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Rifle Stock Blow Torch Tiger Stripes [Picture Heavy!]

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by M-Cameron, Dec 6, 2012.

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  1. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    Ok, so ive been looking around at how to add tiger stripes to a stock.....and i was relatively unsuccessful in finding much of any information at all.

    i was surprised with the wealth of information on the web that i was unable to find any how-to or tutorials...the most i was able to get was "yeah, i heard you can do them with a blowtorch"......not really of much help.

    seeing as i had an old 'practice' stock kicking around, i figured ide give it a go, and to help anyone looking for the same information, i figured ide document the process.

    now this isnt really meant to be a tutorial, this is really more of a documentation of what i did and feel free to change things up to suit your needs or offer constructive criticism.


    now the stock i started off with was a simple walnut stock that i keep around to practice wood finishing techniques on.

    i stripped the old finish off and sanded it to smooth to 220
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    now the process i decided to use was to wrap the stock with 1/4" sisal rope that had been soaked for a few hours in water. then to simply go over it with a propane blowtorch.

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    now it stands to reason that where there is not a rope, youll get the tiger stripe, so space the ropes to your liking.

    now if my understanding of the chemistry is correct, you are not actually burning the wood, you are simply caramelizing the sugars in the wood, you are also hardening the wood you head which means it will accept stain differently than the unhardened wood.

    now when you are heating the wood, you do not want to keep the flame too close (no less than 5 inches off the wood) nor do you want to keep the flame in one place too long (no longer than 1/4 of a second in one place). you always want to keep the flame moving until you get a very even coloring.

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    here is how it look with the ropes removed.

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    now i know what your thinking...your thinking "man, thats one burned up stock".....well lest see how it looks with some light sanding.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  2. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    IMG_0830.gif

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    not too bad.....like i said before, you do not want to burn the wood. in fact, when you go to wipe it off, you should have very little (if any) black char on the wood.

    now lets see how it looks with a single coat of light stain

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    hrmmm.....that doesnt look half bad.
     
  3. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    now lets add some finish. i chose to finish it with Tru-oil, but you can finish it with any finish you like.

    one thing i noticed was that the heating from the blow torch severely dehydrates the wood, when i went to add the oil finish, the wood sucked it up incredibly fast. its been below 50-60* here in new england and i was able to add 2-3 coats a day for the first few coats.

    now since everyone knows how to apply a finish coat, ill just jump to the finished pictures. this is after ~10 coats of tru-oil.

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    so there it is, thats all ive got for you.....i think it looks pretty good personally.

    again, i would love any criticism, critiques, things to try differently in the future.

    and as always, dont hesitate to ask any questions.
     
  4. Baron_Null

    Baron_Null Member

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    I love it. It reminds me of the arctic birch stocks found on some Mosin Nagants.

    On that note, do you think it would be possible to get good results without using the rope so one could reproduce the uneven spacing of something like Arctic Birch?
     
  5. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    well i had seen a few stocks where people had free handed it, and the stripes all seemed to come out really thick, chunky and muddy...the ropes act like a stencil, allowing you to get really thin, sharp and consistent lines. I also found the wet ropes also help to dissipate a lot of the heat, helping to prevent the wood from burning or charring.

    as i said before, im still very new to this as well. but i dont see why it would not be possible to do an artic birch like effect......but im going to have to imagine you would need considerable skill with the torch to make it look somewhat decent, especially if you plan to free hand it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  6. hAkron

    hAkron Member

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    Very cool! I love seeing stuff like this. Great job!
     
  7. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    I like it. I have a old stock that I would like to try that on also. I have a few questions;

    What is sisal rope? Is it called other names? I need to be sure what I am looking for at the hardware store.

    How did you tie off the rope at the large end of the stock?

    What grit of sandpaper did you use for preparing the stock after using the torch?
     
