Ky Long Rifle Project


March 26, 2011, 11:53 AM
Guys I am redoing a kit that I got back in the early 90's. I slapped it together back then. But with age I wanted to go back a correct my mistakes. I have all of the brass and wood fitting right now. The only problem now is I don't really know what color to stain it, and if I should use a polyurethane or just oil it down. What do you guys suggest?

Here are some pics:


The cross will be a black walnut inlay.

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March 26, 2011, 03:14 PM
Hey neighbor..... The finish is strictly up to you, but my opinion.... with the brass and the black cross, I think I would hand rub it with and oil based stain, maybe a mahogany or cherry, and let it go. I dont really care for the shiny polyurethane type finishes.

March 26, 2011, 03:41 PM
Thanks! that is exactly what I was thinking. I may go with cherry. I like the look. I have looked at several pictures on the web.

March 26, 2011, 03:48 PM
what did they use on their guns back in the 1700s? I'd try that.

March 26, 2011, 04:26 PM
That wood, beech, I believe, would not have been used for that rifle design, so it's a bit hard to come up with an authentic finish. However, just staying with the kentucky long rifle motif, aqua fortis would have probably been the stain used. Track of the Wolf sells an aqua fortis reagent, I believe. You may be aware, aqua fortis is nitric acid, which can be a bit tricky to use. Great color, however.

I think cherry is too light for that wood. If you want the dark red I suggest you use Herter's French Red grain filler, whisker the stock and then use a good maple stain, like Laurel Mountain Forge. Finish with tung oil or boiled linseed oil, hand rubbed. If the oil finish is too shiny, cut it with Birchwood Casey Stock Sheen and 0000 steel or brass wool.

Here's my attempt at cherry on that beech wood:
It's just not right for a kentucky long rifle, in my opinion.

By the way, refinishing this gun to get a darker red has been on my list for many years....I'll be encouraged if you finish yours.

March 26, 2011, 05:37 PM
if you want a nice looking finish first apply a coating of olive oil with a brush and let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it off and rub a little to bring out the grain of the wood. then you can take some spar varnish if you want it to be shiny and coat the stock with a layer of that, let it dry, give the spar varnish a light and quick sanding with some medium sandpaper, and then lay another coating on the wood until desired look is achieved. it works well for my wooden stocks but i use oak. i suggest if you are using a different wood then it would be helpful to ask wherever varnish and wood finishing accessories are sold.

March 26, 2011, 07:34 PM
The boiled linseed oil that Brownells sells under their company name reddens up very nice, and much, much quicker than other brands. I use it when I'm restoring M1's or refinishing them. A few applications and it creates that nice "armory red" that old service rifles have that seems to compliment most wood colors very well. If you want to redden it up a little more, use some Chestnut Ridge stain. Its alcohol based, so it'll pass right through the blo, and you can (read should) cut it a good bit with denatured alcohol. If you don't like the color, you can pull a good bit of it out with an application of straight da. I wouldn't recommend the stain if the wood is very light, though. I'd also mention that you want to apply the blo first, or the wood will soak up the stain like a sponge--not good.

edit--its a good idea to cut the blo with turpentine (1 part turpenting, 3 parts blo) for the first few coats. It really helps the wood to soak it up.

March 26, 2011, 07:35 PM
Here's how I stained mine back in 1978.....

March 26, 2011, 07:54 PM
Here's what I'm talking about. It was a beautiful piece of black walnut from Dean's Gun Restorations. Just blo on this one, it was red enough raw. The pictures don't do it justice.

March 27, 2011, 01:27 AM
mineīs black. you can see some of the woods pattern but not much.
Iīm not gonna show it, as that would insult the traditionalists.

Itīs a very traditional evil black rifle though :-)

March 27, 2011, 01:28 AM
mineīs black. you can see some of the woods pattern but not much.
Iīm not gonna show it, as that would insult the traditionalists.

Itīs a very traditional evil black rifle though :-)

March 27, 2011, 01:56 AM
Thanks guys... think I am going to try Cowboy2's instructions. From what I can tell, it is as close to the color that I am wanting to go for. The wood is ash. A good friend of mine who does wood work confirmed it earlier today. I suspect that they used what wood they got the cheapest to put in these kits. Wouldn't some curly maple be pretty cool. On any count I have to deal with what I got. May talk my buddy into making me a new stock one of these days. He is the one who is putting the black walnut inlay.

I hope to get finished pics up in a few days.

Again, thanks!

March 27, 2011, 09:56 AM
If you've never used blo, just be aware that it doesn't dry, it oxidizes (that's where the red comes from). You wipe it one real good, let it sit for half an hour, then wipe off all the excess with a lint free rag. Let it sit in the garage until its no longer tacky to the touch--that will be a couple of days (adding a little Japanese Drier to the mix will help speed things along)-then apply another coat. Be patient, each coat will take a little longer than the last. If you get in a hurry you'll just make a really sticky mess that is easy to fix, but it'll mean starting over. Because it oxidizes, it gets redder with time. The Brownells brand just seems to do it a waayyy faster than anything else I've tried. I suspect the jd will help speed that process along a little bit.

I can't stress this enough- throw the blo rags away outside of your house or stow them somewhere, like a metal bucket on a concrete floor, where they cannot set anything on fire. Remember how you always heard about oily rags starting fires as a kid? Blo rags were what they were talking about. Its very rare, but in rare circumstances the oxidation process can cause cloth material to ignite. Its a one in a million chance, but it has happened.

The CMP forum has everything you will ever want to know about blo and stocks. It and tung oil are the traditional US military stock finishes.

March 27, 2011, 04:33 PM
Thanks Cowboy2, As you can tell, I am a newbie at this. After reading your post I made a trip down to Lowe's (the only choice we have here). I called my buddy up to make sure about the blo after reading the warnings on the front of the can. But purchased all that I would need for the project anyway. I have also watched a load of videos of people using blo on gun stocks. So I think I will give it a try. I will post pics along the way to keep everyone up on the progress.

March 27, 2011, 08:15 PM
I usually just ask question here, so its nice to give something back. Let me know if you have any questions. Just as an FYI, that stock had a lot of red in it naturally, but now that its cured a few years (a new coat of blo each year), it positively glows red. As I said above, you might want to order some CR stain from Chestnut Ridge to add some color, but do it after several coats of blo, and cut it at least 50/50 with denatured alcohol--and wear gloves unless you want crimson hands for a couple of days.

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