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Old November 20, 2005, 09:02 PM   #1
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Richards Microfit Laminates and Glossy Finish with Tru Oil (LONG)

Figured I'd post one for the archive since I had some trouble researching this project.

I bought my Father a Richard's Microfit stock in the Dual Thumbhole Sporter style for his birthday last year. He wanted a glossy finish and I wanted to try Tru Oil, but found little information on how to accomplish this. After lots of gun forum/guitar forum/knife forum work I got a general idea, but most people are finishing in satin or matte. Here's how I got the gloss:

First, Richards stocks are pretty nice for project work. This one on a Remington 700 long action took just a bit of Dremel work to fall in easily. I pillar bedded the action and floated the barrel, but that's just my preferences. The stocks do, however, have blade marks and need a lot of smoothing. You really need to start with some coarse grit (100-220) and get the marks out. They are also a bit thick in places such as around the thumbhole so you can blend to taste. The forearm caps are also a square block, left unfinished.

I let him sand this down until he liked the feel and then started finish sanding. I went up in increments from 320 up to 1500 wet/dry paper. After that, I went to 0000 steel wool. The Rosewood caps have pores you can't sand through without uncovering more. The laminate will have some gaps due to the cutting process and you can choose to fill these or sand through. I'd sand through in retrospect. Before you lay oil on you CANNOT have a stock too smooth. One word of warning.....0000 steel wool will remove wood, but not the hard glue between the sheets of wood. Too much wool work will result in waves, which can be smoothed with 1000-1500. When she is smooth wipe it with hot water to raise the grain. The wood will stand up in places you thought were smooth. 1500-2000 does a nice job on this (just go to Auto Zone and buy A LOT, you're gonna need it). I used hot mineral spirits but be warned this stuff is flammable! I heated water to boiling and then dropped a cup in the hot water with mineral spirits after the flame was out. I liked to use mineral spirits to clean the stock because it evaporated out quickly and gives you an idea on how the stock colors will come out.

After smoothing, it's time to fill the grain and gaps in the pores of the wood. Honestly, the laminate part should have few gaps. The Rosewood will be a pain. Most sites tell you to use some Tru oil and sand paper to create a slurry of sawdust that will fill the pores up. This will come out darker than the Rosewood around it and I prefer to fill them with clear Tru oil. Either way you lay on a THICK coat of Tru Oil with your finger (I think a rag wipes too much away) and let it dry. Take 0000 steel wool and buff off the excess when it is dry. Keep doing this process until the pores are full. If you see that 0000 steel wool wipes into the pores and you can't get a flush finish, then you need to buff out with 1500 paper to get it nice and even. I DO NOT recommend the Birchwood Casey stock filler/sealer. It does fill, but it sands off poorly and dulls the finish. Tru oil itself does a better job.

Once the pores are filled you can keep laying on thin coats of Tru oil. Just put a small (1/4 dime sized drop on your index finger and rub against the grain in a small area. How smooth you have sanded will determine how far you can stretch it. If you are really smooth a small drop will cover 8". I rubbed in circles and then against the grain to help fill small imperfections. The oil will get tacky in about 2 min. When it does, move on to the next spot. You do not have to have a perfect finish yet...we'll get to that.

When the gun is oiled, you have some options. You can start final finish or you can take the finish off with 1500 paper and keep repeating the process. Why? Because during this phase the wood becomes translucent and takes on a shimmer you can't see in the pics. The reds will acually shimmer silver as you turn the stock and the golds look like Tiger eye. The Tru oil will also add a deeper/warmer look the more you lay in. I don't call it "yellowing", but it's close.

Final finish. Ok, here we go. Once you have it where you like it you can lay on a coat of oil on about half the stock and then rub the excess off with coffee filters. I got the idea from repairing CD's with coffee filters and peanut butter. Tru Oil acts like a plastic and the felt they give you to finish with won't get a mirror sheen. I tried a BUNCH pf products. The flat v shaped filters work best. Rip off the the seam because any rough edges will create a gouge. Rub the oil off aggressively with the filter. It will feel like rubbing off honey. will lay in a very thin, very smooth coat. It will take you 3-5 coats this way (you are no longer sanding in between) to start to see a shine.

