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Refinished Tikka T3 Hunter - Tru Oil

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by vnhill1981, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. vnhill1981

    vnhill1981 Active Member

    Hey Y'all, I am new to this site and this is my first post. I just refinished my Tikka T3 Hunter in Tru Oil (23 coats outside / 6 coats inside - wanted it sealed as completely as I could). I just thought I'd share it with people that could appreciate it. I am waiting on my 30mm rings to get here so I can mount my Euro Diamond Scope on it. The first pic is of another T3 Hunter so you can compare. I did not take a before pic, but the finish on this rifle is identicle to what mine started at. I also polished the bolt with 2000 wet/dry paper to a mirror glass finish. The finish in real life is not as glossy as the pics because of the camera flash. The finish is more of somewhere between satin and semi-gloss. I just needed to refinish it so I could bring out the lovely fiddleback (tiger stripe) in the wood. Thanks for looking.

    Attached Files:

  2. hotlead

    hotlead Well-Known Member

    That stock sure is purdy! Nice job! :what:
  3. viking499

    viking499 Well-Known Member

    That stock looks very nice. Good Job.
  4. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Well-Known Member

    How did you get the finish out of the checkering?

    That is a beautiful piece of wood you have there.
  5. Liberty1776

    Liberty1776 Well-Known Member

    It was decent looking - now it's gorgeous and looks like a custom gun! You did a great job...:)
  6. vnhill1981

    vnhill1981 Active Member

    I use Motsenbockers Lift Off to remove stain. Goop it on (and I mean really goop it on), let it sit 10-15 minute, use a Scotchbrite pad to "scrub" stock and a hard bristle brush in the checkering, and rinse it off with warm (not hot)water. I used the nylon brush that comes one of the three packs, youn know the brass one, the wire one, and the nylon one. It was stiff enough to take care of the checkering. While letting it sit, check back every two-3 minutes to "re-wet" any parts that may have started drying. Also make sure you shake it very good, as it will separate in the bottle. It takes several applications with this stuff, but I like it because it non-toxic and biodegradable. On this particular finish, I had to use my knife to scrape the finish to help get it off. I use my small 2" Case knife and run the blade perpendicular to the wood, making sure not to shave the wood. I did try Super Strip on the stock. While this seemed to work well, it would still take more than one or two applications. However, while doing so I got a small splas on my arm near my elbow with out me knowing and after 20-30 minutes it felt like someone hit my arm with a butane torch. I will never use it again. It also ate through my vinly gloves I was using. This is why even though it takes longer, I will stick with Motsenbockers. You still need to wear gloves, as it will dry out your skin to the point you nails crack but it is water based so just wash hands after each use but if it stays on without you knowing, it will not burn like Super Strip.

    After finish is stripped, I let stock dry for two days. I placed an oil space heater and wireless thermometer in a small closet in the spare bedroom. Placed on medium level three, it heats the air to 85 and drops moisture in air to 20-25%. Total cost was around $50. I use this as my drying room for the remainder. After stock is dry I start wet sanding the stock, using water. I start at 400 and go all the way to 2500 grit, always working with the grain. I spend the most time on the 1000 grit and 2500 grit. I use 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500. This re-wets the stock so I let it dry for another day. At this point the wood itself will have a satin sheen to it and will fill like glass.

    Now you have to make a decision on what type of finish you want:
    1. Open grain, 2. Filled grain using some type of filler, or 3. Filled using Tru Oil (which is what I prefer the most, seeing as how I; 1. Don't have filler with me and 2. Don't have to worry about making the filler match the color/tone of the wood). After you decided, you can move on to finishing.

    You can choose to stain the wood or leave it natural. I like to use Minwax Oil based stain. The color on this rifle is Early American. I always put Minwax stain conditioner on the wood, wait 15 minutes, rub down stock to remove excess, and then apply stain. I only let the stain sit for a minute or two and then wipe it off. I spend a lot of time wiping ot make sure I get the stock as best I can. I then put stock in my drying room and leave it for two days. For the first 2 hours, I pull the stock out every 10-15 mites and wipe it down again thoroughly. When using an oil stain, I notice that as the wood is drying for the first two hours, some of the oil stain will comes back out of the wood and if not wiped off will result in dark blotches if allowed to dry. After the first two hours I pull it out every couple of hours or so on the first day and wipe it down.

    Now I start applying Tru Oil. I thin every coat of Tru Oil with two parts Tru Oil to One part Mineral Spirits. This makes it very easy to work with I use a rag to apply. I apply 5 thin coats, waiting 4-5 hours between coats. I rub the coats in, especially the first one, as hard as I can into the wood. After the first five coats, I let it sit for 24 hours. I then wet sand the stock (using mnineral spirits as the lubricant) with 600 and 800 grit back down to the wood. When held up to the light, you should see tiny "sparkles" in the wood. This is the Tru Oil sitting in the grain, leave it. I repeat this process 2 more times, total of 15 coats.

