View Full Version : finishing AK wood

February 3, 2010, 02:27 PM
I am planning on useing a polyurethane to put a nice, durable, waterproof, finish on the wood furniture for my WASR 10/63.

Is this the route you would go, or would you suggest something else?

February 3, 2010, 03:09 PM
I'd suggest Tru-Oil instead.

February 3, 2010, 03:12 PM
I've had mixed results with polyurethane...

To me the finish never looks as good as I think it should. I've used the Minwax Poly that comes in a spray and could never get that clean smooth look I was going for.

Over the weekend I decided to refinish my SAR-1 furniture using Rit Dye. I wanted a deep red color, so I used a combination of Scarlet, Golden Yellow, and a touch of Brown. I also added a bit of Isopropyl (rubbing) Alcohol for faster drying.

After a few coats of the Rit Dye mixture and some drying time, I applied my first coat of Tung Oil. The Tung Oil finish really made the grain stand out. I put my 4th coat on last night, so it should be time to put the furniture back on this evening.

The wood looks pretty amazing! I think the Tung Oil finish was the key.

Either way, I'm no expert... but if you want a nice looking finish, avoid the polyurethane spray.

February 3, 2010, 03:59 PM
I went with Tung Oil (real pure Tung Oil, not "Tung Oil Finish" like you get in Walmart or Lowes) on my SAR1 with an Ironwood laminated stock.

Pure Tung Oil gives you a fairly satin finish like BLO. It's also easily applied and is non toxic. You can apply it with your bare hands. You don't have to worry about the finish getting scratches or scuffs and you can reapply additional coats at any time. I apply it with a scotchbrite pad to polish the wood as I apply it.

The only drawback is the long cure time. It can take a week or two to apply 5 or 6 coats in a humid area.


February 3, 2010, 06:08 PM
I just redid my WASR wood with a rub-on polyurethane. Minwax at Home Depot. You just rub it on with a cloth like a lot of the oil finishes. I used the satin finish and am very satisfied with the results.

February 3, 2010, 06:41 PM
After a few coats of the Rit Dye mixture and some drying time, I applied my first coat of Tung Oil. The Tung Oil finish really made the grain stand out. I put my 4th coat on last night, so it should be time to put the furniture back on this evening.

It made the grain stand out as in appearance? Not meaning it raised the grain and needed sanding, correct?

February 3, 2010, 06:47 PM
Tung Oil...I'll have to look that up. I can't think of how that looks.
Does Tun Oil leave a hard glossy finish that can crack, or ding? I'm wanting to avoid a fiiah that can dent/chip, and then have that hazy, (separated from the wood) look in areas.
But I want a nice hard, waterproof finish.
I'm wondering how finishes will even apply over that sealed wood.
Normally, you would stain dried wood. Apply a finish. Sand, and repeat until desired finish.
I'd like to achieve something like the origonal Soviet AKM.

February 3, 2010, 07:42 PM
I say Tru-Oil because that's how I finished this guitar.
I applied a coat, allowed it to dry, then used super fine (0000) steel wool to seal the grain. I repeated this process several times until I got the finish the way I wanted. Then I applied beeswax to finish it off.
I'm guessing that finishing a gun stock would be no different.


February 3, 2010, 07:58 PM
What ever you do make sure to post a picture when your done.

February 3, 2010, 08:02 PM
You are correct dino it isnt any diffrent. I did the same thing with a sorry excuse of a mosin nagant stock. It was a totally diffrent rifle. I had no idea the wood on that thing looked so good. Im sure there are alot of ways to do it ,but the tru-oil and fine steel wool was cheap and it looked good;)

February 3, 2010, 08:14 PM
That looks great Dino! I really like that finish. That would be great, if I could achieve something like that over that sealed wood.
Tru Oil, then very fine steel wool once dry, and repeat as necessary.
I really like that Dino. I have some questions.
1. Where do I get Tru Oil?
2. How long does Tru Oil take to cure before I can run over it with steel-wool and coat again?
3. How long to fully cure once finished?
4. And last. Beeswax. What exactly does beeswax do? Who makes it? And where to find beeswax?

I know that's a run of inquiries, but I'm really impressed with that finish and want to attempt to duplicate it.

Oh, one more thing. Did you stain the guitar, or does the Tru Oil turn it that reddish color?

Thanks for the input Dino!

February 3, 2010, 08:58 PM
I found a good write-up on stock finishing useing Tru Oil, so no need to bother with my questions Dino. Unless you have some helpful tip you figured out with Tru Oil. I'm all about learning some tricks of a trade.

February 3, 2010, 09:29 PM
Just remember stain is just that. It stains the wood to add color.

Oil will darken the wood, but doesn't add a color of its own. Oils, varnishes and other finishes are to seal and protect the wood.

There is a difference between Tung Oil finish and Pure Tung Oil. Tung Oil finish has additives added to the Tung Oil to make it dry faster.

