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Wood Finish Not Faq


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#1 ThompsonCrazy

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 10:50 AM

I just picked up 2 unfinished 28 non-crossbolt stocks. I would like to finish them but from past experience it seems that BLO or Tung oil turns out too light. My question is in the order of process. If I have a coat of BLO or Tung oil on the stock can I still apply a stain over top or is it best to sand and start fresh? I have used Minwax stains before and am unhappy with the lack of penetration even after repeated coates. I am going to go with the alcohol based as outlined in the FAQ from Brownells. Can I apply that over the BLO/Tung or does the stain need to go on first followed by sealing with the BLO/Tung?
Thanks to all, TC
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#2 leid

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 11:27 AM

Hi TC,
Each piece of wood has its own unique properties. If you want to stain just a little darker, you might try to stain thru the tung oil, but penetration will not be as deep. But if you are going a lot darker with something like jacobean or desire deeper penetration, remove the tung oil. The tung oil will protect the wood against your stain, so your stock might not stain uniformly. Why fight it? Remove the finish and start from scratch. That way you can use stain until you have the desired color. Then finish with hand rubbed tung oil or the finish of your choice. Formby's has both high and low gloss tung oil. I prefer several light applications of low gloss. Have fun and finish when the humidity is low if possible. IMHO.
Carey
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#3 PK.

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 03:06 PM

If you want a sneak preview, you can tell what color the wood will be after oiling by wetting it with denatured alcohol while in the unfinished condition. Some walnuts that look light when dry turn quite dark when wet with either oil or alcohol.
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#4 MG Stocks.com

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 03:13 PM

Finishing wood is not an exact science but there is a lot of misinformation out there which doesn't help much.

Most "stains" on the market are not pure stains but consist of pigmented finishes, usually but not always oil based. The analine dyes, often called spirit dyes (that is what Brownells calls them) are analine dyes suspended in alcohol. Few professionals use oil based stains, partly because the quality of the pigments is low and apply them tends to mask the figure that makes us like wood in the first place. Analine dyes are the way to go but they do have drawbacks.

Penetration of dyes is seldom deep so the wood has to be ready to finish before the stain goes on as anything but the lightest sanding will go right through it. Using an alcohol based dye will raise the grain so it is important to dewhisker the stock completely before staining.

It is hard to duplicate the look of an original military stock from the times because it isn't so much a finish as a patina. The various oils have been oxidized and turned dark, grit and oil have filled the pores and the surface of the wood has become polished to a dull sheen. A good job duplicating this can be done but it takes time, patience and a bit of practice.

As for finishes, most of what passes for tung oil finishes are polyeurethane blends with little or no actual tung oil in them, Formbys has nearly no actual tung oil in it. Tung oil in its pure state gives better moisture protection than BLO but will build to little or no gloss. The gloss comes from the polyeurethane and to make it low gloss they add filler than turns the finish opaque which is why a few heavy coats of low gloss finish looks so plasticy. With that said, skillful use of it can do a fair job of duplicating the look/patina of an old stock.

A trick is to use a thin layer of the gloss to seal the wood after staining and then start applying BLO. The BLO doesn't soak in as much and you build up a finish faster.

As for applying stain over finish, that is called a wash coat. Winchester finished their stocks for years like that, the color was in the finish rather than in the wood. Remington stained the wood iteself on the Colt Thompsons. For most people at home it is hard to get a good looking finish with that technique that doesn't look plastic and artificial.


I speak from my experience as a custom stockmaker making exclusively wood for military guns.


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#5 Ron A

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 03:14 PM

Brownells has a product for the stain which is not unlike the military color. It matchs the color on my original 1921.

It will give you the proper color, then I use coats of linseed oil, or tung oil, sanded between each coat until I get the sheen wanted. As PK states the color may suprise you - some wood will go dark even if it appears to be light prior to applying the stain.

Every piece of wood is different. I just finished a butt stock, pistol grip and front grip for a 28 - all the wood was from the same original piece and the color was different on the grip.

Good luck!
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#6 ThompsonCrazy

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 03:52 PM

Thank you gentleman! Very good info. Both stocks are still raw wood. I am trying to be patient and determine a battle plan prior to not getting the results that I want. TC
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#7 TSMGguy

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 04:50 PM

Have often faced this very problem with old US military wood. The best finish that I have found is Olympic dark walnut stain. It is an oil-based stain and it penetrates beautifully. It will not obscure the grain or change the color of the walnut but will darken it slightly. It is very durable, and I don't bother with tung or linseed oils. It is wiped on with a soft cloth and allowed to dry overnight. I then buff the new finish with 0000 finishing steel wool until it is no longer glossy. If you desire a darker color, repeat the process.
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#8 Zamm

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 09:40 PM

MG Stocks,
Great info, Thanks!
Nice stuff on your site, a pleasure to view.
Z
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#9 LIONHART

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 01:20 PM

There are a few things that one can do. First, if the Wood is oil soaked, applying a Stain isn't going to help much, even if it is alcohol based. I use Brownells Whiting mixed with Acetone to draw the oil out of the Wood. Sometimes repeated coats are required. One can speed up the process by using a heat gun. If the Wood needs some sanding I do that too, finishing up with 400, Pumice, Rottenstone, and 0000 Steel Wool. (Without an aid from an oil) Some folks use Oven Cleaner, however, I do not recommend these types of products as it does effect the Stain. Once the basic finishing is done, I will incorporate a Spray Shellac over all pieces. Outside an in. This will seal the pours, and trap in any oil that may have stayed into the Wood. After two days or so, I will take 0000 Steel Wool dipped into Tung Oil to remove the Shellac on the outside of the Stock. Though you want the Shellac to remain in the pours of the Wood. Next, I wipe down with Mineral Spirits prior to Staining. I use a special mix of Dyes mixed with DA to create various colors. Afterwards, I finish with Tung Oil. BLO has a way of turning the Wood dark, and over time with repeated applications of BLO, the Wood will turn black. I use only 100% Pure Tung Oil..
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#10 LIONHART

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 02:20 PM

Here are two examples. The first is a Richardson Vertical finished in the manner as described above..

user posted image


The Pic below is that of a Deerslayer '21 Rear Grip. At this point there is still some more work involved. The Grip was sanded, sealed, and the Pic shows the very first coat of Shellac. In this instance I used a 3lb Cut of Garnet. The color is in the Shellac. This Grip was NOT stained. I will need to remove the top layer of Shellac, Stain, and utilizing Tung Oil for the top coat.


user posted image


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#11 Ron A

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 02:46 PM

I think PhilOhio has a great idea - we find the new ones continue to ask the same question over and over and sometimes it is almost imposible to find the answer in checking the old responses.

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