjim
March 4, 2010, 10:19 PM
mshootnit,
i get that subtle "hint" of red by using powdered alkanet root to dye my blo.
i put about 1 1/2 oz of alkanet root per pint of oil. let it set for a few hours then heat & strain the powder out of the oil. if you have plenty of time before your going to start on the project you can put the powder in a coffee filter then use a twist tie to close up the filter and drop in in a jar of blo let it set for a few weeks or a month untill you get that nice red collor then pull out the coffee filter with the alkanet root in it.

when i do a stock it takes about 2 months from the first oiling untill i condider it done.
first i heat some red oil & the stock up untill they are just about to hot to handle. then i liberaly oil the stock with a rag soaked in red oil for about 10 minutes. then i wipe the stock down to remove any access oil from the surface and let the stock sit in the corner for two to three weeks, i prefer three weeks.

then i seal the stock with a mixture of 1/2 pint of red oil, 3oz of spar varnish, 1oz turpentine, 10 drops of venice turpentine. venice turpentine can be found at most stores that sell stuff for horses. i heat the mixture up then apply it with a small rag. let it sit for at least two days.

now comes the fun part.
take your red oil and lightly coat the stock with it then rub it in with the palm of your hand. it will take about 15minutes for most stocks & if it doesn't get hot your not rubbing hard enough. let the stock sit for at least one day then rub in another coat.
repeat for about a week then let the stock sit for 5 days. after 5 days put on a very thin coat of red oil but do not rub it in. let the stock sit for about a week then rub the stock out accross the grain with rottenstone and red oil. i use a hard felt pad on this step.

time is one of the best stock finishers there is, most people do not give blo time to harden.
i also do not use any steel wool once the stock has been oiled.
i've been planning on trying some sea-fin oil.

mshootnit
March 4, 2010, 10:37 PM
I definitely need to print this stuff out and keep it for my sons to read someday!

dirtyjim
March 4, 2010, 10:57 PM
mshootit, the way i do it mostly comes from clyde bakers book modern gunsmithing. my copy is a second edition from 1933, you can get them on amazon for around $15.
the stuff in it is just as relevant now as it was in 1933

paducahrider
March 5, 2010, 11:41 AM
mshootnit,
Take note of EVERYTHING dirtyjim said, in both his last two posts.
There isn't anything within them that shouldn't be considered as gospel.
Pay especially close attention to the "TIME" mentioned in the process, as failure to adhere to proper timelines is the underlying cause of poor results (trying to rush nature!). Also notice the "heat" produced while rubbing with the "palm" (I would actually say the "heel" of the palm), as that is a real tip.
Yes, you would be wise to copy some of this stuff, because there are fewer folks around who subscribe to the prescribed actions and are thus willing and able to pass them along to others, like you.
Many posts mention methods which admittedly work, but from my point of view, come under the headings of "shortcuts", which produce quick, but questionably short-lived, results.
The book he recommends is excellent and will contain enough information to keep your mind occupied for decades. I would add Roy E. Dunlap's, "Gunsmithing" as an addition to your shooter's library.
Both these readings will be considered "dated" by many, but the information within them is fundamental, and fundamentals seldom change.
"SLOW DOWN! YOU"LL GET A MORE HARMONIOUS OUTCOME!!"
Thanks for your time.

ol' scratch
March 7, 2010, 01:21 AM
One part beeswax, one part turpentine, one part boiled linseed oil. It worked for me. I have a red hue in my stock. The wax also seems to waterproof the wood.

dirtyjim
March 7, 2010, 09:44 AM
the 1/3rd mix is more for maintaining the finish although some people have used it as the stock finish on military rifles. you can also omit the blo and use it as a furniture polish.

a properly done oil finish is very easy to maintain. just put about a teaspoon of blo in you palm and rub the stock down about once a year.
as far was waterproofing the stock goes unless your hunting in a rain forrest all i would do is put a little johnsons paste floor wax on the inletting and the underside of the barrel & receiver then wipe the outside of the stock down with johnsons paste wax.
johnsons paste wax also protects metal very good too

