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Boiled linseed oil stock finishing

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by autism_emu, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. autism_emu

    autism_emu Member

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    So my father gave his old Winchester model 70 pre-64 super grade, the stock is broken however and I built a new gun stock out of Turkish walnut wood. I'm planning to apply varnish to seal the grain of the wood then add linseed oil.
    My question is, is it even possible to achieve high gloss finishes with boiled linseed oil without resorting to polyurethane type finishes.
    -Thanks:D
     
  2. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    No varnish... Just do a 50/50 mix of BLO and turpentine. Keep applying until the wood wont accept any more. Some will say add an equal part of varnish. That may give it more luster.

    Then research rottenstone for the desired gloss level.

    Or use a wax. I prefer a good paste wax. Old Masters crystal clear is the one I use.
     
  3. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    I doubt that a "gloss" finish can be achieved with linseed. Never happens, even when used by (a few) furniture makers. I know, being a former maker. Besides, linseed oil (boiled or not) has poor resistance to the weather and ageing, as confirmed by many independent tests. It was used by the "ancient" craftsmen because there was nothing better. Today poly is the ultimate, whether pre-catalyzed or consumer-grade.
     
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  4. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Agreed on the durability...

    In ancient times, shellac was used for the glossy finishes. Think Far East type of cabinetry and furniture. But it too is terrible for durability.

    I recently sampled the Old Masters 'Master's Armor' at work when we ordered it in for a customer. I was pretty darn impressed, even without the optional hardener. Though the flat sheen was not dead flat, more like a low luster.
     
  5. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Don't put BLO over varnish because that's a waste. The BLO needs to penetrate and can't do so over varnish. I think what you're really looking for to do what you want is Birchwood Casey's "Tru-Oil". Tru-Oil's composition is secret, but I believe to be somewhat similar to what BigBlue describes above - a mix of natural oils & waxes, dryer/accelerators, and polymers.
     
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  6. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    Whatever final finish you want, apply the BLO first. It nourishes the wood. Nothing wrong with a gloss finish. I would suggest three coats of BLO followed by 48 hrs drying and then apply your final finish. I like Waterlox myself, but TruOil will also deliver a nice glossy finish. Either want 5 - 7 coats, very thinly applied, dried for 24 hrs, and then gone over with steel 0000 steel wool.

    Sounds like a great rifle. Everyone would appreciate pics ;)
     
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  7. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    This is two coats of an oil finish that you cant get anymore, similar to Watco danish oil. It was followed by four coats of the old masters wax. Scocth-brited smooth after coat number two, buffed with an inside-out beer coozie, and repeated after coat three, then just the coozie after coat four. Its a 1972-73 walnut 10/22 stock i just finished. It has a soft medium luster, but glass smooth.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Boy, I bet that stock feels really nice to the touch!!
     
  9. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Thank you, it really does feel nice. Not plasticky like my late 70s rem700. Its a shame that ruger covered/covers the walnut stocks with their typical masking stain that hides the figure of the wood.

    But of course that plasticky feeling is what allows me to carry it in the rain without much fear. I wouldn't routinely do that with a waxed stock, due to the labor involved in rewaxing it.
     
  10. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

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    If not waxing (which is also cool) the main thing for oil (and my experience is mostly linseed) is maintenance. Even for furniture — indoors — the mantra has always been to apply, wipe excess:
    • Once a day for a week.
    • Once a week for a month.
    • Once a month for a year.
    • Once a year, forever.
    For a rifle? Needs a bit (or some compatible oil) every time you go out, or some regular basis like weekly if you use it every day.

    See why poly finishes, then just plastic stocks, are popular? :)
     
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  11. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

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    This is part 1 of, I think, 5 of Brownell's stock finishing articles. Take some time to read them, and you may find some good suggestions. they also have a large selection of finishing products.

    Stock refinishing can either be a fairly long, difficult process for the amature, or it can be fairly quick. It all depends on the quality of your wood and what you want the finished product to look like.

    I've finished several stocks with oil, but BLO is not the form used. Artist's pure linseed is and it goes on in small drops and over days, In fact, the first few coats are thinned. The original filler used by stock makers years ago was egg whites. Varnish or shellac works fine too. Apply finish and sand down with fine sandpaper until the wood pores are flush. Allow plenty of time for the finish to dry between coats. No steel wool. Just take your time.

    Tru Oil and the like contain driers to speed the process and they give a good result in much less time. I've used Gun Sav'r in various forms (oil and spray) for several stocks and love the results, but it is a process! Really sheds water.

    If you choose to go the long way, one suggestion to keep dust off the finish is to make a drying booth out of a PVC sewer line 10" or larger. Put a cap on it and a hanger in the center of the cap. Cap the bottom. Have it maybe twice as long as a stock. Cut a slot 4" down from the top wide enough and long enough to get stock through easily and cover that strips of overlapping heavy plastic. Place a light bulb at the bottom. A piece of plywood with lots of 1/2" holes drilled in it goes between the stock and the light bulb. We want the heat from the bulb to come through. Mist and wipe down the upper chamber inside before hanging a drying stock. This is especially helpful after coats 8 thru 10. Car finish glaze is the final step.

