View Full Version : Botched mosin nagant stock refinishing...

April 1, 2011, 01:12 AM
I stripped all the old finish off of the stock with chems, and sanded the down until it was perfection....nothing but fresh white wood, as it were new from the factory.

Then I applied the stain, and the wood rejected it. The stain made it blotchy all over with an horrible green color, with very, very dark spots on the bottom of the buttstock (I tried minwax gunstock color).

Why has the stain become so blotchy? Did I have to sand even more?How do I go about to removing the botched stain? I feel so depressed now about my $60 gun investment.

April 1, 2011, 09:41 PM
Did you use a sanding sealer?

April 4, 2011, 07:38 AM
Most of those stocks were junk wood. They look almost like American Yellow Pine, but they are not. Yellow pine has hard and soft grain in it, so the stain soaks in the soft areas and the hard areas reject it. Probably what happened to you.

April 4, 2011, 09:00 AM
The Russians put the color in the shellac for a reason.

April 4, 2011, 09:42 AM
First question, how familiar are you with staining? What you describe is what you get if you over-apply and let it sit too long. The trick is to apply a thin layer, and wipe it off rather too early than too late. Reapply several times until it comes out right.
You can resand your stock until the dark splotches come out, then redo as described. Or you can get yourself a sandable primer, cover completely, polish, and give it a nice candy apple gloss coat (not really but any solid color will do).

April 4, 2011, 09:52 AM
Just to clarify, the stock is most definately NOT made from American Yellow pine. If you know your rifles origin, this chart :

http://7.62x54r.net/MosinID/MosinSpec.htm (near bottom of page)

should help you identify the type of wood your working with. You need to know the difference between hard and soft wood in order to correctly stain it. You also need to be sure you have finished sanding with the correct grit according to wood type in order to achieve an even looking finish. This is a pretty good video explaining the basics of staining.


Not sure what happened in your case and more information would help. What rifle do you have? Country of origin? Pictures of stock?

April 6, 2011, 10:57 AM
No, the stock is not yellow pine. Pay attention. The majority of Russian stocks are some type of wood that resembles yellow pine. The wood is probably some type of junk spruce that was good for strength and not looks. If you ever worked with yellow pine you would know that it is actually a hard/softwood combination, not unlike your average Russian stock. You also have the problem of sap retention most pine/spruce like woods have and this also rejects stain. Using a pre-drier on the wood would help the wood to absorb more stain. As somebody previously stated, the stain used was in the shellac. Shellac is just a coating and will barely penetrate wood.

April 7, 2011, 12:56 PM
Sand it clean and try gel type stain to limit actual wood penetration.

Many softwoods are a real PITA to stain.

The difference in hardness between the early-wood and late-wood makes the color uneven.

April 7, 2011, 02:06 PM
According to the chart that Mr GoodWrench posted it sounds like Birch. What was your final grit on the sand paper? If you went to fine you actually burnished the wood, sealling it so tight the stain could not penatrate/, penatrate evenly. I did that with some Oak furniture I made and a Birdseye Maple gun stock I took to 600 grit. Winter growth is harder then summer growth and the winter growth will not take the stain the same. Good luck.

April 7, 2011, 02:08 PM
The trick to eliminating blotchiness when staining is to apply a thin coat of shellac first.

Get some blonde shellac and thin it out with alcohol. That seals the pores which absorb more stain and make it blotchy.

April 7, 2011, 02:41 PM

Mine came out awesome... trick is LOTS of lighter stain coats and be sure to wipe off excess and 0000 steel wool in between all coats.

April 7, 2011, 03:09 PM
Sand it, seal it, paint it semi-gloss black.

That's what I did with my Norinco SKS... now it's a poor-man's EBR. (evil black rifle) :D

I did this about 14 or 15 years ago, and it's held up amazingly well. Just a few dings here and there. Gives it character, as if it didn't have enough already...:rolleyes:

April 7, 2011, 03:10 PM
although, Sirsloop's looks pretty slick the way it turned out, too. Just a lot more work.

