View Full Version : Oiling walnut stocks?

May 16, 2010, 06:37 AM
I'm looking at a pair of new-in-blister-pack factory walnut Beretta grips on eBay. The seller suggests in his auction to oil both sides of the grip panels and let them sit overnight, then wipe off the excess oil and install the grips.

What kind of oil would be suitable for this? I guess the purpose is to "moisturize" them prior to installation (for lack of a better word.)


May 16, 2010, 07:45 AM
Tung oil, you can get it at every home depot etc. Not sure I would soak overnight so, it would take forever for the oil to cure on the inside.

May 16, 2010, 07:53 AM
Thanks - you mentioned "curing" - is Tung oil something that's sticky and has to dry, like a varnish? I think I remember using that many years ago to refinish a rifle stock, but I can't be sure.

I don't think the purpose of oiling the grips is to refinish them - I think they just look a little "dry" fresh out of the package, and the oil is just supposed to "richen" the appearance a little. I'm hesitant about anything that might leave a layer on top of the grips, since there's a bunch of shallow checkering on the grips.

But if Tung oil is the stuff to use, I'm willing to give it a try.

Thanks again.

May 16, 2010, 08:21 AM
Let me preface this by saying that I am not a woodworking expert. With that out of the way, the only oil that I know of that will not dry and leave a "coat" is mineral oil. People used to use it (and still do I guess) to treat wooden cutting boards.

May 16, 2010, 08:23 AM
Thanks - that might be more along the lines of what I need. I also have some porous pottery that requires periodic oiling - the oil gets soaked up and darkens/richens the finish without adding a layer on top of it. The artist told me to use olive oil, which has been working well on her pottery, but I didn't want to try olive oil on wooden grips that I'd be handling all the time.

May 16, 2010, 09:19 AM
Yes, tung oil dries, but that's what you want with grips. Mineral oil will always leave you with an oily feeling, very waterproof, also very slick with sweaty hands and in the rain.
Never use olive oil or any other food oils. They don't dry, they go rancid.

May 16, 2010, 12:26 PM
I also have some porous pottery that requires periodic oiling - the oil gets soaked up and darkens/richens the finish without adding a layer on top of it. The artist told me to use olive oil, which has been working well on her pottery, but I didn't want to try olive oil on wooden grips that I'd be handling all the time.

Very bad idea.

The olive oil will eventually go rancid and stink to high heaven.

Mineral oil will never go rancid.

Most of the stuff sold is 'Tung finish' or 'Contains Tung oil.'

The real thing is expensive but makes a very good finish without forming a film (unless you put many layers on).
Tung oil does polymerize (harden by cross linking) over time.

It should not be sticky unless to many coats are applied to fast so it cannot cure.

May 16, 2010, 04:01 PM
I've made cherry wood furnature in the past and would only use tung oil and nothing else. Rub it into the wood but not in puddles, but have full coverage. When about dry give it a good rubbing, most tung oil has parafin wax in it and will help the look. 3 coats were the minimum, 0000 steel wool between each coat. It will take up to a week to dry completely, giving it a good buffing daily with a clean cotton cloth.

May 16, 2010, 04:26 PM
I just don't get it. Why do you have to do anything other than a bit of wax? Now, I have to admit that there is a time and place for Tung oil, true oil or whatever but what are we really trying to fix. I am a woodcrafter and have never used mineral oil nor understand it's properites over just plain Linseed oil. I have used a mixture of Linseen oil, Spar varnish and Turpentine equal parts and use that not so much as a refinish but as a light protective coating. Be very conservative in the checkering. Perhaps look the grips over before you decide what is needed

Be Safe !!!

May 16, 2010, 07:08 PM

Linseed oil is a drying oil. This means that as it oxidizes it will "dry" and leave a "finish". This is something the OP said he wanted to avoid. I do like your idea of a wax though. It would give the look he is searching for and it would be easy to remove any excess from the checkering.

May 17, 2010, 12:25 AM
Tru-oil by Birchwood Casey. Its designed for this type of thing. Put a thin layer on the backside of the grips, let them dry overnight. Flip them over, use an old toothbrush to work ia thin coat into the checkering. A thin coat is all you need inside and out, and will dry completely in 24 hours. It will seal, beautify and protect the grips.

May 17, 2010, 01:18 AM
Factory grips probably have some sort of finish on or in them. I would say a very light coat of TruOil if you really want to, but otherwise leave them alone.

May 17, 2010, 10:17 AM
There is a lot of good stuff listed here, I use Danish Oil on stocks. Matter of preference really.

May 20, 2010, 08:47 PM
assuming you are not trying to put a fnish on the stocks and just want to take care of them then linseed oil, tung oil, and tru oil are not for you. a gun stosk is no different than a piece of furniture or a guitar. on all of the above lemon oil is all you need. lemon oil moisturizes wood without leaving anything behind, wal mart carries it with the frniture polish

May 22, 2010, 10:18 AM
lemon oil moisturizes wood without leaving anything behind

Lemon oil contains Limonene a cyclic turpene so it certainty does leave something behind.

