View Full Version : Walnut Stock Help Needed

August 29, 2010, 09:27 AM
I have an English Walnut Stock from a Dixie Gun Works' Hawken kit that I got last week. I've been working on it for a few days now. I would like a satin finish, but the wood has a lot of character of which I would like to accentuate. I want to take my time and do it right.

I sanded it down with 600 grit prior to putting on my first coat of BC Tru-Oil, and removed all of the debris. Then I went to an initial coat of Tru-Oil and let it dry for 3 hours. Next, I wet sanded in a small circular motion using the Tru-Oil and 220 grit. I allowed this to dry for 3 hours before wet sanding again.

Now, I've let the stock set up for 10 hours, and I can still feel some small 'hairs' all over the stock from the wood grain. Do I need to wet sand again, or should I proceed to my final finishes?

August 29, 2010, 10:02 AM
I am to understand that you are planning on putting only two coats of BC-True-oil. Right?
If so and by my measure, you are just getting started. That is the hairs as you call them are indicating that. Keep doing what you are doing and keep listening to what the project is telling you. Depending on my prep. work, I finish out with a minimum of four coats and a max of about seven or eight. There are an endless number of fine finishes you can put on a stock and BC is one of them, even on your sidelock. ...... ;)

Be Safe !!!

August 29, 2010, 10:19 AM
Oh ... I intend to put several more coats on. However, I was just wondering if I need to wet again before proceeding. Sorry I didn't clarify. Will the wet sanding remove the hairs?

August 29, 2010, 10:28 AM
Well, I never wet-sand a stock finish but some folks certainly do. I'm sure you can reduce or eliminate the whiskers either way. They will eventually go away from coat to coat. I use BC Sealer in prep and that step removes most of the whiskers. It's just another primary coat. I have also use a Min-Wax conditioner and it too works in the same manner. When I say that I never use wet-sand, I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with it, I just nave never had a need or reason to do so.

Be Safe !!!

August 29, 2010, 10:47 AM
Yeah Pahoo is leading you down the straight and narrow on this one, generally speaking I usually take sanding to the 600 grit level, and wipe the stock down with stain, (if it is going to be stained) water if it's not, the key here is lightly do not soak the stock!! But only raise the grain twice and remove, with 600, or even finer. After two coats, or after my desired tint or stain has been achieved, I like to rub in PASTE WOOD FILLER, this rubs in easily, and fills the grain deeply and invisably. Make Dang sure your not using WOOD PUTTY, cause they are totally different. Now after my stock has dried for at least 24-48 hours, then I'll start handrubbing the BC oil into the wood, making sure I rub with enough force as to penetrate the grain to the filler I used two days prior. After each coat has Totally dried, I use 0000 steelwool for a rubdown, after the gloss is removed I use an airhose to carefully blow all the debris out of the stock. I then take a piece of Tack Cloth and wipe the stock thorougly, making sure it picks up Any debris my airhose failed to extract, then I rub in another coat. You be the judge of how many coats, as to what depth of lustre, or gloss. I posted a new thread on Art Of The Rifle called 151K Makeover (Lipstick on a pig), It shows results of just two coats of True-Oil. Hey and the best thing is, your'e doing it yourself!!! much more rewarding. I also like the effects of Danish Oil Finsh, It's pretty!!:)

August 29, 2010, 11:18 AM
Hmm I’m a little paranoid about water raising the grain and over-hydrating the wood, so I never wet sand until much later in the process (if at all - usually not), and when I’m sure the wood is completely sealed. With sandpaper, the hairs are only cut on the cross-grain strokes. With-grain strokes lay ’em down and they tend to pop back up as a coat of finish dries. 0000 steel wool will grab them and cut them, but watch out for leaving steel hairs behind … especially if the finish hasn’t hardened.

