Stock finishing questions


June 14, 2004, 10:18 PM
So, I just got a new rifle stock in the mail, and discovered that it's unfinished - just bare wood. What's the best stuff to use for finishing it, to protect it from humidity, rain, etc?

Also, I assume that I should apply the above stuff to the inside of the stock (where the action sits) as well as the outside. Is that true?


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Standing Wolf
June 14, 2004, 10:56 PM
It depends on the wood and the type of finish you'd like.

My personal favorite is tung oil, lightly sanded between the first two or three coats, rubbed with a soft cloth thereafter. I like a dull finish, so I rarely go beyond two coats.

Linseed oil gives a fairly high gloss, but takes forever and a Sunday afternoon to dry.

I've never encountered a varnish that didn't yellow.

I'd seal the interior of the stock, and probably give it a coat of tung oil, as well.

June 14, 2004, 11:01 PM
I'll echo what Standing Wolf said, except I like a deeper finish with tung oil. I use 0000 steel wool between coats and stop after a dozen coats or so.
Defiantely put a few coats on the interior areas and under the recoil pad too to seal them.

June 14, 2004, 11:02 PM
Might be my age but . I still am a fan of boiled linseed. Sure .. you have to be patient .. once it has soaked in and you have wiped off excess ... it has to oxidize. Then repeat as needed. It does IMO give a durable finish and ... smells wonderful ... as good almost as #9!

Other alternative too ...... and i used this once to reasonable effect ... is ''Danish Oil'' ... similar effects to linseed. Varnish I prefer to avoid .... like the plague!:p

June 15, 2004, 01:53 AM
Check the stock with a magnifying glass to see if the pores have been filled. If not then raise the grain, cut the whiskers off, and fill the pores (unless you plan on filling the pores with the finish) before applying the finish.

June 15, 2004, 02:30 AM
The problem with "Tung Oil" is getting real Tung Oil. That Hormby's or Minwax crap you buy at Home Depot or Lowe's isn't the real thing - it's got finish in it. You'd probably be better off to use Tru-Oil, but if you really want to learn some stuff about this go HERE. (

This is a Curio & Relic site but the sticky's on that page tell how to use Tung Oil, BLO, Dyes and Stains, and more importantly what kinds to get. I wound up ordering Behlen's Tung Oil and Dyes.

June 15, 2004, 06:02 AM
When I refinished my Mauser stock, I did the following:

Sanded with 100gt sandpaper.

Sanded with 150gt sandpaper.

Coated with Polyurethane.

Sanded with 220gt sandpaper.


Sanded with 1000gt wet/dry sandpaper.


Rubbed with Rough steel wool.

Final 'light' coating of polyurethane.

Rubbed with Fine steel wool.

I really need to get pics of it. BryanP really liked it when he saw it in Nashville. The stock is as smooth as a baby's butt, and has all the natural tones of the wood. It looks really good.

June 15, 2004, 09:09 AM
I like linseed oil. Just put it on thin. If you put on too much it will stay gummy forever. If you want to darken the color, you can rub the wood with charcoal first. Real charcoal, not briquettes, the little sticks sold for artists are easy to use. Too dark? Just sand it off and try again.

June 15, 2004, 10:59 AM
If "protection" is your major concern then a poly or epoxy type of finish would be the best. They are "waterproof" compared to water resistant such as linseed or tung oil, and the latter is much better.

I have and like oil finished stocks, but the main reason they still are being used today, IMHO, is their looks...not their durability. They are easier to "touch up" compared to coating however!

