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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently started to refinish a SXS stock and forearm. I have everything striped and sanded. The original finish was almost blonde. I would like to darken it considerably. In the directions it said to put a little alchol or water on the stock to ***** the color with just the tru-oil. It said if that is not dark enough, to use the stain. I am wondering if I stain it with the BC stain, will it be to dark? Does the tru-oil get darker the more coats you put on? Thanks for the help.

Travis
 

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I've just used BC walnut stain and it's worked well, developing the grain nicely rather than covering it. Use it sparingly and whilst it's still wet you can see the final colour. You can repeat the process to darken it further if you want.

I'm not using TruOil though because I don't want a gloss finish. My preference is for a classic oiled sheen finish so I'm using proper craftsmans grade teak oil (not the thin stuff you use on garden furniture).
 

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dirt1 said:
Did you dilute it at all , or just put it on?
As a first timer with the stuff I diluted 1:1 with water like it says to do. Left it about 2-3 hours to dry, then scrubbed the surface with a dry coarse cloth to clear any residue. It needed 3 applications to get the colour depth I wanted. There are some posters here with much more knowhow than me and they may yet chime in with some thoughts.
 

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I suggest that before you stain the wood, you dewhisker it. This is done by wetting the wood with a wet cloth, drying it repeatedly over a burner on the kitchen range and sanding the grain that was raised during the drying with 220 then 320 grit wet-dry sandpaper.

Dewhiskering will take 4 to 8 procedures before drying will no longer raise the grain. Then stain the stock and let it dry.

Depending on the openness of the wood grain, you might also want to apply a grain filler before dewhiskering. The filler is brushed on across the grain, allowed to dry and then sanded off with the grain. One or two applications should be enough.

When applying the oil, do not make the common mistake of using too much for each application. Following the first application or two, a few drops are all that is needed for the next application. Be sure the previous coat is dry before applying the next coat or you could end up with a sticky mess that could take months to get hard (if it ever does.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the help guys, but I think I allready screwed it up. I did dewhisker it, but I only did it once. I sanded with the different grits of paper until I got to the 400 grit. I thought I had everything ready to go so I started staining. Probably a bad move. I noticed some blotches in the stain, I figure it was spots of the original finish. I couldn't even see them. Before I started staining. Anyway I took a little fine sand paper and sanded the spots. Then I reaplied the stain. I got it to blend pretty good. But I think the biggest problem is the checkering. I looks like crap. I didn't know if I should just mask it of or stain over it. Well you can guess what I did. Any Ideas?
 

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Wet down the stock with plenty of petroleum spirits and with a stiff brush and rags you should be able to remove the stain. May take 2-3 goes. If you have any naptha based wax finish remover that's even better. You should then be back to square one.

Where are you Pumpster? This guy needs expert advice.
 

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Trickster said:
Where are you Pumpster? This guy needs expert advice.
Licking my wounds and cursing the weather Cold - too cold to shoot and snow - too deep to shoot

anyway, Dirt1 - hate to say it but you've just made much more work for yourself. I assume the BC stain is water-soluble. That's good because it is one of the most transparent stains there is. That's bad because any traces of earlier oil, varnish or wax will prevent the water from getting to the wood and when it does, mottling occurs.

I prefer using a spirit-based stain - actually it's probably toluene or paint thinner. These stains tend to apply more uniformly than the water based ones.

The suggestion to use petroleum spirits to wipe down your stock is excellent - you gotta get the last traces of old stuff off and this might do it. Wear some gloves and rub the stock with steel wool (4-0) soaked in the solvent.

Scrub the checkering with a toothbrush and solvent.

Go away, let everyting dry and have a martini.

Make sure the stock is really smooth and has no fuzz, no steel wool, no sanding dust. Apply your solvent-based stain. Brush it on liberally, rub it in and let it dry. Go away for a day or so. Have several martinis.

You now should have a perfectly dry, smooth non-blotchy stock. If you want it darker, repeat the above. DO NOT FOLLOW DIRECTIONS ON THE STAIN CAN a few hours is NOT enough for drying. Give it a day.

