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Old September 5, 2012, 05:49 PM   #7
BigJimP
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Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,420
On most stocks, I'm going to quit sanding at 180 grit...going any higher..won't really give you a better finish in my experience.

But when I start on a stock / I strip the finish first...repair any dents, by steaming them first, and then "lightly sand" ...starting with a grit that I think will get the scratches out ../without going too deep into the wood or the color in the original stock. If I have to go deep into the stock / then its going to require some color matching in stain...and then the varnish...

Most varnishes will tell you to lightly sand ...between coats...( 220 / maybe 400 or 600 ) ...

On a gun you're describing ...just to get it to a utilitarian look/protect the wood ...I might be tempted to remove the finish / lightly sand with 120 or 150 ...and then put 3 coats of a good exterior varnish on it...and let it be.
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