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If stain seems totally dry-ready for just One coat of varnish?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Ignition Override, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    Gun stocks-------I plan to only use one coat, total. No lie, don't want too much shine.

    Only two layers of stain were applied to the well-sanded wood of a (50's) Savage, Romanian M69 and an imported AKM.

    In the past, simply having the stain feel very dry "seems" to have worked, but I just wanted to clarify.

    Online advice--mostly regarding decking and true furniture-- seems to indicate waiting 2-3 days, possibly for objects in cool, humid air.

    Stain is brand-new Minwax Red Walnut (oil-based). Really like the color-redder than Red Mahogany.
    Varnish is Zinsser Spar, a poly---
     
  2. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Lightly rub it in an out-of-the-way place with a clean white cloth and see if any is coming off on the cloth. If it is, it's not ready for the varnish yet. Or you could just rub the whole thing if the result still pleases you and that will hurry it up.

    Spar varnish is usually pretty glossy. Have you used it before so you know what the end result is?
     
  3. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    Yes, used Z. Spar Varnish a few years ago on three imported AKMs. Nice results.

    Thanks-will use the simple white cloth method to verify adequate drying.
     
  4. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    An oil based finish over an oil based stain that might not have fully cured yet... you should be just fine. If one was oil based and the other was water based I would give it an extra couple of days to cure.

    Spar varnish is a long chain oil based urethane that takes a long time to dry! I would mix in a drop or two of "Japan Drier" to speed it up a bit... http://www.kleanstrip.com/product/japan-drier1

    My favorite stock finish is a mix of 1/3 boiled linseed oil, 1/3 spar varnish and 1/3 turpentine with a touch of Japan Drier and using several thin coats. By thinning out the spar varnish I get much better penetration and long term adhesion.
     
  5. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    That’s a good blend. It also makes it so you can apply a few coats and not get too shiny of a finish.
     
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  6. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    All excellent advice. As said, an oil poly over oil stain can be done as soon as the stain is dry to the touch. Though the sooner you do the poly, the more likely it is to pick some of the stain up and it amalgamates into the poly.

    Please refrain from using 'varnish' as a general term! Varnish is not polyurethane or shellac or lacquer. Spar varnish and Spar Urethane are two different products. True varnish does not cure as hard as a urethane.
     
  7. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    The stain felt dry, tested by lightly rubbing a white patch, so Spar Varnish was applied last night. It's still a little sticky/tacky.

    I will need to buy whichever "fine" steel wool for very light rubbing, then apply a Second coat to better help bring out the color of the stain underneath.
    People suggest fine steel wool between varnish layers, instead of 1000-grit sandpaper-- which I already have.
     
  8. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    0000 Steel wool or 7448 gray ultra fine scotchbrite work better than sand paper because it conforms to the wood and your fingers without leaving depressions on the surface from the pressure of your fingers on the paper. If you were able to put the paper on a block, like on a flat surface, the paper is better. But a flat block doesnt work well on the organic curves of a gunstock...

    Also consider rottenstone or pumice stone. Mix with oil or water to polish to a soft or harsh sheen.
     
  9. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    Big Blue94:

    thanks very much.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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  10. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    One difference if you're using steel wool: clean off the surface with a tack rag, because there will be fine steel particles shed from the steel wool in the dust. The other products it's OK to just apply finish, because the dust actually "melts" into the finish and helps to level and seal the surface.
     
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  11. whughett

    whughett Member

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    I’m not good with a brush so gave up using them except for house wood work trim or large out door projects. I use “wiping” urethane for any wood project that I want a real nice finish on. Sounds like more work but generally two or three coats can be applied in a day with 6 to 8 coats resulting in a real professional finish. That’s followed with a rub down with 4 ought steel wool and paste wax.
     
  12. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I don't use steel wool or the scotch brite pads. I had a friend that was a custom furniture builder told me to use a paper sack. What you do is tear off a section ( No ink) then wad it up and work it. It's been all I've used now for 20 + yrs.
     
