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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:D Hi all, I have an older SxS and the forearm is much darker than the butt stock (age). I'd like to lighten it up to match the stock. I really don't want to strip the wood as there is alot of checkering on the forearm.

Any suggestions?

Thanks so very much!!!

Greg
 

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If the forend is darker there are a couple of possible causes.

1) the wood was darker than the stock to begin with, action: stain the stock darker to match (not a good option as stain hides the subtle qualities of the wood, it's a last resort)

2) the finish is darkened with age and dirt, action: clean it gently with Murphys oil soap and a soft cloth and toothbrush in the checkering, if that does not work strip and refinish

3) the wood is oxidized with age, action: strip it and sand the wood removing the oxidized layer, refinish

4) The wood has petroleum oil in it from over oiling the metal, it probably soaked in from the back side. action: strip the finish off and pull out the oil with whiting or Wonko's brew (acetone) and refinish. Note, oil may leave some staining behind or continue to creep out darkening the wood again.

Pictures would help me guess at what might be necessary.

Jeff
 

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Jeff Mull said:
If the forend is darker there are a couple of possible causes.

1) the wood was darker than the stock to begin with, action: stain the stock darker to match (not a good option as stain hides the subtle qualities of the wood, it's a last resort)
Jeff
There are two general types of stain: pigment and transparent.

Pigment stain (common paint store type, including Watco and Minwax) is much like paint - the color comes from particulate pigments in suspension and this type of stain WILL cloud the grain. It is used on inexpensive guns, including many Browning models, and lower quality furniture.

Transparent stains are soluble dyes, dissolved in a liquid. These stains enhance, rather than obscure grain. Transparent stains are harder to find - usually one has to get them from specialty dealers (Woodcraft [or Woodcrafter's - I forget the name] is one of them) Used in combination with the appropriate filler (again, not the paint-shop type, but the stuff from a specialty dealer) they strikingly enhance grain.

Transparent stain can be water based (not recommended for a variety of reasons unless you are very experienced in its use) or organic solvent-based. These are generally analine dyes and will give a beautiful appearance. They will enhance rather than hide the subtle qualities of wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
:D Thanks guys! Say Jeff, I believe that the wood is just dark with age and dirty.

Any tricks using Murphys soap or just follow directions?

Thanks!!!

Greg
 

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I've heard from friends that gave old Parkers several passes over a period of days and each time it got a little better.

As usual patience and perserverence pay dividends.

Regarding dyes, I am prejudiced but not alone in my preferences. There is more to the character of a piece of wood than grain and IMO some of the subtle attributes are covered up by both dyes and stains. Others love them and do good work with them. I just prefer mine without.

"Viva la difference".

Jeff
 

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Jeff Mull said:
I've heard from friends that gave old Parkers several passes over a period of days and each time it got a little better.

As usual patience and perserverence pay dividends.

Regarding dyes, I am prejudiced but not alone in my preferences. There is more to the character of a piece of wood than grain and IMO some of the subtle attributes are covered up by both dyes and stains. Others love them and do good work with them. I just prefer mine without.

"Viva la difference".

Jeff
Jeff- you are absolutely right! There is a lot to be said for natural color of wood - entirely un-mucked with! A lot of woods,such as cherry, will "stain" normally with age. Unfinished cherry develops a wonderful deep color that is preserved when the wood is finished. In furniture making, stains really come into their own when, for example in a mahogany breakfront, you might have 20 different pieces of mahogany in view at the same time and it could look a bit like the calico cat unless the woods are matched by staining.

Less expensive walnut stocks often have a bit of sapwood that is lighter and many prefer a more uniform overall tone without losing grain, hence the spirit stains.

Lower-end Brownings use a pigment stain and I have seen some spectacular results when these stocks were stripped and properly stained - the wood just glowed!

Having said all this, my computer is sitting on a small oaken table I built 40 years ago. No stain, just about 20 coats rubbed shellac. Oh my!

Thank you for raising the point that stocks needn't be stained!
 

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Frank,

This might be a good time to share a trick with others...how to tell what wood will look like with a clear finish but no stain applied. Some wood that looks like balsa after sanding does not need stain...but how to tell???

Rub the wood down with mineral spirits and while it is wet it will look like the finished wood. Once the mineral spirits boil off it will look plain again but at least you'll have had a look at the wood with it's character and flaws fully revealed.

Jeff
 

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I'm going to try Murphy's Oil Soap. Sounds like a helluva good idea.

But, so far I've used lighter fluid (naphta) and a toothbrush. Cleans the wood, and even lifts some of the old gun oil out. It's cheap, and I haven't hurt anything yet with it.

But, be careful smoking around it. :lol:
 

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Most old doubles were finished with Linseed Oil which is photosensitive and darkens with age. The forearm may have been refinished as they receive more wear on average. If the clewaning doesn't work, the stripping will.
 
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