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Old May 13, 2013, 09:09 PM   #1
waltin
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Is it possible to tint oil finish to bring back color

My VZ24 has a nice orange reddish color, another VZ stock which I've been refinishing was bleached with the whitting process to extract the oil and scars out of the stock. However, the forend turned blond and the shoulder stock stayed a pinkisk orange color. I like the pinkish (red oak) color of the stock but want to tint the forend the same hue and finish it with oil. I don't want a complete sealed shellac finish. In my research on Danish and Tung oil there seems to be issues with mixing these oils with stain. The stain has a varnish binder that seals the wood pores and won't let the oil penetrate the wood. I've read of a stain Woodburst that can mix with Tung oil, not sure if that is true. I've also found a few recipes such as the old BLO 1/3 mixture but can this formula be used with an oil stain or a Fiebings leather dye to tint the wood? I'd like to hear other suggestions, recipes, ideas, recommendations, do's and don'ts for tinting and oil finishing the stock.

Last edited by waltin; May 13, 2013 at 09:59 PM.
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Old May 13, 2013, 09:36 PM   #2
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I believe, but have never tried it, that you can use the highly concentrated Transtint liquid dyes to color BLO or a BLO/varnish/mineral spirits blend. I've got the wiping varnish and the straight BLO and the Transtint dyes, and I've always meant to try it, but haven't yet (in maybe 15 years of meaning to).

Woodcraft sells the dye in about a dozen shades. I use it a lot in water based dyes and have used it in alcohol based dye blends. You can call Woodcraft and ask about blending the dye into wiping varnish.

If you want to give it a try, go to the Container Store and get 4 to 6 of the smallish to medium sized see-thru high quality wide mouthed plastic bottles that they have and do your blending in the bottles. What you don't use will last for years. And may I suggest that you label the bottles with the exact blend mixture before you forget how much of this dye and that dye you mixed in. You'll measure the die added by counting drops of it. My favorite Walnut colored dye is just absolutely perfect, and I have no clue where the data I have is on what went into the blend.

You can do the dye application using the Transtint by mixing in distilled water and then add the wiping varnish later. That's how I do it. Be warned that the water based dye blend looks like crap and sort of dull when it dries, but again looks great when the oil finish soaks in. Try it on scrap wood first. You can use Mineral Spirits to wipe on in place of the oil finish, if you just want a good quick glimpse to see how it'll look when the oil hits it.

If you use the dye with water, it will raise the grain, so raise the grain first with plain water a few times and sand off the whiskers before you put the stain on.
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Old May 14, 2013, 04:27 PM   #3
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The last time I finished a stock, I dribbled some MinWax Red Mahogany stain into a cup of Tru-Oil, and it worked great.

Before applying the stained Tru-Oil, I put some unstained Tru-Oil on the end of the fore-end and along the front of the grip, so these areas with end-grain would not absorb too much stain and become dark.

Other than that, I just followed the directions on the container of Tru-Oil, and it came out really nice.
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Old May 15, 2013, 05:04 PM   #4
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Midway had both a military stain and a Winchester stain, which are about the same. Both are walnut, with a shot of red added, similar to Mahogany. I can't remember the brand, but you should find it under their gunsmithing section. Just watch the end grain, as it will turn darker than the rest, unless you cut the stain, or put a bit of finish on it first. They may mix well with Tru-Oil, I'm not sure.
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Old May 17, 2013, 09:09 AM   #5
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I've used Homestead Finishing's TransTint dyes to color wood on interior furniture, but always use them by themselves or mix with shellac or lacquer. TransTints work well in these applications but I'm not sure how well that translates to your situation.

You can contact Jeff Jewitt at Homestead. Here's the link to his website.

http://www.homesteadfinishingproduct...tdocs/faqs.htm
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Old May 17, 2013, 10:33 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum.

The various dyes usually state they are for indoor applications, meaning they will eventually fade in sunlight. Still, it's not like you leave a rifle stock outdoors 24/7, and I've not seen an issue with it.

If you want to guarantee color compatibility with an oil, Watco or Deft Danish Oils come in tinted versions, and you can mix them and get an oil-type finish with the color you want. Be forewarned that these are mainly synthetic finishes, but that's good from the standpoint of moisture resistance. Tung Oil takes about a dozen application over a three month period to get enough tor good water resistance. BLO has just plain poor water resistance, as you can prove to yourself on a test surface by noting how fast it picks a water mark up.
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Old May 17, 2013, 03:40 PM   #7
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Transtint dyes can be mixed directly with pure tung oil. To mix them with other oil-based finishes, you'll need to dilute the dye first by mixing one part dye with four parts acetone.

