View Full Version : Furniture: refinishing wood stocks

February 07, 2001, 15:17
Yeah, I read the gunplummers site on refinishing it is great for someone to take the time to put something on the board, But! that is only one way to do it,does anybody else have a certain way of doing they'er stocks ?
Water just seems alittle bit to harsh ! Maybe I'am wrong, But ! theres got to be a better way to refinish other than boiling water !
Easy off seems to be a good idea - any other chemicals or compounds that'll work ?
What about scraping with a razor blade and then using steel wool and something like acetone or laq. thiner until the stock free of grease and oils ?
So any of you wood refinishers help us out.
Thanks everybody - thanks gunplummer you gave ideas and woke this dusty cob webs out of my head.

February 07, 2001, 16:04
I've used Dow Basin Tub and Tile cleaner (Scrubbing Bubbles) on a really grungy FN-49 stock. Spray it on, let sit 10 minutes then spray off with hot water (don't soak it). Repeat as many times as needed. Be sure to scrape the heaviest deposits off first, it'll make things go faster. You'll be amazed at how much crap comes off. Don't use oven cleaner, I've heard it can leave the wood with a greenish tinge. Finish as you like.

[This message has been edited by fubar (edited February 07, 2001).]

February 07, 2001, 16:55
Stimpy's 1 week refinish plan:

Day 1 ------
Apply easy off and let sit for an hour.
rinse off in sink while brushing (with the grain) with a medium/hard bristle brush.


place somewhere to dry

Day 2 ------
Look at piece...should be nice grey color. If there are any areas where there still appears to be any oil...apply easy off and let sit for 1 hour. Rinse and brush as before.

place somehwere to dry.

Day 3 ------
Don't touch it.

Day 4 ------
I mean it...don't even think about playing with it. The stock I mean.

Day 5 ------
Go to Home Depot (Lowes is anti-gun you know?) and pick out some boiled linseed oil and turpentine...and, if you like, a nice stain color. Oh yeah, get some nice chemical gloves and some 300, 400 and 600 wet/dry sandpaper...you may have to go to Ace for this...since depot sometimes doesn't have any.

Day 6 ------
Here we go!
Starting with the 300 grit (maybe even 200 if really fuzzy from brush) sand until smooth...switch to lower grit and again until smooth.

Make a mix of BLO, turp and a little stain if you like, and stir and wet sand the wood with this and the 600 grit stuff.

let dry for 1 hour

repeat last step

leave to dry

Day 7 ------
I like to rub some beeswax into my stocks the next day kinda by hand and with a soft cotton cloth.

Bolt it up she's done!


Boiling requires you to wait for at least a week or two before refinishing. I'm not that patient. Boiling may also cause some splitting.

[This message has been edited by stimpsonjcat (edited February 07, 2001).]

