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How to refinish a wood stock

Discussion in 'Stickies Only' started by GMballistic, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. GMballistic

    GMballistic Donator

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    Hello all,

    Here is a guide for refinishing a wood stock. I completed this project on my circa 1947-51 BSA Cadet but the same guide can be used for all wood stocks, grips and even other wooden items.

    Here are the before images below. You can see where the varnish is coming away from the stock as well as where there are bumps, dents, scratches and varnish runs.

    05.jpg


    05.jpg 04.jpg


    From this point on I will be referring to the wood as the stock but as I said this guide could be followed for many different wood products.


    To refinish the stock I decided to use a "Birchwood Casey stock refinishing kit" (comes with everything you will need) and the "Walnut stain" which came with the kit although you could buy another colour stain for different results.
    Guitar wood stain kits for example are great I have found in the past as you can get the stain in a good variety of colours including more outlandish colours if that's what you fancy.
    Birchwood Casey kit here for £19.99: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Birchwood...008545?hash=item3a73545021:g:9JEAAOSw3ydV3igK
    Guitar wood stain here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Crimson-G...hash=item25d66734f9:m:mDuPlctw7QmGxfeTmaYUwmg

    Although the Birchwood Casey stock refinishing kit is very good imho you may also want to buy some decent wet & dry paper in the following grades/grits; 800 and 1000 as well as get some "Tack cloths" if you don't have any.
    Tack cloths: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tack-Clot...gs-/291097716562?_trksid=p2385738.m2548.l4275

    You will also need something to strip off the old finish if it is an old stock or already has a wood stain or varnish coat on it as well as some wire wool. I used "Nitro Mors; Paint & Varnish remover" from B&Q.
    Link: http://www.diy.com/departments/nitromors-all-purpose-paint-varnish-remover-375ml/258640_BQ.prd

    Of course with anything involving chemical strippers you should wear (PPE) safety equipment like nitrile disposable gloves and eye protection like safety specs or goggles.



    • Firstly I began by stripping the rifle down and removing the metal work from the stock.
    01.jpg



    • Then I figured out a way of holding my stock elevated from the ground whilst I applied the stripper and waited for it to do its job. I did this by using a pre-existing hole in the butt plate which I put a small nail into held by a clamp and at the forend using the stock screw retaining holes to put a pair of bolts & nuts in an "X" shape (held together with tape).
    07 Nitro Mors varnish stripper.jpg

    08.jpg

    • Whilst wearing your safety gear you apply the "Nitro Mors" or specific chemical stripper in a dabbing motion with a paint brush to the stock. Try not to paint it on or go to thick. Apply a single coat and wait 5-10 minutes for it to begin to work, then apply a second coat leaving that a subsequent 40-50 minutes. You should see it start to "bubble" up.
    09.jpg



    • Once the time has elapsed using a fine/medium wire wool go over the stock. If it's completely dry put some of the stripper onto the wire wool. You should be able to see the varnish coming off. It will not all come off with one application, trust me, you will need multiple applications to get it all off. After just one coat below....
    10 After first coat of stripper.jpg

    Continued below....
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  2. GMballistic

    GMballistic Donator

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    • Now the stripper is doing it's job just keep repeating the process again and again until eventually you get it to look a little like this below.

    16.jpg

    19.jpg


    • The next step I did was to attempt to remove some of the dents from my stock by "re-aligning the wood fibres" as well as drawing out some of the remaining wood stain which wasn't removed by the stripper, ...the remainder of any stain should be finally removed with a little bit of sanding later. Using a steam iron and a damp soft clothe go over the entire stock with the iron occasionally using the steam function whilst gently pressing on the stock. Keep the clothe between the stock and the iron resisting from pressing too hard or staying in one spot for too long. You should see wood stain on the clothe but please note this part of the process may not get it all out nor remove all dents. Allow to air dry.

    20 Iron realigning wood fibres & pulling stain.jpg




    • Sanding caution: This next stage is probably the most dangerous of all in the sense of the damage you can cause to your stock if you're not careful. It is easy to remove wood from the stock and alter the shape/profile but almost impossible to repair this damage once done.
    • Using a rougher grade/grit of sandpaper/wet & dry (320 for example or one of the grades included with the kit) gently go over the entire stock. Pay particular attention to the edges, shape and profile of your stock ensuring you do not ruin these with excessive sanding in the same areas. A sanding block would be best for the most part only using your hands where you cannot use the block. Go with the grain. My stock needed a lot of attention to remove bigger dents and scratches but some may only need a light sand.
    22.jpg

    23.jpg

    • The gun is now ready for wood staining. Firstly wipe of any dust, debris or dirt from the stock, preferably using a tack cloth for best results. Now decide how best to hang your stock or stand your stock in order to stain it as well as Tru Oil it afterwards. I used a 2mm gauge wire bent into a hook shape which would hook into one of the stock retaining screw holes.

