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Spray finish vs. Linseed Oil

6117 Views 26 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  hoselayer
I have always used a product from Brownells for refinishing stocks called Gun Sav'r Custom Oil Gunstock Finish. It is an aerosol spray and I have had very good results with it. Has anyone else used this product and how do you feel about it?

When refinishing with a product such as Linseed Oil do you get the same type of glossy finish that you get from aerosol sprays? Which do you guys think gives the best, most durable finish?

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To paraphrase Ron from a recent post, gunstocks are like furniture; treat them as you would if refinishing any fine wood.

There are several different types of finish. There's polyurethane (hard plastic), several different oil-based finishes, shellac, lacquer, etc. Some of these have matte (flat), some glossy surfaces, and the difference there is really down to personal preference. I'm not familiar with the "Gun Sav'r" product, and though I generally trust Brownells, I don't use things with gimmicky brand names. :) Being an oil, it's probably based on linseed oil. But being a spraycan, you're also paying for a lot of air.

A handrubbed oil finish is generally considered the best for stocks, since it requires minimal care, lasts a long time, and does a good job feeding and protecting the wood. It also doesn't get sticky and gooey in hot weather with sweaty hands. I like linseed oil personally, because it dries with a fairly hard shell. Buy it in liquid form in a can, rub it on with a paper towel (which you then rinse and let dry flat, as this is one of those materials that can spontaneously combust), let sit 12 hours, steel wool, repeat 5-7 times, done.

I've done several stocks using this method, a bunch of handgun grips, and lots of furniture over the years. Can't beat it. It won't give you quite the gloss surface you can get with poly, but I think it provides a better overall finish. As a matter of fact, I'm probably going to redo my gloss poly Super X-1 stock in oil as a winter project next year. The inevitable nicks and dings are much more apparent in a gloss finish.

Hope this helps,

-- Sam
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If your present techniqe works then why change it, if you are happy with the end results and it has a professional finish then stay with it.
The properties to be addressed should be but not limited to, thin in application, hard shell when dry, chip and or flake resistent, ease of repair if dinged or scratched, seals against moisture.


Anyone tried Tung Oil? Works great on fine furniture!
Tung Oil is great stuff. It is one of the few non-toxic finishes, and is therefore great for (for instance) baby furniture. It is really good at feeding and preserving the wood.

Unfortunately, it doesn't dry to a hard shell. It leaves a porous finish which I personally wouldn't use on a gunstock that gets subjected to all kinds of conditions on the sporting field or in the duck blind.

-- Sam
So Linseed Oil "DOES" dry to a hard finish?
I use tung oil quite a bit and with great sucess! also teak oil works fantastic also.

Anonymous said:
So Linseed Oil "DOES" dry to a hard finish?
Yes. Be sure to use several coats, wiping off the surface oil after each, and steel wool between. Most people who have a problem with drying to a shell are putting it on too thick. Humidity can be a factor, too.

Sorry it took me so long to respond, but I was away from the 'net.

