View Full Version : M1 Refinishing Question

May 13, 2012, 10:41 AM
Some of you who read the semi-auto thread may already know but my grandparents actually met in the Springfield Armory plant while making M1 Garands. Well, I'm going to pick one up (service grade) from the CMP program.

I was thinking it'd be cool/sentimental to sand the stock down, then have my grandmother (94 and still going very strong!) sign it, then apply the finish. My initial thought was have her use a black sharpie and then tru-oil but I'm certainly not a refinishing expert. Would this work/look good? If not, what would be a better way to accomplish this. Thanks.

May 13, 2012, 09:05 PM
I certainly don't have the answer you're looking for- but it sure sounds like a dang neat idea to me.

Would it be cost prohibitive to pick up a 2nd stock, practice on a board, burn the signature in with one of those electirc hobby wood burning irons, and then finish over it, and then go for real on the stock?

I dunno, burning it in sounds permanent and having a story and a rifle like that is somehting that just ought to stay in the family for generations to come.

May 13, 2012, 11:56 PM
Find a piece of scrap walnut to practice on. If you do not have one, practice under the buttplate. I would be worried that the sharpie would bleed into the grain of the wood. Pen might work better.

May 14, 2012, 08:41 AM
Sharpie will also fade with sunlight eventually.

I think what you actually want is to have her sign a piece of paper with a thick round tip felt pen, then have someone with a Foredom tool mounted on a pantograph trace her signature from it so it is engraved into the wood. Some folks have programmable 3D router tables that could do the same thing from a scan of her signature. Scanning also gives you the option to adjust the size and line weight of the signature it to make it whatever size you want before engraving. Another possibility is to have a jeweler pantograph the signature onto some brass plate (rectangular, oval, or whatever tickles your fancy) and then carve a recess into the wood for it and nail or screw it in place. You could also apply epoxy decoupage over top to protect it, though you'd probably want a sealing layer of finish in place first to prevent the epoxy from bleeding into the grain at the recess edges and changing its appearance.

I've also seen engravers put signatures into the gun metal with carbide or diamond bit, then fill them in with gold. The left side of the receiver under the elevation knob might be a candidate location.

James K
May 14, 2012, 07:18 PM
A tried and true method is to have a brass plate engraved with the information about your grandmother's wartime work and a facsimile of her signature. Then glue or tack it to the stock.


May 15, 2012, 08:03 AM
Thanks for all the help so far gentlemen.

May 15, 2012, 03:54 PM
Just send in the order for a service grade and 400 rounds of Greek ammo. I suppose I have 30-60 days to decide how I want to approach this. :D

May 16, 2012, 06:34 PM
The suggestions from UncleNick are probably the best way to go. The Sharpie, however permanent it's claimed to be, would fade and the oil might cause it to bleed and make the signature less sharply defined. Another option is to have one of the woodworking companies (Woodcraft or an equal) supply you with an iron brand that could be used to burn the signature into the wood. That approach isn't cheap, but would look very good if done properly. As with the other suggested approach, you'd send an example of the signature and what else you wanted, and they'd send you the brand (to be heated with a propane torch or heated electrically). It could be, however, that the size of the signature would be smaller than you would like. That is a limitation in doing it that way. A positive might be that Granny would then have something that she could use to brand anything that needed branding.:D