Brownells is a good place to read about all the finishes, almost too many. ;)

June 15, 2004, 11:44 AM
I like oil finishes.
Tung Oil provides much better protection of the wood than BLO.
Tung Oil builds up faster than BLO.
A few tips on applying an oil finish:
Don't sand any finer than 220 grit. Using finer paper will close the grain of the wood and it won't take the oil.
Always use silicone carbide sandpaper (it is marked on the back of the paper and is grey in color).
If you are going to use a stain or dye do so after a coat or two of oil. This will make the color more even and will prevent dark spots where the end of the wood grain is exposed. If you are going to use a stain or dye, don't use the crap you find at your local hardware store: this is a good one
When you buy tung oil, don't get one that is mixed with a sealer like the Minwax stuff you get at your local hardware store. The sealer obviously will seal meaning that it seals with first coat and addional coats are useless. You need to buy either pure Tung Oil or a product like Behr #600. Both are avialable on-line.
When you apply the first coat or two of oil, cut the oil 2:1 or a little less with mineral spirits. This makes the oil thinner thus letting it penetrate deep down into the wood.
Apply the oil with 0000 steel wool. Don't use steel wool dry between coats. The steel wool will leave metal fibers in the finish which will look like crap and rust. Only use steel wool with lubrication like Tung Oil.
When you have achieved the finish you want, hand rub a coat or two of GOOD furnature wax into it. Not wax with any kind of a cleaner. Not car wax. GOOD furniture wax like Johnson's Paste Wax.
Have I mentioned to not get in a hurry and take the easy way out by buying whatever **** products you local hardware wants to sell you. Do it right, take your time. It is fun and you will be proud of the results. Buy good products: order on-line and wait a week. It will be worth it.

By the way, when I wanted to put on a good authentic looking oil finish, I researched the topic and ended up at the same place Valkman listed above. Most of what I said here is stuff I learned off that website with a few things thrown in that I learned from incorrectly applying an oil finish.

June 15, 2004, 12:27 PM
An easy application of oil finishes is the "rub on" method. It requires time and patience, but is extremely hard to mess up and you get to judge what gloss of finish you will end up with.
After sealing the pores and staining if desired then just hand rub the oil on the stock. Really rub it in with circulare motions not just brush it on. Then take a clean, dry, lint free cloth and wipe the stock down till it's almost dry. Let the stock stand for 6 to 8 hours. Wipe it down clean when dry and repeat the procedure. This will take several days, but you will see the results of each stage during the process and can decide what amount of sheen you want for your stock. 8 to to 10 layers will give you a good protective coating for the wood. How many more is up to you.
When you put your final coat on then allow the stock to sit one full day to insure the finish fully hardens. Then apply several coats of "Johnson's Paste Wax", buffing completely between applications and the finish should be extremely water resistant. Every so often just reapply the wax and the finish will last for years looking just like the day you finished it.

June 15, 2004, 07:33 PM
I use Danish Oil, natural. Its available in different colors.
I sanded the stock to 220 grit. Really take your time doing this, especially anywhere that there is end grain like on the butt, or a monte carlo stock with a big cheek swell.
Then wipe on a heavy coat of danish oil. Soak the stock with it you want a standing coat on it. Sit it up for an hour, then come back and wipe more on anywhere that it looks like its soaked it all up. Keep doing that until it looks like its not taking any more, wipe the excess off and let it sit for a day.

LIGHTLY sand with the 220 paper again, pay attention to end grain. Put on another heavy coat and do like the first. It will probably only take on application this time. Sit it up to dry.

Sand lightly with 320 paper, apply a thin coat, let it sit awhile and wipe off excess so that its just got a thin gloss of oil on it. Sit it up to dry.

Sand lightly with 400 grit paper and apply a thin coat. Sit it up to dry.

You can keep going, switch to fine steel wool if you want. Or just rub it good wiht a heavy cloth like a hunk of an old pair of jeans thats what I would do after your final coat.

This sounds like a ton of work but its really only about 15 minutes a day and the results are incredible :D

June 15, 2004, 08:43 PM
Some great info in this thread ...... excellent!:)

June 15, 2004, 10:53 PM
There are many, many ways to apply an oil finish. Everyone has their own personal little tricks. I will save this thread when it's finally finished as there are some great ideas.
Now if I could only get my checkering to really look like something. :(

June 15, 2004, 11:58 PM
get my checkering to really look like something. Majic - Oh man ... now THERE is a thread which'd be useful ... I know where you're comin from ... oh yeah!

June 16, 2004, 06:41 AM
Forgot I had this link, there's some good reading here.

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