View Full Version : Some Stock finishing tips requested

July 25, 2010, 12:08 PM
I am getting ready to finish a new stock. What can I do to accent the wood grain (walnut). Best color? Does Bone Black help? If so, best way to apply?

Lastly, I really like a Tru-Oil finish but am looking for something more durable. What results has anyone had with the urethane type spar varnishes? What about "Permalyn? Others?

In the end I am looking for something that will make the stock as water resistant as possible, resist everyday handling (I'm retired and hope to go shooting as many days as possible), and require no "touch-up" rather than a little cleaning where I grip and rest my cheek.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

July 25, 2010, 12:21 PM
Permalyn is nice, especially the sealer.
Minwax gunstock stain looks nice on walnut.

July 25, 2010, 04:57 PM
if the stock is walnut, no need to stain, prep is the key. the smoother you sand, the better the finish i usuall sand down to a 600 paper. As to finish, oil is a very durable, and time tested finish, and can be easily applied with just a cotton rag and a little elbow grease.

July 25, 2010, 06:48 PM

Do you "sand in" the oil with wet/dry sandpaper or fine steel wool?

July 25, 2010, 06:58 PM
I do stock work for a living, so I get to use a lot of different products. Here's my take on finishing:

* Sanding wood beyond 400 grit is a waste of time, it will make no difference in the finished product. Once the finish is dry and you are sanding for final finish, go ahead and sand to 500 or 600 if you like.

* TruOil is very easy to use, but does not truly seal the wood. If is easy to apply, and if it is scratched or damaged it is easy to touch up.

* Permalyn is nice, it is a polyethylene-based oil finish, so it goes on like oil. Very easy to use, very durable. To touch it up, just sand, then reapply more Permalyn.

* Brownells' Acra-Wood finish is very durable, easy to apply, and is the most durable of all the finishes. Spray on several coats, sand, apply a few more coats, etc, until it is completely finished.

* Various teak oil or tung oil finishes are available, but most are just poly finishes that give the look of real tung or teak oil without the waiting a week between coats for the finish to dry. The biggest issue I have with these finishes is that many are not solvent-resistant. If you opt for teak oil or tung oil, buy products that are specifically recommended for firearm finishes.

* For staining stocks, use spirit-based or water-based stains. I use water-based, primarily because wood is water-friendly, and it is easy and very forgiving to use.

July 26, 2010, 11:24 AM
i rub the oil in like shoe polish for the first 5 or 6 coats, then, depending on the grain of the wood, i will use 1500 grit paper and oil to work more oil into the grain. i have found this to be the easiest way to fill in the grain. once the grain is filled, i sand flat the rifle with 1500 grit paper, using water as a lube with the paper. once sanded flat, oil is wiped on with a piece of cotton t-shirt
then let dry. add one coat at a time untill you are satisfied with the depth of the finish. allow a couple of weeks for the oil to cure fully, then polish. as to the durability of tung oil, i have in my collection a 7.7mm arisaka that was sportered in the 60's by my father, that rifle sees 4 to 6 weeks in the woods and 10 or 15 trips to the range a year, both in his posession, and mine, for more than 40 years, and the finish is holding up very well.

July 26, 2010, 06:58 PM
I like to fill the grain with Art's stock filler / Walnut stain . Then seal inside and out with Permalyn sealer . Mask ckeckering after sealing . I use Pro-Custom oil from Brownells . It's a Urethane modified Tung oil with the best features of both . I apply six base coats rubbing in as much as it will take with my fingers , buffing with 000 steel wool between coats . Then I apply 2 coats of finish with the same process then lightly wet sand every third coat with 1000 Grit. Repeat till you have the depth you're looking for . If you feel the need , apply one or two coats of 50-50 oil and mineral spirits to the checkering , don't over do ! Nothing says ROOKIE like checkering full of finish !

July 27, 2010, 12:06 PM
I'd pay attention to the gent who says that he does it for a living.

Other than that, try your Google/Yahoo/Norton search skills for a thread something like 'how to do the world's best stock finish'. It'd probably be on another forum though. I don't remember.

I didn't finish a stock, but I have the worlds best looking hickory walking stick.