View Full Version : Furniture/Finishes: Stains for wood furniture??

December 16, 2000, 06:57
Expecting to get my wood furniture from Ironwood early next week.

What stain, if any, are you guys using on the standard black walnut?

Also, have you noted any fitting problems on Matt's new furniture?

[This message has been edited by Gecko (edited December 16, 2000).]

December 16, 2000, 12:02
I used Minwax black walnut stain because I had to match up an english walnut stock to it, but I didn't really like the dull black look it wound up with. The next stock I used Minwax mohogany stain and really liked that. It put in just a little red tint.

[This message has been edited by Bubba (edited December 16, 2000).]

December 16, 2000, 13:23
The Minwax Mohogany does give the wood a very nice redish tint.

Generally, I use only Formsby's gloss Tung Oil for a beautiful, natural finish. It darkens the wood with a slight "wet" look.

December 16, 2000, 13:27
try mixing special walnut with red mahogany, some tung oil, and a tad of japan dryer an applying with 320 wet. Lot of fuzz to knock off the stocks first with some 180 or 220.

T. Mark "Gunplumber" Graham
Arizona Response Systems
5501 North 7th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013
623-873-1410 http://www.arizonaresponsesystems.com

December 16, 2000, 17:11
I hate to take the opposing view here, but. If the wood has a good even coloring, I go with an oil type finish. Something like a couple of coats of 100% tung oil or boiled linseed oil. After it drys I go several different routes. Sometimes, I use about 20 or 30 handrubbed coats of tung oil. Other times, I will put on several coats of either Birchwood-Casey True oil or G-B Linspeed on top of a couple of coats of tung oil. With these you can go for a satin look by wiping the excess oil off after 20 minutes or so or you can let each coat dry completly before putting on another coat and get a high gloss finish. Of course the pre-finish sanding and the light sanding between coats greatly adds to the final finish. Personaly, I feel real wood needs no stain on top of it. Just my opinion. At any rate, experience here is the best teacher. Remember, you can always sand it off and do something different if you don't like the results. Good Luck. artifacts

December 16, 2000, 20:48
This MAtt from Ironwood. You may not want to stain at all. The walnut I use tends to darken very nicely with just an oil finish.
I have tryed stains over the years and have found it very difficult to get an even color. The grain also tends to disappear. In many cases, people get too impatient and put the oil on too soon on top of the stain and the oil pulls up the stain. Once again blurring the finish and messing up the coloring consistency.
However, if you want to use a stain I have some suggestions. I have used some stain/dyes successfully in the past. One is sold by Bill's gunsmith or gunsmithing supplies out of Illinois. You can find usually find him in the shotgun news under supplies/gunsmithing. I think he is still in business. Or you can use leather dye. Dark brown and mahogany in a 50/50 mix will get you a nice color without losing the grain. The dyes work better because they pentrate the wood better than the standard hardware store stains. The stains tend to sit on the surface of the wood not in. The dye will actually change the color of the wood and not pull up when applying you oil coats.
You have got to remember to let any type of oil or stain you apply let sit 24 hours for best results. Patience always rules when finishing stocks.
If you need more info, email me anytime.


Dean P
December 16, 2000, 20:50
Artifacts, I would prefer to do a more simple method to do a butt stock.What you have lined out would take a week or more by the time it dried after each application.Then the possibility of doing the whole thing over again.

[This message has been edited by Dean P (edited December 16, 2000).]

December 17, 2000, 13:37
There are many options for wood finishing. If I were to stain walnut, I learned from experience that I would use a mohogany stain. If the Ironwood furniture is as nice as they say and it is American Black Walnut, I wouldn't hesitate to leave it a natural finish with boiled linseed oil. I was forced into staining what I had for various reasons, but wish I could have left it natural. I must admit that the reddish tone does look sweet!

December 17, 2000, 15:14
Has anyone been successful in matching ironwoods hand/pistol in std. black walnut to one of the English walnut humpbacks that were available on the board a few months back? If so, how? I spent too much money and don't want to experience a learning curve on this go-round.

