View Full Version : Tiger stripped stocks?

September 9, 2006, 08:24 PM
I've seen plenty of tiger stripped stocks, especially on some m1 carbines. I particularly like the look of the Russian SKS's with the cloudy black mixed with the red shellac.

Now here the question, is it caused from the wood's character, and if so, can I duplicate it artificially? I was thumbing through a new book I just picked up, entitled "The Peacmakers," which chronicles the weapons of the west. There was on Indian musket in particular with alternating light/dark stripes, to which the author said was "artificially stripped for aesthetics."

I was thinking of experimenting on an old stock with using either a Zippo(which would give off a nice carbon soot), an old kerosene lamp with an extra high wick, or a small torch. Theoretically, wouldn't any of those(in varrying degrees anyways), stain the wood with soot, giving me my desired look? After that, I would plan on sealing it in with some poly in semi-gloss.

Has anyone ever attempted this, and if so, any pointers? Am I going in the wrong direction? ie- should I use dark stains instead of soot? I'd like to be able to duplicate the below pic. Thank you.

September 9, 2006, 10:26 PM
That kind of striping is caused by the grain of the wood.

The old timers had various "recipes" for striping maple black powder stocks, including one that involved wrapping a treated rope around the stock and setting it on fire.
A friend tried it, and ruined a piece of wood.

Other methods used acids, acids mixed with iron powder, and various stains

One method of artificially "enhancing" wood is to use a water based dye like shoe dye and paint on or spray on "grain" with an air brush.
Depending on by who and how it's done it can look from pretty good to an absolute mess.

I've seen some fair work done with the airbrush and thinned water-base leather dye.

September 10, 2006, 03:10 PM
Airbrush? I wish I knew a way to duplicate this that didn't involve artistic talent of some sort:


Cooper Custom Classic .22 LR
(This is the gun I ordered from Whittaker's sight unseen. She did a fine job of describing it on the phone.)


September 10, 2006, 03:53 PM
I think I have that same book(Peacemakers and Guns of the West or something to that effect) and know what you're talking about. I read about that musket in one of the first pages and I've often wondered the same thing. Here's the closest pic I could find online. If it could have been done in a primitive setting, then it should be possible at home, but then again, I wouldn't know where to start on making a hatchet from scratch.

Harry Bonar
September 10, 2006, 07:51 PM
Dear Sir:
No, as one said, "the grain must be there to start with."
There are two ways I've used: 1 part water to 1 part nitric.
Coat the MAPLE FIGURED STOCK with this.
Take a torch and LIGHTly heat until turns pink!
Use potassium permanganate mixture in a "saturated solution" and rub into the stock till it turns black almost.
Neutralize with soda water.
Let totally dry.
Use linseed oil and fine steel wool and start working until the grain look suits you.
Let oxidize for a week, use fine steel wool and apply Tru-Oil or other finish.
Second, option = Use CHROMIC acid but this is extremely dangerous - you need an old coot to do this for you!
Now, for your military rifle - clean off all the finish you can and apply saturasted solution of potassium permanganate and you'll br suprised!
Harry B.

September 10, 2006, 08:05 PM
I have done a musket stock with the burning rope trick, but it can get out of hand really fast. I went slow and lit the rope and rolled the gun around and put out the rope as it needed to be put out. Mine is nothing compared to the other pics, but it gave it some character. My best advice is practice on scrap first before you try this. A fine figured stock is hard to duplicte, my rope trick only gave it some character, it is nothing like tigerstriped maple.

September 10, 2006, 08:18 PM
The best way to get stripes is to use Striped maple for stocks.
All the rest can be detected as fake stripes rather easily.

September 10, 2006, 08:24 PM
cntryboy1289, that looks good. Seriously. I like it.

Harry Bonar, thanks for the techniques. I had to look up chromic, and now I see what you mean. "Ethanol, for example, will ignite on contact with it"

"chromium(VI) oxide or chromium trioxide (CrO3), this compound is sometimes sold as "chromic acid". This compound is an intensely-colored dark red/orange brown, water-soluble, granular solid which is stable by itself, but is a strong oxidant which will react when mixed with many things that can be oxidized. Ethanol, for example, will ignite on contact with it."