August 29, 2010, 11:34 AM
especially if the finish hasn’t hardened.
I can tell you know this by experience and this is true. I call it curing of the finish. What happens here, is that the solvents in the finish, are evaporating and how long it takes is determined by the ambient conditions. That is why I let the stock cure for three to six months. Then I do the final buffing and waxing. Now, that doesn't mean that you can't use the firearm for that long, it just means that I have given to finish, time to cure or as posted, hardened. I have some older applications that have lasted me, for years. It's a labor of love that provides great satisfaction.

Be Safe !!!

August 29, 2010, 12:36 PM
To clarify a second point .....

I am not wet sanding with water, but with the Tru-Oil finish. ;)

Sorry I keep confusing everyone.

I wet the area down with Tru-Oil and wet sand. Then I move on to another area ... repeating the process throughout the entire stock.

August 29, 2010, 01:01 PM
so you’re more filling the grain than anything else… and mixing sawdust and dried finish with the Tru Oil as you go ?
Interesting. I’ve never tried that … (have tried mixing wood flour with a finish as a rub down followed by dry sanding once … with mixed results) I’d be afraid of obscuring the grain you want to stand out ... unless you plan on full sanding after the pores are filled.
Chances are, you’re also creating more hairs as you go, imo.

August 29, 2010, 01:42 PM
I am not wet sanding with water, but with the Tru-Oil finish.

Ah yes, not I understand what you are refering to. On reading this, most of us would assume that you are talking about water. If you go to the Boyt website, they present a video on what to do and this is the process they use. It sounded interesting and I am in the process of doing as kit gun as well. This process has more than benefit on stock refinishing. It also eliminates any possibility of runs as there should "never" be any, on a stock. It's really not much different than hand rubbing a finish and yes, you are rubbing some of the Tru-Oil into the pores. ... ;)

Be Safe !!!

August 29, 2010, 01:44 PM
Yeah, I might have been a little misleading, the fact is that my stock is still in sanding mode when I raise grain, And your'e right Animal it raises the heck out of it, and it requires alot of elbow grease! And I'm not one to say I do it the best way. I try to learn something new everytime I take one to the workbench!:D

August 29, 2010, 02:25 PM
Geez… I dunno if there is any such thing as the "best way". . All that matters is that the man that owns the rifle likes the end result anyway. Ditto on learning something. I like experimenting with the wood and learning about different techniques. :cool:Heard about some that I was afraid to try before seeing the results… Wish I could see the end result of the oil-sanding thing up close.

Also had to strip off more than one after one of my own kooky ideas didn’t pan out:D ... ended up painting a couple of them too:o.

August 29, 2010, 03:54 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention that there is a little trick that is used by woodworker. While you are in the final sanding stages, dampen a sponge with "water" and lightly rub the stock. Then watch the whiskers rise. Let dry and sand again. Repeat the process a couple of times and then proceed with the sealer or whatever you are using. The only time I allow water to touch my work is here and during the final waxing, much later.

Be Safe !!!

August 29, 2010, 07:02 PM
English walnut usually has some very interesting grain, and I like to accentuate it as much as possible. But finishing the stock is one of the more critical parts of the process. Since I do stockwork for a living, I will say there are as many ways to finish a stock as there are people finishing stocks, rather than telling you there is a certain way to do it I will say there are a few things you want to make sure you don't do.
* Sanding bare wood to 600 grit- a lot of non-professionals do this. Walnut grain is coarser than your 600 grit paper, if you keep sanding you push sawdust and slivers into the grain and polish them. It looks great! As you have found, once you wet the wood, your hard work is gone. Sand bare wood to 350-400 grit at the finest. Then wet the wood with water and "whisker" the wood, then wipe it down with a damp coth. Hang it up in a dry place for a few days to completely dry.
* Whatever finish you choose, put on thin coats. The old "wet sand with TruOil will fill the grain" doesn't work. What you wind up with is a sticky, gooey mess that will darken the wood, look muddy, and take forever to dry. I used to do it that way until a friend showed me an easier way. So, thin coat first, dry 3-4 days, repeat 3 times, then sand, 3 thin coats dried 3-4 days between coats, then sand, until you fill the grain, usually 8-9 coats.

