The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > The Smithy

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old September 10, 2010, 06:40 AM   #1
riverwalker76
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2010
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 993
Using Tung Oil to Finish Walnut Stock & Sanding

I have another Walnut stock that I've been waiting to do, and I'm finishing it with 100% Tung Oil.

Last night I cut the Tung Oil with 1:1 Mineral Spirits, and rubbed it into the stock for 20 minutes or so. Then, I let that sit for 20 minutes ... wiped it clean, and have allowed it to hang overnight.

Now I see that there are a lot of areas that need re-sanding. The areas show up lighter and almost 'hazy' in areas. Then there are some small areas that have rough spots that were brought out by the oil soak.

Can I go back over the stock with 320 or even 400 grit, and not compromise the overall finish of the stock? I don't want to gum everything up with the Tung Oil being on the stock.
__________________
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”
riverwalker76 is offline  
Old September 10, 2010, 12:42 PM   #2
Scorch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 11,537
Yes, you can sand over those areas. That roughness is called "whiskers", and they raise up whenever you get sanded wood wet. The only way to get rid of them is to sand them off. Try 320 first, then sand lightly with 400. Then more finish, let it sit several days, then repeat until you get the depth of finish you want, generally 8-12 coats with tung oil.
__________________
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
Scorch is offline  
Old September 10, 2010, 02:47 PM   #3
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,491
The cabinet maker who taught me basic finishing used 320 grit wet/dry as the first coat applicator, 400 grit for the second coat, and 600 grit to apply the third coat. This was with a polyurethane Danish oil finish, but it applies to Tung Oil, too. Since you have about a dozen coats to do, you can do more than one with each grit, stopping when you like what you see. The last coats could be brushed on.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old September 10, 2010, 03:05 PM   #4
Rifleman1776
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 3,309
Why did you cut with mineral oil?
I did a walnut stock with straight pure tung oil.
About 35 years later it still looks great.
Rifleman1776 is offline  
Old September 10, 2010, 03:49 PM   #5
riverwalker76
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2010
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 993
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifleman1776
Why did you cut with mineral oil?
I did a walnut stock with straight pure tung oil.
About 35 years later it still looks great.
I got the Tung Oil from 'The Real Milk Paint Company' and Dewayne Siever told me to cut it 1:1 with mineral spirits (not oil), so that it would soak deeper into the wood. He said that it also cuts down on the drying time by 50%. He said that what would normally take 4 or 5 days to dry with pure tung oil would take 3 days to dry with the 1:1 ratio.

I was just following his advice.
__________________
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”
riverwalker76 is offline  
Old September 10, 2010, 04:02 PM   #6
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,491
That's new to me. Good to know.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old September 10, 2010, 06:11 PM   #7
wjhenderson
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 17, 2010
Posts: 8
I hope this is the right place to reply.I am new to this forum.I've refinished many stocks with uncut tung oil and it takes many coats depending upon the desired finish.Sand lightly as they said with fine paper between coats and you will get a nice finish that will last for years.By the way don't try to put on too thick of a coat each time. Joe
wjhenderson is offline  
Old September 10, 2010, 07:55 PM   #8
Dfariswheel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Posts: 6,843
One step often missed in stock finishing is "whiskering" the wood before adding any finish.

When you sand wood, tiny splinters are exposed and when a finish or stain is applied, they stand up, giving a rough surface.
To eliminate this you need to "whisker" the wood.
To do this, sand the wood to the point where you're ready to apply finish.
Use a fairly damp cloth or sponge to wet about 1/3 of the stock at a time, then quickly dry the wood by using a heat gun, torch, or stove top burner.
When you apply the heat, you can see the wet wood quickly dry, so don't over-heat or char any sharp corners or edges.

This fast drying causes the water to turn to steam. This causes the tiny splinters to stand upright, AND it steam cleans the wood, blasting sanding dust out of the pores of the wood, opening the grain for the finish.

With the wood dry, use either DEGREASED 0000 steel wool, or better, a grocery store green Scotchbrite type scrub pad to lightly rub the wood WITH THE GRAIN.
The steel wool or Scotchbrite pads loops will catch the tiny splinters and cut them off.
Sand paper won't do for this, since all it will do is press the tiny splinters right back down.

Whisker the wood 1 to 3 times to get all the splinters, but don't rub the stock after the last whiskering. The steam will have cleaned out the pores of the wood and opened them up.
This will allow the first thinned coat of finish to soak into the wood better and prevents a "muddy" look to the final finish.