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  13. lord frith

    lord frith Member

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    After a few decades of stock finishing the most useful assistant I have discovered for sanding those pesky "organic curves" is small pieces of thick leather. Malleable to any surface encountered on a stoc.k. Keep your surfaces true.
    Stephen
     
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  14. whughett

    whughett Member

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    To answer the question. Follow the label. 24 hours minimum has been my experience for oil based stains. Less for water based and even less for alcohol base dyes.
     
  15. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Paper sack, back side of emery cloth, burlap, etc are all excellent buffing materials.
     
  16. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    That's my experience as well. And if you have sharp edges go lightly even with scotch pads or 0000 wool. Ive made some furniture look like glass many times. Even if I could I wouldn't do it on my gun stocks.....I never cared for the Browning look

    On curved things I sometimes spray my clear rather than brushing these days.
     
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  17. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    whughett: The second stain layer has been on my Romanian Trainer for 2-3 days.

    Despite the first layer already having dried, and any excess wiped from the second stain layer, it still looks glossy, is fairly sticky.
    No matter which advice is intended with directions, maybe that upstairs, air cond. room somehow has more humidity than seems apparent. The ceiling fan has only a slow speed.

    Luckily, on the Maadi AKM, the first varnish layer is almost dry--after about three days in that same air cond. room.
     
  18. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    In more than ten years making furniture for commercial sale I used Minwax wiping polyurethane and never had a return. That's after I switched from brushing finishes, as with the post I quoted. NOTHING is more durable, other than the industrial finishes, not available to we consumers (unless one wants to buy 50 gallons worth at a time).
     
  19. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Exactly......I’m just a home work shop wood worker but Ive made two complete 6 piece bed room sets of cherry and maple. One for us of cherry and the granddaughters from crib to full size bed. (Wood Magazine Projects :)) The cherry got minwax oil stain followed by six coats of their wiping varnish, the Maple Watco Danish Oil. followed by six coats of MinWax Wiping varnish.

    IMO Spar Varnish/Urethane is too soft for gun stocks, the varnish has more oil in its composition that allows it to flex with the woods movements with exposure to the elements as well as components that shield it and the wood from UV ray damage.

    Any varnish be it natural or synthetic poly is a surface finish. It cures on the surface. So unless your using #Mikeinor method and thinning it way down only so much goes in the rest stays on top.

    Traditional wood gun stock finish is a boiled linseed oil finish rubbed into the wood until no more can be rubbed in. Doesn’t flake or crack and easy to refinish. Not a tutorial and subject to debate :)
     
  20. Project355

    Project355 Member

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    Gotta say I really hate using steel wool. If the finish isn't REALLY hard and set up, you'll get little steel wool whiskers in the finish. Even if it is... the tendency is to embed steel wool fibers. Rottenstone is good stuff to work with to knock the finish down. There's another "powdered stone", cant remember its name. It might be on the Mohawk finishes website. I think they sell it.
     
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  21. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Pumice stone... You musta skipped over my wording about it and rottenstone.

    I cant recall but using them with water or oil makes a difference in luster.
     
  22. Project355

    Project355 Member

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    No I caught the pumice stone, but I thought there was one that was finer than regular rotten stone.... It was self disintegrating and you could darn near get a full gloss with it. My brain is kaput this morning... no coffee yet. But I last used it on a Les Paul Standard Faded. Those came with minimal lacquer and it was left matte. I put a finish on the front of the guitar and wanted to make it look not full gloss, but not semigloss either. My local glue and finish supplier suggested this powder and it worked great after leveling the extra coats of lacquer. The guitar ended up looking 30 years old, even though it was new (and it looked better than the BS finish job the factor gave it). Thought it was a Mohawk product, but that could be me, as the local place up in Lake Worth/West Palm had it on hand. They are https://www.glueproducts.com/ and a great place to deal with. If you're close by and visit... get a LOT of fresh air after you leave... the fumes in that place will knock you over!
     
  23. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Palms and Kansas have no familiarity...! Though i have been to Disney World. Guess the third powder is unknown to me. Unless its mica?

    Glues are no joke. Those fumes will kick your butt! I sell solvents, epoxies, etc. Only the aliphatics hold a cake to the glue smell!
     
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