If you want to fill as per Roland's excellent suggestion, now's the time. Cut the dark walnut paste filler with turps until it's the consistency of heavy cream. Brush it on with a coarse brush, against the grain. Do small areas at a time. When the filler is beginning to harden up, use burlap or a coarse towel to remove the surface filler - rub against the grain (we rub against the grain because we want the filler to stay in the tiny grain cracks) At this point, get all the surface filler off - it it hardens it's a *****. No need to sand if you've gotten all the filler off the surface. Don't use filler in the checkering - it won't come out. Now here's a problem: the filler will make the wood slightly darker so the unfiled checkering may appear t light in constrast. So, you'll take a toothbrush annd rub filler into the checkering, DO NOT LET IT DRY aND BRUSH IT RIGHT OUT IMMEDIATELY This will darkeen the area but not crap the checkering with filler whcih you could never get out.
Go away a day or two (two's better). Have some more martinis.

Now you should have a smooth, satiny dark stock with the grain filled. If you are going to varnish, which I personally don't like, you could put a thin coat of sanding sealer on at this point, go away for a day and sand VERY lightly. Dust the stock with a tack cloth between all steps. Now you can varnish. Cut your varnish with turps and apply a thin coat. GO AWAY FOR A DAY (yeah, more martinis) Sand VERY lightly, use tack cloth, another thin coat of varnish, go away again for a day.

If you don't varnish you can apply oil. If it's linseed oil, I always warm the oil for the first coat. Coat the stock, let it soak in and wipe of everything that doesn't get absorbed within a half hour or so. Go away for a half day. Put on second coat as above. Now go away for a day.

Repeat the above as many times as you want. After you get 4 or 5 coats on the stock, you'll need to let more time between coats. 2 or 3 days is not too long. i personally leave a minimum of a day for early coats and 2-3 for later ones. A week isn't crazy.

As you can see, this whole process is very time consuming but it leaves nice gaps for martinis.

Finishing any wood, be it stock or fine furniture, so it looks really fine is difficult and very time-consuming. I think that's why some amateur-refinished stocks don't look good.

There's no real reason to wax a stock. If you insist, wait a month or so for the last oil to dry and harden, then wax. If you wax too soon it could look like crap. Then you would have to repeat all the above.

I have 15 or more coats of linseed oil on all my stocks. No wax. They are beautiful. Every half year or so I'll put another coat on. That's when I appreciate the no-wax surface!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just wanted to thank you guys for all your help. It was very informative. You will have to excuse my ignorance on this matter, I'm a welder by trade. Working with wood is not one of my strong points. I figured with the long Wisconsin winter, I'd have something to keep me busy since it's to cold to be out shooting.

Anyway, I do have a couple more questions.

1) When you refer to petroleum spirits, do you mean mineral spirits? I'm a little confused

2) How do I know if I need to fill the grain? If it makes a difference, this is a brand new shotgun. So the wood had no imperfections (dings, ect.) Although it's a budget gun so I'm sure the wood was nothing special or finished particularly well.

3) Once I get it stained would you guys recommend the Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil or I do have Linspeed oil.

Again thank you for taking the time to help me.

Travis
 

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dirt1 said:
I just wanted to thank you guys for all your help. It was very informative. You will have to excuse my ignorance on this matter, I'm a welder by trade. Working with wood is not one of my strong points. I figured with the long Wisconsin winter, I'd have something to keep me busy since it's to cold to be out shooting.

Anyway, I do have a couple more questions.

1) When you refer to petroleum spirits, do you mean mineral spirits? I'm a little confused

2) How do I know if I need to fill the grain? If it makes a difference, this is a brand new shotgun. So the wood had no imperfections (dings, ect.) Although it's a budget gun so I'm sure the wood was nothing special or finished particularly well.

3) Once I get it stained would you guys recommend the Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil or I do have Linspeed oil.

Again thank you for taking the time to help me.

Travis
Hi-

Yeah, this kind of thing is a great winter project. Petroleum spirits = mineral spirits. Sorry, I should have been more precise. I tend to think of just "spirits" as alcohol and petroleum and mineral sprits as the same thing.

Grain filling is important on open-grain woods such as mahogany but less so on wood such as walnut. I like to fill walnut anyway, because there are microscopic grain that does pick up the filler. The filler, being darker, accentuates the grain. However, in most cases the difference is slight and filling can be skipped.

I have never used BC Tru-oil. I personally like boiled linseed oil that I get in small tins from the local hardware store. Tung oil is also very good but the local hardware store products with "tung" in their name are NOT pure tung oil and they are inferior. Use a pure tung oil such as from: http://www.realmilkpaint.com/products.html

Whether you use tung or boiled linseed oil, remember:

Use many, many very thin coats rubbed in.
DO NOT FOLLOW LABEL INSTRUCTIONS but leave a day or so between applications. Keep the stock at room temp (not in unheated garage). Be patient.