December 18, 2000, 23:59
If you send me a pic of the buttstock, or even the actual butt stock, I can probably match it up very nicely. We just received a new load of high grade blanks and should have something that will match. There are so many different grain types that come from my supplier that I should be able to help you out. Eamil me and we can discuss it further.


December 19, 2000, 00:05
Another note about finishing stocks. You can never go wrong with boiled linseed oil or Tru-oil, which is a linseed oil based formula with dryers added to speed up the process.
If you want the best bang for you buck, use Flecto, Varathane Natural Oil Finish. It is not a glossy plastic coat. It looks like a traditional military linseed oil finish, but can be done in one hour, yes one hour. You only have to apply 4 coats in one hour and let dry 24 hours and you are done. I have used this for years and have had great success, beautiful finishes, and tons of compliments on it's results. Hope this helps.


September 11, 2005, 11:58
I had excellent success on my Ironwood stock set with the Miniwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Spray in Clear Satin on the raw sanded stock set. It was easy to apply, went on evenly, dried quickly and brought out the beautiful light brown color of the wood without being shiny.

It was easy and cheap. No mixing, no oil, no mess. You can get it at home depot.


PS - edited - I am not sure what color you are looking to get, but this comes up in the FAQs and I just wanted to mention the miniwax.

September 11, 2005, 15:46
I have always had good results with tru-oil...many light coats, with 2-3 hrs dry time between each and buff lightly with 000 steel wool between coats.

September 12, 2005, 20:39
If you have wood with some flame or interesting grain characteristics that you'd like to highlight, let me pass on an old trick I learned.

Find a furniture restoration supply house. Ask for the analine dyes. They come in a powder form. Try a black and an orange. You can mix them with either alcohol or water, but here's the trick. Use alcohol in one and water in the other. This will give you two penetration levels, the alcohol being deeper. I would suggest the orange as it will bring out the deeper grain highlights.

After applying and wiping off with cheesecloth then a coarse rag, just remove the surface until even. Then hand rub in some pure tung oil and let the magic begin. Just follow the instructions on each, and I'm sure you'll be pleased. As I'd said, this would only be advantageous if there is some definitive grain contrast and/or patterning and you want's an eye-popper that has a wood finish like a 19th century English bespoke fowling piece. :wink: :shades:

I learned this from restoring the dashboards and window trim of MB's and R/R's from the 70's with the gorgeous burl which I replaced as well.


September 12, 2005, 20:50
I wouldn't use any stain at all, just Tru-Oil:

http://img359.imageshack.us/img359/8206/falpic7ej.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

That's an Ironwood set above, and I think it's a 2nd (ie, not first quality).


November 16, 2005, 21:50
if you know someone with a black walnut tree you can make your own stain!
Ive used this on "hard wood" stocks like the birch stocks that ruger uses on 10/22s. just gather up about a dozen hulls from the walnuts (you want the soft outter hull only) mix it with some ammonia (maybe an 1/8 cup) in a glass jar. after it sits for about a week or two you have a nice stain. make sure and wear rubber gloves when handling the hulls and ammonia, either will do a number on your skin!

Regal Beagal
November 20, 2005, 15:02
Like Mark said, if you don't have to match the stock to an existing piece I would not stain it, especially if it has any tigering, flame or marbeling. Prep of the wood is very important. Start with 100 grit if your stock shows saw cuts or shaping cuts and work your way down to 600 grit. Next to the last sanding you should dampen a rag or sponge and wipe the stock down to raise any burs. Lightly sand with 800 grit to knock the burs down. At this point the stock should have a satin look. Next take 600 grit paper and wet it with boiled linseed oil and sand in circular motions to create a slury that will be forced into the grain to fill. Now lightly buff the stock with 800 grit paper. As Mark mentioned mix 100% boiled linseed oil, tung oil and Japan dryer. Apply as many coats as you need to reach the desired look. Lightly sand each coat after it has dried. Last, apply some furniture wax and buff if needed. The nice thing about an oil finish is that it's very easy to maintain and dings and scratches are easy to repair without having to redo the whole stock. Plus, it really brings out the natural beauty of the wood. Just my .02. RB