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Gun Stock Refinishing Made EASY

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by 682b, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. 682b

    682b Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Gun stock refinishing

    Gun stock refinishing by Jim Heart

    Stock refinishing is not difficult just labor intensive. You don't need any fancy tools,spray booths or clean rooms. All of those things are used by the pros. This article is not for the pros it is for the guy that wants to clean up your(refinish) old shotgun. All of these techniques and opinions are my own. There are many ways to accomplish the refinishing, this is just one that works. About 6 or 8 years ago I looked for techniques to use. I found TRU- OIL. I finished several stocks including a 682x stock. It looked great for about well almost 1 shooting season. I treated it good I did not trash it or beat it up. I just used it every weekend either practicing or going to a shoot. Slowly I found it looked like crap. I then needed to find a harder finish I stripped it very easily with paint rubbing compound. I liked the modified oils so I looked around and found several. I tried to use hard wood floor finish but I could not make it work with just hand tools and elbow grease. I tried Brownels pro custom oil made by Chem PAC.. With the shipping I thought it was a little expensive. First I used the aerosol cans It worked ok but I always had problems with dust getting in the finish. After a half dozen cans I figured out that the problem was the thickness of the sprayed finish. I tried using the Pro oil thinned 1 to 1 with mineral oil and the dust problem was manageable. By using the thinned oil It gave me the ability to work the oil a little more. The spraying was done in a 36x24" spray booth. deigned by Mark Shornak with a cheap air brush. Mark is a all around woodworker that makes his living as a first class carpenter.

    This will be done in several parts so lets start with the finished stock. If you have a modern stock like a Browning,Weatherby or the worst to strip is in my opinion are the early Anton's His finish was hard and over time it cracked thus needing it to be stripped to finish. Get a aluminum throwaway shallow pan from the market so when you are done you can just trash it. Use your favorite stripper like citristrip. By using the pan you can keep applying the stripper as it comes off. The use of good quality gloves are needed because you will be in it. Follow the instructions and you will probably do it several times in the space of a hour. The last finish may require the use of a green dish scrubber. After stripping wipe off all of the residue followed by wiping it down with mineral spirits, You can figure 2 hours work to strip or about 4 or more hours to sand off the finish by hand.

    This will be the start of the finishing process. The stock I will be doing is a savage 5100 It had a varnished factory finish from the 60's.

    Some of the word's used will be will be grain, grain filling and figure. The grain is how the tree grew. You want to follow the grain as you sand. Stocks are made with the grain because of the strength never sand against the grain. Grain filling is filling the small voids in the grain. They run with the grain. If you look at a older utility stocks like the model 24 Winchester or the Savages and Stephens just to name a few. These stocks were on field guns. But some of your higher end guns come out of modern factories with the grain open. The figure is what gives the stock its additional value. The figure is what differs a stock blank from being 65.00 or 1000.00 dollars The flow of the figure is important in laying out a stock but we won't get into that part just in making the figure look good.(pop)


    .After I strip a stock or sand off the varnish I sand with whatever grit paper I need to get out problems I like to start with 180 paper. I start to save the sanding dust while sanding. Its at this point I will determine if there are dents that I can raise. I will raise simple dents at the stove by putting a little water in the dent to let it soak in for several minutes. I then use a paper towel folded as small as needed to just cover the dent . The paper towel is very wet and I have a butter knife my wife donated. I heat the knife till it is hot . This is when I place the hot knife tip on the folded paper towel I will do this several times till the dent raises or it is up as far as it will go. Then decide if a little sanding will remove it or it will have to be seen as a scar. You have done all you can do short of filling and or changing the stock dimensions. After sanding real good with the 180 dry paper I will use 220 dry before I cut the whiskers off. The whiskers are wood fibers that rise after dampening the wood with water I cut these down 2 times and put the stock up for a day and let it dry and rest. Small repairable crack in the wrist .

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1471_zps5168c3b7.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    This is a great time to repair any minor cracks with lock-tite super glue. Open the crack if you can . These are the worst type but repair easily. Open the crack and flood with glue. Then sand and blend in the repair. The other type are what this one had. Soak the cracks the full length well then try to blend.

    Letting the stock soak it up.

