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Old May 24, 2013, 01:42 PM   #1
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Wood stock finish

Has anyone had experience using either linseed oil or tung oil on an unfinished wood stock?
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Old May 24, 2013, 01:50 PM   #2
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To be honest, I tried some alternative finishes years ago, and didn't care much for them. I stick with either Tru-Oil, Gun SavR spray oil finish, or Polyurethane spray, but its what the customer asks for.
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Old May 24, 2013, 02:49 PM   #3
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There's another post that's very similar to yours. I'd suggest you read that.

And yes, I've use Boiled Linseed Oil for a finish on walnut gunstocks, but the last couple I did were with Minwax's Antique Oil. Follow directions on the can and you'll get a very nice finish that can be easily repaired. However, that finish isn't waterproof (more like water resistent to the point of being mostly waterproof unless you sink the rifle). The Antique Oil contains BLO, mineral spirits, and varnish. It's a good bit easier to get a good finish with that than it is with BLO. The oil, be it Tung or Linseed, brings out the grain in the wood better than a straight varnish would.

And, you could use the Antique Oil (2 or 3 coats), let it dry for a week and then put a couple of coats of Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane (varnish, which you can get in spray cans, and I recommend the Satin) over the Antique Oil. That'll make it waterproof, but will also make it more difficult to repair damage to the finish. Just apply the varnish, if you use it, a little at a time in thin coats so it won't run.

You may find that the Antique Oil looks good enough that you don't want the spray varnish. And, of course, the Tru-Oil is a very good suggestion also and it's similar to the Antique Oil but may give you a more durable finish.
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Old May 25, 2013, 03:10 AM   #4
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I will preface this by saying I build rifles, primarily rifles with high-grade wood stocks. I use TruOil almost exclusively unless the customer want something else. I pretty much will not do BLO or tung oil, they are explosively flammable in storage and I don't want my shop burnt down. I have used other finishes besides TruOil, but prefer it above all others for quick, consistent results. For a quick and easy finish, there is wipe-on polyurethane. Lin-Speed is similar to TruOil but builds a glossy finish faster. And of course, there are many furniture finishes, but I will not put them on a customer's gun stock because most are not water or solvent resistant.
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Old May 25, 2013, 05:23 PM   #5
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scorch, I agree about the Tru-oil being a fine finish, if done properly. Still, BLO will do a very fine job and is the finish of choice on many fine rifles. And, as to the explosive nature of the various oils, I've been using them all for 35 or so years and haven't burned up or blown up anything yet. My shop is, and has been, full of paints and flammable liquids for years. Woodworkers can't really avoid that.

One thing though, is that BLO will spontaneously combust if you wad up a bunch of paper towels soaked in BLO. When they start drying, they put out a lot of heat. Wad them up and the heat builds and fires start. I did make that mistake once, many many years ago and almost did burn down a small shop. But it won't do that while in the can and it won't do it if you'll spread the BLO soaked rags out flat to dry. These days I'll just take any and all finishing rags, towels, and scraps and soak them with water and leave em wet for a day or two.

The good thing about Tru-oil or a wiping varnish like Antique Oil is that you can do a stock finish in a reasonable amount of time. A good Linseed Oil finish is a lovely thing, but you can spend 3 months on one finish, hand rubbing every day.
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Old May 25, 2013, 06:52 PM   #6
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Just using straight linseed oil, will not give you the finish you want. I've used it on very few applications. My go-to is still True-Oil but gees, there are literally hundreds of finishes that will work for you. One negative about Tru-oil, is that it is only available in a high gloss finish but you can tone that down. One thing to look out for, is standing up to the weather. I refinished Tru-oil stocks that have seen many Iowa winters and it's still going strong. I don't think you can say that about other finishes. Just make sure it's rated for exterior application or keep it waxed. ....

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Old May 25, 2013, 07:52 PM   #7
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The problem with tung oil (and I'm talking the real stuff - not the Home Depot version sold as Tung oil Finish) is that it doesn't really harden well on it's on. It will eventually dry out to a nice finish but it takes a while.

Speaking of the Tung Oil Finish (Minwax brand which actually contains very little tung oil), I've used it on a couple of stocks with pretty good success. It wouldn't use it on a high-dollar stock or one that I really wanted to show off but it works pretty good on a "field gun". It's easy to work with and gives a hard, durable finish.
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Old May 25, 2013, 08:32 PM   #8
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The Mashburn stock finish that so many pros swore by from the late 40's till the mid 60's was 75% Johnson's Traffic Kote floor sealer and 25% Faultless starch. The walnut tone had 2 drops of liquid brown Dyan Shine shoe polish added per bottle. Lots of things out there that would work fine if you experiment around with different combinations. Jack Dever liked Lin Speed and would mix it with a little Tru Oil when he wanted it to dry a little faster or with a little BLO when he wanted it to dry slower, depending on what he was working with.
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Old May 26, 2013, 08:38 PM   #9
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Wood stock finish

I have used Tru-oil for years and if you don't like the high gloss, just take some very fine steel wool and lightly wipe it down. This will remove some of the high gloss. If you remove too much, you can easily go over it again with Tru-oil and do the fine steel wool again. I have even seen some stocks done with Helmsman marine spar varnish. Sometimes you have to decide what is the most important reason you are putting on a finish for. Good luck if you want a finish that will be the best for all reasons!
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