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View Full Version : How to remove dings and dents from wood.


kjm
September 27, 2000, 10:23 PM
I used to hang out at my gunsmith's shop and do odd jobs to watch and learn tricks from him. I remember several gunstocks he got that were badly beat up, and when he was done, they looked almost perfect. He said to "steam" them out, but how do you do this? Sorrowfully, he moved to Las Vegas, and I nolonger have the source of advice and I have a gun I want to experiment with. On an old military mauser with oil finish, do I need to remove the oil, or what? I'm really bored, and until I have more cash to get more stuff, I want to experiment a little.
Thanks in advance for your know-how.

OkieGentleman
September 27, 2000, 11:11 PM
Try this. Sand the stock down to the bare wood.
Get an ordinary iron and some wet wash cloths.
Set the iron to its hottest setting, when it is hot, squeeze out most of the moisture in the wash rag and apply it over the ding.
Put the hot iron on the cloth at the ding and hold it there for about 10 seconds. Remove the iron and the cloth and check the ding. Repeat if the ding is still visible.
The wood fibers should have absorbed the steam created and swelled to their original size before the ding. (The wood was "compressed" when it got hit and this is what the ding consists of is compressed wood.
Set the stock back and let dry for about a week before you do anything else to it in the way of sanding or refinishing. This will let the wood dry and "harden" back to its natural hardess, if you sand on it right away the repaired spot is still soft and you will sand a "ding" into the wood.
I hope this helps, by the way you can refinish a piece of furniture the same way, I showed my brother-in-law this trick and he cussed for five minutes about the hand sanding he had done over the years to get out dings. :)

OkieGentleman
September 27, 2000, 11:15 PM
By the way if you want a super smooth finish wipe down the wood you are sanding with a very wet rag between sandings. Any hair size splinter will absorb the moisture and stand up from the stock. Wipe it down and set it to one side to day for a day and then check it for hair splinters standing up from the wood. You will be suprised the first time you do this at how may whiskers are standing up.

45King
September 28, 2000, 06:15 AM
kjm, what Okie said. You will need to remove the oil first, though.
I used to work for a gunsmith who had built a special "stock treament tank." It was a steel cylinder, 5" diameter X 4.5' tall, with a removable steel cap. He filled it with acetone to about 4" below the top. If a stock had lots of oil in it, he'd hang it in the tank for a day or so using a coathanger. The acetone would drive out all the oil in the wood, and drys very quickly.
Needless to say, it was located away from any flame or heat producing items, and smoking around the tank was a big NoNo.

Okie, good suggestion on the "whiskering" of the stock. This really results in a super smooth finish, especially if you go all the way to 600 grit wet & dry paper. If you use just a damp cloth instead of one that's very wet, you can let the stock dry for 10 minutes and then continue sanding. It never failed to amaze my how many times you could repeat this process before you stop finding whiskers. By that time, though, the wood is as smooth as a newborn baby's butt.
I've always been partial to oil finishes, and my favorite was to do about 10 to 15 coats of Tru Oil, applied with 600 W&D after whiskering. Let each coat dry 24 hrs, then sand lightly with 600, then apply another coat w/same, using a circular motion to apply. After that many coats, it creates a beautiful shine and a deep, 3D appearance.

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Shoot straight & make big holes, regards, Richard at The Shottist's Center (http://forums.delphi.com/m/main.asp?sigdir=45acp45lc)

mikefoy
September 28, 2000, 04:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by 45King:
kjm, what Okie said. You will need to remove the oil first, though.
I used to work for a gunsmith who had built a special "stock treament tank." It was a steel cylinder, 5" diameter X 4.5' tall, with a removable steel cap. He filled it with acetone to about 4" below the top. If a stock had lots of oil in it, he'd hang it in the tank for a day or so using a coathanger. The acetone would drive out all the oil in the wood, and drys very quickly.
Needless to say, it was located away from any flame or heat producing items, and smoking around the tank was a big NoNo.

