View Full Version : Stripping finish off a stock?

October 30, 2012, 08:40 AM
Noticed more scratches and a chip or to in the clear coat on the stocks of a used shotgun I just purchased, now that I have it home in good light. And I'm not really fond of light yellow/blonde wood on a gun. Also I need to fit it with a recoil pad so some sanding on the back may be needed causing a need to refinish anyway..

Questions: If could only buy something local (lowes, home depot, paint stores) not ordering it from brownells.

What is the best thing to strip off the clear coat and color from the stock?

And in reverse, Best (toughest) satin or gloss clear coat to refinish with? Lacquer? Poly-urethane? Tung/linseed oil or some other rubbed finish? I'm going back with a darker color like English chestnut.

The stock and forearm does have checkering, so sanding it off is not an option.

October 30, 2012, 10:52 AM
I do stock work for a living, so I strip a lot of stocks, probably 3-4 each month. The best stripper I have found is Citristrip, available at Home Depot, Lowe's, WalMart, etc. It will even lift off the tough clear finishes like Browning or Weatherby use. Put on a thick coat of the goo and let it sit a day or so, then wipe or scrape the finish off and wash the wood with cold water after you are satisfied with the stripping job. Sometimes I need a second coat, but it is usually a one-step stripping process.

As far as the best finish available from hardware stores, spray polyurethane works well, just use thin coats, and sand between coats with 400 grit or finer paper.

October 30, 2012, 11:19 AM
Thank you sir! I actually have a jug of citri-strip from a door I refinished a couple of months ago.

October 30, 2012, 11:21 AM
I would additionally advise you to go to a "Dollar Store", and buy several $1 toothbrushes for scrubbing the old finish & stripper out of the checkering, then tossing it to use another for staining and yet another for brushing in some finish, after the rest of the stock is finished.

(I mask off the checkering after stripping, and stain/finish it separately/last.)

While I too use CitriStrip, I only use it for epoxy-type finishes.
For most others, I first try/use Formby's Furniture Refinisher (following the can directions), also available @ Home Cheapo, etc, to remove the old finishes.

I would let any stripper dry a looong time ( I do overnite), to ensure all chems have fully evaporated.

FWIW, except for repairs and/or repaired areas, I haven't had to touch a stock with sandpaper (or de-whisker one) ever since these stripping products came on the market.


October 30, 2012, 04:49 PM
Minwax and rustoleum both have an exterior Spar Varnish in a rattle can. I've used the minwax polyurethane quite a bit and have been pretty happy with the results on new cabinets and furniture I've done.

I was looking at a sample of birch and walnut that had dark walnut danish oil on them and I really liked it. Can the Spar varnish be applied over the danish oil as extra protection? Or would that not work?

November 1, 2012, 07:50 PM
Danish oil is what's called a 'wiping varnish', and it's a mixture of an oil (tung or linseed), some mineral spirits, and some varnish. It's an oil finish, so you can put a standard or a spar varnish over it. Personally, I don't see the need for a spar varnish in a gunstock application. Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane, either brushed or sprayed, looks great and dries fast. You can get it in gloss, semigloss, or satin. I prefer the satin for gunstocks, but that's just me.

That said, I'm a woodworker (call me a good amateur), but I do know a fellow that is a true professional. He has just 'adjusted' my thinking on wood finishes and I'm trying his approach out on a project I'm doing in Cherry. What he suggests is that, after sanding to 400 or 600 grit and raising the grain a time or two to remove the 'whiskers' that result, you apply one coat of Danish Oil as a primer coat. For your needs, you might want a colored Danish Oil, but I'm using the Original in clear. After that, he suggests up to 4 coats of Waterlox Original in Satin finish, wet sanding with wet/dry 600 grit sandpaper as each coat is applied. Treat the Waterlox as a wiping varnish and wipe off the excess at each application after you've given it time to soak in. I've tried this approach out on a scrap piece of Cherry and the finish is amazing (smooth as marble). For my particular project, I'm going to stain the wood with a water based medium cherry stain after the grain raising and before the first coat of Danish Oil.

November 3, 2012, 08:59 AM
Excellent! Thank you.

On a side note....the citristrip most definitely did NOT work. I was quite surprised as I've used often on various finishes with no problems. I eventually (after trying two others in steps of harshness) ended up with the most harsh, caustic varnish and epoxy stripper I could find....and it took two applications of it to get 90% of the clear coat off:eek: a third quick coat removed most if not all of the color. My Lord, I think this stuff was impervious to micro meteorites.