  8. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    Sisal is a type of natural fibre rope made from an agave plant. honestly it doesnt have to be sisal, you could use hemp, cotton, burlap ect....the rope just has to be made from a natural fibre....if you tried to use something like nylon, it would not soak up and hold water and would inevitably melt onto the stock.

    but when looking for it in the hardware store, it should simply be labeled 'Sisal rope'.

    at the large end of the stock i was lucky, as the buttplate actually mounted on top of the stock at the base of the comb, so i simply ran the rope through the screw hole.

    if you are using a stock with traditional mounting holes. you could simply make a slipknot and loop that around the large end of the stock and begin your wrap from there

    after the torch i sanded the stock with 220, but thats only because i initially sanded it to 220 before the torch.

    essentially you want to sand it the way you would a normal stock about to be finished...so anything from 220-300 should suffice.

    your goal with sanding is not to remove material, its simply to remove any fibers that may have stood up as a result of the water or heat, as well as to knock off any light charring that may have occurred.
     
  9. desidog

    desidog Member

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    Interesting. Thanks for posting this thread. I've been thinking about that method before, but haven't taken the plunge. I have "antiqued" a few coffee tables and chairs with a torch and chain, but no rifle stocks.

    I was also thinking of doing something similar by using wax to paint or sponge on stripes, and dark stain in between, and then melting off the wax and doing a light stain over everything. I haven't done it because of the possibility of the grain soaking up the stain in an un-aesthetic manner.

    This reminds me i have a chopped down 1903 stock around, that i could practice on.
     
  10. Geneseo1911

    Geneseo1911 Member

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    Kinda cool; thanks for the great writeup and pictures. I'm not crazy about the vertical stripes, but putting the ropes on a diagonal, and being a bit more random with the flame, would produce a pattern I think I could really get on board with.
     
  11. JohnB

    JohnB Member

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    Years ago I bought a Rem. 788 from an old boy that was getting married and needed money. He free handed it with a propane torch. Charred the wood in some places. I was embarrassed that someone would think that I was the one that hacked it. I bought a synthetic stock for it as soon as I could.

    788a.jpg

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  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I kinda like it!

    Looks a whole lot better then if he had cammo'd it with Rust-Oleum spray paint like most of them do nowdays.

    rc
     
  13. JohnB

    JohnB Member

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    LOL
    I have to agree with the spray paint thing. It would be fine but he burned the crap out of the wood in several places. These are just some old insurance pictures and they don't show the worst of it. I'm not even a synthetic guy but this was over the top. I may start trying to refinish the wood stock on a rainy day and see if I can at least smooth up some of the burned places.
     
  14. Ironhorse522

    Ironhorse522 Member

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    Would a twine work? I have a double barrel 12 gauge I might try this on.
     
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I have done a few plain old stocks with just a propane torch to highlight the wood grain.
    Nothing like trying to create fake tiger-stripe with a rope or anything though.

    But often times you can make a plain stock look like a higher grade of wood just by scorching it with a torch then sanding off the burnt marks.

    Heres a knife handle made from a plain grain hickory hammer handle, then scorched with a torch and sanded:

    FakeJohnEK3.jpg


    The soft & hard grain will darken more then the other, so when you sand it, the dark becomes just slightly darker then the other, and it looks really good in my eye once the finish is on it.

    I'm not a big fan of evenly spaced rope burns on stocks.
    But if you like it, gofer it.

    rc
     
  16. italy4nra

    italy4nra Member

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    Nice. Would love to see the "grain" of the burn running horizontally.
     
  17. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    ide imagine it could, my only concern is that i dont know if twine will be able to hold enough water to prevent from burning.....i think you may be better of using a thin cotton clothes line or something similar.

    that actually looks quite nice, i think ill give that technique a try next.
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I had read that the old time gun makers who did the Kentucky long rifles with the beautiful tiger stripe stocks used rope too.

    But they soaked it in tar or pitch and set the rope on fire rather then burning between it.

    Then I have heard they used cannon fuse.

    I have also read the stocks were often stained with aquafortis (a nitric acid mixture) or permanganate which darkened the grain but emphasized the depth of the grain structure.
    And that might be closer to the truth.

    This from Turner Kirkland / Dixie Gun Works years a go:
    rc
     
  19. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Interesting.

    Tagged for posterity.

    I'd love to see the results of future experimentation. I believe that with multiple diameters of sisal you could get some very unusual fiery waves.
     
  20. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Now, thats what I was talking about!!

    rc
     
  22. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    Fake striping, it just doesn't have the 'look' of the real deal
    some methods are better, but just 'burn' is up with painted on, it lacks the depth and ability to 'move' like real figure.

    The advanced stains and chemical processes, well, they add a different dimension, but I have yet to meet anybody who knows how to do it.
     
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