How to make make a stock look GOOD.

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by amc317, Jul 5, 2016.

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  1. amc317

    amc317 Member

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    Hello to all the people who refinish gunstocks and other wood items.
    Im fairly new to refinishing stocks ive only done 2 and neither really came out as planned. Im wondering how to make the wood look as good as possible, im having issues with contrast between grains(if thats how its put)
    Im wondering if theres any tips or tricks used to make a peice of wood look oh so good.

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  2. amc317

    amc317 Member

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    1d01af13f56b04b9c52d910bbae18771.jpg

    d38721a5a0098d32a4e9c5be7b801605.jpg
    Like these, maybe not as shiny
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  3. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    Well, a whole lot of that begins with the piece of wood you're working with. That incredible piece of shotgun stock there in the second picture was probably worth over a grand before anyone carved it to final shape and put that finish on it.

    Making the very best out of figured wood is part art and part science, but what you DON'T want to EVER do is grab some Minwax or other can of stain and slather that onto your raw wood. You'll end up with a muddy, blotchy, disappointing mess that from the sounds of your comments, is probably something you've already experienced.

    You have to be very careful and conservative with any finish you use that has pigments in it. Pretty much any stain. If you hit raw wood with that, the pigments concentrate in some parts of the wood and don't penetrate others very well and instead of a nice even color, you've got something that looks home-made. Blotchy and muddy and dull. That doesn't matter much when it's a laminated AK stock, but a fine walnut rifle or shotgun stock deserves better. You want the shimmer and fire and depth of that figure to "pop," not be slaughtered by a slush of pigments.

    A very safe choice is to use a natural oil finish. There are lots to choose from. I like Watco "Danish" oil finish. Birchwood Casey's Tru-Oil is popular. Those are both actually oils blended with varnishes. The even more traditional choice is simple linseed oil. The more coats you apply and the more rubbing you do, the smoother and glossier the finish will come out. Natural oil finishes are easy, just about foolproof, and look terrific.

    If you really need to stain the wood to get a different color tone, you should pre-treat it first to keep that "grain delta" problem from developing (i.e.: that "Unfinished Furniture Warehouse" home-made look :rolleyes:) but that's where the art and science get tricky. If at all possible, get a piece of the same type of wood you'll be working on, and practice a few trial runs to see how much of what makes the result you want.


    Another possibility that's become popular in recent years is to use an analine dye before a top coat. I've not got much experience with those, but the results can be anything from mild to wild. A little googling should give you more advice there.
     
  4. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    Check out u-tube for video/audio presentations on the subject.
     
  5. amc317

    amc317 Member

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    What about grain fillers?
    I have a newer 870 express that has an absolutly beautiful woodgrain but with all mass produced rifles and shotguns nowdays its fot a dull finish. I wanna bring everything out. Doe anybody k ow what the newer(last 10 year) 870 express shotguns have for wood? I was told the early ones were walnut

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  6. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    Grain fillers... depends on what you're trying to achieve. Personally, I don't like the look of any glass-smooth firearm stock. It's made of wood, not plastic, not stone, and I want to see and feel the pores if I look closely. That's what a good oil finish will do, though the more coats you add the more you do fill the pores and the smoother it gets.

    But if you want that old Remington "ADL" or 1970s Weatherby car hood gloss finish, you're probably going to need to use a grain filler.
     
  7. amc317

    amc317 Member

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    Do you raise the grain before applying oil? Ive tried linseed oil and im not a huge fan of it honestly. My second stock i done was walnut and the original finish was about gone so i went ahead and stripped it and put some linseed oil on it and to this day (about 3 years ago) its still sticky

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  8. Longhorn 76

    Longhorn 76 Member

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    It needs to be BOILED LINSEED OIL, not the raw stuff.

    Wipe as much of the old stuff off with solvent, and put some new oil over it. You will be okay. Use very thin coats, and let it dry before the next coat.
     
  9. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I use a 50/50 mix of BLO and turpentine, works great. You also don't want to sand too smooth, I don't go higher than 180-200 grit.
     
  10. maxxhavoc
    • Contributing Member

    maxxhavoc Contributing Member

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    The Finn M39's use some of the most awesome looking wood on any milsurp rifle ever. It starts looking good, and they use a pine tar mix to get the finish (no pun intended) shown in the first picture. Search for Finnish Pine Tar mix or "Kiväärintukkiöljy" for more info on it.

    The second picture is naturally beautiful wood with many coats of polyurethane and sanding. Or it is still wet. Could go either way.

    But as others have said, if you start with a walnut or other non-exotic wood, take several days to apply BLO 1 coat per day. Wet it down, rub with your hands until they are burning and tired, wait an hour or so, wipe off excess with cotton rag. Dry overnight. Repeat for 5 or 6 days. Then do it once a week for a couple weeks. To make the wood more smooth and let the grain stand out more, cut the BLO 1/2 and 1/2 with mineral spirits on the first coat and rub it in gently with 000 steel wool before the hand rubbing (yes, you can use nitride gloves)

    By the way, store any rags/steel wool that is BLO soaked in a place that fire will not be a bad thing. Supposedly the rags can spontaneously combust. no kidding. I have never had an issue, but I am still careful.
     
  11. amc317

    amc317 Member

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    I used BLO however i didnt cut it nor did i wait a day to apply a second coat.. Or the 7th.. I put 7 on it within a few hours. Oops

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  12. OH_Spartan

    OH_Spartan Member

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    I am starting a knife handle with birdseye maple, which stains the same as burled maple. there are several resources teaching how to use aquafortis to make the burling "pop". It was hard to find but trackofthewolf has it. I recommend getting a spare piece of the same species as your stock. I bought a 1x5x12" piece of birdseye maple for $1.50 in the scrap bin of a lumber store. I cut a small piece and practice a few techniques. For what it is worth, I didnt like BLO for birdseye maple, though I have seen many beautiful pieces of wood stained with BLO.

    +1 on careful with the rags. If left wadded up in an unventilated area will combust.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
  13. entropy

    entropy Member

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    OK, I gotta see a pic of that....the wood is birch, IIRC.

    I use BLO for milsurps, Johnson's Paste Wax for rough use field guns, and tung oil for nicer looking wood.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
  14. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Stock Refinishing.

    Strip stock, raise grain, sand, seal, apply many coats of Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil Stock Finish. Rub after each coat. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/219787/birchwood-casey-tru-oil-stock-finish-kit Walnut has to be sealed. Other hardwoods, not so much. Some modern epoxy gun stock finish are almost impossible to remove with a stripper. Had a cheap Win M70 with some kind of finish that had to be ground or sanded off. Not sure if it was epoxy?? For a quick job, before resale, i sprayed with a sealer, than a high gloss spray of exterior polyurethane. Harder to repair a ding on a poly finish. Fake grain on cheap hardwood can be simulated by using different colors of stain, reds, dark brown, others.
     
  15. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Stock Refinish- fast method.

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG] For a quick job, before resale, i sprayed with a sealer, than a high gloss spray of exterior polyurethane. Must keep dust off while it drys. The light is left on to help dry in a damp invirement.
     
  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Kinda hard to see the grain on that...looks black in the pic.
     
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