paducahrider
March 7, 2010, 09:11 PM
DIRTYJIM,
YOU are THE man.
The tips about furniture polish brought back memories of the years I spent as a furniture repairman
Most of the stuff folks put on their good furniture could be replaced by the Johsons paste wax, or the even cheaper beeswax/turpentine mix.
The tip about using it on metal is super also.
I have a cheap($349, brand new) little IGA Stoeger side by side, 28 gauge Uplander shotgun, which I spruced up a bit, some years ago.
There were so many machining marks on the barrels and action that I felt it could be considerably improved. I just felt like there was a nice looking shotgun under all the extra wood and metal on it.
I removed all the blueing by drawfiling and polishing the barrels with hard backed #2500 grit wet or dry, to the point that everyone believes they are chrome or nickle plated.
I reshaped/polished the action to match it to the barrels, created a stippled sighting notch, polished the action release, checkered the tang safety, etched some nice wildlife scenes on the action sides/bottom, and generally smoothed it all out to flow into the stock.
After re-shaping, staining, hand graining and refinishing the stocks, I took it to a shotgun meet and the Stoeger rep swore it wasn't made by Stoeger at all, until I pointed out that the model numbers were still on it.
He said he thought it was a couple thousand dollar Italian or European model.
It really turned out nice, and I left all the metal bright, with no blueing, just because it looked so darned good. I like bling!!
That was in 1997, and all I've done to it to prevent corrosion is to wax it with either the beeswax/turps mix or Johnsons paste wax.
There is not a SPOT of rust on it anywhere, it still shines like a mirror and the wood looks as good as when I finished it.
It sure as heck looks better than it did brand new.
There's more than one way to swing a cat!!!
Thank you DIRTYJIM, for sharing some of your knowledge.
Thanks for your time.

mshootnit
March 7, 2010, 09:22 PM
This thread wound up better than I was hoping thanks the gentlemens' contributions here. I wanted to update by saying that I have halted for now with 6 coats of BLO and 3 sessions with steel wool in between. The finish is even and smooth (and on top of the factory finish) and I have rubbed in 3 coats of Renaissance wax. It has a satin smooth finish that looks great on a military rifle. Now I am sure that it could be better but I am not going to add "gloss" for now I like it as is and feel it is relatively well protected. To add some detail there is still some marks from the factory sanding which did not go down to a fine enough grain to finish completely but again it is a military style rifle so such things are not totally unwanted.

61chalk
March 7, 2010, 09:42 PM
OK, I decided to say something...an no offense, not wanting to rain on the parade here at all. Just adding info. an glad you like the results of BLO, nothing wrong at all with that. BLO was used at the beginning of WWII, because it was cheap an in plenty, however it wasn't long into the war that Tung oil was put to use to replace BLO. BLO is not waterproof, an even a wax coat will let water through. Tung oil does waterproof much better...last year at the Camp Perry Garnd shoots, it got very hot an rained, an it was bad news for many shooters that used BLO. It bled because of the heat an humidity, an the rain swelled the wood so bad accuracy got worse an for some the trigger couldn't even be pulled to fire the weapon. Now many Garand owner's probably won't hunt or be out in the elements....but this is just info I thought I would pass on. I used BLO an did like the results, however because of the above info decided to use tung oil over a nice red stain on a tiger stripe an a dark walnut stain on another. I feel like the bad guy here, but not trying to be. I was glad to find out this info. so thought I would pass it on.....good shooting to you sir!

paducahrider
March 9, 2010, 11:18 AM
To 61chalk,
You don't need to feel like a bad guy for telling the truth.
The truth is; tung oil does a better job of sealing the wood than linseed oil.
I have been remiss in failing to point out that linseed oil does not actually "waterproof" the wood. No finish really does that, but tung oil comes closer than linseed oil.
As pointed out, tung oil was "discovered" during WWII, but actually, it was first used on Japanese arms, which fell into our troops's hands.
After a short time, it became obvious that something about the captured weaponry was making a lot of guys sick. The first suspect was the wood itself, but research turned up the fact that one in a thousand people were violently allergic to the tung oil finish.
Severe skin rashes, blisters and running sores were the symptoms of the allergy.
Whether or not the culprit within tung oil has been cured by modern chemistry, I can't say.
It's used as a component in a home woodworking line of finishing products(either Forneys or Minwax, if memory serves me, but I haven't checked lately) sold at the BIG BOX home stores.
Compared to linseed oil, it's quicker drying, and that is it's most attractive feature, to many.
As already mentioned, it does a better job of sealing than linseed oil, alone.
Of course, linseed oil works best in conjunction with other materials, and one way of getting the best of both worlds, is to use the tung oil as a sealer, then use the linseed oil as the finish.
Other sealers actually work better than tung oil and are less likely to be brittle and flake, as tung oil is prone to do.
One excellent sealer is spar varnish thinned with a fast solvent such as naptha or lacquer thinner. This soaks deeply into the wood, dries quickly and seals well.
Another wood preparation, prior to finishing, is filling of the pores.
Tung oil works well, as does thickened linseed oil, though taking longer.
One excellent filler is flour-fine ground silica, mixed with spar varnish and thinned with mineral spirits (some add a drying agent, but it's a matter of preference). This fills well but is hard on checkering tools, since the silica is just a form of sand.
Tung oil is not without it's detractions.
It's more expensive, though not as bad as a couple of decades ago.
Due to the quick drying time, it must be worked into the wood rapidly or leaves a cheap looking varnish-like surface.
It also is prone to brittleness and flaking; both are maladies from which many "modern" finishes suffer.
I readily admit to getting old and bein' set in my ways.
I also admit that I really like the look and FEEL of a well-done linseed oil stock, above all others, and since I had an allergy problem, early in my life, I don't desire to introduce a catalyst for another, into my gunstocks, to bedevil me during the later years of my life.
When all is said and done, everyone is free to try what they like, and, I didn't start out being a linseed oil afficianado without trying just about everything else, at some time or another.
The statement; "There's more than one way to swing a cat!!", says it all, and I encourage folks to RESEARCH and try whatever they wish.
After they've done so, if something else suits them, that's ok by me.
That's what makes horse races.
Thanks for your time.

