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oil or gloss finish?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by ryan_687, Feb 16, 2013.

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  1. ryan_687

    ryan_687 TS Member

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    Which finish do you guys prefer for your shotgun stock and why? Which looks better and holds up the best? I've seen some gloss finishes that make the stock look plastic where as the oil looks like actual wood. Just looking for some different opinions on the subject.
    Thanks,
    Ryan
     
  2. Shooting Sailor

    Shooting Sailor Well-Known Member

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    My gun is gloss now, but I intend to strip it eventually, and go to an oil finish. I like the look of a natural oil finish, and it seems to not chill my hands as badly, when shooting in cold weather.
     
  3. timberfaller

    timberfaller Well-Known Member

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    Oil finish, easier to repair when dinged!!
     
  4. davidjayuden

    davidjayuden Well-Known Member

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    I'm in the process of stripping off a dinged up polyeutothene finish off a 682X. Bought it right but couldn't stand to look at it. Moneymakers is satin bluing all the metal now.
    But to answer your question, I'm going to a linspeed finish. Looks good and will be easy to touch up. Doesn't hide the grain under layers of plastic, IMHO. And I have time to do it right.
    dju
     
  5. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

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    I prefer pure tung oil. It looks great, seals and waterproofs the stock and can be touched up at will. Make sure it is 100% pure. Wood River makes a good one.
     
  6. mike campbell

    mike campbell Active Member

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    Depends.

    Is it gonna hang on the rack, get fondled a lot and shot little? If so, a nicely filled and hand-rubbed penetrating oil finish is as pretty as it gets. I've finished dozens that way over the years.

    Gonna get shot 5,000 times or more a year? I recommend a can of spray lacquer for the DIY'er or a 2-part lacquer or poly finish from a pro shooter.

    Any way you go, the more shine you can tolerate, the happier you'll be.
     
  7. ljutic73

    ljutic73 Well-Known Member

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    I've had the same polyurethane gloss on my Ljutic for 20 years and it's holding up very well.
     
  8. Unknown1

    Unknown1 Well-Known Member

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    Wood isn't shiny; why would you make something out of wood and then make it look like plastic?

    Keller
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Member

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    You can get shiny or satin or dull with Tru Oil.

    All of my keepers are oil finish - easy to repair and touch up... but is NOT waterproof
     
  10. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing from Ryan's screen name that he has a Beretta 687 from Joel Etchen or at least a newer Beretta of some kind. Beretta's current oil finish looks like mud was applied to the wood and the man who refinished my 687 SPII's wood told me that Beretta uses clay to fill the wood's pores that when mixed with oil yields that matte finish. But it's faster and therefore lowers the finishing cost and, hopefully, the gun's cost to us.

    Here are two 687 SPIIs, my 2008 version with the muddy finish and our son's 2005 with Beretta's former glossier oil finish.


    [​IMG]


    This is what mine looks like after having the original finish stripped off and the pores cleaned and filled with fine sawdust and oil before a different oil finish was applied. I also had a pistol grip extension made of buffalo horn added. In these photos, it looks a lot like polyurethane but in person, the natural wood pores are visible and it has what I consider just the right amount of gloss. The new finish made the wood appear "wet" and really brought out some of its true figure that the original finish was hiding.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    So Ryan, the answer is you can have whichever kind of oil finish you like best. And remember, if you go the glossy route and later decide you don't like it, a light rub with 0000 steel wool will dull that shine very nicely.

    Ed
     
  11. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    That's all very nice unless one shoots a PFS. Personally, I like the wild paint schemes I see on some PFS stocks as well as plain wood. I think they are fun and interesting. Wood is beautiful but some people are not that esoteric. Nor can they afford a custom built Bastone Walnut fiddle-back hunk of wood.
     
  12. davidjayuden

    davidjayuden Well-Known Member

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    Ed and all:
    I'm at about 5 light coats of Lin-Speed on my 682x and am ready to stop. However I do want a satin finish, so I need a final rub down, but the question is with what? 0000 steel wool is one option, I read of Pilkington's Linseed Rubbing Oil, possibly mixed with rhottenstone, or there is always the car polishing compound, course fabric cloth, Birchwoook Casey's stock rubbing compound, etc. Any suggestions borne of experience? Right now I'm leaning toward letting it sit for a week or so, then using the finest steel wool that I can find. If I don't like it I can always add a coat of LinSpeed and start again.
    Sorry to hijack the thread.
    dju
     
  13. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    " Doesn't hide the grain under layers of plastic"

    A glassy smooth finish that looks a mile deep will show the beauty of the wood, if there is any.


    davidjayuden, Did you completely fill the grain before applying the Lin-speed? "5 light coats of Lin-speed" will not fill the grain. It will be rough as a cob and disperse light hiding the grain. If you try to rub out 5 light coats you will go right through the finish.
     
  14. mike campbell

    mike campbell Active Member

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    First, it's not "oil or gloss", but "penetrating oil or poly/lacquer." Gloss is hardly dpendent on the product. Finishing technique can give low or high gloss regardless of the finish used.

    There are primarily two ways to achieve a low gloss finish.

    One is to add particulate matter...aka "flattener"...to the liquid finish. The finely suspended particles will refract the light and reflect it less. The shine is reduced but the tradeoff is that people aren't always happy with the cloudy appearance that they say "hides" the grain.