April 8, 2011, 01:10 PM
if you're gonna do it, do it right ;)

thats my motto... even on $100 rifles

April 10, 2011, 12:30 PM
I redid the stock on my MN but wasn't aiming for a particular color. I stripped it, sanded it, then applied half a dozen coats of tung oil allowing each coat to dry 2 to 3 hours. I then gave it 2 or 3 coats of clear poly to seal it all in. The end result was almost like a light walnut with nice clear grain. Not professional quality by any means but much better than the original blotchy, peeling varnish.

April 10, 2011, 07:56 PM
The problem with refinishing an old stock is there is no way to tell what contaminants are on the surface and in the wood, and how they will affect absorption of stain.

That oil you can no longer see may still be in the wood and affect stain absorption.

One of the ways to prevent blotching uses a thin coat of shellac to try and reduce absorption.

The shellac is absorbed unevenly and tends to block the stain from being absorbed in the same places.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

Using gel type stains allow for slower absorption and more time to try and correct problems.

Same problem though, sometimes you can get a more even color, sometimes not.

If the contaminant blocks very well, no waiting is going to make the color absorb at that spot.

there are other problems that can alter the color.

using to fine a sand paper grit can burnish the wood so there are not enough scratches to capture and hold pigment stain.
To coarse a grit leave s rough surface and the pigment is then captured excessively in the scratches and looks bad.

Using tinted varnish helps a lot.

Nothing is absorbed, everything sits on top of the wood's surface.
Scratches can still look bad though since the finish will be thicker (and darker) in the scratches.

About the only thing to do is try, and if you are not satisfied with the result, try again.

April 15, 2011, 06:09 PM
Just an update. I finally threw away my bottle of stain, frustrated at it, and sanded my botched mosin nagant down to wood agian with 220.

I then put 4 coats of cheap tru oil. This is what I was able to salvage from it.


April 17, 2011, 01:15 PM
That looks Ok. It is a military weapon anyway. If you try to stain it again, the shellac sealer advice is good, but use a thinned shellac (1 pound cut) and be sure it's a dewaxed shellac. Blotchy soft woods are really tough to stain evenly. Something that doesn't penetrate usually won't blotch, so gel stains are a good option over the shellac.

April 17, 2011, 03:48 PM
That does look cool man.:) How do you feel about it? It does look nice dude.;)

April 18, 2011, 08:40 AM
It does look pretty good :cool:

April 19, 2011, 07:46 PM
Hey everyone, heres an update agian.

I was fortunate enough to meet a now good friend with woodworking skills, and I've told him about the blotching when applying a stain.

So what he did was take my stock to his workshop and stripped the tru oil I've already applied. He then told me he bleached the entire stock. I've then looked on numerous forums for a red stain, and I've found one. It involes RIT clothing dye from walmart and Iso alcohol.

70% Rit Scarlet
5% Rit Sunshine orange (Just a dash)
25% Isopropyl 90% alcohol

The solution was very red, and one coat of it was already enough. I've then applied 10 coats tru oil with 0000 steel wool between.

Finished result. I think I was able to fix my mistake.

April 19, 2011, 10:15 PM
That looks terrific. I'll remember the bleach idea.

woody wood
April 20, 2011, 07:38 AM
nice look,thinking of refinishing one of mine,may have to give that a shot.anyone else with a good recipe?

April 20, 2011, 09:37 AM
I have ~ 14 of the 91/30, M44, 91/59, M39, ect type rifles.

The Polish M44 rifles have stocks that look like birch and might be worth working on.
Some rifles have laminated stocks.
Boyd sells a Walnut stock for cheap, and there is one here:

But the old 91/30 stocks seem to be made of a very soft wood that is so full of oil, that the oil not only comes streaming out when the barrel is hot from shooting fast, but it can stream out if the rifle is left in the sunshine.

My guess is that they boiled these stocks in linseed oil and that type of wood soaks it up like a sponge.

This week I was filing through some of the stock for welded on scope mount relief, and I was just disgusted. It is like oily white mush.

I would avoid beautifying 91/30 stocks.

Thomas Schmidt
August 29, 2012, 11:38 PM
After stripping and sanding. I applied minwax prestain wood conditioner, next I used minwax Sedona Red 222. The final application was Zinsser Bullseye shellac amber . I apllied 4 coats of shellac sanding lightly with 320 grit between coats, then finishing the final coat with 0000 steel wool to remove the shine. The stock came out uniform in color with that red tone to it.