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Old March 18, 2011, 07:21 PM   #1
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Stock Refinishing: Use Pre-Stain & Sealer or not?

I am refinishing an old Mossberg .22 rifle stock. I am going to use
a Minwax water based stain and then the Minwax polyurethane semi-gloss finish because i already have them.
My question is; would it be better to use the Minwaw water based
pre-stain & sealer or the Birchwood casey brand Gunstock Sealer & Filler?
I don't know if the birchwood Casey sealer is oil based or
water based and if it is compatible with water based varnish?
Also is it really nessecary to use a pre-stain Sealer?
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Old March 18, 2011, 07:31 PM   #2
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I fill and seal every Stock that I finish . That way you have a surface that will take the finish evenly ,and not have dry spots in the first few coats of finish . If you are staining it makes your color more even too . I use Art's filler -sealer which also has stain in it too . If I want it darker I just put on more stain after it is sealed . Been doing it this way for 20+ years without a complaint from a customer !
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Old March 18, 2011, 10:47 PM   #3
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After you have stained it, apply orange shellac vs. modern day brush on or spray shellac.

Orange shellac really gives it a very deep look.

You buy orange shellac flakes, mix it with denatured alcohol and pad it on. The pad is a couple of cotton balls squeezed into a piece of cotton cloth (old t-shirt) and secured in by a twisted rubber band. You do light long stokes with the pad after applying the shellac to the pad. I use a squeeze bottle to mix the shellac in similar to a mustard or ketcup container. About twenty strokes works great and only takes less than an hour. You can remove some of the shine if you like by buffing lightly with fine pumice or rottenstone applied with olive oil.

Here is a link for more instructions. It also works great on furniture and antique items.

The finish will take your breath away. By the way orange shellac comes from discarded insect shells and part found in wood bark in tropical parts of the world. It takes on a new life.

Also, the next day or two apply a good hand polished coat of quality wood paste wax. This will help protect your beautiful stock or other wood projects.

Last edited by lamarw; March 18, 2011 at 10:54 PM.
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Old March 19, 2011, 11:44 AM   #4
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I like the natural color(s) of wood.

I use Tru-oil after sanding down to remove all traces of previous finish. Am working on a Kimber 82G now. It has some beautiful knots that were illegible thru the stain kimber put on it. Stock is walnut

Previous birch?stock, also Kimber 82G, has some nice dark streaks that were covered by the Kimber finish.
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Old March 19, 2011, 12:29 PM   #5
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Using a pre-stain sealer will give your a more uniform finish and generally will look better than a job without it. I've always been happier with a finish using the sealer before staining than if I stained without using it.
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Old March 19, 2011, 02:44 PM   #6
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Natural shellac also comes in various shade such as blonde shellac. I normally use orange shellac since it is better for darker woods such as mahogany and walnut. You can also mix dyes in with the lighter shellac like blonde shellac to stain the finish to any way you want it. I have used blonde shellac with black dye to refinish old black mantal clocks.
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Old March 20, 2011, 01:03 PM   #7
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Listen to oneoldsap and use a filler on the stock. That makes a real positive difference if you want a smooth final surface. Fillers come in all colors, but I use the dark walnut version. It's easy to apply and dries fast. I use the Behlen filler.
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Old March 20, 2011, 01:29 PM   #8
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I pretty much follow what oneoldsap has replied for a number of reasons to long to go into. ....

One concern is that it should be rated for outdoor use. That excludes water based products you will see a lot of replies about how much cheaper a pint of tung oil is than the BC True Oil. However these are not outdoor rated as BC is. Now, it's ddifficult for the average person to determine if you should fill or not. If it's walnut and even thight grain, take the guess work out and fill. I always seal !!!. Another question is one of longevity and the True-Oul has been true to me. I have stocks that are over 50yrs. old and they are still in great shape. I don't often stain but when I do, it's to try and match or blend into the existing color differences or if I am really going after a particular shade, mostly cherry or mahogony.

In trying to address any particular problem, we usually stop at "what works" for us. I have done other finishes but most of the time I go with Tru-Oil. The only disadvantage that I see, is that Tru-Oil only comes in high gloss. Years ago they told me that they were coming out with a satin and I'mm still waiting. This is usually corrected later with 0000 steel wool. If you go to the Boyd website, they have a nice basic video showing how to finish a stock.

Good luck with this project and I'm sure you will like the job ......

Be Safe !!!
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Old March 20, 2011, 09:58 PM   #9
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You sound like a real pro with much more gunstock experience than I have. I've used Tru-Oil, but now I use an old finishing method that I found in a shotgunner's book from the 1940's or 1950's. I guess the book is out in my woodshop, because I can't find it in my study. The finish is a hand rubbed linseed oil finish, which takes about a month to do, though the book recommends 90 days of work to do it right. It has a satiny luster when finished. Naturally, I only do it for my stocks, and only those that really need a redo and have pretty enough wood to warrant the work, and only when I feel energized enough to do it. I have found that the really pretty wood is easy to make look good. Only a real pro can make bad or mediocre wood look good, and I'm not at that skill level.
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refinishing stain wood

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