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Old December 6, 2019, 11:31 PM   #1
The Rattler
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Sanding In Pure Tung Oil

I am finishing an American Walnut gunstock with Pure 100% Tung Oil. I’ve refinished 7 stocks, 2 of which were with Pure Tung Oil. With this 3d Pure Tung Oil stock, I would like to use the “sanding In” method of application. I have used this method on other finishes, but not with Tung Oil. I will apply between 8 or 12 coats over the same number of weeks.

With my previous pure tung oil finishes, rubbing vigorously after letting the tung oil sit for 15-20 minutes worked just fine. With my 2 “sanding In” projects, using Pilkington’s on one and Minwax Antique Oil on the other, I let them sit for the time per the instructions, and then rubbed the slurry in a circular fashion with non-absorbent paper.

I tried that technique with pure tung oil and the circular rubbing with non absorbent paper failed to produce a non-wet surface. For fear of the surfacing being tacky, I went ahead and rubbed it “dry” with a rag. However, won’t rubbing remove the material in the pores from using the non-absorbant paper? Should I have simply rubbed the non-absorbent for a longer period of time?

1. Is there any reason not to “sand in” with Pure Tung Oil?
2. If it’s ok, how long do you let the finish “dry” before you start “sanding In?”
3. Can you keep it from producing a tacky finish?

Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old December 7, 2019, 03:06 AM   #2
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No reason not to sand in pure tung oil. It just takes longer to dry than blended finishes.

I apply the first coat, let it dry about a week. Then use 400 or 600 grit wet/dry paper to wet sand the next 2 coats of oil (following the grain, not circling). Wipe off the excess each time so the finish does not get sticky. After this dries about a week, sand smooth, the wood will be filled. To complete the finish, apply thin coats of oil on top of the filled wood by putting a dab in your hand and spreading it over the entire stock.
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Old December 7, 2019, 05:48 PM   #3
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Sanding In Tung Oil

Thank you for this reply. I now have the confidence to proceed. It’s a big help!
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Old December 7, 2019, 07:24 PM   #4
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The stocks I finished I sanded in a mixture of mineral spirits and tung oil (50/50). Waited 24 hours between coats. Takes 10 to 15 coats to completely seal the wood.
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Old December 8, 2019, 02:50 PM   #5
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Sand In Tung Oil

Old Dave, Did you sand in every one of your 10-15 coats?
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Old December 15, 2019, 10:44 AM   #6
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I realize that I’m a bit late with my response but yes you sand in every coat.
Start with a 320 grit then 400 till grain is filled. Continue with 600 grit and finish with 1000 or 1200 grit. If the finish is too dull for your taste, then add a few coats of Tru-oil.
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Last edited by olddav; December 15, 2019 at 10:54 AM.
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Old December 15, 2019, 01:07 PM   #7
Don Fischer
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Last couple stock's I did I sanded in Tru Oil. Used 400 grit Wet/dry sand paper in circular motion. To clean off I simply used a rag and wiped across the grain. I like what come's out. In the past I applied Tru Oil with my finger's and when done, to get rid of the shine I rubbed the stock out with more Tru Oil using a piece of 0000 steel wool. Gave a nice satin finish.
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Old February 27, 2020, 04:09 PM   #8
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Wet Sanding Pure Tung Oil

On a sample test board, I successfully wet sanded 3 coats of pure tung oil mixed with mineral spirits on a 1:1 ratio using600 grit. I then increased to 2:1 pure tung oil to mineral spirits for 2 coats with 600 grit. Finally, I successfully wet sanded a coat of 3:1.

But then I wet sanded a thick coat of pure tung oil with no mineral spirits. This also with 600 grit. I applied more pressure because I couldn’t feel it scratching the wood. This, however, caused scratches. I tried it again with pure tung oil with a very thin coat of pure tung oil applied with one finger. I purposefully applied light pressure on the sand paper. This caused even more scratching.

I suspect that either:

1. It is too difficult to wet sand using thick pure tung oil; and/or
2. One shouldn’t wet sand after the 5th or 6th coat.