Oil does 2 things: it dries and it hardens. Hardening is an oxidation and polymerization that takes place very slowly. The molecules of oil get attached to each other during this process and it must have exposure to air to complete itself. So, if you slather a lot of oil on a coat not yet fully hard, the lower coat will not get air and will never harden and the surface will turn to crap.

In later coats, after the stock has been left aloe for a week or so, you can use very fine steel wool just to break the surface and apply a finish coat.

Oil will give you a "build" just like varnish but it takes a very long time and a lot of coats.

Get a "tacky cloth" at local hardware or paint store. This is a piece of cheesecloth with some mild stickum in it. Use it to wipe down the stock just before applying a new coat so that little bits of crap don't get embedded.

Just don't get trapped into thinking that you can put a coat of something on the stock, a second coat the next day and then wax it the next.

A good source of non grain-raising stain (the transparent stuff in mineral spirits) is woodcraft (they have a website) You won'[t find it in local paint r hardware shops. If you have a specialty woodworkers shop nearby, they should have it. Don't use Minwax or products like it - they use a pigment stain that is slightly cloudy. It is always best to use a stain that stains and a finish that finishes - the "all in one product" works, but not as nicely as doing each step separately.

The fact that you're working with a "budget gun" really doesn't matter - if you put a nice professional oil finish on the stock it will look like a million bucks! I have some stocks that are very plain, straight-grained but they look very elegant - they seem to glow! Even with dings - I use my guns and dings are badges of honor. An oil finish is very easy to maintain, too. A thin coat of oil and scratches are gone. Fall in the water with your gun? Dry it out and give the stock a coat of oil. Have a martini.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Pumpster,

I followed your recomendations last night. I used Mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool and rubbed it down. Is this going to take multiple attempts? It lightened it up quite a bit, but didn't remove it all. Also what should I do about the finish that is left in the checkering? Get it the best I can with the mp and steel wool and the go over the checkering again with stripper? There is not much left, but enough to be noticable. Thanks again for your help.

Travis
 

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dirt1 said:
Pumpster,

I followed your recomendations last night. I used Mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool and rubbed it down. Is this going to take multiple attempts? It lightened it up quite a bit, but didn't remove it all. Also what should I do about the finish that is left in the checkering? Get it the best I can with the mp and steel wool and the go over the checkering again with stripper? There is not much left, but enough to be noticable. Thanks again for your help.

Travis
That's a judgement call - it takes experience - if in doubt rub it down with mineral spirits many times - the stuff is cheap. Get a wooden bristle brush (wooden brush - not wooden bristles - get wood so the solvent won't dissolve it) and scrub the checkering with spirits. Wear glasses - it might splatter.

You won't be able to get all the stain out of the wood and that's ok. what you want to do is get the finish off. Just make sure all the old varnish is gone. The wood itself is stained and if you try to remove that, you'll have to sand the crap out of it and don't do that.

Make sure you have all the stripper removed - that can ruin later coats. Soak a cloth in spirits and rub the stock down a final time. Wipe the checkering.

When you re-stain, any place that might have a slight trace of old finish might come out blotchy especially if you use water-based stain. If you use a spirit-based stain there's no reason why you cannot rub it. Apply with brush and rub it in - that will help avoid blotchyness. If there are some blotches, you can rub more stain on those areas while the stock is still wet. Give it a good soaking!

A lot of this is just trial and error - you have latitude with the stains and stuff. You can even out the stain while it is still wet - use a stain-soaked cloth. But if you get all the old varnish off, then this won't be a problem. Remember - varnish protects the wood underneath from moisture and that what it will do unless you get it all off.

When you do a wipe with mineral spirits, does any crud come off onto the cloth? I don't mean just stain color - but sticky stuff? If not you're all set to go!
 

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Frank may know a lot more about stock refinishing than I do but my choice would be acetone, rather than mineral spirits. Acetone is a much more aggressive solvent.

If you use acetone, do so only in a well ventilated area. It is considerably more volatile than mineral spirits and the fumes can be hazardous. (Too much and you could become light-headed, lose consciousness or have a burning desire to associate with ewes, much younger than yourself.)
 

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Rollin Oswald said:
Frank may know a lot more about stock refinishing than I do but my choice would be acetone, rather than mineral spirits. Acetone is a much more aggressive solvent.

