View Full Version : Does anyone know about wood staining?

September 1, 2009, 10:22 AM
I am about to get a rifle where the wood seems kinda blah. I was wondering if any of you have experience staining wood furniture on guns, the best type of stain to bring out the detail of the wood, tools i'd need, and steps or helpful advice.

thanks in advance!

September 1, 2009, 10:28 AM
It depends on the type of finish you intend to use (varnish, oil, etc).

I like alcohol based stains with oil finishes. Feibings leather stain or Chestnut Ridge military stock stain.

September 1, 2009, 10:32 AM
First you'll need to completey strip the old finish. There are lots of products for doing this but lots of people on this board have reported good results with something called Citristrip.

Then, you'll need to sand down the stock. Start with 180 grit paper (or even 150 if it is rough) and work your way through the grits to at least 320. You can use a slightly damp sponge to raise the grain between the 180 and 220 grit papers.

For staining, you'll get better results with a gell stain than with a liquid. It seems to even out better when you have variations in wood density. Follow the directions on the can.

After staining, be sure and wait a couple of days before you attempt to finish. Give the stain a chance to dry. Hit it with some steel wool and a tack cloth before you apply the finish.

For a finish, there are many made specifically for gunstocks. They work great. For service-type guns (no show quality needed), I've had good luck with Minwax brand Tung Oil Finish. Whatever you use, follow the directions. Build up lots of thin coats with good drying time between coats and use steel wool to get the dust nubs off before going to the next coat.

September 1, 2009, 10:36 AM
I usually don't restain good walnut. I just finish it with "Birchwood Casey's" hand rubbed oil finish. It does a really nice job.

September 1, 2009, 10:42 AM
There are numerous on line sites that cover gun stock refinishing - including preparation, staining, and final finish.

Google gun stock refinishing, refinishing rifle stocks, etc. and you'll find lots of information and suggestions. Well worth the time if you have questions.

To stain or not to stain is a personal preference and depends largely upon the actual wood in a particular stock. Same can be said about the final finish - oil vs. polyurethane etc. The various articles touch on these subjects.

September 1, 2009, 11:08 AM
If you DO re-stain a piece of stock be sure that ALL traces of any wax or previous stain are gone before doing it or it will be blotchy...

Evan Thomas
September 1, 2009, 01:21 PM
Greyson, is it the finish or the wood itself that's "kinda blah?" If the stock is a nice hardwood like walnut, but the finish is dull, it would be well worth refinishing (although I'd try bringing it up with steel wool and wax before I started stripping, etc.).

But if it's a "blah" wood like birch or beech, refinishing won't change that -- sorta like that "lipstick on a pig" thing. :p At best, you'll end up with nicely finished, "blah" wood...

Do you know what the wood is? If you're not sure, can you post a picture of the stock?

September 1, 2009, 02:19 PM
If you can identify your wood,go to a hardwood dealer and find a similar small piece of wood.You might want to shape it to have a bit of crown.

Then try combinations to find what you like ,on the sample.

I agree with the Feiblings leather dies.

End vs side grain absorbs differently,so a darker stain,followed by some sanding may give you some contrasts.Then something in a medium gold will light it up.Play!!
You will be successful or give up on a wood scrap
You may also find you have a light wood stock,like birch,that has been sprayed with walnut stain.
You may find a very light,fine sanding will produce highlights and contrasts.Then hit it with a medium golden tone of alchohol shoe dye.
If you don't like it,keep sanding!

September 1, 2009, 03:45 PM
this is what im getting *embarassed*

September 1, 2009, 04:38 PM
With what you have I'd just try tung oil.

But because you don't have very pretty wood you could try some of the colored stains. Visit a Kelly Moore store or Sherwin Williams and you can find all sorts of wipe on stains to try.

Evan Thomas
September 1, 2009, 04:42 PM
The stock and pistol grip both look like replacements, I think; the rest looks like it might be original. The stock definitely looks like oak. :eek: The pistol grip might be oak as well, although it's a bit hard to tell... but that seems likely, assuming they were replaced at the same time. The fore grip is not oak -- looks like birch, or possibly beech...?

Unfortunately, it's going to be really hard to make it all match -- you might be able to match the color with a fairly dark staining protocol (alcohol- or water based dye to get the base color, followed by an oil stain to tone it -- then maybe a toned varnish to hide the grain...), but the grain of oak is so distinctive that it's hard to disguise. (And who uses oak for gun stocks anyway...? Wow.)

I hope you're getting a really good deal on this, Greyson... If you are, I'd think about replacing the wood furniture altogether -- I think you can pick up a set of original AK furniture, wood or laminate, fairly inexpensively, given how many people want synthetics these days. If you're going to put in the kind of work that a good refinishing job involves, you may be better off doing it to an original set...

If you're not getting a really good price on this, I'd look around some more. Prices are starting to come down, supplies seem to be up a bit, I think.

Just my thoughts... :) And don't be embarrassed -- asking questions is good, so are AKs.

September 1, 2009, 04:43 PM
thanks for all of your replies. this is just a cheap fun gun and i didnt want to spend too much time and effort in making it look pretty, but i wanted to try something

oh Vanya, thats a stock pic of the gun. the wood wont look exactly like that. I dont have any idea what it will look like when i get it, except im guessing not good. thats why i started looking for advice in advance. it could turn out when i get it, it looks good, but i doubt it.

Evan Thomas
September 1, 2009, 05:02 PM
Oh, well, never mind, then.

Post a picture when you do get it... now I'm sorta curious about the oak thing, if it's not someone's home-brewed replacement...