That said, you'll get more control over the results if you apply the dye to bare wood as a separate step. If you plan to use an oil-based finish, it's fine to dilute the dye with either water or alcohol. Water is easier to control as it takes longer to dry, but it will raise the grain of the wood, so you'll also want to be more thorough about the end of your sanding process: sand, wet out, sand again, and perhaps repeat, in order to minimize grain-raising by the dye. It's best to start with a very dilute dye solution: you can repeat the dye application if the color is too light, or use another dye to adjust the color, but if the solution is too concentrated and makes things too dark, it's very difficult to go back.

You can also get a much richer effect by using the dye to get the underlying color of the wood, letting it dry, and then applying an oil-based stain (I like gel stains for this); for example, a reddish tint under a "walnut" oil stain gives a very nice mahogany color. Experiment on scraps of the same species you want to finish to see what works.

And as PVL said, it's a good idea to pre-treat end grain.
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Old May 18, 2013, 02:02 PM   #8
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If you get a chance, go to the public library, and look for the book, "Understanding Wood Finishing", by Bob Flexner. I think he has another finishing book out too. Anyhow, that is what I go to on light woods, Birch, and Sycamore found in cheaper guns, kits, etc. If I remember right, he has some stains he concocted similar to what you're looking for, and it shows how he did it.

One word of caution, most of these books on furniture making do not show sanding wood as fine as we do on gun stocks, but the finishing is the same.
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Old May 18, 2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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Good suggestion -- Flexner's book is excellent. He also has a lot of videos on YouTube.
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Old May 18, 2013, 05:29 PM   #10
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Yes, that book is a good one. His table on pages 84-85 is where the poor protection offered by linseed oil, either raw or boiled, is noted. Reading that is when it first really registered with me, despite my having seen water marks in it since I was a kid. Very useful book.
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Old May 22, 2013, 07:29 PM   #11
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Flexner Book

It's Funny the Flexner Book was mentioned as I ordered it from amazon last week and I'm anxiously waiting for it's arrival. So I guess I'm on the right path. Everything is on hold until it does arrive. The VZ24 stock has been stripped and sanded and is ready for the next step the stain tint and oil rub. I don't think I can polish with the 600 paper anymore as i'm waiting for the book. I've ordered W.D. Lockwood and JE Mosers' Aniline oil soluble dyes, I needed three colors to get the tint I'm looking to put back. I'm still trying to decide which oil to use, BLO is out for lack of water resistance and the darkening, which I've seen and I don't want on this light stain wood. Even though I have this oil on my shelf, I'm not sure if I want to struggle with Tung Oil. So, I'm leaning towards True Oil as I had used it a long time ago and that Mossberg still looks great. Has anyone had any experience with lemon oil?
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Old May 22, 2013, 09:55 PM   #12
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It seems that you are doing this finish right, and Tru-Oil is certainly a good option. It does contain BLO and Polymerized Linseed Oil and Mineral Spirits, so using Tru-Oil to avoid darkening with BLO doesn't exactly dodge the BLO issue. I've used BLO alone on gunstock finishes and if done correctly it looks great and is water resistant - but certainly not waterproof. I've also used wiping finishes like Tung Oil and Antique Oil (both from MinWax) and they work great too and are a good bit quicker than a true BLO finish. The wiping finishes (wiping varnishes) generally contain an oil (BLO or Tung Oil), Mineral Spirits and Varnish. They should give you a bit more water resistance than straight BLO. And Tru-Oil will, I believe, give you a bit more water resistance than straight BLO.

One finish that I recently used on Walnut and on Cherry was Danish Oil, and it seemed to cause noticeably less darkening than other wiping varnishes I've used.

I'd try each finish, and each stain, on scrap wood to be sure I'd be getting just what I want before I put it on the stock.