    25.jpg



    • The Birchwood Casey Walnut stain is a concentrate solution so I mixed it 50:50 with cold tap water in a small pot. I checked the color first on some old wood scrap and then began painting on the first coat of wood stain to the stock. Try not to put too much on at once. Less is more and you will need most likely several coats to get to the colour you desire as the wood rapidly absorbs the first two coats I found.

    26 First coat of walnut stain.jpg




    • Leave each coat for at least 12 hours to dry I'd say before applying subsequent coats should you wish/need to. Before applying further coats check for runs if you've applied to thick or other problems like dust/debris on the stock which can be easily removed with fine wire wool. If you do that though ensure to go over the whole stock again with a tack cloth before beginning to stain again. I applied 5 coats to mine in the end which then ended up looking as below.
    29 Fifth coat of walnut stain dried.jpg


    Cont...
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
    talent likes this.
  3. GMballistic

    GMballistic Donator

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    • Once you're happy with the wood stain on your stock you're now ready to move on to using Tru Oil. Firstly a tip I learnt from reading the instructions; "To dispense Tru Oil gun stock finish, poke a small hole in the silver foil cover under the cap. This will help prevent your Tru Oil supply from skinning over inside the bottle". Also I learnt it is a good idea to store the bottle upside down whilst not in use. ;) Firstly ensure you have again gone over your stock with a tack cloth. Then pour a very small amount of the Tru Oil into a container, I used a miniature jam jar but a 10ml medicine type cup would be ideal. I wore nitrile gloves for this part: using your finger/s dip them into the Tru Oil and hand apply the oil to your stock in a gliding motion. Start at one end, if the stock is hanging as mine was then start at the top working your way downwards (my first coat pictured below whilst wet still). Try to resist the urge to put too much on in one go as this will be your downfall and you'll be for ever rubbing it back trying to sort out runs. Once your first coat is on leave the stock to dry for 24hrs.

    30 First coat of Tru Oil.jpg




    • After it has dried for 24hrs check the stock to see if you have any runs, dust or other debris in it. If you do then you will need to use fine wire wool to remove/flatten. At this stage it is VERY easy to go through the Tru Oil as well as the wood stain so caution should be taken even when using wire wool on the stock. Once you have removed any runs/debris etc then tack cloth the stock and continue with your next coat of Tru Oil. My second coat below. NB: dried.
    32 Second coat dried.jpg


    33.jpg

    • Hopefully now you're getting the hang of it but I did differ from the instructions as I knew it would give me better results. After the second coat of Tru Oil had dried I noticed I did have a run by the trigger hole so instead of using wire wool I wet sanded with 800 grade/grit wet & dry. Only very lightly though because as I found out you can very easily go through down to the stain and even through that which is what I did. :eek: To fix that I sparingly applied some walnut wood stain to the affected area using my finger followed by drying it with a hairdryer. I repeated that until I was happy the wood stain was dark enough again. This set that area back by 2 coats of Tru Oil but I knew I was going to be putting a lot of coats on anyway as I wanted a high gloss finish.


    35 Coat n#3 first wet sand.jpg

    36.jpg

    • So the process is now as follows if you've been reading:

    1. Rub down any runs/streaks/debris from previous Tru Oil coat using plenty of soapy water and 800 grade/grit wet & dry.
    2. Dry stock (kitchen roll and/or hair dryer).
    3. Tack cloth stock
    4. Apply Tru Oil coat with fingers very sparingly in a gliding motion top to bottom.
    5. Leave to dry for 24hrs.
    6. Repeat steps 1-5.


    • NOTE: When you reach coat number 5 switch the grade/grit of wet & dry sand paper to 1000 for repairing any runs, debris etc.




    • This is what my stock began to look like after around 6-7 coats of Tru Oil following the above steps.
    37.jpg




    • You could obviously stop applying the Tru Oil after the first few coats (4-5 is the recommendation from Birchwood Casey) if you're happy with that as I know this process is very time consuming especially leaving 24hrs in between dry times. Personally I wanted as glossy finish as possible to really make the wood grain pop. :cool:
    • Coat numbers 9 and 10 (the last coats) should be applied very, very thinly with a high emphasis on trying to get a streak free finish whilst applying the oil with your fingers. If you can avoid sanding in between coats 8, 9 & 10 that will work best although if there are imperfections obviously attend to those as I advised before. Tenth coat on below (wet still) and left to dry...
    39 Tenth coat on.jpg

    Cont....
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
    talent likes this.
  4. GMballistic

    GMballistic Donator

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    I ended up doing 11 coats of Tru Oil in the end as I noticed some dust in coat number 10 which I couldn't let go. :lol:

    The end results.....

    44.jpg

    45.jpg

    46.jpg
    47.jpg

    I'm very pleased with the results. :D

    I hope you've enjoyed reading this and ultimately I hope it inspires you to have a go yourself or guides you through the process.