    The other is to roughen the surface, again to refract more light and reflect less. Some "satin" spray finishes are formulated to achieve this by drying with a sandy or pebbly texture. The other way is by rubbing out with various grits of polishing powders, steel wool, scotchbrite and the like. Essentially, the gloss is controlled by how many and how fine are the scratches you've put in the finish. Undoubtedly, these can be beautiful ; 4F is my favorite, especially on a gun that won't be handled a lot. The tradeoff is that handling will simply polish the surface back to a high shine. Look at any gun with a factory low gloss synthetic finish and, if it's been shot a few thousand times, the grip and comb will have acquired a higher shine than other areas. Even "low gloss" finishes that contain flatteners will shine up with handling.

    As I said earlier, the higher shine you can tolerate, the easier life will be. Anything less than gloss is an artificial condition that won't survive moderate use without maintenance. That's OK if you're going to refinish your own guns. Not so great if you're paying someone else. Keep em out of the gun rack and high gloss poly and lacquer finishes can look brand new after tens of thousands of rounds.

    I'd put an oil finish on a customer's bird gun knowing he'll be happy for a few years. But I wouldn't oil finish a target gun for anyone; he'd be disappointed in one season.
     
  15. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    Mike, you probably have forgotten more than I will ever know about wood finishes but there are a lot of Beretta clay target gun owners out there that are still happy with their stock's finish years after buying them. Our son's is crowding eight years old and mine is five years old - they both still look great and I perspire heavily during Pennsylvania's humid summers.

    Ed
     
  16. CharlesK80

    CharlesK80 Member

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    Just two more points to perhaps consider:

    First, might the linseed oil weep out of the stock wood on very hot days? I do not know. But the thought of it gumming the stock, hands et al is not good. I like the smell of oil, but not on my face and hands.

    Second, a smoother varnished stock might be kinder on the cheek during recoil than an oil finish. This would be very subjective.

    On the whole, active trap shooters probably will be happier with the poly-varnish finish, while the wall hangers will forever swear by the old oil finish. Real hunters do not use wall hangers to hunt with anyway.
     
  17. Anchorsteam

    Anchorsteam TS Member

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    Actually Tru-Oil works real good too. NOt nearly as tough as a urethane or poly finish, but is beautiful with about 12 coats. These two guns have TruOIl finnish I did years ago. The marks are from rough handling! The Garand stock is a Boyds stock that I did on my 42' Springfield. The other stock is a Wenig New American that bought 'in the white' and installed on an 1100. Learned a lot on that one!


    [​IMG]
     
  18. Stl Flyn

    Stl Flyn Well-Known Member

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    What Mike said. I think oil looks the best on a highly figured wood. The penetrating portion helps with that. It really gives wood a 3D look. The problem could possibly be, durability. For that you can't beat the Poly/2 part Acrylic finishes. Oil finish is easier to fix, and add a fresh coat. Can't do that with most of the hard finishes. Either way you are giving up something, while gaining in other areas. Lacquer in my opinion is to hard. It tends to chip off rather then indent with the wood, on minor dings.

    This stock is after 20 coats of Tru-Oil. The first photo is after wet sanding with 1000 grit Wet/Dry sandpaper. The second is after polishing with Headlight Lens Cleaner/Polish. Then a coat of Liquid Glass Polish/Wax. As was stated by Mike, you can obtain any sheen you want, but eventually you have wear, and that amounts to polishing. Jon
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    Finishes like Tru-oil and Lin-speed are not true oils. They are "modified" oils that are polymerized. They harden like a urethane. The only true oils are pure boiled linseed oil or pure tung oil. They take forever to dry and require repeated coats forever. Linseed oil will turn black where it is handled. Modern "oil" finishes are not really oil at all.
     
  20. mike campbell

    mike campbell Active Member

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    Ed,

    I've seen many factory Beretta finishes that have held up well, and many that haven't. I'll say, though, that the ones that continue to look good after years of handling are those that came from the factory somewhat on the glossy side. Lots of people prefer a low gloss and there's a price to pay for that. Those "satin" finished Berettas and Brownings that are babied and coddled and kept scratch and nick-free will eventually have shiny grips and combs if they are used.

    In an effort to give customers what they want, some newer "oil-finished" Berettas really aren't. There's a factory technique that is quick and cost effective, is low sheen and may even have open pores in an effort to fool buyers into believing they are "oil" finished. Anything to sell guns. look at the Remington impressed checkering of the 70's and Beretta's "Xtrawood."

    At the end of the day, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is as true about stock finishes as anything else. 90% of my guns, including all of my SxS's, have low sheen tung oil finishes that I touch up as needed through the winter months. The other 10%, my target guns that get cheeked 5-15K times a year, have spray lacquer finishes. Lacquer dries in 15 minutes and I can rub/blend repairs in 1 hour. Heck, I can take a butt stock off my gun at noon, mask the checkering, spray 3 coats on the ENTIRE butt by 3 PM and be shooting trap with it at 5PM.
    Polyuretane is about as easy to apply as lacquer and, ultimately, about as durable. But it cures much slower and not as hard, meaning blending and rubbing out can't happen as soon. Finish a gun with poly and I'll bet that one week later you can lay it on a piece of burlap overnight and have a nice weave pattern on the gun the next day. On anything but lacquer I won't risk a rub out for at least 6 weeks. That's not to say it's bad, just different, and not for me.

    We have different preferences and that's OK. If you enjoy doing your own finishing, you'll find your own way. Experimenting with different finishes can be fun, educational and harmless ... IF ... you understand the dangers of improper sanding. A goopy, gloppy finish with drips and runs can be fixed but poor sanding will render a good stock unsalvageable.
     
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