If your wood stock has open pores, none of the finishes mentioned are likely to fill those pores by themselves. You could apply your finish and rub with a 400 or 600 grit wet-sand sandpaper and the resultant wood slurry will go a long way toward filling the pores. But...if you have stained the wood, that approach will likely remove some of the stain. You could mix rottenstone, or some other pore filler, in with your final finish as long as you wipe off the excess after each application.
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Old May 23, 2013, 06:10 PM   #13
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Ok I received the Flexner book today and I will dig into it tonight. Also my last dye from JE Mosers arrived and the Scarlet is just what I was hoping for as its a guess with the color charts. Excuse me as for my last post regarding the Tru-oil as I did know the breakdown an as stated BLO is part of the formula. It is easy to work with since Tru-oil is a premix. I read that Tung mixed with Mineral Spirits will speed up the drying process. I think the breakdown is 2parts MS to 1part Tung. Has anyone used this formula and what were the results?
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Old May 23, 2013, 06:40 PM   #14
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Not all material labeled Tung Oil is really pure Tung Oil. Some finishes sold as Tung Oil are wiping varnishes, containing Tung Oil, MS, and a varnish. So when you say you are using or maybe planning to dilute Tung Oil with MS, do you have the pure tung oil?

If you have the actual tung oil, mixing in some MS will thin the oil and should cause it to dry faster, though I think the reason it's drying faster is because there's just less tung oil. Google up Japan Drier. I have a small can of it and have mixed it in BLO to speed drying. You don't need much of it, and don't ask me exactly how it speeds drying because I didn't google that info up. Ace Hardware should carry it.

You could just get a can of Minwax Antique Oil (wiping varnish) and use that on the stock. I've done a couple of stocks with it and they turned out great. Easy to use over stain. I've done it a zillion times. The more coats, the more shine.

What's also important is the wood you're working with. If it's good Walnut, it'll finish great. If it's not good Walnut, you can't easily make low grade Walnut or a 'substitute' look good.

Last edited by 603Country; May 23, 2013 at 06:48 PM.
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Old May 23, 2013, 08:26 PM   #15
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The stock was really hammered but after some work I was surprised that the walnut I believe is pretty good the pores are tight and small. Many dents came out both with ironing and sanding. I have a few concaved blemishes where the wood fibers are crushed and ironing wont correct these. I will explore a filler. I have the true tung oil and I heard of the Japan dryer an I will do an internet search and see if the local true value has it. I have time on this project as I still need to locate some parts and the receivers are not readely available.
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:30 PM   #16
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Wipe the stock down with straight mineral spirits. It'll dry pretty fast, but the reason to wet the stock with MS is that it will show you how the wood will look when it has a finish on it. Flaws will show up under the MS, if there are any. Better to find them now, than later.
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Old May 24, 2013, 11:37 AM   #17
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Since you're planning to stain the wood, I'd be leery of trying to use filler on dents. Opaque, commercial fillers tend to look worse than the defect did, and the problem with clear fillers (epoxy or stick shellac) is that you really can't level them without going into the surrounding wood -- if you cut through the stain, you have a mess on your hands. (And I don't recommend stick shellac, anyway -- it takes years to become really proficient with it, and you can make a hideous mess if you're not.)

Leave any remaining defects alone and consider them "honorable scars."
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Old May 24, 2013, 02:02 PM   #18
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I read about Aquaglass an mixing it with sanded dust which Im guessing will not blend and just be a glossy scare after the fix is completed. There are only a few dents and I will take your advice an live with them.
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Old May 24, 2013, 02:39 PM   #19
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Oh Yes. Vanya is very right. I thought you were talking about using a pore filler like Behlen's makes. I've used that before, with good results, but that's just for the tiny wood pores. It isn't for dents or holes of noticeable size.

The mineral spirits suggestion was just so you can look for obvious sanding mistakes that you can remove before staining. Once the staining is done, if any sanding is done at all, it needs to be really light and with a very fine (400 grit at least) sandpaper. Any 'determined sanding' after the stain will most likely mess up what you've done so far by removing stain in various places. That's a mistake I've made and won't make again.

But...if you do mix the tint in with the final finish, you can sand with very fine sandpaper as you apply the tinted oil. That approach will fill wood pores also and it won't sand off the stain since you are applying as you sand. I've never done it that way, but it should work.
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Old May 25, 2013, 01:11 AM   #20
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Today I picked up some Mineral Spirits (MS) and wiped down the VZ stock an the grain looks tight. The shine the MS gave was made the wood look beautiful. Now, I'm just finishing up with the 400 paper but I need to look at it with the MS in better light as today it was overcast and some of the sanding imperfections may have been hidden in the flat light. In reading Flexner's book and he insist that the grain needs to be raised and sanded down. I tend to stay away from putting water on or into a stock, it is humid here on L.I. Soooo I will wipe it down once and follow through with his recommendation, I'm curious how much grain will be raised. The MS showed me once again that the stock is dirty blond at the forend graduates to a medium walnut with a feathering of a scarlet pink towards the butt. My goal is to even out the these tone with the tinting.