Okie, good suggestion on the "whiskering" of the stock. This really results in a super smooth finish, especially if you go all the way to 600 grit wet & dry paper. If you use just a damp cloth instead of one that's very wet, you can let the stock dry for 10 minutes and then continue sanding. It never failed to amaze my how many times you could repeat this process before you stop finding whiskers. By that time, though, the wood is as smooth as a newborn baby's butt.
I've always been partial to oil finishes, and my favorite was to do about 10 to 15 coats of Tru Oil, applied with 600 W&D after whiskering. Let each coat dry 24 hrs, then sand lightly with 600, then apply another coat w/same, using a circular motion to apply. After that many coats, it creates a beautiful shine and a deep, 3D appearance.

[/quote]

mikefoy
September 28, 2000, 04:30 PM
Another way to speed up the whiskering, rub with a damp cloth, then dry with HOT air dryer. Some hair dryers will work. I just finished an English Walnut stock, and was horrified with the first pass after 220 grit. I do whisker at least once per grit.

Strayhorn
September 29, 2000, 02:18 PM
Excellent advice from OkieGentleman.

I have only one thing to add - I've used a steam iron over dry washcloths. Of course, the cloths get wet fast, but the live steam from the iron tends to help with really bad dings. It's six of one and a half-dozen of the other between these two methods.

One other item - some dings are so deep that the wood fibres have been broken. Not much you can do about these. I have in the past used the sawdust sanded off from that stock to make up a putty to fill the bad dings. I mix it with a _tiny_ bit of Elmer's glue.

All this is "dumb country" stuff I've picked up over time but it all seems to work.

Ken Strayhorn
Hillsborough NC

Doubleought
September 29, 2000, 03:02 PM
All excellent advice. Here's another trick I use:

Instead of sanding the raised whiskers off, try OOOOOO steel wool or the finest grade that you can get your hands on. It removes the whiskers and traps them in the "wool". It's a personal preference, but I've had great results with it. I also do this after sealing the grain and between the first two coats of whatever finish I'm using. Results are amazing!

I refinished an old Kessler shotgun stock this way. Beautiful gnarly marbling on the grip and comb. It was almost a shame to put that beat up old action back into that stock! :eek: :)

Yodar
October 2, 2000, 08:08 PM
GRAB ONTO YOUR SEATS. Some of the "beater" mausers that arrive as ballast in some freighters are so loathsome in appearance that ANYTHING would be an improvement, and some brave CRFFLERS (curio & relic federal firearms licence holders) have remove the stock and run it thru the family dishwasher and have had astonishing improvement, though valuable stock cartouches usually disappear...but the dings do too. Using TSP or dishwashing detergent...second hand knowledge here, FWIW
Yodar

700PSS Shooter
October 2, 2000, 11:59 PM
Must be a magnum dishwasher! ;) I doubt a carbine stock would fit in ours and it is normal sized. Maybe a Winchester 1894 stock or other 2 piece, but never a Mauser.

Once did half an aircooled VW block. :D

OkieGentleman
October 3, 2000, 12:21 AM
I never did an engine in the dishwasher, but I have washed several disassembled carburetors. My old man came in once when I was unloading a washed carburetor and he had a fit. After thinking about it for a minute he started laughing and said it was not such a bad idea at that. ;)

Noban
October 3, 2000, 02:23 PM
A word of advice when using steel wool. Just remember that the wool has oil in/on it and that will transfer to the wood. It's OK for the early stages of finishing, but I always change to synthetic wool pads near the end to keep the wood free of all foreign materials that could affect the applied finish.

chmeyers
October 5, 2000, 04:48 AM
The dishwasher brings back fond memories of the SKS I acquired way back. Packed to the gills in cosmoline ( or some Chinese equivalent). I completely stripped it and ran it through. Nice result too!!

OkieGentleman
October 5, 2000, 11:11 PM
By the way when you are removing the whiskers after getting them wet. Sand in one direction only. Wet the wood and sand the next set of whiskers in the opposite direction. Also a fine Scotche Brite pad will remove the whiskers quickly probabaly faster than sand paper.