-- Sam
I found a great site called that has a procedure that I have been using lately. I finish with a mixture of 3 parts linseed oil and 1 part turpentine rather than the product they sell. I apply as per the instructions at the aforementioned website which amounts to around 6 or 7 coats sanded in with 320 then 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper, then I finish up with a little tung oil. I've refinished a couple of the older Ruger stocks that had the older reddish sort of finish and the results have been stunning. The 3 to 1 mix gives a finish similar to the older Winchester stocks with the dark, rich looking finish.
While we're on this refinishing subject, I'm thinking that I would rather have gotten my new Wingmaster with the "satin" finish than the "gloss" finish. The gloss, as previously mentioned, while looking pretty, eventually shows the dings and scratches a lot more. Is it more expedient (price and time wise) to just buy different stocks or to strip and refinish? I kind of like the oiled look myself. Is it hard to remove both stocks?
Anyone ever done this?
Thanks for any help.
Before you go to the time and expense of a new stock or refinishing, you might try Birchwood Casey Stock Sheen. It's a light polish that goes on like car wax (careful not to get into checkering), and then you hand rub it out. The stuff will knock the gloss level down a few notches and only costs a few bucks + some elbow grease. Follow up with BC Gunstock Wax and good to go.
I have limited experience; but Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil has done several stocks for me to great satisfaction. Apply with your finger; a coat in the morning, a coat in the evening, for ten days, sanding lightly between coats, yields a gorgeous finish, that can be repaired by just another coat.
I've already had my wingmaster re-done in a satin finish. Looks waaaaaaaay better than high gloss. However, I'm going to try re-doing my cooey .22 with your method.
Hello fellows I have been restoring antiques and gun stocks for about 21 years. I ran across a rock hard weather resistant finish about 5 years ago. I am pretty sure its what browning and remington use, but they will not confirm, no matter it's the best I have ever applied. You want to know? OK CONVERSION VARNISH. STEPS 1 STRIP STOCK LET DRY 24 HRS. STEP 2 STAIN IF NEEDED MOST DO NOT. STEP 3 2 COATS OF LACQUER SEALER SAND EACH COAT FINE 3M PAD. NOW STEP4 THE GOOD STUFF 2 OR 3 COATS OF CONVERSION VARNISH. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO SPEND THIS KIND OF MONEY DOING THIS YOUR SELF, SEND ME AN EMAIL. THAT' WHAT I DO. I HOPE THIS HELPS. RONNIE.
Guys, interesting insights from you all! Can anyone please advise me what I should do after I messed up my factory finish by wiping some area with commercial all-purpose cleaner?

The gloss is gone now and the problem is, most areas atill retain their original glossy finish.

(P.S. I know I made a stupid mistake.)

Hey guys.

I was looking for info on refinishing the stock on an old Win. Model 101 and noticed something in an earlier post by SamL that I think deserves some additional attention. I worked for an insurance restoration contractor for 4 years and handled several cases where people nearly burned their houses to the foundation by failing to safely dispose of rags soaked with linseed oil. These will indeed spontaneously combust and can be very dangerous under certain conditions. If you use linseed oil, I strongly suggest calling your local firehouse for advice on this topic. Just my 2 cents worth, but it may prevent an potentially costly mistake.
linseed oils bad for sure, but what about nitro-solvent used for cleaning guns and left in the garage or wherever people leave them. Best to use a fireproof container like they use in the garages for oily rags.
Yeah, I know a guy who darned-near lost his house due to linseed oil-soaked rags. Left them in a trash hauling trailer parked next to the house. Trailer burnt to a crisp, and it was parked under the eaves. He was lucky the dwelling didn't go up.

Just for this reason I usually apply the stuff with paper towels, then rinse the towels and leave them wet and flat on the driveway until they dry.

If you get it on your skin while using it you can feel it warm up as it dries. Definitely an interesting chemical composition...

-- Sam
I've used Birchwood Casey Tru Oil for the few stocks I've refinished and have been very satisfied with the results.

I refinished the wood on my model 12 in 1971 with the stuff and have never touched it since. If I remember correctly I gave it about 15 coats, sanding lightly in between coats. It does give a high gloss finish but you can knock the gloss down by going over it lightly with some oo steel wool or rubbing compound.

I only use the model 12 on pheasants late in the season when I need a little more reach so it has been exposed to the rain and snow and has been banged around quite a bit. There are dings in the finish but none that go through to the wood, the Tru Oil seems like pretty tough stuff.
NE M12: Does Tru-oil give the wood the old Winchester Reddish brown color? Or is it untinted?

I looked at the site, and they have a fairly expensive oil product that is supposed to replicate the old winchester coloring. My M12 has a reddish tint varnished stock, and would like to make a replacement for it usinng a Boyd's partially inletted stock as a base.

Any thoughts?
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