    Now the grain should be filled. If not wontinue repeating this process until it is. Now I apply 5 more coats of Tru Oil as described above. As I apply each coat, I work the rifle stock in small areas. I apply the Tru Oil and immeidately wipe it down with a soft linen free rag, not a terry cloth. The best ones I found are at Advanced Auto. The feel almost like a cloth diaper. As you are wiping the tru oil off, it will start to dry and the rag will have friction against the stock. I continue wiping, more or less buffing, the stock until it is back smooth. It reminds me of wiping wax off of a car. You know how after the wax is dry, it is initially hard to wipe but as you buff it becomes frictionless. This is what you're looking for. This will leave a very thin film on the stock. Kinda of like when you spray pledge on something and wipe it off you can still see the shine, because some of the pledge is left behind. I do both the inside and outside of the stock like this for these five coats. I like this method, because it leaves no runs and by buffing the surface while it is drying, it will dry the Tru Oil to the point that nothing floating in the air will stick to it. The Tru Oil will feel dry to the touch, but will still be soft. I allow each coat to dry for 4-5 hours in between.

    The stock should look pretty good at this point and you may want to quit, but it will be glossy. I let the stock sit for a day and then wet sand it (using mineral spirits as a lubricant) with 1000, 2000, and 2500. After letting it dry for 4-5 hours, I apply Tru Oil back to the stock until I am pleased with the finish/gloss. I apply these coats as described in the paragraph above. However, when buffing the Tru Oil now I use a microfiber cloth. You will noticed that this cloth will not want to glide over the stock. I ball it up in my hand leaving at least one smooth surface and then start buffing the crap out of it until it finally glideas across the stock. Again worrk in small areas. This is only done on the outside of the stock, as I fell I need no more inside the stock than 5-6 coats which should have been completed in the last step.

    After the Tru Oil is applied there should be no need for a final sanding or buffing after the last coat using this method. I then let the stock sit for a minimum of 4 days in my drying room. I now apply 2 coats of Johnson Paste Wax and buff them off. This is more for additional water protection.

    Now you have a couple of beers and admire your work, which takes 2-3 weeks to complete. I know this seems like a lot but I feel the results are well worth it. There are a couple of tips that I will include:
    1. I use nitrile gloves during the entire process. Latex gloves do not mix with Tru Oil. The gloves become very sticky. I also do not like touching the stock with my hand until it is done, to avid geting my own oils on the stock.
    2. When working with the checkering I use a toothbrush to apply the Tru Oil. I do apply Tru Oil in the checkering because left unfinished will absorb more water than the rest of the stock. This is because there is not a smoot finish for he water to roll off of and you are always gripping the stock where the checkering is. I would recommend at least 3-4 coats of Tu Oil in the checkering using a toothbrush to apply. You can use more if you want.
    3. When buffing the Johnson Paste Wax out of the checkering I use a KIWI shoe buffing brush. It will not scratch the surface.

    If I have left anything out I apologize. Feel free to PM me with any questions. I hope this can help someone. I know this is not the only method, but it is my method I came up with through Trial and Error that I feel the most comfortable with it.
  7. snakeman

    snakeman Well-Known Member

    oooo woow
  8. jpwilly

    jpwilly Well-Known Member

    Wow, I like the lightened look. Wasnt' bad before but that does look much better.
  9. SGW42

    SGW42 Well-Known Member

    Your hard work has paid off, that stock looks astonishing!
  10. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the pointer to the Motsenbockers Lift Off.

    I have a CZ with a full stock and the wood is drop dead beautiful but it is covered with this strange glop stain combo stuff. So one day I will strip it and reseal it. I like straight minwax tung oil which actually has some hardeners in it but works great.
  11. ekgandj

    ekgandj Active Member

    :cool:Wow, that looks fantastic! Good Job.:cool:
  12. p5200

    p5200 Well-Known Member

    Back when I used to build custom oak cabinets, the Min Wax Early American color was chosen from our sample choices more than about anything. :)
  13. vnhill1981

    vnhill1981 Active Member

    I think Early American is a very beautiful, naturl color that doesn't over power any wood it comes in contact with.
  14. shootr

    shootr Well-Known Member

    Very nice job - looks fantastic! Thx for describing the precess.
  15. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno Well-Known Member

    Very nice :)
  16. vnhill1981

    vnhill1981 Active Member

    A couple more pics, thanks for the great responses

    Attached Files:

  17. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno Well-Known Member

    That stock was definitely worth the effort for a refinish. You dun well :)
  18. Sulaco

    Sulaco Well-Known Member

    I thought, "wow, beautiful!" when I saw the first pictures. Then, after I read the process and realized how much time and effort you put in to it, I went back and looked and it was like looking at an entirely different thing! All the hard work really helps me appreciate just how good it looks Terrific!

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