Whiskering the wood before applying a finish was one of the old time Master stockmaker's tricks of the trade for an ultra smooth finish with no muddying or obscuring of the grain.
Dfariswheel is offline  
Old September 10, 2010, 10:47 PM   #9
riverwalker76
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2010
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 993
I've already applied my first soaking to this wood, so I should probably just try the scotchbrite pad and see how that works. Thanks for the tip.
__________________
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”
riverwalker76 is offline  
Old September 18, 2010, 08:39 PM   #10
1chig
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 31, 2009
Location: central missouri
Posts: 237
using tung oil do you hand rub it or do you put it on a cloth and then rub it into the wood? If you hand rub do you use gloves or not ?
__________________
those who anger you are those who control you!!!!
1chig is offline  
Old September 20, 2010, 02:19 PM   #11
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,491
You can apply it by any method. The main points are:
  • Sand the wood with 180 to 220 grit paper.
  • Dewhisker it per Dfariswheel's recommendation. (Bob Flexnor recommends dewhiskering not only to prevent the wet oil from raising the grain, but also to prevent permeating moisture from doing it after the finish is applied, which makes the surface feel rough.)
  • Clean the wood of sawdust with a tack cloth, brush, vacuum, or even compressed air (if you have an oil-free source).
  • For the first coat, especially, flood the surface with oil and keep it wet by adding more oil to any spot that soaks in enough to lose wetness. The dewhiskered wood should be considered sanded. You don't need the sandpaper I described earlier for applying the first coat.
  • Keep it that way for a while. I use 20 minutes with Danish Oil, but you could even go up to half an hour with something more viscous like tung oil.
  • Wipe the oil off with a clean rag. Check it every hour for bleeding, where wet oil comes back to the surface in a patch. Wipe the wet bleed spots off. Keep doing that every hour until the bleeding stops.
  • Repeat the above, smooth sanding with 600 grit paper between coats or using the multi-grade sandpaper-as-applicator method I described, employing 600 grit as the applicator for all coats subsequent to the second coat. You can apply all coats after the first one with a cloth if you choose to, as it doesn't take as much to wet the wood surface after the first layer has sealed it. It won't need re-wetting as much, either, unless you have an unusually porous spot.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member

Last edited by Unclenick; September 22, 2010 at 11:22 AM. Reason: typo fix
Unclenick is offline  
Old September 21, 2010, 09:18 PM   #12
riverwalker76
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2010
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 993
I'm going to let the pictures do the talking for me in this instance.

I've already dewiskered, and have gone to wiping on straight 100% tung oil.

I am using powder free rubber gloves because I don't like the nutty smell that hangs around after I wash my hands from not using them. I wipe on a layer ... let it sit for 30 minutes ... then wipe it off cross grain.

I have already filled in the pores as you can see from the pics, but I want to seal the stock now!

Where do I go from here?

I've got a total of 8 coats on so far, and I want to seal the stock. It has been 4 days since I've touched it and it is dry.





__________________
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”
riverwalker76 is offline  
Old September 22, 2010, 07:38 PM   #13
Dfariswheel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Posts: 6,843
If you've got the pores of the wood completely filled, the stock IS sealed.
These oil finishes are IN the wood, not on it. They don't usually have a surface finish.

I'm not all that "up" on Tung Oil finishing, but I think you can apply a few drops of the Tung and rub it over the stock, then let it dry on the surface as a surface finish.

Another option is to allow it to get really dry, then buff it with a piece of clean, new burlap to polish the wood to an egg shell luster.
Then apply a couple of coats of a good wax.
Johnson's Paste Wax or Renaissance Hard Carnuba are good.
Dfariswheel is offline  
Old September 22, 2010, 08:51 PM   #14
riverwalker76
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2010
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 993
So what you are telling me is that ... when the stock is completely dry in another 7 to 10 days the wood will be water resistant?