September 10, 2006, 09:31 PM
Wow guys, thanks for all the input. And CountryBoy, that stock looks really nice. I dig it.

And DoubleTap...I'm not looking to try to sell anything unscrupulous or create a showpiece, I just want to try some experimenting on some fixemup's.

September 11, 2006, 12:01 AM
Anyone can tell the fake tigerstripe from really good wood, but the technique I showed was for a cheap piece of wood that has no figure or grain structure that you can set off when you finish the stock.

My stock would have been very plain looking piece of Maple that I got years ago from a guy that cut a Maple down. This ended up being about the best piece he had, but it is very plain. I simply added some character to the stock when I applied the rope burn to it.

Is it to rip anyone off, of course not and it doesn't really look half close to being real tigerstripe, but it is simply a way to add figure to a plain piece of wood that has nothing else going for it. An SKS and many other military rifles can use the same treatment and turn out different than the average joe's rifle. I wouldn't spend the big bucks for a stock for one by any means.

I used natural manilla rope that was I think 1/4" in diameter. I didn't soak it in anything and I lit one end of it and rolled the stock slowly to control the flame. Once I had the burn, I tried to put out the back part of the flame to keep from scorching the wood more than I wanted it to be. I had a few bad scorchs, but they sanded out fairly well. Once I had the scorch on the stock, I lightly sanded the complete stock and raised the grain before I began finsihing the stock. If you have Maple, don't look for much grain to rise. I then used an oil finish on the stock. Best of luck if you try it and practice on some scrap wood first. I wrapped the rope as tight as I could get it on the stock before I lit the rope as well. Put on some gloves and use them to pat the flame out when you get the scorch like you want it, but keep it burning around the stock.

September 11, 2006, 07:18 PM
Some curly maple.:D

September 11, 2006, 08:52 PM
I'm glad you started this thread. What a great idea! Especially with a newly stripped and sanded stock..
Okay, it's killing me,,, What kind of stock are you going to try this on?
Hook us up with before and after if you can, I can't be the only curious one...

September 11, 2006, 09:41 PM
If I was to do it today, I would use something to wrap around the stock and then scorch the wood that is left exposed. Something Flame resistant or heavy enough to not burn quickly would do rather well. You can get artistic with this method becaue you can control the directions of the wraps. You could wrap wet rope around the stock, but you won't be able to control the edges as well with a rope. Something along the lines of fiberglass cloth like you use when making something out of fiberglass might work ok for this, especially the tape wrap. I think maybe you could cut out the desings you wanted with this and leave some natural looking scorch marks. This plus a propane torch would do rather nicely.

Heck, I may have to give it another try to see if this way is easier.

September 13, 2006, 09:28 AM
I think I'm going to try the airbrush technique to go for that Russian SKS look. I figured I'd just hit areas in a somewhat random fashion, and then do some light sanding to get the color right...And to Benn, I was going to do it on a junked Yugo stock in practice for a blond set of AK furniture which has no character at all.

September 13, 2006, 09:46 AM
Well, if the stock already has SOME grain to it, most stains (Minwax) will enhance the differences nicely (I've used it on gun stocks as well as furniture, and other woods). Just wipe it on , and wipe off the excess IMMEDIATELY. It'll soak in more in some spots than others. Do it repeatedly until you don't get any more darkening.

Now, my other technique, which works especially well for light woods, is to use a propane torch. There still need to be SOME grain, but not much. Keep the torch 2-3 inches away from the wood (you don't wanna set it on fire!). This will raise the grain, so you need to use some 0000 steel wool before finishing. I prefer Tung Oil to BLO, but there's probably no much difference. I done this with plywood (which has no apparent grain) and there will be areas ranging from black to off-white. Hard part is to do it uniformly over entire surface (in the case of plywood---gunstocks are much easier.)

September 13, 2006, 11:41 AM
Thak you, one more method to try. And trust me, this Bulgarian stock has the grain of balsa wood.