If you use acetone, do so only in a well ventilated area. It is considerably more volatile than mineral spirits and the fumes can be hazardous. (Too much and you could become light-headed, lose consciousness or have a burning desire to associate with ewes, much younger than yourself.)
Acetone is indeed more aggressive and more efficient but I don't use it for the very reasons you cited! In small amounts it's fine, but wiping a stock with an acetone-laden rag gets dicey. You may have a good ventilated hood - I have a small hood that I use for spraying and powder-coating small items but it wouldn't take a stock.

A really aggressive solvent is methylethylketone (MEK) or MMEK/acetone mixture!

It's a good point, tho - acetone is much quicker!
 

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dirt1 said:
1) When you refer to petroleum spirits, do you mean mineral spirits? I'm a little confused

3) Once I get it stained would you guys recommend the Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil or I do have Linspeed oil.Travis
Some things have different names in your country. We have a fluid called white spirit which is a clear kerosene like petroleum based product normally used for rinsing/cleaning paint brushes after use. It's good for cleaning and degreasing and is widely available, cheap and harmless. Does much the same job as turps and I always have some around.

I've never used TruOil so can't comment, but I generally avoid those snappy "trade secret"/"rapid oil" type products. They are all linseed based and it's the linseed that does the job. The additives are mainly there to shorten drying times which, as Pumpster says, can really mess things up if you're not patient. The more trouble you take the better the end result, and there are very few mistakes that can't be rectified.
 

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Trickster said:
dirt1 said:
1) When you refer to petroleum spirits, do you mean mineral spirits? I'm a little confused]

Some things have different names in your country. We have a fluid called white spirit which is a clear kerosene like petroleum based product normally used for rinsing/cleaning paint brushes after use. It's good for cleaning and degreasing and is widely available, cheap and harmless. Does much the same job as turps and I always have some around.
I thought that in UK "white spirits" is akin to our (US) "mineral spirits" A kerosene-like solvent would clean paint brushes but is not interchangeable with paint thinner. Over here, just "spirits" refer, I thought, to alcohol as in a "spirit lamp" being an alcohol lamp. Or is a "spirit lamp" really a kerosene lamp (which I thought was properly called an "oil lamp") What are "oil lamps" (ie kerosene lantern) called in Britain?
 

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linseed oil and boiled linseed oil "does the job" but as it on the bottom end of the list of finishes available today. There are much better ones available to for use. Additives in linseed oil finishes improve the product but I would still suggest a polymer modified tung oil. It is far more reisistant to moisture than linseed oil. I would use BC tru oil before I would use straight blo but I no longer even use that. There are some teak oils that make for good stock finishes also. The list of better ones goes on and on.

On another issue, you will want to mask off your checkering and I would suspect you will need to recut the checkering when you are done. The stain will take more in the checkering and look a bit hideous and there in lies a problem. You can mix some of the spirit stain with the finish and it will help in the checkering. I try to avoid a stain when I can but I understand your dilema with light wood. Filling the pores can be a problem if you sand it back. Make sure you do not go through the surface finish or you will get blotchy spots on the stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well I think I'm on the same page now. I thought the mineral spirits would draw the stain out, but all that is supposed to do is get the specks of the old finish off. See what I mean, I'm not real good at woodwork.

Once I get those specks of the old finish off should I try to touch them up with the water based stain that I have or get some of the other stain that you recomended? I guess the only thing that I would worry about is that it would get to dark. Actually, after putting the mineral spirits on it was about the perfect color.

Thanks again
 

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Pumpster said:
I thought that in UK "white spirits" is akin to our (US) "mineral spirits" A kerosene-like solvent would clean paint brushes but is not interchangeable with paint thinner. Over here, just "spirits" refer, I thought, to alcohol as in a "spirit lamp" being an alcohol lamp. Or is a "spirit lamp" really a kerosene lamp (which I thought was properly called an "oil lamp") What are "oil lamps" (ie kerosene lantern) called in Britain?
You're confused :? me too... Damn English language. Who invented it????

Anyway- deep breath - "white spirits" must be the same as "mineral spirits". Definitely not the same as paint thinners. I've never heard the term "spirit lamps" but we certainly have "oil lamps" and they run on "paraffin" (aka "paraffin oil") which to you guys is "kerosene". About the only difference with white spirits is that paraffin is coloured (sorry, "colored") with pigment, usually red. Presumably, by "oil" the reference is to the petroleum origins because both white spirit and paraffin are fairly good degreasing agents.
 
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