View Full Version : Claro walnut stock for Remington 700 .223

January 16, 2012, 12:49 PM

Thanks for letting me join this forum. I have been repairing, and refinishing rifle stocks as a hobby for over 10 years. As I was reading over previous posts I saw a couple questions that I can comment on.

1. Type of finish. Always use a oil-based finish such as Tung, or Boiled linseed oil because the others seal the wood to the point that down the road the wood will dry out, shrink and crack the finish, and I have even seen the wood itself crack. As the oil finish deteriorates, clean, scrub down with fine steel wool, and put more finish on.

2. Fixing "dings, and dents" is easy. When your wife is away from the house borrow her steam iron, set it to the highest heat with water in it to generate steam, and with a shop cloth between the iron and the wood "iron" the stock. You will amazed at the results.

To my project. I am replacing the plastic stock on my Remington 700 with a Extra fancy Claro walnut stock. The " Extra Fancy" means that the wood grain goes in at least 9,352 directions which makes it a pain to get rid of the sanding marks. Normally you sand with the grain but with this wood it is difficult to say the least. Has anyone out there had any experience with this? If so I would appreciate any feedback.

I also plan on floating the barrel, bedding the action, and pillar bedding it.


January 16, 2012, 01:16 PM
I'm with you on the oil based stock finishes. I prefer using Minwax Antique Oil, but that's probably because I keep it on hand for my woodworking (my primary hobby). To me, the best looking finish is the hand rubbed BLO, but it's a long slow process.

As to the sanding, I think your best option is just to work your way from whatever coarse first sandpaper you use all the way to your finest grade sandpaper - 150 to 180 to 220 to 240 to 320 and maybe to 400 or 600. The 150 might even be too coarse to start with if the wood comes to you pretty smooth already. Probably 320 is as far as you need to go with final sanding, but I might go to 400. That should get rid of your sandpaper marks. Then the wet sanding with 320 and the oil finish and then maybe rottenstone and oil to fill the remaining wood pores. Hard work, but the results will be fantastic. I'd love to see the stock when you get it done, so please post pictures for us all.

January 16, 2012, 01:27 PM

I've heard of rottenstone. Never used it. What I have used for filling grain is mixing sanding dust in thinned tung oil

January 16, 2012, 01:36 PM
There is one old trick that I learned from Guns and Ammo magazine years ago. When you think you have it sanded down and ready to start applying the oil, soak it in a tub of water for an hour or so, let it dry for about 24 hours and then sand it with the finest paper you have. This soaking will cause all the little fine hairs to stand up and after you sand these down, it will feel like glass.

January 16, 2012, 01:45 PM
I usually go as far as 600grit and sometimes as far as 800 on heavy figure working fore and aft which is the "predominant" direction of the grain and have no issue with sanding scratches. This is prior to applying any finish and a work-up through grits from what ever is necessary to start.

Wipe down generously with distilled water and let it dry naturally then sand again with your last grit. This is called "whiskering". I would recommend against "soaking it in a tub". All you are looking for here is to raise compressed whiskers of grain. An overnight dry is usually all that is necessary. Can't imagine how long you'd have to let it dry [or warp] if it was soaked.

I use Dem-Bart stock finishing oil which is thinner than normal Tung or TruOil,


Several coats of the oil swabbed in and allowed to dry for several days.

Wet sand [with what ever grit I finished the bare wood with] using the oil and creating a slurry of oil and sanding wood dust. I pack this into the pores by hand rubbing section by section. Your stock is going to look "horrible" at this point but the trick is to let this slurry coat dry completely, maybe a week or more.

Wet sand again as before this time wiping off the slurry down to the surface and checking for any unfilled pores [pack with slurry as necessary] and let the thing dry completely again.

Now using 0000 steel wool do the whole stock to take off any of the remaining slurry and "cloudyness", should end up with a nice satin sheen with no dull spots and no pores.

Now I start adding "hand rubbed" coats of the Stock Oil. Just several drops dabbed on the area I'm working and vigorously rubbed with the bare palm and fingers. Let dry at least overnight and repeat as often as you like. Friction heat is key here if you aren't "burning your hand" step it up a notch.

I check between sessions for any cloudy or dull areas and more gently apply the steel wool process to remove.

After you have enough coats to please you let it dry completely again [several days] and then an over all gentler rubdown with the steel wool to the sheen that pleases you.

I then apply several coats of Dem-Bart gunstock wax and hand buff with a soft terry cloth.

Results are as good as you'll see on any "London Oil Finish" and completely repairable over the life of the gun.

Hardest parts are the WAITING for drying and the initial steel wooling but well worth the effort.

I don't have any affiliation with Dem-Bart except buying their products and checkering tools, it's just the oil and wax that I have settled on after trying almost everything else over the years.

Good luck and enjoy Patience is the watchword. There is nothing like the look of a well done oil finish and the feel is like that of a lover's cheek against yours.

Mike J

January 16, 2012, 02:10 PM
You know, as part of this forum membership, that when your project is finished we all expect to see pictures posted in here!! :D

I LOVE fancy wood stocks.

January 16, 2012, 03:46 PM
I will send along a picture of the finished product. By the way here is a picture of a previous project:

Mauser 98 Large ring action
Adams, and Bennett barrel
Match chambered in .308
Richards Microfit stock
Timiny featherlight trigger
Leupold 4x12 scope, and Leupold mount

January 16, 2012, 04:09 PM
I would recommend against "soaking it in a tub".
Either way will accomplish the same goal. Whiskering is the proper name now that I am reminded. I read about this technique back in the early seventies and have used it on several stocks and never caused any warp-age or any other problem. I don't think G&A would have published it if it would cause a problem. Like I said, 24 hours to dry and your good to go.
I then take boiled linseed oil dilute, it 50/50 with naptha and liberally soak the stock with a paint brush till it is thoroughly soaked. diluting helps it soak in deeper. Allow this to dry until it is not tacky to the touch (3-4 days, maybe a week depending on the humidity where you are working) and then work it down with 0000 steel wool. Soak it down again with 75/25 mixture of linseed oil to naptha and repeat the process until you are down to the last few coats with pure linseed oil always allowing several days drying time between coats. On the final coat, if you like a glossy finish don't rub it down with the steel wool. If you like a matte finish, rub it down. It will give you a finish that will last several lifetimes and can easily be repaired if scratched or dinged.