Now the hand guard which didn't come with the stock is another story. Once I wiped it with the MS the grain streaks stood out. I thought both pieces of wood were similar in color value during the sanding process. However, the hand guard, for lack of the right terminology has rows of blond rings which is not at all similar to the stocks grain. Although the blond grain isn't rough it does look open. So I think it needs to be raised and whiskered.

I will take the recommendation of not filling the couple of dents in the stock an keep them as part of the character of the gun. Anything done to the dents will still be an eye catcher so they're fine as they are. The MS is recommended to work with the oil soluble Aniline dyes as well as the a cutter for the True Tung oil. And as suggested at the final finish I'll sand the oil with a 400+ paper and slurry it into the what's left of the grain. Tomorrow I'll work on raising the grain and I hope in a few days I can start tinting. I'm trying to model the color after my other VZ but maybe not as orange as this one needs should have it's own personality.
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Old May 26, 2013, 10:23 AM   #21
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I've had very good luck raising dents by using an 80W chisel tip soldering iron. Just put a fairly damp terrycloth rag over the dent and apply the iron. That keeps the steam local to it. If it's badly crushed, then a grain filler as mentioned earlier may keep the dye from over-darkening the crushed grains.

If you have a moisture problem where you are, you can seal the whole stock into a polyethylene bag with some desiccant for a couple of weeks before you apply the first coat of finish.

As already mentioned, Flexner comments that items called Tung Oil Finishes merely look like tung nut oil finishes, but often contain no tung oil themselves. You can add driers to tung oil. Again. Flexner walks you through all that.
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Old June 5, 2013, 06:12 PM   #22
waltin
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Thank you all for your ideas and suggestions on my stock build issues, I've posted some pictures of stock as it stands right now. The hand guard is another issue which I had posted a cosmoline question as that piece of wood is still being developed. Sorry for the picture layout but I think you'll see the process.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Stock before.jpg (44.6 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Stock after sanding etc.jpg (174.5 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Stock finish color.jpg (251.6 KB, 7 views)
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Old June 5, 2013, 11:36 PM   #23
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waltin;

There's a possibility that any black spots in the wood on that stock can be bleached out, and then the stock can be stained to match all over. I have done this on a lot of stocks, especially stocks that the area next to the receiver, at the start of the grips, are oil stained.

They make a wood bleaching agent, but you can use plain chlorine bleach. Just wet a rag with bleach, and apply it to the darkened wood for a while, until it bleaches it out to the color to match the surrounding wood. If you leave it on long enough, it will turn it white, so you have to check its progress.

I tired supposedly pure tung oil, by Watco, and didn't care much for it at all. The third coat took about 1-1/2 to 2 days to dry, and no matter how smooth the wood is, it raised the grain really bad, and you could get no gloss at all from it. It was just a dull lifeless finish. I think that's why other companies mix varnish, etc. with it, as pure tung oil isn't really that great. Luckily, the .22 rifle stock I tried it on, wasn't a customers job, and I had to still apply a coat of Tru-Oil to it to get it to look good. I gave the two pints of it, that I bought, to a neighbor, to put on bird houses.

Tru-Oil has some boiled Linseed oil in it, but I don't know the amount. I know it has a bunch of other additives so it will dry quickly, and build up a nice finish. I don't think they ever did have a list of ingredients on the packaging, nor have them listed on a MSDS sheet.
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Old June 6, 2013, 08:01 PM   #24
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I'm glad you mentioned bleach I was reading about bleaches in the Flexner book. What do you use to stop the bleaching action before the wood goes white? I have some scattered dark spots about an1/8" and less in diameter that I will try to bleach. Thanks
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Old June 6, 2013, 08:24 PM   #25
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waltin, I think right now your stock looks like it's going to turn out great. I wouldn't mess around with bleach at this stage; the time to do that is after something is stripped, during the sanding process, but before staining. It might be something to try on your next project, though.

Here's an excellent article on wood bleaches by Jeff Jewitt, who is a true expert on both wood finishing and dealing with old wooden objects.

As to neutralizing, the general principle is that you're trying to return the surface of the wood to a neutral-ish pH, so you'd use an acidic neutralizer for an alkaline stain, or vice versa. For example, here's what Jewitt says about neutralizing two-part bleach: "Neutralize the alkaline effect of this bleach after the wood is dry by applying a weak acid like vinegar. Use white vinegar mixed one part vinegar to two parts water."
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