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Thread: How do you strip the finish off of stocks?

  1. #1
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    Default How do you strip the finish off of stocks?

    I've learned a lot about what stains, finishes, and top coats to put on stocks thanks to all of you that responded. I thought I would ask you how you start your stock project.
    Right now, the 2 projects in front of me to get started on is a Mini 30, which has no checkering, and a Ruger 77 which does.
    How do you strip off or remove finishes from old stocks that you want to refinish? Do you use different methods for stocks with checkering as those without?
    Does your method change with the type of wood the stock was built from? The Ruger stocks I have are not walnut, at least best I know they are not. Do you do something different for softer wood than harder wood?
    If you are using chemical strippers, do you treat the by product as hazardous waste and separate it from your solid waste?
    I look forward to this discussion as I am sure, based on our other discussion regarding finishes, that this should be very informative. Thanks in advance to everybody willing to share their experience.
    ARR

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    Best thing I have found is to use a piece of broken glass as a scraper.
    Tennessee

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Stripper paste and/or wood workers goose neck scraper for me.
    Andy
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    Just to clarify, when I talk about removing finish, I mean everything the factory put on the bare wood when they were making the stock. Stain, filler, sealer, hard top coat, whatever it might me.

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    I do not think you can remove stain from wood. This might require you to sand off the wood that is stained.
    Tennessee

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Soak in acetone a few days then wipe off.Second soak in alcohol a few days and wipe off. Everything should be gone includeing oil thats soaked into the wood

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Soak in acetone a few days then wipe off.Second soak in alcohol a few days and wipe off. Everything should be gone includeing oil thats soaked into the wood
    How many liver transplants per year do you have to go through?

    Many safer and easier routes than nasty solvents like that. Citri-Strip applied liberally and wrapped in aluminum foil does an outstanding job on heavy built-up finishes. Whiting is available from Brownell's and does a reasonable job of pulling bad oils out of wood. Make a paste and cover the oil-stained wood and let dry. Repeat as needed until oil disappears.

    Tape off checkering to keep the goop off it.

    Something like an oil-finish Ruger just needs a little Formby's Furniture Refinisher usually. Just use it lightly and rub in long strokes with the grain. It will lift and move some finish around and often that is all you need to develop a good base and prep it for a few coats of oil.

    Just slop th eoil on heavily and let stand for 10-15 minutes and then wipe bone dry. Repeat as many times as needed.
    art

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    If I am going to reapply stain, then I do not need to remove all the old stain?
    Just for grins, I looked on You Tube and a guy was using hot towels and an iron to both remove dents and finish. Any truth to it? Seems to be an awful lot of water and heat on a stock. Can't that hurt it?

  9. #9

    Default Dent removal

    I use a washcloth white, soaked in water with a hot iron, not the wifes good one!
    To remove dents, some times the finish can prevent the steaming of the wood to raise
    the imperfection. It works quite well.

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    Here is another vote for Critristrip; it works and is what I use. After striping, I use hot water and let dry a couple of days before finish sanding. Good luck. J.

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    I have used Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner for a few years now. Here's where i got the idea:

    http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting/refinish/index.asp

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    If I am going to reapply stain, then I do not need to remove all the old stain?
    Just for grins, I looked on You Tube and a guy was using hot towels and an iron to both remove dents and finish. Any truth to it? Seems to be an awful lot of water and heat on a stock. Can't that hurt it?
    Towels and an iron is a great way to to steam out dents. With the stain, you need to strip out as much stain as possible what ever is left will affect the end state. If it is not even it will really show and appear blotchy. You may not be able to get all of the previous stain out, thats ok as long as it is even and you can get the finish you want without making it too dark for your liking. Any stain left will cause the finish to be darker.

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    I know this sounds just to simple, but it has all ways worked for me. I use the hardware store commercial stripper they sell for furniture finishing. I've had it lift every finish I have tried it on with little work. Cost is cheap and it works fairly fast compared to other methods.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    I have not used the stuff myself but a smith buddy of mine found a citric stripper at the lows or menards lumberyard that is safe, smells great and it has taken off every finish he has tried it on. I tried certistrip on a Jap browning and it would not touch the finish. To get the wet rag trick to work, after I get the finish off the stock, I take it up to the bathtub and give it a good hot soapy bath and let the stock soak for a while... turning it every now & then. Then I do the wet rag and hot iron thing and as long as the wood fibers have not been cut at the edges of the dent they should come out but the wood has to be wet to get this to work. It is the water IN the wood expanding the wood fibers that pops the dents out. Always use a sanding block and always go with the grain when sanding. FULLCURL

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    Quote Originally Posted by Win94 View Post
    I have used Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner for a few years now. Here's where i got the idea:

    http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting/refinish/index.asp
    When I redid the stock on my Commercial 98 I used oven cleaner to remove the oil that had soaked into the wood. It work good for this however, it all so opened the pores of the wood, and the stain took to it much more. This would have been ok except I also reshaped and slimmed up the for-end a bunch. The areas that had been oven cleaned and just sanded down turned out a little darker then those that I had removed wood and sanded after cleaning.

    If you do use a harsh cleaner like the oven cleaner, then I would clean after any reshaping just be for you start to seriously sand such that the wood is consistent and stains more evenly. That said the oven cleaner worked well, especially at pulling the oil that had soften the wood in the recoil lug area.

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    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    Rugers use a oil type finish. The old Weatherbys and high gloss brownings are an epoxy type. The Ruger finish will come off just fine with any commercially available stripper. Use a non-toxic one to save yourself the hassle. Scrape it off once done, then wipe down with a damp sponge or rag until you get all the stripper off.

    Keep the checkering as dry as you can. After stripping, put a coat of diluted (with mineral spirits) tru-oil or whatever you are using into the dry stock. Then restain. Apply your finish afterwards, scuffing with 0000 steel wool in between coats (and be sure to wipe all the dust off before the next coat).

    OBTW, if the Ruger stock isn't walnut, it will be birch I believe - should be plenty hard and hold up to scraping.

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    half rack of good stout IPA and a belt sander sporting some 80 grit and she will be finish free in no time!

    actually I use the same stuff that Big Al is using and it works just fine. splooge a bunch on there and let it do its thing. get after the checkering with an old toothbrush or two and scrape the gunk from the stock with a piece of glass or plastic as was mentioned earlier. I then wash it down with hot soapy water and let it sit for a few days in the garage to dry. If its oil stained I forgo the whiting and just pulverize a few pieces of my kids driveway chalk and mix it into a paste with acetone. apply liberaly to oil stained areas and heat with a heat gun to draw out the oil. badly oil stainded areas can be addressed with oven cleaner as previously mentioned and repeated heating with the heat gun to draw the oil to the surface were it can be absorbed or wiped of with a rag.

    steaming dents out does work reasonably well. nil effect for chips or scratches though. Ruger is big on birch and i actually prefer it unstained for blued rifles... makes for a nice contrast, but it you decided to re-stain, the acetone or similar solvents will draw much of it out (just ware rubber gloves and work in a ventalated area) but some light and careful sanding may still be required.
    “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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