View Full Version : Repairing stock dings, FYI

December 11, 2001, 07:42 PM
As a professional woodworker and furniture builder, here's a few tips on how to get rid of scratches in wood stock finishes.

The biggest secret is 0000 steel wool, or bronze wool, if you can get it. Try marine supply stores. This is what is used for "hand rubbed" finishes of all sorts. It's also perfect for removing scuff marks. You can safely use it on blued steel without scratching it. The main thing to watch out for is un-sealed spots on wood, as the steel fibres can be worked into the grain and make rust spots on exposure to moisture. Heavy scratches should be given a coat, maybe several coats, of boiled linseed oil mixed with turpentine, at about 2 to 1 ratio. This is the classic old school stock finish all by itself, but it makes for a good scratch- filler/sealer. Both the linseed oil and the turpentine leave a hard resin behind when they dry. Heck, if you boil linseed oil to the point of ridiculous, you get Linoleum! It's best applied warm, but it's not srictly neccessary. Dab it on, wipe of the excess and let it dry. Repeat as needed for best effect. Buff it off with the steel wool to restore lustre. Follow up with a few coats of paste wax, Briwax is one of the best. Wipe it on, let it dry, buff off with a clean rag, and your wood will love you. It's un-related to this topic, but linseed/turpentine and paste wax works good as a rust-preventive coating on blued steel, but it can "curdle" if you get it too hot. I used it on the slide of my parkerized 1911. It really grabs on to parkerizing as that finish is very 3-dimensional, i.e. semi-porous, on a microscopic level. To date, I haven't managed to get it hot enough to matter, and no rust. Less oil on the gun-case padding also. Took 2 coats to make it look even. Brush on, wipe off, let dry over night, but no buffing. Got a nice semi-matte finish on my Springfield Mil-Spec.

Laminate stocks are layers of birch veneer that are impregnated with plastic resin under multi-ton pressure in a hydraulic press. The resin runs all through the grain of the wood, stabilizing it. This makes scratch and ding repair a snap. Simply sand the scratches out with sequentialy finer grits of sandpaper, all the way down to 600 grit. Follow up with steel wool, and you'll never be able to tell it was scratched. This applies to heavy dings as well, as the color on laminate stocks runs all the way through them, so there's no surface color to scrub off. If you want a really shiny finish, rub it with automotive polishing compound after the steel wool. Then you'll be able to see your face in it, should you so desire. Note: keep polishing compound away from bluing. it is actually abrasive, and will polish bluing right off.

Here's to keeping beautiful guns beautiful. Some trade secrets shouldn't be secret. Don't tell the Liberals though, or we'll have to kill you.

;) :D ;)

Art Eatman
December 12, 2001, 11:33 PM
Thanks! Truly helpful.


January 2, 2002, 02:28 PM
Thanks for your excellent post, HRG ... I will be putting your expertise to good use shortly.

January 2, 2002, 03:34 PM
Somone on another forum told me to go easy on the steel wool on bluing, as they were able to make visible differences in their finish on a revolver.

I suspect this pertains to more modern, cheaper-style chemical bluing, as opposed to the classic slow rust proccess. Steel wool is what you would "card" the rust off with when doing old style bluing. I don't have personal experience with this issue, but I figured I'd pass on the bits, FWIW.

Keep 'em pretty!:)

Walt Sherrill
January 2, 2002, 03:50 PM
Another way to get rid of dings and dents in wood is with steam.

Lay a thick, damp cloth on the area in question, and using a steam iron to heat and infuse the area with steam. This may or may not affect the finish.

(The the case of military rifles -- this is the procedure for Curio & Relic weapons -- you simply reapply a boiled linseed oil finish, afterwards.)

January 4, 2002, 03:40 PM
A good online source for bronze wool (an most everything else gun related) is Brownells (www.brownells.com). They also sell pure unadulterated Tung Oil which is dang near impossible to find anywhere else. Because it adds strength and toughness to wood, as well as waterproofing, it is considered by many to be superior to Linseed Oil. Tung Oil was the traditional US military stock finish dating back to the 1880s if not before. It use to be called "Chinawood Oil" and was imported from Japan. Right around the beginning of 1942 or so the Springfield Armory switch to Linseed Oil... as you can imagine why. -- Kernel