View Full Version : Refurbishing Wood Rifle Furniture

May 9, 2000, 10:03 AM
I went home to NY over the Easter holiday and my wonderful dad gave me his old hunting rifle. A real sweet pre-'64' Winchester M94 in .30-.30

The metal is in fantastic shape, even after having not been used in probably more than 30 yrs. Other than needing some rebluing in a few spots, it cleaned up great with a nice shiny barrel, :)

The wood however is a different story, both the fore and rear stock are ding free and solid. Unfortunately the rear stock has developed dark, almost black, stains around where the butt plate fixes to the wood and where the rear stock joins with the metal of the receiver housing.

It appears that my dad stored the rifle sitting butt down and over the years gun oils had flowed down out of the receiver and barrel and when they hit the wood they sat there staining and darkening the wood.

If I refinish the wood (it appears to be walnut) what can I use to remove and or lighten these dark stains?

I’d rather not just replace the wood as its solid and in relatively good shape, and I'd also like to be able to say honestly that the rifle is "all original stock".

It's a realy "purdy" rifle, :) excluding these stains :(, and simply restaining and revarnishing the walnut would be a breeze for me. I just don’t want to seal in these stains when I do it.

Any suggestions ?



"TANSTAAFL"- R.A. Heinlen

"Molon Labe"- Leonidas to Xerxes at Thermopile

[This message has been edited by Mordwyn.45 (edited May 09, 2000).]

May 9, 2000, 10:49 AM
Here is a way that I learned about on another forum about 2 years ago. Easy off oven cleaner. It will remove oil, varnish, etc... without any damage to the wood. I spray it on, let it hang by an old wire coat hanger for about 10 minutes or longer if finish is really stubborn. Respray some more on it and buff lightly with #0000 steel wool then rinse with water. If needed, do the process again. Afterward, I will let the wood hang in my garage for 3 to 5 days to dry, then refinish with Tru-oil or tounge oil depending on my mood. I have done 1 Maadi that was really ugly, 1 20+ year old .54 muzzle loader and both turned out really nice.

May 9, 2000, 12:34 PM
The oven cleaner might not be enough to get out the dark stain, however. One thing to try is to coat the black stained areas with a mixture of whiting and acetone. The acetone sinks into the wood very quickly, mixes with the oil but then evaporates very quickly, bringing the oil to the suface, where is caught in the whiting (finely powdered lime). The acetone dries so quickly that you just brush off the whiting after a few minutes. Whiting used to be sold in paint stores, but these days you will probably have to order some from Brownells.
You just have to do this over and over again, until you get most of it out or get tried of trying.
Lots of old stocks have this problem, and most people just live with it.
You might consider applying a synthetic stock finish inside the stock in the tang area to prevent more oil from soaking into the stock at this point in the future.
Also, the balck walnut wood on old 94 Winchesters is hard to fill. I have used Pro Custom Oil on my '94, available from Brownells. This is a mixture of Tung Oil and a Urethane that is compatable with oil finishes and can be applied in a thick application that does a pretty good job of filling the wood. After the thick coat dries, very carefully sand back to the wood surface (you don't want to remove any wood at all actually, use a very fine sand paper or the new synthetic steel wools). The you can finish up with more tung oil or linseed. The final result will look much better than any pure synthetic finish and be much easier to souch up in the future.
If you do not use such a filler, you will probably get a "Hunter Finish", lots of open grain, instead of a smooth "Custon Finish", which is OK as well.

Alex Johnson
May 9, 2000, 01:20 PM
The whiting is the way to go followed by your favorite stock finish (mine's pilkingtons). You can either mask the checkering while doing the finishing, or recut it afterwards (probably in need of some work anyway's). Have fun.

Desert Dog
May 9, 2000, 06:57 PM
You can also heat the oil out by holding the oil soaked portion over an open flame until the oil bubbles out, wipe it off and repeat.

Be careful though and don't hold it over the flame too long or you may get a REAL dark smoky spot on the stock. :eek:

Don't use the stove in the kitchen, unless you are single... :D I use a camp stove. It works well, it takes a little patience though...

.45 Super... Fat and FAST...

"No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority" - Thomas Jefferson

Juan Hunt Greer
May 10, 2000, 12:26 AM
One thing I've used before, although not for cosmetic purposes, is an extended soak in acetone or lacquer thinner( I've done it ro completele free the wood of oil prior to doing epoxy repairs). Remove all metal and plastic and submerge completely, using either a poly bucket or bag and leave for 2 to 10 days. take all precautions against fire, of course, and re- oil with the finish of your choice only after the solvent has FULLY dried out. crankshaft