Oil and finishes do not make a smooth coat. You need to use steel wool, scotchbrite or some other fine abrasive to polish the wood to get that nice smooth finish. If it's really rough, you may have to sand it first to smooth it out.

Beeswax adds a wax on top of your finish. A bit like waxing your car. Except your car is painted. Most cabinet makers and finish carpenters I've talked to say that wax is not necessary on a good oil finish. It also adds a barrier that may prevent adding additional oil in the future as maintenance for a scuff, chip, scratches or repair.

February 3, 2010, 09:42 PM
I would use Nose oil.

February 3, 2010, 09:49 PM
awesome. Much appreciated DMK.

I'm wondering if a finishing oil will dry properly over the sealer that's used on that wood.

B. Lahey
February 3, 2010, 09:57 PM
I redid my WASR furniture with tung oil and it now looks much better. I didn't have any problem with the original finish because, as far as I could tell, it didn't have one. They looked like they had been roughly sawn from a weathered fencepost.

I just did some light sanding to cut down on splinters and kept wiping on the oil with a little sponge until it reached the color I wanted.

February 4, 2010, 08:58 AM
The wood I used for the guitar is Padauk.
It naturally has a reddish tint (no stain).

Thanks for the compliments and good luck with your stock! :)

February 4, 2010, 12:20 PM
Not sure if this will help or not... but here are a few pics I took of my refinishing steps.

(I forgot the BEFORE pics with the original finish)
Wood stripped and lightly sanded -


Rit Dye mix applied (Combination of Golden Yellow, Scarlet, and very little Brown with a bit of Isoproplyl Alcohol) I spilled some of the Scarlet while mixing, lol, so I'm not sure exactly how much of each color made it into the final mix -


I buffed the wood with a Scotch Brite pad after each coat to smooth the grain and remove any excess dye. I then wiped everything down with a tack cloth and started to apply the Tung Oil finish. I think I put on 4 or 5 coats of Tung Oil...


It's definitely red...


February 4, 2010, 01:01 PM
That looks great Sixer! Very nice! And that's Tung Oil Finish you used, correct?

February 4, 2010, 03:18 PM
And that's Tung Oil Finish you used, correct?


... and yes, just the regular Tung Oil Finish that I picked up at Lowes. I'm pretty sure that I used the "High Gloss" type.


February 4, 2010, 04:04 PM
much appreciated!

February 5, 2010, 03:29 AM
What exacty does a finishing wax do? What's the purpose?
I read that Minwax's finishing wax adds a hard glossy finish.
Would I not be able to re-oil the wood if I apply a finishing wax?

February 5, 2010, 11:19 AM
I used polyurethane to coat the wood stock/pieces on a Polytech stamped receiver AK I purchased in 1989. It looks ok - good enough for your average AK. However, it would look a lot nicer with a multi-coat hand rubbed oil finish. If I were going to finish any rifle stock now, I'd use a nice quality oil and put many coats on the stock over a period of about 2 months - giving time to dry between coats.

Some will say that this is overboard for an AK - and it probalby is. Polyurethane looks ok, and it is durable, but I've never liked the feel of polyurethane.

February 5, 2010, 11:59 AM
That looks great I think. Honestly a bit too bright red for me but hey - it looks good and it will be durable.

After the fact here though I'll put in a vote for both Tru-Oil and rub-on poly finishes. Tru-Oil is a bit easier to work with, I think, is still water resistant/seals the wood and is very easy to touch up (which is key to my mind). I prefer to rub it in and wipe it off after a few minutes. Easy as pie and it works.

I did my AK with a rub-on poly, however, and it also worked pretty dang well. It was a bit less easy to work with I thought but you know that you're getting a very good wood seal and durability from it.

If you look at the Minwax stains in your local Ace there's one that's as far in the red direction as they go (I think it's a kind of cherry finish) and I've had good results using that one to add red into the mix if I'm trying blend in a fix or match an upper to a lower etc.


February 20, 2010, 11:53 PM
I'm finally ready to break it down and put a nice stain and finish on it. I just went with a Walnut stain. I want to keep a somewhat natural look. I got a can of Tung Oil Finish (high gloss), and The appropriate sanding grits for stripping, and smoothing it. Then 0000 steel wool for between coats. Tack cloth, etc...I bought a pack of thing white rags that look really good for the job. The way they are knitted makes them very lint free. They'll make great wipe-down cloths, and cut down to make excellent patches. Ya get allot, in big pieces, for $3...somethin.

So, I'm ready to get going. How do I get this wood fore-end furniture off?:confused:
I haven't really looked, or tried, yet, but I did look it over the other day, and I remember thinking, 'hm...how does that pin come out?...'
Anybody know where to direct me to a break-down schematic, or something?
I don't want to break anything, and I am prone to do that if I get alittle impatient and aggaravated.:o

February 21, 2010, 12:44 AM
fore-end furniture off

bottom of page

alittle oil helps on the extra tight ones.

Easy to get off type



February 21, 2010, 01:01 AM
much appreciated noyes!