2 part epoxy type finishes are durable but ugly. Fullerplast is an example, later Brownings has it and it looks like they were dipped in plastic.
I use spar urethane varnish and tung oil 50/50. My guns see a lot of heavy use in the wet. The finish handles water fine and because it has a lot of tung in it I can hand rub in a few drops of finish in two or three applications at the end of the season and all the scuffs and scratches dissapear.
I like the valspar (I think that's the right name) poly-urethane finish in the spray cans. After sanding the finish down I hang them up outside and start putting layers on. It seems to really protect the wood, and looks pretty good too.
Ottodude just posted pics on the Browning Forum of a gun I did for him with Tung/Spar Urethane. His pic really shows the soft glow of the oil/varnish blend as compared to the hard shine of Fullerplast.
He likes his wood blonde and they sure glow in his pictures.
IMO this finish is the most durable finish available that still has the class of an early finish.
I have used FullerPlast on many guns in the past. It does produce quite a shine, as in Brownings and Weatherby's. The shine can be dulled to look almost like oil using 0000 steel wool or pumice in oil. I will say that it is pretty near bullet proof when it comes to water damage as long as ALL surfaces are coated. By the same token, I generally use absolutly Pure Tung oil on MY gunstocks after having sanded them all the way down to 1200 grit paper.
Just so you know, a lot of stock finishers used Acraglass as a surface finish and it is a very good finish and is waterproof. I won't go into the details but you use it to fill the grain and then other coats to completely seal the wood. The hard part is applying it and then making sure you take it back down to the wood as you build it up and it takes several coats to finish it and a lot of sanding in between.
I prefer Arrow's wood finish myself. It makes a stock almost comletely waterproof and lets the stock breath better so you won't have any rot form under the top coat like you can on some of the polyurethanes and other varnishes. You can apply another top coat of it any time you want or need too just like you do the tung oil and it can be used to repair other finishes and is actually better than the Tung and many other types of finishes. A bottle will cost you around $8 and you can completely redo the stock with it several times over. I used the first bottle to finish about 8 stocks before it had to be replaced and you will not have to worry about it oxidizing on you like the tung and other polymers will.
At a local gunsmith last summer, I saw several guns that had been underwater for a couple of weeks in the Katrina flood in New Orleans a couple of years ago. The metal on all the guns was pretty badly rusted, but he was busy sanding them down and trying to fix them.
The most interesting thing about the entire lot, though, were the stocks on an old Browning A 500. They were just about perfect. Didn't need any work at all. The metal on the same gun was a rusty mess.
Poly finishes, at least the ones Browning uses, are just the thing for turing water. Beat anything I ever saw. :lol:
I put it on like a hand rubbed oil finish, with a few twists.
Here is a link to a long exchange that covered a lot of ground ranging from stripping and dewhiskering to checkering and applying finish. If all you want is my twisted opinion on putting on an oil/varnish finish, it's sme where in the middle of this mess:
I have an Auto 5 built in 1967. Years ago when hunting in extreme cold(-20) the stock finish cracked in many places. It shows up as lines in the finish. Have you seen this before? What is the best way to remove this finish?
I have a 66 magnum 12 that the finish had cracked like that. I had a local gunsmith redo the finish. He said it was a bear to remove. I think he just went back with a polyurethane finish. Its pretty shiny. I kind of like the shiny finish on the brownings but also like the oil finish as well. Im just not sure how well the poly will hold up since I hunt this gun. Oh well, I can hunt it like it is for a few years and get it redone later. I love that mid 60's blonde wood! I should have taken pics before I had it done. I think it is a little brighter than it used to be but the old finish was VERY dirty.
Back to my original post, I dont know if im ready to get into all of the mixing of different materials since this is my first gun. Will plain old tru oil be ok for my first go around with finishing a stock? Also how do I keep from getting a coat of oil in the checkering each time? Can I tape it off or just stay away from it when rubbing the oil in with my hands?
I think it is helpful to seal all of the inletting, stock bolt holes, end grain, etc. throughly in addition to the surface finish. I use thinned varnish, and soak several thinned coats into all these areas. under the grip cap, in the inletting, and the end grain at the buttstock. wipe off throughly after letting it soak to keep from building up finish to interfere with the fit. A good wood to metal fit is important to help repel an ocassional wetting. Almost any of the modern polyurthane or "oil" gunstock finishes should work on the outside if well done and maintained. And a coat of wax over everything helps.
A synthetic stock is probably better if you are going to treat it like a boat paddle or pole.
I agree about inletting but the key word is "thinned". Most modern varnishes are meant to build quickly and you dont want any building in the inletting. All the finish needs to wick into the wood and thinning makes a big difference.
I always wipe out any and all finish that is not soaked in after brushing the inletting so that there is nothing on top of the wood, it's soaked in or wiped off.
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