* Then sand with 600 grit, put on a thin coat, and sand between coats with 600 grit until your stock is done. This will give you a smooth, clear finish that show off the wood and does not look gloppy (yes, that is a made-up onomatopoeic word).

August 29, 2010, 08:37 PM
Scorch .... you have some great ideas there! ;)

One of the problems I have found with the wet sanding with Tru-Oil method is just what you are describing. It might be ok on a laminate or solid color stock, but mine is multi-characteristic, and I want to take advantage of the grain patterns.

I've noticed that after I let the stock dry last night ... this morning I woke up and found that there are build-up areas on certain areas of the stock that look ugly! :( Mainly around the neck, under the butt, and at the front of the cheek piece. I tried sanding them down, but it's just a gooey mess. The rest of the stock looks great! It's just these 3 areas that I want to remove.

What should I do? Completely strip down and start over?

Can I run that area down with Denatured Alcohol and remove some of the build-up? It almost looks like a cosmoline build-up it is so dark. It is from where the dust built up in the finish and settled there.

August 30, 2010, 03:30 AM
Several things you can try:
* Wipe the stock down with mineral spirits. It may loosen and dissolve the gooey parts, maybe not, depends on how firm they are. Denatured alcohol will have little effect on TruOil.

* If the stock is just too messy, you have the option of either sanding the stock down to the wood or stripping it and starting over.

* The advantage of sanding down to the wood is that when you get there, the grain will be filled. Disadvantage is that the stock will be darker than if you put light coats on. If you decide to sand, you will have to let the stock sit for several days until it is cured before starting to sand it.

* The advantage of stripping is that you can apply what you have learned and avoid the mess next time.

Your choice.:)

August 30, 2010, 09:57 AM
I tried hitting the areas I spoke of with 220 & then 400. It worked them down to manageable spots, and I think it will be fine. Everything else on the stock looks great. I'll post pics when it is fully cured next week.

I'm going to sand one more time with 400 or 500 grit, wipe down, and start putting on some light coats with my fingers. After that last sanding ... everything brightened up and it's as smooth as silk to the touch. It should all be smooth sailing from here. :D

August 30, 2010, 01:25 PM
Great! Happy to hear that. And you know, we expect pictures soon . . .

August 30, 2010, 04:02 PM
Definitely. I'll be braggin' with this one.

September 9, 2010, 07:54 PM
Here you go. It took me over a week with curing and all. Sorry about the bad pics. I just got my camera back from my wife today, and the settings are all messed up. Plus ... they're taken on my shop table. Not the best lighting there.

I'll have to take better pics tomorrow. The lighting doesn't show all of the character of the wood. It almost has a holographic effect to it when you move it in the light.



September 9, 2010, 08:48 PM
That is just flat out beautiful. Great job!! More pics?

September 9, 2010, 09:03 PM
Thanks! I'll have some more pics tomorrow. I'll take them outside in the sun.

Do you think the brass would look better with some 'brass black' on it? Also, I plan on blackening the aluminum screws with 'aluminum black' as well.

I know it's all a matter of personal preference, but I like the blackened brass. Think I should try it?

I don't know if you can tell or not, but I used 'plum brown' on the barrel to give it the rust look.

September 9, 2010, 09:56 PM
No need to wet sand w/ Tru-oil.

Get some steel wool and buff off the coat. I would think 8-10 coats would be in order, depending how heavy they are. NO RUNS. They are much harder to get out that to put in.

Apply the TO w/ fingers or palm-no brushs.

There was recently some discussion about putting TO onto a stock that had some Armor-all on it?? Acted like a catalyst. I have not done it but will try on my next stock refinish. That combo apparemtly gets HARD in a couple hours.

September 10, 2010, 03:53 PM
Can't get better pics today since we are getting some much needed rain. :D I will post more on the next sunny day we have.