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Old December 23, 2010, 02:26 AM   #1
Ideal Tool
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Browning Wood Grain

Hello, several years ago, while talking to my custom gunsmith at a gun show, a fellow comes up to table with a stock that looks I swear like a piece of white pine. He said it was off a Browning BAR that was only a few years old. The finish had started to "craze" and peel, as those shiny sprayed on finishes Browning uses tend to do after awhile. He said it had a very striking grain pattern...jet black streaks on a dark background. He told us that was the main reason he bought it, it was so pretty. He had used std. varnish remover & when it was applied, the grain sort of went away..He was wondering if this smith could somehow "bring it back to surface" That is when I heard this for the first time, and have heard it from other stock makers since..It seems Browning, in trying to cut corners, would buy plain wood for stocks, and have the Japanese girls use artist brushes to "paint" grain on those stocks! After the clear-coat was sprayed on, it looked real.
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Old December 23, 2010, 08:50 AM   #2
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Browning doesn't faux wood grain. Gauranteed.
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Old December 23, 2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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While I don't know about Browning, I DO know that all things are possible.
IOW, I wouldn't put it past any of the gunmakers.

I have first-hand knowledge that both SKB and Beretta (Ultrawood) have "applied" fancy wood grain w/color contrast to otherwise plain stocks.
I've done it myself, via "painting" in a grain pattern using the darker sediment from the bottom of an unstirred can of stain.

IMO, there were a few reasons.

1) The customer could get what looked like premium wood at much less cost for both maker & customer.
(Customers were not expected to strip/refinish their stock, just replace)

2) The plainer wood underneath usually has a straighter & ergo stronger grain than would a fancy grade wood stock.
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Old December 23, 2010, 11:16 AM   #4
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Actually they do, or at least used to.
In the 1960s and early 70s, American Rifleman contributor Jac Weller got plant tours of major gunmakers and described the false graining process at Miroku in some detail. A Japanese girl would pick up a sanded stock, paint on a grain pattern from a diagram in her book, pass it on to be finished, turn the page to another grain pattern and pick up the next sanded stock.
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Old December 23, 2010, 12:02 PM   #5
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Tricks of the trade from a wood flooring contractor

All sorts of things can be done with the wood to make the appearance change- from opening the grain in places with alcohol or water to closing it with various substances (I don't know exactly what is in Minwax Wood Conditioner, but that's the effect) to sanding it finer in some areas or even burnishing the wood....... using 2 different stains, allowing them to dry between coats...... dyes....... anything is possible and money is the reason, usually.
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Old December 23, 2010, 04:31 PM   #6
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Old stockmaker's "tricks":
* Bone Black or charcoal rubbed into the grain will accentuate the grain. Very common!
* Stain a plain piece of wood reddish brown to make it look like a better piece of wood (like Winchester did for a century).
* Stain on a brush can also be used to accentuate (or even add) grain. Happens a lot more often than people may want to believe . . .
* Shellac painted onto the wood across the grain will kinda-sorta look like figure under a different finish (if you know what you are doing).
* Brown shellac will make a light colored piece of wood look better (for a while, at least).
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Old December 23, 2010, 10:00 PM   #7
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Kinda like at the meat counter-the fat pork chop is always on the bottom.
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Old January 1, 2011, 02:16 AM   #8
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Look up Fender 'foto-flame' guitars. They were a Japanese series that got a flamed 'film' applied to replicate the expensive flamed maple of some high end products. The film contained the signature wavy grain lines in a dark shade, and then the guitar was painted as usual.

Having seen some up close, they're very convincing.

Wood can also be flamed (literally, with a torch), which (depending on the wood species) can highlight the grain as the rings burn slower than the interstices.

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