Boiled Linseed oil on stock


December 20, 2010, 06:57 PM
Has anyone used boiled linseed oil on their rifle stocks? Whats the process you apply? several coats with steel wool buffings in between? Has it been rain resistant and fairly durable over time? yearly touch-ups? thanks:)

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December 20, 2010, 07:31 PM
i have used linseed before but i almost strictly use it for sealing now. i prefer tung oil for a hand rubbed finish (though i like tru oil which has linseed in it). i stopped using linseed for total finishes due to it remaining tacky for loooooong periods down here in hot and sticky Alabama.

the stock has held up well though but that rifle doesnt get to see the light of day all that much to be honest.

December 20, 2010, 09:07 PM
i use it on most of my stocks, but i dye it with alkanet root to give it a reddish tint.
i start off by heating the stock and the oil up untill its just about to hot to handle. i then give the stock a liberal coating of the oil untill it stops taking it. i then set the stock up in my garage for around three weeks.
i then a seal the stock with a mixture of redoil(blo& alkanet root),spar varnish, turpentine & venice turpentin. i set the stock in the corner of my garage for another week.
then i start on the actual finish. i use red-oil. put a thin coat on the blo or red-oil then let it sit for a hour then rub it in with the palm of your hand. if it doesn't get hot your not rubbing hard enough. wait 24 hours and repeat, do that around 5 or 6 times.
then put on a very thin coat of blo or red-oil and set the stock in the corner for at least a week.
then get some felt pads or heavy cloth and mix up some blo or red-oil with rottenstone untill its the consistency of toothpaste. rub the last coat off with the past and felt pads and you have as fine a finish as can be done.

at the end of each season rub in about a teaspoon of oil and your maintence is done.

its not fast but perfection never is.

if you stock ever remains tacky its because you didn't give the first coat sufficient drying time before you started putting on additional coats.
with blo when ever i buy a new batch i take a pane of glass with the date marked on it and put about 3 drops in the center then rub it into around a 1 1/2" circle and see exactly how many days it takes to dry. i give my first coat a week longer and it varies several days with each can of oil

December 21, 2010, 02:51 AM
thanks dirty jim! I just applied my first coat of BLO and all I can say so far is "WOW!, ABSOLUTELY BEAUTFUL!" Its a darn shame the Germans just slapped on a dark stain and varnish of sort to this Anschutz stock. This stock has alot of unique character in grain. My question now is how long should I wait to reapply another coat. This BLO seems to dry fairly quickly as theres no tackiness to it. Its the $7 kleen strip brand. Is it ok to reapply lightly everyday?

December 21, 2010, 07:32 AM
My question now is how long should I wait to reapply another coat. I stopped using straight BLO because of it's slow curing time. I now use Tru-Oil about 98% of the time. When I do use BLO I give it a couple of days between applications. I want to be absolutely certain the last coat is dry before touching it with 4/0 steel wool. Steel wool a tacky(even slightly)BLO app and you'll understand! (FWIW,I apply Tru-Oil every 12 hours.)

December 21, 2010, 12:57 PM

I got an old Rem. mdl #33 from my brother about 2 months ago, stock was in sad, sad shape finish-wise! I just 0000 steel wooled it, then put on a light coat of BLO. After 2 days, I steel wooled again, doing this process again and again for the next week. THEN, I got out my can of Renisannce Wax and put 3 coats of this wax on it over the next 3 days, again, light coats. I then got a hunk of gunny sack and proceeded to buff and buff and buff that stock for about 2 1/2 hours, really turned that old Remington into a nice rifle. The Ren Wx can be bought from Midway, its used in a lot of museums worldwide for protecting metals and wood on high priced weapons. It works, OH, and as far as being sticky, NAH, if there is any stickiness, you're putting WAY too much BLO on !!

Good Luck!

December 21, 2010, 01:00 PM
I love the finish, have done a few with Linseed. It is a long process, though. The last rifle stock I did had over 80 hours in it.

As is true with any refinishing, prep work must be meticulous and painstaking. Raised grain must be sanded baby smooth. I hand rub the oil in, let it cure overnight, sand with fine steel wool, lightly. Blow off any residue, and hand rub another coat in. Repeat. And repeat.

I have no idea how many layers I rubbed into the wood, over several weeks. The wood developed a shimmering three dimensional depth, where you can see deeply into the grain. I stopped adding oil, but hand rubbed it ever more, until it was only slightly tacky. Repeat. Again, this was over the course of days. Then, I let the stock rest and cure for 2 weeks.

It's my favorite piece, to this day. With the many easier methods, I am certain that I would not repeat the process again, but I am proud of that one.

December 21, 2010, 01:07 PM
I stopped using straight BLO because of it's slow curing time. I now use Tru-Oil about 98% of the time.Same here.

I would die of old age waiting for BLO to cure out tack-free between coats.

Birchwood-Casey Tru-Oil is just linseed oil with a synthetic dryer in it, so you can usually get one or two coats a day on unless the humidity if off the charts.


December 21, 2010, 02:51 PM
Thanks guys, I wanted to treat my stock with a natural product that doesnt smell like it came from a gas can. Thats why I chose linseed oil, despite its longer process. I guess I assumed the tru-oil was full of additives. Sounds like a good product too. The BLO I have does seem to have a drier in it so it doesnt seem I'll have to wait too long as it has little if any tackiness. It just amazes me how beautiful a stock can become if one takes time with it. Its an appearance you only see on expensive custom or older pieces where craftsmen put care and time into a product. Its becomes clear the system/market spends more money on labor(socialism) through mass production and less on materials and time spent making a quality product. I guess we get what we pay for. Does linseed oil hold up well against rain? thanks:)

December 21, 2010, 03:14 PM
Boiled Linseed oil was the standard military stock finish for a couple hundred years at least.

