View Full Version : Wasr 10 wood refinishing gone wrong

January 28, 2012, 12:16 PM
I stripped the wood with citristripper, sanded it down with 500 and 750 grit sandpaper until perfectly smooth, then I applied Minwax stain.

That's were everything went downhill, it came out awfully blotchy and uneven, with the underside of the stock very dark and the sides very light.

To add to frustration, the stain is still very sticky after 3 days. (I applied stain and let it rest for 5 minutes, then I wiped all the access off as per directions)

What did I do wrong?

January 28, 2012, 02:06 PM
I don't know what wood you are dealing with, but surely it isn't walnut. You don't get much, if any, blotching with walnut. However, a lot of the lower cost woods that have been used for military and civilian gunstocks will blotch badly. Mostly those woods are, when unstained or unfinished, whitish or light tan or brownish. If that's what you have, blotching is likely to be a problem. Minwax sells a water based stain conditioner that they say helps control blotching, but it doesn't work that well. From what I've read and experienced, the best blotch preventative or controller is to use a 1# cut of shellac on the bare wood. Sand lightly after it dries and then use your stain. That works Ok, but the remaining shellac limits the penetration of the stain (which is the reason it prevents blotching), so you may not get the wood as dark as you'd like. I'd suggest, as an alternative approach, that you go with a non-penetrating wipe-on stain. No penetration, no blotch. You can add more later to darken further with it or you can use mineral spirits to take some off if it's too dark. Once you have it the way you want it, get some spray shellac from Home Depot or Lowes (or Ace) and give it one or two very light coats. Once that's dry, you can varnish over the shellac. The shellac prevents the varnish from dissolving the stain, which is just sitting on the wood surface. Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane in Satin looks pretty nice as a final finish, and you can spray or brush it on. Go with light coats, so that the varnish won't drip or run.

If you apply the wipe on stain with a bunched up rag, you'll be amazed at how you can make it look like wood grain. Play with it till you get the hang of it. Mistakes come off with mineral spirits. I did all of the above a few months ago for a friend. Had I known how bad the wood was, I'd have not done it. But once I started I had to finish. The painted on wood grain worked so well that they thought it was a walnut stock.

January 28, 2012, 02:06 PM
What did I do wrong?
Probably nothing. It's what you didn't do that is showing.

Especially with odd or unknown hardwoods, once you sand, dewhisker, and dry the stock, you need to apply some pre-stain sealer (sometimes called pre-stain conditioner). This will make the end grain and cross grain wood absorb stain the same as the flat of the grain.

As far as
stain is still very sticky after 3 days
it almost sounds like there was some sort of finish left on the wood, like maybe some polyurethane or silicone. This might allso account for some of the blotchy finish issue.

Good news is that you can strip, re-sand, and try again.

January 28, 2012, 04:47 PM
:) Wipe wipe wipe with alcohol, clean it up, let it dry and sand again, then...try again!

That stain didn't penetrate very far into the wood anyway in my opinion. Now, if it was an alcohol based stain...might be harder

January 28, 2012, 06:45 PM
I was watching one of Larry Potterfields videos the other day and he starts with a 150 grit and moves to a 220 then a 320. You might have not taken enough wood off with the fine paper to completely remove all the old finish that soaked into the pores of the wood. Stain blends very well so you might try sanding the lighter areas a little deeper than see if it restains darker.

January 28, 2012, 07:24 PM
Have noticed a lot of the ex-soviet block countries use a cheap,almost pine like wood that bleeds resin.Might want to try mixing a stain with lacquer.

the only sarge
January 28, 2012, 07:36 PM
I have to wipe it down quite a bit or I get what you got.

January 28, 2012, 09:23 PM
I also would not be afraid of 80 grit paper to start with

January 28, 2012, 09:35 PM
If the stock isn't walnut, and if it blotches, it isn't going to quit blotching, even if you wipe it with alcohol or pixie dust. The cause of the problem is direction change in the wood grain, and grain that is more vertical or perpendicular to the surface absorbs much more (water, alcohol, oil, etc.) than grain that is parallel to the surface. Pre-stain controllers work on the principle that the blotchy spots will absorb more of the conditioner and will therefore tend to absorb less of the stain when it's applied immediately thereafter. As I mentioned earlier, the approach using thinned shellac works best, but it still isn't perfect or even close to perfect unless maybe it's done by a real professional woodworker. For blotchy wood, if that's indeed what you have, a surface stain, which isn't really a stain since it doesn't penetrate, is about all you can do to prevent blotching. Good luck with it. The pains of dealing with blotchy wood is why I mostly work in walnut and leave the beautiful, though blotchy, cherry stacked against the wall. Call me lazy. You need to bring your A game to work with cherry, but the results if done right are terrific.

You take the dark or medium brown stock off a cheap old single shot 22 and sand it and you quickly find a white or offwhite wood. That's because the maker of the stock did just what I'm talking about and used a non-penetrating colorant. That's also the same kind of wood that's on a lot of the lower cost bolt actions on the market. I can look at the stock and tell that it's not walnut, but I doubt that most people pay much attention to that until they knock a chunk off of it or decide they're going to refinish it. Next time you're in the gun store, go pick up a high grade FN made Winchester. That's a walnut stock. Then go pick up a low priced CZ (and I'm not knocking CZ, they are fine rifles). Did I rant? I didn't mean to rant.:D

January 29, 2012, 02:41 AM
This wood is worthless. I restripped and sanded the stock once more with strips varieties of 400 to 800 grit sandpaper.

I applied stain once more for a few minutes and wiped off immediatly. It looks horrible.

I'm buying a new set of Ironwood design stock,s

January 29, 2012, 09:55 AM
:) 400gr is not coarse enough. This is a wood stock, not an automobile. :D Do not be afraid of 80 or 100 grit.

While you are waiting for your new stock set, you can play with the old one. Get some 80 grit (60, if'n yer mad at it! ;) ) some 'whitening', and some alcohol based stain, and see if there's any improvement.

If you're REALLy mad at it, send it to me so I can play with it. I like a challenge

January 29, 2012, 06:43 PM
Some woods can be difficult to stain, due to uneven absorption as mentioned above. Here's a good article...

January 30, 2012, 11:06 AM
then I applied Minwax stain.

never have liked minwax.

First your wood probably had a shellac finish at one time. You need to get that off with denatured alcohol. 400-600 grit paper is to fine for wood. 220 or 320 is what you want to use.

Use a alcohol based stain. I use Tandy leather dye, I can custom mix colors and it's easy to lighten if I go to dark, just use some straight alcohol to pull some color out.

When you get the color you want then finish coat with shellac, the Russian way.

February 2, 2012, 03:38 PM
I'm surprised the stain didn't just bead up from using 750 grit. :D

Seriously, the grain does need to be somewhat pourus in order to accept the stain. I wouldn't go any finer than maybe 320-400 grit, tops. ;)

February 2, 2012, 08:48 PM
I hesitate to say this again, but feel like I should. If it's a blotch prone wood, that isn't going to change or improve with plywood grit. Blotchy wood is just flat tough to deal with and even tougher to whip into shape. Sand it, shellac it, and put on a surface (non-penetrating) stain and then shellac again and then put a varnish (polyurethane) over it. If you do that well, it'll look fine.

If it's not a blotch prone wood, ignore what I said. But if after a couple of resandings and restainings it still blotches, pm me.

February 2, 2012, 08:56 PM
Well, he could paint it :D