Please confirm. Thanks
__________________
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”
riverwalker76 is offline  
Old September 22, 2010, 10:10 PM   #15
ssblair
Member
 
Join Date: April 29, 2010
Location: Indiana
Posts: 21
I get the impression of "kinda-sorta"

Linking the CMP's page on entry-level stock refinishing, they suggest that an oil finish alone is kinda marginal in its water resistance, but adding 1 or 2 coats of "Tung Oil Finish" over a well oiled stock will give it very good weather resistance;

http://www.odcmp.com/Services/Rifles...ng_article.htm
ssblair is offline  
Old September 22, 2010, 10:50 PM   #16
Scorch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 11,537
Quote:
when the stock is completely dry in another 7 to 10 days the wood will be water resistant?
That's right, when dry it will be water resistant. When it is completely dry, sand it lightly, then wipe it off with a dry cloth. As above, a good coat of paste wax will top it off nicely.
__________________
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
Scorch is offline  
Old September 24, 2010, 03:11 PM   #17
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,491
I don't buy the CMP's explanation of the red color on Garand stocks. It's far too uniform to be the result of random exposure to contaminates that oxidized, and I've stripped enough of that muddy stuff off stocks to know it appears to be colored through and through.

If you look at the Garand blueprints they call for staining when necessary to meet the color standard, which is 11018988-W. I haven't been able to find more on that standard. This is in finishing specification, MIL-F-13088, which the Garand blueprints refer to. There you learn the Garand stock finish is a tung oil preparation with solvents and is intended for use on Black Walnut, English Walnut, Yellow Birch, and Sweet Birch. They all had to come out looking the same as that standard, so any but the darkest wood got stained.

The test was 3 to 5 minute submersion of the wood samples in the finish followed by drying for 24 hours followed by examination of the color of the heartwood, which had to meet the aforementioned standard. If I'm a contractor faced with all that wood sample testing, I want one opaque finish that winds up matching the standard with all the wood I might have to dip into it, and that's what the stuff I've stripped off looks like it does. I can't tell birch from walnut under it until it is stripped.


Riverwalker76,

Somewhere on the inside, where it can't be seen when the gun is assembled, take some Watco Danish Oil in Neutral color and try wiping it on thinly. It should be too thin to affect the appearance color, but will protect the finish from weather and may help uniform the appearance of the surface.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old October 8, 2010, 09:31 AM   #18
ssblair
Member
 
Join Date: April 29, 2010
Location: Indiana
Posts: 21
Quote:
Now I see that there are a lot of areas that need re-sanding. The areas show up lighter and almost 'hazy' in areas.
I've noticed that on an M14 stock that I've been refinishing, as well as an NOS Keystone scant stock for an '03 Springfield that I'm putting a few more coats of tung oil on, that I'm getting a few cloudy/hazy areas also. They go away when I wet the stock again, but come back when it dries. This is 6 or 7 coats in where I started to notice. I haven't done any resanding (other than the initial scrub with CitriStrip and a scotchbright pad to get the gunk off the M14 stock), just putting a dribble of straight PTO here and there and rubbing in for 5-10 minutes with my fingers for the most part. The first 3 or 4 coats where cut 1:1 with mineral spirits/Citrus solvent from The Real Milk Paint Co.

Since I've been doing this in my basement (dry, but relatively cool), I tried "warming up" the wood once with a hairdryer because I read somebody had good results doing that at one point somewhere, but I tried to avoid making any "hot spots". Could I have inadvertently cooked the oil in some spots? What might a remedy for that?

I've been continuing to wipe on straight PTO, then wiping down after a few hours, but I'm wondering if I should give it a once over with some 0000 scotchbright pads before my next coat. The wood looks great when it's wet; nice depth and grain, but I'm really looking for a satin/semi-gloss look and when its dry it is decidedly matte. Figured that once I get the depth and satin look with the oil, I'd seal it with Johnson Paste Wax.

Am I on the right track still?
ssblair is offline  
Old October 21, 2010, 08:38 PM   #19
nanuk-O-dah-Nort
Junior Member
 
Join Date: October 21, 2010
Posts: 12
Whiskering

when I made some selfbows, I started sanding with 120
then went up by the minimum I could find.
at 400, I whiskered about 6 times until I could detect NO fiber with my fingertips. (you can tell)
then I continued up to 2400 grit
the wood looked like it had a clear coat on it as it was so smooth
it felt like it was dusted with talc as you swiped your fingers along it.
but I assure you, it was dust free.

and NEVER use steel wool... it can leave metal fibers embedded in the wood that will rust under the oil finish.

if you do use steel wool, but very careful, and perhaps wipe a STRONG magnet
nanuk-O-dah-Nort is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:36 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12173 seconds with 9 queries