Rain won't wash it off or anything.

If you plan on getting wet a lot, pay special attention to getting good soaked-in BLO coverage inside the stock inletting and under the butt plate.
Rain will suck up to the end grain in all the inletting if given it's own inclinations.


December 21, 2010, 04:47 PM

December 21, 2010, 04:58 PM
rcmodel, thanks! so what your saying I wont need to apply a wax or sealant of sort over the BLO? The BLO will take care of it as long as I get good even coverage inside and out? I did rub some in on the inletting and that sure sucked up the oil.

December 24, 2010, 12:25 AM
posted this earlier and thought id put it here too.

thought id toss this in too. this was given to me by an antique refinisher. he does huge pieces so cant buy the little bottles. but from what i can tell its close to tru oil for shine and drying time. 1 part varnish, 2 parts linseed oil, 3 parts turpentine.

run the same 0000 steel wool and tack cloth to remove the steel filings. figured the hardcore DIY guys might like this


December 24, 2010, 08:16 AM
after the wood has been wiskered i don't touch the stock with steel wool.
as i said before give your first coat suffienet drying time then seal the stock so it won't get oil soaked. blo will contine going into the wood through the pores if you don't seal it.
oil soaked stocks will get so dark that it obscures the grain.

1 part varnish, 2 parts linseed oil, 3 parts turpentine
the varnish in that will seal the pores and its thin enough that it wont build up on the surface. i would use spar varnish instead of normal hardware store or walmart varnish.
i also mix a couple of drops of venice turpentine to any mixture containig varnish. vinice turps can be found in the horse supply area of most feed stores or at tractor supply. a small can is $20 but its enough to do a couple hundred stocks.

December 25, 2010, 12:36 AM

What properties does the "venice" terp have that makes it better, in your mind?
Just curious. Thanks

December 25, 2010, 01:06 AM
Hi. Like rcmodel says, BLO, not plain linseed oil(doesn't dry), was used for eons by the military. It gives a flat finish that is ok. Goes on in thin coats with a clean, lint free, cloth with 24 hours of drying time between coats.
BLO is not as good as pure tung oil(not Tung Oil Finish). Tung oil was used literally for centuries for waterproofing Chinese boats.
Pure tung oil, properly rubbed in, gives a hard, waterproof, shiney finish that keeps everything, including stains out(any stain must go on before any tung oil) and brings out the grain of wood nicely. Thin coats with the clean, lint free, cloth, over several days. Needs to be rubbed in until the wood is warm to the touch, then left to dry for 24 hours and repeated. Five coats gives a nice sheen. The more coats you rub in, the shinier the finish gets.
Tru-oil is a Birchwood-Casey product(has tung oil and other oils in it) that is a bit faster to apply.

December 25, 2010, 09:38 AM
What properties does the "venice" terp have that makes it better, in your mind?
Just curious. Thanks
venice turp & gum turp are two completely different products that are used for different purposes.
venice turp has about the same consistency as honey and its used to add elasticity to varnish or as an anti-septic on horse hooves. you can also buy it pre-mixed with varnish, its called violin varnish.

BLO, not plain linseed oil(doesn't dry),
thats another myth. plain linseed oil does dry, it just takes from 2-3 weeks for the first coat to properly harden. if you do not give the first coat sufficent drying time the rest of the coats will remain gummy.
when using raw linseed oil or blo i always put a few drops on a dated pane of glass to find the actuall drying time then add another week for my first coat.

tung oil, lin-speed & tru-oil are good for sealing the stock but i wouldn't use them for anything else.

unlike a lot of people i don't want instant gratification, i want my stock to look as good or better in 75 years as it does the day i finished it. if that means taking 15 minutes a day for two months to finish the stock i'm fine with that. time is one of the best stock finishers there is.

now if i has a hunt in a week or if i was 90 years old and had 6 months left i would spray the stock with poly and do that last hunt then if i didn't keel over dead i would sand the stock back to bare wood and do it right.

raw linseed oil is also vey usefull for cleaning old stocks on vintage shotguns and rifles.
rub on a thin coat then wipe it off across the grain with a paper towel. you will not damage the patina but you will remove a lot of dirt

December 25, 2010, 11:59 AM
when I decided to refinish the walnut stock on my T/C Hawken, I chose to try straight BLO. It came out beautifully - although it takes longer to dry between coats than Tru-Oil and other oil finishes, it was well worth it. Made a rich satin finish, not too shiny and it has been just as durable as anything else I've tried. It just takes more time.

December 25, 2010, 01:21 PM
I am totally blown away at the help, methods and procedures that have been shown on this forum. Dirtyjim, thanks for sharing what the different terps are used for, their properties and end results regarding wooden stocks. I've received more info about firearms since I joined this forum, thanks to everyone who shares and helps impart this knowledge to us who are still in the learning stages!
Merry Christams:)

December 29, 2010, 08:52 PM
Formbys tung oil. 12 hrs minimum between coats. I let it set 24 hrs. between coats. follow the instructions on the can. works great for me.

Float Pilot
January 1, 2011, 06:38 PM
When refurbishing old military or old Winchester stocks I use Linseed Oil if I want it to look original.

A touch of colored stain can match up to whatever tint you desire. Sometimes a little Varithan stain added works ok...

BUT... I add Japan Drier to the oil and use very thin coats applied with a soft rag.
PLUS:: I heat the oil on top of my wood stove in a metal can before and while I am applying it...

Then, I let it dry in my drying box which is built over a base-board heater. The box keeps dust from getting stuck on the tacky finish.

Of course the stock has been prepared via steaming out the dents and and degreasing with denatured alcohol and a heat.

For stocks that refuse to darken up to their original issue color, leather dyes work well as a color base.

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