View Full Version : American Walnut Finish

April 7, 2013, 11:34 PM
Hey I seem to have a thing with good old real wood stocks but I have never really had to put them in any real bad weather. What sort of sealant works well to preserve the wood?

April 8, 2013, 12:04 AM
You might try searching around Brownells (http://www.brownells.com/) site and see what they offer. I use Renaissance Wax (http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/stock-work-finishing/stock-waxes/micro-crystalline-wax-cleaner-polish-prod236.aspx)for some applications, but have never really used it on wood stocks in the rain.

April 8, 2013, 02:07 AM
I would worry more about protecting the metal than the protecting the wood. You hear more people complaining about rust than people complaining about a bit of rain destroying their stock. This is something that I would only worry about if I lived in a swamp or a state where it rains almost every day. The metal is going to rust from moisture quicker than your stock will mold/mildew/rot.

There are a number of things you could seal it with, some more permanent than others. Like Barry said, a wax coating would repel water. An oil finished stock will resist water damage because its oil finished. Your stock may already be oil finished. Some type of varnish would be a more permanent option.

I don't know about its use on gun stocks but there are some super hydrophobic coatings that water practically jumps off of. Coat something, submerge in water, and it comes out dry.

April 8, 2013, 07:29 AM
Good point Alex! I guess just keeping up with my Rem oiling on the entire metal part of the gun would prevent rust. I do wipe my guns down semi-regularly but have never done anything for the wood. I will take a look around. Just thought some one would have a recommendation as to what worked the best for them :)

April 9, 2013, 02:41 AM
It all depends on the finish on the stock now. Some have a coating you never do anything but wipe with a clean rag.
I would write out a list of the guns you are concerned about and then determine are the factory stains, if yes call the facrtory and ask. If it is a refinish I would get Watco Dansih oil of the correct color and just give it a couple of coats, unless it has a poly finish after the stain.

April 9, 2013, 10:08 AM
Trying to waterproof wood is a waste of time. When a tree is growing over 1/2 of its weight is from water inside the wood after kiln drying 10-15 percent is left inside. Any less and the wood is too brittle. Even if it were possible to waterproof the wood it is the water trapped inside that does
The most damage. As temperature altitude and humidity change
Moisture inside expands and contracts

Most of the time there will only be poi changes. But In a few cases I've seen split and cracked stocks

April 9, 2013, 10:33 AM
If you have one of the "bowling pin" finishes (Remington and Browning made them) then it is about as impervious to water as anything imaginable. If it is a normal varnish finish, then any good quality furniture wax will make water bead up and run off.

April 9, 2013, 01:58 PM
Its a Remington Model Seven CDL with a "Satin" finish.

I am just concerned that as it gets handling wear what I can do to keep it from weather damage. I love my gun and plan to keep it a long time and I just want to nip things that could turn into problems ahead of time.

Thanks for the tips tho! Greatly appreciated.

April 9, 2013, 02:20 PM
IR, when I do walking sticks or outdoor furniture I use this stuff.


Seems to work pretty well.

April 9, 2013, 07:48 PM
Thanks for the link scrubcedar I will have to check them out. It looks like it is more of a stain though. How does it dry, does it leave a hard shiny coat over the wood or is it just sort of like oil?

April 9, 2013, 10:53 PM
The way I have used it, as a final coat after multiple coats of stain, it dries hard and clear. The only cautions I have are these. I haven't used it on a true hardwood yet, maybe try it where it won't be seen first. If the finish is already damaged anywhere it will turn out uneven in a way that will be very difficult to fix.

April 10, 2013, 01:29 PM
If the wood finish is already sealed and in good shape, there isn't much to do to it but put some paste wax on it. But if the finish is an oil finish, like a few of my rifles, I just add a little boiled linseed oil from time to time. Put a few drops in the palm of one hand, rub hands together and then slowly rub it on the stock. It'll look great when the oil added. And that will keep rain out. If you use a true varnish, which I don't recommend on a stock that's in good shape already, it'll look good but will be very hard to repair if you put a deep scratch in the varnish. That said, I have used the Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane on some cheaper 22 rifle stocks. You can buy it in spray cans. Goes on easy, flattens nicely and dries very fast. Just don't overspray and cause the varnish to run or drip. My usual approach with the spray varnish is to take the stock buttplate off, which I'm sure you'll do in any case, put a small screw eyelet in the butt and hang the stock and then spray it. You need good lighting to do that well.

Try the paste wax first. Cheap and easy and you can't possibly mess up the stock. And...if it's an oil finish, rub a little linseed oil on it like I said. That also can't mess up a stock.

April 10, 2013, 05:24 PM
If the stock has a FACTORY finish, then it is probably polyurethane. That is as good as it gets, as regards waterproofing/ water resistance. However, the makers of mass production stocks (for mass produced rifles) often do NOT apply the finish well to the INSIDE surfaces of the stocks. THAT is the point of concern. I'd strongly advise, if you intend to take the rifle out in adverse weather, adding a couple of coats of finish on the INSIDE surfaces. No need to get fancy with this - just use spray polyurethane.

As for the oft misunderstood nature of unsealed wooden stocks and moisture... here is a bit of useful info. Yes, wood to be used for stocks is usually kiln dried down to roughly 15 - 20 % moisture content (depending on species - walnut is usually dried to around 17 %, for example), so to stabilize the dimensional characteristics of the wood. Wood - ANY species - WILL absorb moisture and swell, if left unsealed. The kiln drying process is NOT some permanent fix. If the moisture content of the wood is not maintained at approximately the same level as when the stock is made, then shrinking (if the wood dries) and swelling (if the wood absorbs moisture) CAN and WILL occur. The only way to prevent this is by SEALING the pores of the wood. Thus, the moisture content will be kept constant - and the dimensional characteristics of the wood will be kept constant, through a pretty wide range of temperatures.

The problems that occur with wood stocks (at least, properly made ones) "moving" and changing POI because of weather is ENTIRELY due to changing moisture content of the wood. Wood does NOT shrink and swell simply due to temperature changes, at least, not within the range you will ever encounter in nature. MOISTURE change is the culprit. SEAL the wood (ALL surfaces, inside and out) - and NO problem. Unfortunately, many (the factories included) tend to neglect the inside surfaces.

As for what I do with my stocks : I prefer an oil finish, on the OUTSIDE. But, I apply paste wax (often paste wax mixed with a little turpentine - several coats) on top of that. I have NEVER had a problem due to weather conditions. Do NOT depend on an oil finish, without some augmentation, such as paste wax. For the INSIDE surfaces, which won't be seen, I always use 2 or 3 coats of polyurethane. As I said, I've never had a problem, through rain, snow, what have you.