Applying turpentine would do the same job, though it might not smell as nice.

Neither will 'moisturize' the wood since they do not contain significant water, and wood does not need additional water anyway Actually adding water to wood repeatedly can result in rot from any number of fungi that digest the cellulose.

May 22, 2010, 10:37 AM
Thanks again for all of the help. I realized "moisturize" wasn't the right word (and even said so in my first post), but I understand that adding water to the wood isn't a good idea.

I just wanted something to darken/richen the color of the wood, and possibly add a slight sheen and keep the grips from looking so dry. But I'm not interested in "refinishing" in the sense of varnishing the wood. The paste wax sounds like a good idea.

In the meantime, I'm having some grips made for my EMP, so the Beretta grips have temporarily been placed on the back burner.

May 22, 2010, 03:50 PM
I use Gibbs brand oil. It is outstanding, is not oily, does not leave a film and gives the grips a good looking finish.

May 23, 2010, 08:40 PM
brickeyee, you are right, lemon oil does contain turpines, but at a lower concentration, those turpines are a good solvent, they do a good job of removing light finger funk and crud. they do their job and evaporate away leaving behind oils that coat and protect without building up.

May 24, 2010, 11:01 AM
My only advice is to thin the first coat of pure tung oil with about 25% mineral spirits. Pure tung oil is too viscous to adequately penetrate surface wood fibers but cutting with mineral spirits will facilitate penetration. Pure tung oil cures slowly, requires buffing, and smells a bit but leaves a finish that is resililent and easily touched up.

Tung oil has been used for centuries as a maritime finish due to it's long lasting protective quality.

Another product that I have used is tung oil finish. It cures much faster than pure tung oil and leaves a very good finish.

Tru Oil is also a very good stock finishing product.

May 24, 2010, 11:14 AM
I make furniture and other items out of driftwood,,,
I usually do not put any finish on them.

My distant cousin is married to a lovely lady from Australia,,,
She fell in love with a small table lamp I had made,,,
She asked me what finish would brighten it up,,,
But she did not want it to be shiny at all,,,
I said "Just use a little Tung oil on it."

She looked at me and said,,,
"I have to lick it?"

Honest to gosh my friends,,,
she was serious.

Blue Monster
May 24, 2010, 06:56 PM
Get 100% Tung Oil not finish as mentioned. Get a one once bottle with a sealed lid. I use little plastic twist top oiler bottles, I buy them by the dozen.

30% Tung Oil 70% Mineral spirits for the base sealing coat.
Apply liberally, but rub it in as up go so when you are done it looks moist not wet. Get a lot of oil into the wood here and take a long time doing it.
Wait 24-48 hours till cured (hazy).
Touch it with 600+ paper if you like or 0000 steel wool (don't do this with checkering).
Take the same bottle and top it off with Tung bring the mix to 50/50+ Tung.
Now rub in the next coat, take your time and allow the process to create a little friction (easier on stocks), buff till almost dry. Cure 24-48 hours.

Repeat as much as you like but at least 2 or 3 time increasing slightly the blend with more Tung but never let it get to all Tung always have some dilution.

Once it is done buff it with a lint free dry cloth like you would a leather boot.

Add a little oil, rub it in and re-buff a couple times a year or as needed.

Don't hurry it, don't try and warm it with heat (lights), a true hand rubbed finish is just that. I think you will be pleased with the outcome. And if you ding it.. you can usually steam it right back out.

You can do the same thing with Linseed oil but it will darken more with time and demand a little more attention than the Tung. Plus it's not as resilient as Tung and blows up easier. :eek:

May 25, 2010, 11:42 AM
Certain types of oil (gun lubrication oil, WD-40,etc.) will absolutely ruin a good pair of grips or a stock. They make the wood soft. Linseed oil is a good finish for stocks and grips. Brownell's sells a product that I have used called Lin-speed. It works really well on handgun grips. I used it on some 1911 grips I made out of ironwood and they turned out great!

May 25, 2010, 12:13 PM
Give them a liberal coat of Permalyn Sealer , wipe off the excess after a few mins. and you're good to go !! I use it to seal and waterproof the inside of stocks that I refinish . I don't know of anything that does a better job of sealing wood !

May 25, 2010, 01:47 PM
Linseed oil is a good finish for stocks and grips.

Linseed oil turns very dark as is slowly cures.
It can end up almost black (it is a dirt magnet while curing).

Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) is a little better since the oxidation process of curing has been started already (the 'boiling' is actually injecting air into linseed oil in vats).

BLO still takes a long time to cure and ends up dark to black.