When you're satisfied, you're done. This stock is wearing about 7 coats of subsequent finish.

If you gouge or make a mistake you can build up a deep coat by doing this. Gently sand the imperfection down with 2000 paper. The, just a SUPER SMALL drop of Tru Oil on you finger run it in until it becomes tacky. Then...whip your finger across in the direction of the grain (both ways) until you don't see any smears, lines or finger prints. You have the right speed it you feel some heat. You can get a mirror shine this way too, but for doing the whole stock it would be nerve wracking.

Armor All (yes, the kind you use on tires and your dashboard) will cause Tru oil to harden almost immediately and bond to the coat beneath it. I would spray into my hand and rub the whole stock down with just the film on my hands. It does, however, dull the finish just slightly so don't do this for final finsh. It helped for the wiping on/off phase to get the nice translucence.

Tru Oil is not that strong. It will dent easily until at least a week after applied. After that it is not as strong as a good poly. It is, however, easy to repair and looks great.

Lycanthrope is offline  
Old November 20, 2005, 09:11 PM   #2
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Sweet!!! That's what i use, good stuff
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Old November 20, 2005, 11:45 PM   #3
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Looks good. sounds like you really researched this too. I have a project coming up(see down a few pages ) so I'm curious . Did you try using glass to smooth/sand the wood. I've heard it referred to, but never seen it done . Iwent to a craft fair where a lady was seling her fathers woodworking projects; she was asking everybody for broken glass ( from windows).
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Old November 21, 2005, 12:03 AM   #4
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I didn't use glass on the wood. Although I had heard of it being done, I could find no real documentation of how to do it. I was likely not looking in the right forums or sources of information. As I mentioned, the majority of firearms information regarding Tru Oil is focused on a matte finish. I was able to find more information to suit my needs with the knife handle and walking stick craftsman.

I found that I used a lot of 800,1000 and 1500 grit paper without a sanding block. Being careful and taking my time it wasn't hard to make straight, even cuts and not knock off any sharp edges I wanted to keep.
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Old November 21, 2005, 12:44 AM   #5
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Funny you post this now. I underwent a very simular project. My WASR-10 had a very ruff look and feel. So I stained the wood in a deep dark redish color. While I was applying the stain I was thrown back about how great it looked shiny. So I bought some lacker. With a couple of coats and some long drying time (days) I had a decent looking gun. Although not nearly as nice as what you have done. I wish you would have posted about a week ago.
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Old November 21, 2005, 07:42 AM   #6
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Sorry Whitefeather. You could steel wool off the laquer and spend 7 days (at 45 minutes a day) laying in the Tru Oil. The final finish isn't the time consuming part.
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Old November 21, 2005, 09:25 AM   #7
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Thanks a million, Lyc! I have currently on order a Richard's microfit laminated "Tac-Driver Silhouette" in "Royal Camoflage" for a Christmas present for my brother for his Savage 93R17, and I think the gloss finish would be nice. Very nice work you did - this will help me tremendously.
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Old November 21, 2005, 03:17 PM   #8
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Though I have not used Tru-Oil...I will certainly agree on many points. The MOST important point is that, in order to get a truly nice finish, with whatever oil product one wishes to use, the smoothest possible surface is mandatory. I have just completed a refinish of an old walnut stock (more than 70 years old, by the way)...using Behr Scandanavian Tung Oil Finish. I discovered the neccessity for a truly smooth surface by accident, when applying the final 5 coats of the Behr...using a 0000 abrasive pad. The more (thin) coats I added...and the more thoroughly I burnished them in with the pad, the better the wood surface glowed. At the end of it, after the finish had fully cured, I applied two coats of wax. This really caused the beauty of the wood to become apparent - as well as producing a glossy, almost glass-like surface.
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