ol' scratch
March 9, 2010, 07:02 PM
OK, I decided to say something...an no offense, not wanting to rain on the parade here at all. Just adding info. an glad you like the results of BLO, nothing wrong at all with that. BLO was used at the beginning of WWII, because it was cheap an in plenty, however it wasn't long into the war that Tung oil was put to use to replace BLO. BLO is not waterproof, an even a wax coat will let water through. Tung oil does waterproof much better...last year at the Camp Perry Garnd shoots, it got very hot an rained, an it was bad news for many shooters that used BLO. It bled because of the heat an humidity, an the rain swelled the wood so bad accuracy got worse an for some the trigger couldn't even be pulled to fire the weapon. Now many Garand owner's probably won't hunt or be out in the elements....but this is just info I thought I would pass on. I used BLO an did like the results, however because of the above info decided to use tung oil over a nice red stain on a tiger stripe an a dark walnut stain on another. I feel like the bad guy here, but not trying to be. I was glad to find out this info. so thought I would pass it on.....good shooting to you sir!
You are right--sort of. You reversed the order. According to what I have read Tung Oil (or China Oil as it was called) was used during the early part of the war. Because you couldn't get it due to supply line issues, the military switched to linseed oil. Linseed oil is made from flax seeds and was avalable domestically. As far as water, I have had my Garand out in the wet. I was not out in a down pour, but the water did bead up. Since you have more experence shooting Perry in the rain than I have, I may switch my stock finishing procedure. Either way, Tung oil (China oil) and Linseed are both correct for the Garand.

61chalk
March 9, 2010, 08:01 PM
According to Fulton Armory, in the begining of WWII linseed oil/China oil (tung oil) were both used, but by end of the war linseed oil was surplanted by Tung oil. After that only refinished stocks had linseed oil applied.....I had used Formey's Tung oil with Low gloss finish, which has a little varnish in it, an was pleased with results. I have just bought a pint of Pure Tung oil from The Real Milk Paint Co. for 10.00 plus shipping...which was 10.00....I tried it on a piece of walnut using their 50/50 tung oil an mineral spirts, penetrates an dries nice....the next Garand will be tested for comparison, it should have a dull matte finish, more traditional with Garands...Never have shot at Perry, just info. recieved by those that were there last year.

PzGren
March 9, 2010, 11:55 PM
FWIW, the German Wehrmacht used BLO during WWII and there are hardly harsher conditions imagineable than at the Eastern front.

madcratebuilder
March 10, 2010, 09:03 AM
As pointed out, tung oil was "discovered" during WWII, but actually, it was first used on Japanese arms, which fell into our troops's hands.

Pure tung oil is also sometimes called "China wood oil". It is believed to have originated long ago in China and appears in the writings of Confucius from about 400 B.C.

Many of the Tung oil products on the market today have added varnishes and driers and give a higher gloss than PURE Tung oil.

Current BLO has added petroleum products and driers and is a higher gloss than BLO of war time production. If you want to duplicate the BLO finish of WWII vintage rifles look for what is currently marketed as purified linseed oil(PLO).

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