All comments will be appreciated.
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Old February 27, 2020, 04:31 PM   #9
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I use a mix, as given to me by a highly bespoke gunstock maker from Arizona, it contains three components, which Im sworn to secrecy to this day.
However the method I use is no secret,.
1. I take the stock to 320 grit, then soak it with the finish until it quits taking it, let it dry for 4-5 days.
2. Wet sand with the finish and 320 grit paper with the grain, when done sanding entire stock, I gently massage the sawdust/finish into the stock, wiping off runs, or bulky areas.
3. I do same as 2 progressing to 800-1000 grit, and then I let dry for a week or two, depending on the weather here.
Usually fantastic results, so far anyway.
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Old February 29, 2020, 04:04 PM   #10
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I don't use a sanding delay. When I am wet-sanding, the sandpaper replaces the paintbrush or rag and becomes the applicator. After thorough sanding-in is when I use a rag or brush to get a really sopping coat on, and after that has sat for half an hour, I wipe it down. The idea is the sandpaper exposes the wood grain to the oil and cuts into grains just enough so the sopping wet coat will be better absorbed. That's why I do the sanding from the start. A successful cabinet maker gave me the basic instructions.

That said, I have not done this with pure tung nut oil, and assume, due to its slow drying nature, you could wait longer before wiping excess of and leaving it to dry.
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Old March 1, 2020, 05:21 PM   #11
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I don't do many gunstocks these days, the market just isn't there any longer for a well figured, checkered gunstock, but I do make a lot of Ruger Mark pistol grips from blanks from some of the nicer walnut that I can get my grip grabbers on:

I've been using Permalyn stock sealer and finisher that is used to fill pores and grain until the top surface is "dead flat" smooth. Being that I do fine line checkering, I don't want to have any of my cutters to hit an open grain or pore and go off track, so a smooth, hard top coat is one of my demands:

I do hand rub the finish I use into the wood as best I can and I also wet sand the top coats until the "slurry created" helps to fill the grain and wood pores, but the Permalyn finish I use has an alkyne resin in it that helps the finish to harden properly. That's what I'm after as the finish then hardens up my checkered 22-26 line-per-inch diamonds, and that helps those little suckers survive serious hunting forays.
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Old March 1, 2020, 06:55 PM   #12
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Jim Cloward also uses Permalyn, and sands in with 400 grit W&D

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Old March 1, 2020, 09:06 PM   #13
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I’ve done a couple using Minwax Antique Oil and sanding to 600 grit. Looks great, but isn’t waterproof. I did a couple with Waterlox Original, sanding to 600 before applying the Waterlox. Worked out great, but that Permalyn sure looks like it deserves a try.
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Old March 3, 2020, 12:19 PM   #14
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Allegedly, it was formulated specifically for gunstocks, 'cause those can be used in some pretty harsh conditions, so it will "resist" moisture as long as the end-grain is sealed. That intention should make this finish much more protective than the finishes used for indoor furniture.
After my checkering has been pointed up properly, I'll brush a coat of Permalyn into the checkering with a ¾ wide acid brush. Wait around 20 minutes and then brush any excess out of the diamonds with an old toothbrush. Next day, another coat into the diamonds. Toughens those little diamonds up really well.

I got the tip concerning Permalyn from John Bivins when I was at the 1991 "American Custom Gunmakers Guild Show" in Vegas. John makes some very outstanding muzzle loader rifles.
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Old March 3, 2020, 02:58 PM   #15
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I am the original poster. Understand that I am an amateur, but I have refinished 9 stocks using various finishes. One was Permalyn and I am pleased with it. I’ve done 2 with pure tung oil and I’m pleased with them too. I am very familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of pure tung oil. Nevertheless, I wanted to use pure tung oil on this stock because of its natural tones and ability to show the figure in the wood. I know it’s not water proof, but it is certainly water resistant.
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Old March 3, 2020, 09:10 PM   #16
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If you want to use the Tung Oil, Scorch’s (#2 post) advice was dead on. I would add, however, to raise the grain and dewhisker the wood at least 5 times before applying the tung oil. As the Tung Oil finish is not waterproof, if you do get it wet, you will likely raise a little grain. Of course you can again dewhisker and apply more oil - a few drops on the palms and rub it in.

An old shotgun book I have suggests that you rub in a small amount of oil every day for 90 days.
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Old March 4, 2020, 03:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skywag View Post
Jim Cloward also uses Permalyn, and sands in with 400 grit W&D

Those stocks are magnificent! It's getting awfully difficult, and expensive, to find rich blanks like that, that yield gunstocks of that caliber. If those are yours, you sure have some beauties there.
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