    If you checkered your stock, be sure to tape off the checkering or it will fill up. Press the tape down into the borderlines and cut the tape with an X-Acto knife. When the rest of the stock is completed, break the finish along the border with the knife, carefully pull the tape, and go over the checking with checkering oil. if you've got lots coats, you may have to use very fine sandpaper to feather out this edge.

    I finished a couple of cheaper shotgun stocks with BLO. Warming the oil (double warmer - small can inside a big can filled with water) helps get good penetration and gives better water protection. Be sure and treat the butt like the rest of the stock.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  12. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I have found a good finish is a 2-1-1 blend of mineral spirits, BLO, and Epifanes spar varnish. Epifanes is one of the only manufacturers left of true spar varnish with maximum UV inhibitors. Made with wooden boat building in mind, it will last a lifetime on a firearm. Expensive though, just like any gunstock finish should be. Leaves a nice satin finish.

    If you want it more glossy, use a 1-1 ratio of mineral spirits and spar varnish after a coat or two of the first blend. Remove more and more mineral spirits from the ratio to get which ever final gloss you want. Undiluted spar varnish with produce a bar top type finish if done right.
     
  13. Bruce D Pease

    Bruce D Pease Member

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    When I use rottenstone for finishing I use paraffin oil. Not always easy to find ( I have gotten it at art supply stores). It is a tedious process, but worth it in the long run. The benefit is you’re able to stop it at the level of sheen you desire. I’ve started with pumice and then to rottenstone, and have gotten all the way to high gloss on some projects. I’ve also used Tru oil with 0000 steel wool and a tack cloth, 24 hrs between rubbed in coats. Again you can stop at the shine level you want. Varnish is a Nono for gunstocks and fine furniture finishing in my way of thinking. I put a new coat of tru oil on all my long guns yearly.
     
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  14. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    BLO and a beeswax finish also very nice. Not glossy per se, but deep and rich.
     
  15. Project355

    Project355 Member

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    Real, pure tung oil. Not big box store tung oil "finish".

    (edit in)
    I've use the oil from these guys, and it is 100 percent satisfactory.
    https://www.realmilkpaint.com/shop/oils/pure-tung-chinawood/

    Tung dries faster than Boiled Linseed oil, can be built up to a decent finish thickness. Is durable, more so than BSO. And like all oil finishes can be touched up if need be.

    All oil finishes, even before staining the wood, should have the wood grain filled using an oil or water based filler. Once those dry and are leveled with fine grain paper, you can stain, whisk with burlap, and start on the oil finish of choice. Tung works pretty darn good on guitar necks too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  16. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

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    Additionally, don't forget to stain should your stock need it. You can stain after a couple of coats of sealer if you want. It'll penetrate. Some like a red tint to their wood, others brown or a combo. Most finishes will deepen the color anyway.
     
  17. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Here i go again, but anyways... Old Masters makes both tung oil varnish and 100% pure tung oil. Ive used both. The 100% os certainly a great finish
     
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  18. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Just FYI

    I was just reading the "milk carton" of pumice stone we sell. Says to use with oil for a soft or satin sheen. Use with water for a higher gloss
     
  19. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

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    Yea, I didn't want to go down the Tung oil road either. But, I agree. Good stuff.
     
  20. mokin

    mokin Member

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    A thread about finishing wood stocks and only one picture?
     
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  21. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

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    https://www.brownells.com/guntech/stock-refinishing-part-i/detail.htm?lid=11071

    Ah crap, I left out the link to Brownell's. Here 'tis
     
  22. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

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    Ok, so here's a stock I did for a friend. He wanted it stained w/ red root like an English gun. This is sealing coats and the very beginning. Note the tape on the checkering. I don't have a finished photo, but it came out great!
     

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  23. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Nice! Savage 99?
     
  24. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Member

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    I'm very curious about this. What is the "right" way to apply this varnish to achieve this kind of finish?
     
  25. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    To do it right means to take your time and make sure you get full coverage because it is pretty thick when undiluted and does not like to brush on well. This is not recommended for gun finishing since its so glossy and is unnecessarily thick. It works great for exterior projects like boat decks or in this case, an exterior door I am building.

    This was brushed on with a relatively cheap Purdey brush from one of the home centers. As can be seen, it self levelled pretty well. It takes about 12 hours to cure up to the touch and around 36 hours to sand it back if that is what you wanted to do. I would call this a "soft" finish though. Will mar and scratch but is easily repaired like any good oil finish.

    0CBAFAC8-77AE-4E57-BC66-5F665A54C103.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
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