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Thread: Refinishing old stocks

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    Default Refinishing old stocks

    I have a couple of older rifles i'm thinking of sanding down the stocks and puting a new finish on them.Looking for some input on what type of clear coat I should use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pike it alot View Post
    I have a couple of older rifles i'm thinking of sanding down the stocks and puting a new finish on them.Looking for some input on what type of clear coat I should use.
    First off, I almost certainly wouldn't sand them. It's way easy to take off too much wood and round some critical edges too. You could end up with an ugly mess, even with a nice finish on top.

    I'd use a stripper to get the old finish off. Pay special attention to cleaning out the finish from any checkering (you don't mention which guns you're working with, so I have to stay general).

    Also look carefully at the interior of the stock, especially around the action bolts, the recoil lug inlet and the tang. Lots of older gun stocks have been liberally "waterproofed" with conventional gun oil, but that stuff really soaks in and softens woods. Sooner or later serious accuracy problems are going to develop if there's a bunch of gun oil in those critical areas of the stock. If the wood is really darkened by oil, it's a pretty good sign that you'll be ahead of the game to remove the punky (or soon to become punky) wood and glass bed the action before you refinish the stock.

    TruOil used to be my favorite gun finish, but I've switched to tunge oil finish in recent years. It's a lot easier to use, looks as good or better, and is a whole lot tougher than any lindseed oil-based finish I've use in 40 years.

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    A couple of pointers for you:

    As previously mentioned, strip the stock with paint stripper. I set mine on a plastic garbage bag and liberally cover with stripper. Keep it well covered with the stripper and do not let it dry out. Let the stripper do the work for you. When all the finish has been stripped off, wash in hot soapy water and let dry for a couple days.

    Any areas of heavy oil staining can be fixed as follows: buy some white chalk and grind it into a fine powder. Mix it into a paste with acetone and apply the paste to the oil stained wood. Heat with a hair dryer and the chalk paste will draw out the oil. Repeat as necessary to get as much oil out as you can. If it is really bad and has lots of oil soaked into it, your only choice is to soak it in solvent. I have used acetone with good results, followed by alcohol.

    Small dents can be raised with the careful use of a iron and a damp piece of thick paper placed over the dent. Use care not to burn the wood.

    Next you can carefully sand the stock with 320 grit, followed by 400 in the direction of the grain only. Use great care to NOT remove too much material.

    More to follow after breakfast!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    I personally prefer the look and feel of a linseed oil finish, but will admit that the tongue oil finish as well as the modern urethane products are superior for weather proofing, easier to apply and more durable. But I just like the linseed oils and am willing to put up with the hassle of its labor intensive application and the occasional touch up.
    If you are looking for the “toughest” finish then I would suggest a high quality polyurethane spar varnish with multiple coats.

    In my opinion, tongue oil is kind of between linseed oil and spar varnish for durability, but is probably the easiest of all to apply and achieve a really nice appearance. Touch up is also quite easy.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    The guns i'm planing to refinish are a Ruger 22 hornet and possibly my Benjamin Franklin b.b. gun my father had when he was kid and passed down to me when I was a kid.The Ruger isn't that old but it was used by a good freind for seal hunting and the stock got banged around in the boat a little and has one spot where there's about a quarter size dent in it.That was the only reason why I planned on sanding it instead of stripping it but i'll definately try the iron trick first (after useing stripper) and see how much the grain will rise.Thanks guys.

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