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Old August 27, 2013, 10:49 PM   #1
TennJed
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Unfinished Laminate Grips. What stain to use?

I bought what appears (and advertised) as unfinished laminate grips. I enjoy buying beat up and unfinished wood grips and bringing them to life. Typically use a typical Miniwax stain (yellow can) and Tung Oil for shine.

I have never done laminate before. I was under the impression that laminate was the same color all the way through, but these look like un-stained hardwood.

Here is a crappy cellphone pic




My question is can I stain them?
Should I use a different type if stain (gel? Water based ?)
Anyone have any suggestions on color? I think I might want to go with the silver/black finish I see on lots of laminates or maybe the rosewood?

I have some of miniwax Jacobean which I think might give it a good dark color but probably not the silver black I am looking for. Here is what I have now

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Old August 28, 2013, 01:50 AM   #2
Bill DeShivs
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I doubt any stain will be absorbed. Laminated grips can be sanded and buffed to look like glass. They are too dense to stain, and don't require any finish.
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Old August 28, 2013, 12:58 PM   #3
Dixie Gunsmithing
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You may have to use a dye, which is what is used on the laminate material to start with, or a gel-stain. Gel type stains actually keep the color on the surface of the wood itself, and work well with pine, which is hard to stain.

Try what you have on the inside or gun side of the grip, and see what it looks like, before you put it on the outside to finish it.
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Old August 28, 2013, 06:33 PM   #4
Roughedge
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You dont have laminate grips, you have laminated grips. Get some of the spray gun oil finish from brownell and it will make them look great.
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Old August 28, 2013, 08:59 PM   #5
Bill DeShivs
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Be sure and let us know how they come out.
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Old August 28, 2013, 09:46 PM   #6
TennJed
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Unfinished Laminate Grips. What stain to use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs View Post
Be sure and let us know how they come out.
I will and thanks for the help everybody
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Old September 1, 2013, 11:06 AM   #7
HankC1
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Regular stain should work. The adhesive does not penetrate deep into wood and the wood should still take stain.
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Old September 1, 2013, 01:55 PM   #8
Bill DeShivs
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OK. Grips such as these are made of very thin strips of wood. These strips are dyed (or not) and glued together under pressure. The adhesive penetrates throughout the wood. It won't take much, if any stain. There is no finish required, as the composite is hard enough to be machine buffed.
I have worked with this type of laminate for years. You don't try to change it, you simply buy what you want. It's made in an amazing array of colors and combinations of colors.
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Old September 2, 2013, 09:29 AM   #9
tobnpr
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As stated, the dyes are injected into the laminate plies under very high pressure, and then the different color plies making up the color scheme are bonded together, also under high pressure. The glue lines will not absorb any color, but I suppose the hardwood, would- but who knows what you would get?
Try the inside of the grip first as a "test" area.

You can always paint them with something like Duracoat. If it's a carry gun they may need to be repainted eventually due to holster wear, but it's a simple matter to sand off the finish and re-paint.
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Old September 2, 2013, 10:13 AM   #10
Pahoo
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Take a look first !!

Jed,
Might I suggests that before you put any finish on these, you first apply or wipe some mineral spirits on them and see how they look, as is. That way you won't fight or cover up any existing natural coloring. You "might" just be happy with a clear finish. Now, although the glue lines won't take a stain or finish, the rest of each laminate should but it will be tight, so you may have to go to a deep penetrating oil stain. Most glue lines are dark anyway. I always like to go to a reddish tint. Take care and be sure and get back to us, with pictures...

Be Safe !!!
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Old September 2, 2013, 04:38 PM   #11
lowbush
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If you do want to stain them then you will have to use polyurethane and tint the poly with the stain. The material will not absorb stain so it has to be done by tinting the finish.
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Old September 2, 2013, 06:04 PM   #12
TennJed
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Unfinished Laminate Grips. What stain to use?

Thanks guys
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Old September 11, 2013, 10:25 PM   #13
TennJed
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Well the grips arrived last week and I have done some work on them. The first pics I posted were from the internet when I bought them. They were described as unfinished laminated (and look like it to me) but when they arrived I am not so sure. They did not buff to a shine or glass like finish. they were rough and would give you splinters. I assume they are just wood.

All is well though. I sanded and shaped the rough edges. And stained them with one coat "Brazilian Rosewood Gel Stain" It wasn't quit as red as I wanted so I applied a second coat of "Merlot" stain. Finished with 2 coats of Tung Oil for shine. It turned out the red tint I was looking for.

All in All I am happy. They were dirt cheap and give my S&W 422 a unique look. They fit well in the hand. A little thicker than the factory plastic ones, but fits my hand better



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Old September 12, 2013, 12:17 PM   #14
Dixie Gunsmithing
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Made some pretty grips, didn't it? They remind me of the rosewood color that S&W achieved. The grips are what is known as semi-inletted or semi-finished, right off a duplicator with minimum finishing. That's how we gunsmiths get them in, and they have to be fitted, and finish sanded, etc.
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