    Now that your stock is dry and sanded put as much finish on as it will take in a few(10) minutes of drying. If it will take more give it to it. Soak some 220 wet and dry sand paper a 2” by 2” piece in finish and sand a small potion at a time till the stock is sanded it is during this sanding you have been mixing the sanding debris with the finish and it will look like ice tea. As you sand mix the debris you saved when you have finished the whole stock let it sit for 20 min. Use rubber gloves and rub the finish in the grain sideways not with the grain . You are filling the grain If you saved enough dust one application will just about fill the grain. Let is start to dry after 8 hours wet sand the stock with 220 sand just enough to move any clumps or deposits. Then push the finish in the grain again. Now let it sit and dry I like to use the outside( August) air to do this a little faster than the conditioned inside.

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1465_zpscf51d30b.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    <a src="http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n114/jted1952/DSCN1527_zpse2ec6527.jpg" border="0" alt="4th after wet sanding photo DSCN1527_zpse2ec6527.jpg"/></a>

    Grain Filling
    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1467_zps011095f9.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1467_zps011095f9.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    Filled grain
    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1485_zpscf9a81a5.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1484_zps4d022fb6.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>!

    First coat It looks good but it's thin
    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1510_zps0e071b10.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    2nd coat after wet sanding with 220
    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1518_zps87af77c7.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    4th coat

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1526_zpsc8921796.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    Coat 4 Wet sand lightly with 330 and inspect for scratches. Use a glass or cheaters at this point. You must remove and repair the surface. If you wait any longer it is hard to repair.


    Fifth coat Wet sand

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1531_zps3ee46c9a.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    Sixth coat at full strength .

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1541_zps6616b54f.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1554_zpsbe159054.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    Always look for scratches Right now you are using the finish at full strength You must discover any imperfection . coat 7 and 8 Thinned finish .These coats dry fast and I only wet sand every other coat They dry very quickly and I re-coat in 7 hours. The finish sagged and must be sanded before continuing.

    I just could not show the sag in the finish.

    Seventh and eighth coat cut by 25% with Crown paint thinner

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1553_zps2c246efa.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1554_zpsbe159054.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    At coat 9 I had a sag

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1579_zpsa6e60253.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    Nothing to do but sand it out starting with 220 and use a finer grit to 800 This is a minor set back. Always repair issues when you find them.Don't try to cover them up. I have tried and it only makes it harder when you get more finish on them.

    Ten the final one.

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1566_zpsdee69fb2.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1565_zpsa1d7b885.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    Finished and polished The polish I use is Brownells tripple “F”

    This give you a nice soft luster. Its great on a field stock

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1590_zpsba87aae5.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1592_zps576a13cb.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1593_zps7389f241.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    I hope you enjoyed the work and the MinWax Antique oil finish

    <a href="http://s110.photobucket.com/user/jted1952/media/DSCN1612_zps2dfd8991.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    It just was not acting the way I wanted it to. That is when I started to thin it out. 50x50 was too thin but 75% finish and 25% paint thinner was just right for me. The thinner coats went on flatter and dried much quicker. At 8 coats I found unwanted build up in the finish. Not full blown drips or runs but more of a sag. When you have this type of problem all you can do is sand it out. I drop back to 220 grit paper and work my way back to 800 grit. Several more coats did the trick.

    I did not polish this stock as far as I could because it is a field stock. A competition or custom stock would look much brighter.

    My personal evaluation of Min wax antique finish is that it is good and lends itself to the DIY er with no spray tools. With a Air Brush It would work well.

    You have received this just for checking it out. If you have trouble you can email me @ jted heart at aol dot com

    If you start and just don't have time to finish it I will do it for you. My time is not expensive, in fact I am told I am cheep. Just take a picture of it and email it to me. I will quote the work. Most older stocks sets (stock and forend ) involve up to 8 or 10 hours of labor, Some materials and return shipping. Normally it will be under 200.00.

    I did this so you can see YOU CAN DO IT.

    Clean up that old hunting gun or the one in the closet. Give a gun to a young person and then take them to shoot it. Put a little of you in it.

    Pop always said anyone can have ugly wood.
    mxsst and arnold55 thanked this.
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