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Old December 4, 2005, 04:32 PM   #1
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Refinishing a stock, questions...

I have a NEF Handi_Rifle that I want to refinish the stock. Presently, it's about as dull as they get. I hear that a light sanding and then using some type of oil will bring out the grains in the wood and make it look better. I have some questions:

1) What type of oil is used to bring out the wood grain?
2) Is this done before staining or after?
3) Can basic polyurethane (SP?) or other over counter varnish be used, or is there a special type that is needed for guns?

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Old December 4, 2005, 05:16 PM   #2
kart racer
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I refinished my sks w/tung oil.1st I sanded w/a foam sanding block,they come in fine med and coarse.The thing I like about tung oil is you can control the sheen w/the amount of coats you put on.I also did a winchester lever action that turned out nice.In between coats use very fine steel can use don't have to restain unless you want to.a lot of the miltiary surplus guys like to use boiled linseed oil..Whatever oil you use is after staining.
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Old December 4, 2005, 09:19 PM   #3
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Arrow's wood finish

Check out their web site and look up the Arrow's wood finish. I only use it these days simply because I can do a stock in less than a week and it is sealed, filled and as good of an oil finish on the market. Here's the link to it:

I have used BLO, BLO and Tung, BLO and dark raw Tung and Raw Tung and the list goes on and on. If you want the easiest to apply and the quickest way to finish a stock, give it a try.

I would use Zip Strip to remove the finish first and then wipe the stock clean with lacquer thinner. When this was dry I would light sand the wood with 220 grit paper and then raise the grain before applying the Arrow's finish. The whiskers will be used to fill the pores on the first coat when you lightly rub the stock dry using 300 grit paper. Then follow the directions that come with it to take it to the gloss you desire.
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Old December 4, 2005, 10:17 PM   #4
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I have tried all three types that you mention, tung oil, poly, and spar varnish.

You may find that when you sand the stock that the stain that is in the present coating also goes away. The wood underneath may or may not be uniform in color. I have an old 50's era Remington .22 and I was real surprised to find the wood beneath the stain to be part very light and part fairly dark!

The minwax tung oil is actually a combination tung oil and varnish and is a bit tougher than regular pure tung oil. But it still has the properties of letting you control the sheen from satin to glossy. You can put a bit of stain in the tung oil itself and it will darken up as you add coats. I did a target rifle stock once. It darkened up a lot with no stain added. It took over 12 coats of the tung oil, drying 24 hours between coats and then sanding with a progressively finer paper. If you put the tung oil on, then wipe it off, then let it dry, then sand it smooth again and repeat you will know when you have filled the grain and you can progress to a wet coat. Mine came out nice.

The poly is ok, its functional but it is difficult to get a superior finish (this is just my humble opinion) because it builds up faster than the tung oil. Its durable but I would never use it again just because its a shortcut you do not need.

I used spar varnish on a model 70 stock. It builds up real fast but is tough as nails and gives a great gloss shine once you are done. In four coats you can have a nicely sealed stock. It does not darken as much as tung oil.

I have a soft spot for shiney pretty stocks. If there is checkering on your stock you might try taping it off with masking tape. It makes for a nice contrast if you don't go too wild with the stain color you choose.

If you can take over a closet or set up a box in the garage to hang your stock in it will help you keep the dust off as you progress with your coats.

Post a picture for us when you are done.
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Old December 6, 2005, 06:02 AM   #5
The British Soldier
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This one sounds like some kind of sexual practise, but actually boning is a fantastic way of getting a smooth lustre to the wood.

After you have rubbed down with smooth grades of abrasive paper and then fine wire wool, get yourself a softwood rod [wooden spoons from the kitchen work too] and wet the wood - which lifts the grain. Vigorously rub the wood with your wooden stick and the grain will smooth out, taking on a smooth lustre. Keep doing it until you've wetted and rubbed down the whole stock, the see what it looks like. A few wets and rubs will get you a 'satin' finish.

I like to then apply linseed oil by hand; the warmth from your hand opens the pores in the wood and gets the oil in better. You can bone it with the stick at the same time to get a good finish.

You end up with a beautiful satin effect that is attractive and utilitarian at the same time.

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains
And the women come out to cut up what remains
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

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Old December 6, 2005, 01:05 PM   #6
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Old December 6, 2005, 02:45 PM   #7
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Thanks for that info

The British Soldier , thanks for that information. That sounds like something I am interested in trying. I normally use Arrow's and it fills the grain using the whiskers as well but uses the sandpaper I rub it dry with to cut them and push them into the grain. I do some authenthic hand rubbed stocks and that sounds like it will fit the bill just right. I used to wet the stock and raise the grain using my heat gun and then would cut the whiskers off and have to fill the pores using filler. Your technique sounds a lot easier. Thanks again.
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Old December 6, 2005, 02:59 PM   #8
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+1 on the Arrow wood finish
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Old December 9, 2005, 09:12 AM   #9
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I do not wish to demean any of the previous posts but on a semi- professional basis, I have used Birchwood Casey Tru- Oil with excellent results.
SAND the wood versus a chemical finish remover thus eliminating the need to "fill" the grain again.
Sand with various grits, the last sanding being or equivelent to 8/0 garnet paper.
Apply the finish with your fingers and when the finish is dry,buff with fine steel wool.
Five or six applications should do it.
Respectfully, Zeke
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Old December 9, 2005, 09:31 AM   #10
Harry Bonar
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stock refinish

Dear Shooter:
I use potassium permanganate (you'll need a prescription from your doctor). I sand and whisker till no grain raises, apply the solution, let dry, work it out with linseed and fine steel wool and then let dry for days and apply Caseys Tru-Oil.
Harry B.
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Old December 9, 2005, 12:30 PM   #11
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Here's a thread I started out what Tru oil can do:
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Old December 9, 2005, 02:33 PM   #12
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Come into the light

LOL, seriously though, there is a product on the market that does it all and is the easiest finish I have found to apply. Arrow's wood finish is a sealer, filler, oil, finish and waterproofer all in a bottle and it goes on very easily and does a better job than true oil or Tung oil or any other finish and you don't
have to use steel wool that will get into the grain and leave a mess either. I use sandpaper to rub it into the wood on the first couple of coats and then I wipe it dry with a clean cloth. The next few coats are hand rubbed and buffed dry. Here's some of the results that takes less than a week to finish and is tough as it gets and can easily repair other types of finish.

This is one I used a mix of Dark Raw Tung, Raw Tung, and Blo and then I used the Arrow's over it.

This is just the Arrow's and I left it in a matte finish by controlling the grit of the sandpaper to just 600 grit.

Here's one ready to be checkered:

Here's another one that is for a Schmidt Rueben 1911:

Like I said, I strip the finish off before I start using the Zip Strip because this finish will seal the pores, fill the grain, and give you the best oil finish that is waterproof that I have found. You can go over an existing finish to repair chips and dings and not be able to tell where the repair is or you can do a complete restore in less than a week. My oil finishes used to take a couple of months to cure plus I would rub them out using pumice and rottenstone. With Arrow's, that isn't necessary unless you just like to do it. Give it a try if you want to. I got tired of picking out little slivers of steel wool and I also got tired of the waiting.
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