    Oh and I didn't touch on it in this but I do have some amateur knowledge of crack/split repair and hole repair so any questions or comments please feel free to ask.
    Gareth :up:
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
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  5. Rob-ontarget

    Rob-ontarget Donator

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    Well written guide.. Thank you:)
     
  6. GMballistic

    GMballistic Donator

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    Thank you Rob appreciate the comment. :up:
     
  7. oedbachgen

    oedbachgen Top Poster

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    Very informative write up GM., and with what I like pictures:up:
     
  8. pjbingham

    pjbingham Prime Kentish Beef

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    Great write up GM,thanks for sharing
     
  9. GMballistic

    GMballistic Donator

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    Thanks both. :up:

    Hopefully it'll inspire others to have a go at their old, worn or damaged stocks.
     
  10. 828u

    828u Engaging Member

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    Excellent guide, I want to do the stock on my Benelli 828u, it has beautiful wood but I don't like the satin finish. Was this your first attempt at refinishing a stock, or do you have loads of experience? I'd hate to screw it up!
     
  11. neil180

    neil180 Busy Member

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    When you are using Tru Oil, you can actually treat it almost like you do when you paint a car. You can build up coats and then cut them back to get a nice smooth finish. The only thing I would adise is to use the minimum amount that you can on each coat and rub it in hard to it goes on as thin as possible.
     
  12. GMballistic

    GMballistic Donator

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    Thanks for the comment. :up:
    I do have a lot of experience with painting, sanding, finishing techniques and other things but this was my first attempt at refinishing a gun stock using Tru Oil.

    Honestly it is not that difficult to do but it is a time consuming process but I think the rewards are worth it. As Neil mentions the key is to build up thin layers rather than trying to go on too thick as all you'll do then is make problems for yourself like runs just like you would when painting.

    If you're still unsure though why not get some scrap wood to practice on first?
    Tbh not knowing your skill set and if this is your first attempt at finishing wood then I'd highly recommend you do that. If you do mess it up and decide not to refinish the Benelli's stock then all you've lost is the £20 for the Birchwood Casey stock refinishing kit and a scrap piece of wood.
    I'd wager you'd be able to sell the kit on afterwards too if you didn't want it. ;)
     
  13. Scott

    Scott Registered User

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    I can't believe I missed this post, thanks for the heads up about it Gareth :up:

    You've done a truly amazing job there and you really did the old gun proud when you compare the finished result with the battered and abused stock you started with.
     
  14. GMballistic

    GMballistic Donator

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    Thank you very much and the praise is appreciated. :thumb:
    I'm so happy with the way the Cadet stock looks now and will definitely be doing it again to another rifle stock in the future. Might experiment more though next time with some different colour wood stains. Becky would like a purple stock on a rifle when we get her one.

    I hope that this thread though will help others and inspire them to give it a go. ;)
     
  15. silverfox1307

    silverfox1307 Busy Member

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    Great guide GMB you did it very well and it's a great feeling of achievement - I did my old Meteor with Truoil in exactly the same way (11 thin coats) it's a great product and quite easy to use as long as you take your time and gives a lovely smooth finish on its own and even better if you give it a polish with some car polish after it's fully hardened off. Here's a before and after of my Meteor... e96c08336702cbe5bb180e44054b849e.jpg 39d0fb86a09637a167f6a92cc7493ab0.jpg
     
  16. GMballistic

    GMballistic Donator

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    ^^ See that looks fantastic silverfox1307. :cool:

    I'm assuming that's a beech stock the same as mine was?, ...it's incredible how good they can look after some elbow grease and Tru Oil. Well done. :up:
     
  17. silverfox1307

    silverfox1307 Busy Member

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    Yes it's beech but I gave it a couple of thin coats of dark oak stain to emphasise the grain. I didn't buy the whole Truoil kit just the finishing oil, all the prep work was as you say using elbow grease & I just gave it my own personal touch and burnt the eagle on one side and a stags head on the other.


    .
     
  18. Ooops

    Ooops Active Member

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    Thanks Gareth, that's a brilliant guide. Its filed away for when I get brave enough for my first attempt
     
  19. GMballistic

    GMballistic Donator

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    Your own personal touch of the burnt eagle looks fantastic. Personally I'd love to see a guide of how to do something like that too. :cool:

    Any pics of the Stags head?


    No problem Jeffro and glad it's inspiring you to give it a go one day.

    You could always practice on some scrap wood before trying it on one of your gun stocks if you're ever unsure. :up:
     
  20. silverfox1307

    silverfox1307 Busy Member

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    06a01977311cc7692f02c50ef94b47ea.jpg

    Here's the Stags head, I practised several times on offcuts before attempting the stock. I learnt from watching You tube and I purchased a cheep wood burning kit for under a tenner from eBay then just practised. I traced the stags head from a picture and transferred it to the stock and burnt over the lines. It's not really that hard to do.
     
    Sanguinius and GMballistic like this.

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