February 07, 2001, 20:10
Of the several that I have done I find using a paint stripper gel takes off the initial finish best. I use a steam iron with a water soaked paper towel to raise as many of the dents and scrapes as possible. Often oil from the gun has soaked into the wood where the stock meets the lower receiver. To pull the oil from the wood I use an application(s) of MEK. Be forwarned that this stuff is nasty and is absorbed through your skin. Do this outside with thick rubber gloves. If you do not do this the finish will get cloudy some weeks or months after your hard work. Generally there are a lot of black marks on the wood that can be bleached with any one of several wood bleach solutions. I then use the scraper blades from the Sears paint scraper to reform the wood surface to blend out the gouges and scrapes. I find that you have much better control over the scraper's action by just using the blades without the handle. The set of blades allows most all surfaces to be worked on with the various flat and curved shapes. Since you are working on a compound surface you need to pay attention to the edges of the blades so that you do not put new scratches into the wood. As a note, stone the cutting edge of the blades before using as they often have a burr that will affect your end result if left on. Pay attention to the grain of the wood. The scraper has the best control when going in the direction of the grain. Where the stock goes through a fast transition, such as just behind the rear sight. alternating bands of soft and hard wood is exposed. If you just use sandpaper here you will end up with ridges of hard wood remaining. Here is where the scrapers work best. Use the diagonal motion so that the hard bands support the blade. Now both the soft and hard bands will be even with each other. Note that if you use sandpaper, the end grain will always be much darker than the rest of the wood as the sanding raises many tiny hairs that trap more of the stain. The end grain when shaped with a scraper will have the same color as the rest of the wood! When you think the surface is ok then sand with some 600 grit paper. This fine grit will polish the wood more than sand. The nice part is that any and all undesirable marks will stand out just as they would when you apply a finish. Apply a stain to the wood if desired. I usually use an alcohol stain that I blend to push the color where I want it to be. If to dark it can be lightened up by simply rubbing with a wet alcohol cloth. I find this works better than an oil based stain as the pores do not get filled up. Note that these stains usually come as a dry powder. You add alcohol to disolve the stain. To get the bright color, rather than cloudy, add a few drops of water to the stain after it has been disolved for a day as it will break down any remaining sugar crystals that carried the stain as a powder. However, if the alcohol stain is used then you will need to put the first Urathane coat on as a spray to keep from streaking the wood color. This actually holds true for most oil or water stains as the urathane has a solvent that will lift some of the stain up from the wood. I don't use water based stains as they will raise the wood and cause a dulled finish. You should be able to see the grain with sharp detail.

I usually use a Urathane finish, non water based, that I apply with a piece of cheese cloth. I use latex gloves to keep from having to clean my hands afterwards. Other times I use a Tru-oil finish. After two or three coats are on I sand diagonally, at both +-45 degrees, to the grain with 400-600 grit wet/dry (as in water to clear the sanded material from the grit) sand paper. The idea is to fill the pores entirely so that the finish is completely smooth. Don't get to agressive or you will sand through the stained surface. It takes about 8-10 coats to fill all the pores and whatever minor dents that remained when sculpturing the wood. I find that I can put on one coat in the early morning and another in the early evening. Takes time but the coats get to fully dry. The sanding also removes the small streaks from applying the finish. Following the final coat I sand out with the 600 grit paper to remove drips and streaks. The finish is now dull but very smooth. To bring out the depth of the finish I use some white rouge to polish the finish. They also make red but it is harder to see against a dark stain when polishing it out. Use circular action, it does not take much -- three or four rotations, to keep streaking from occuring while the rouge is cutting the finish. Let the rouge dry and then polish out with a dry clean cloth. The end result is a deep gloss, not bright just deep, finish that allows the stock, handgards, or pistol grip to glide in your hands.

Hope this may be of some help.


Farmer from Hell
February 07, 2001, 21:17
Originally posted by Finnbear:
Water just seems alittle bit to harsh ! Maybe I'am wrong, But ! theres got to be a better way to refinish other than boiling water !

You say you want to try all those other chemicals and you say water seems harsh? I will stick with the GP method. The hot water serves two purposes. get the grease out swell the wood to get out some of the dingsI didnt realize how much it done the swelling part until I looked at some before poics of one of the stocks I redone. You cant even find one of the dings anymore. I dont have a big pot but I do have a 5 gal bucket so I get all my 3 qt cooking pots to boil water then pore it in the bucket with my wood parts and follow the rest of GP's directions. I dont wet sand until I get down to the final couple of the higher grit sandpapers at the end. I took one stock and got a tea po boiling and held the dings over the steam coming out to raise the grain some and didnt fool with the iron treatment. I heard the same thing Fubar said about the oven cleaner but cant verify it. You only do it once so you might as well do it right. I usually dont fool with a stain and just use tung oil. It drys a whole lot faster then BLO. I then apply finishing wax over the final product to give it a hard coating and shine.


What part of Shall not be Infringed dont you understand pinhead?

[This message has been edited by Farmer from Hell (edited February 07, 2001).]

February 07, 2001, 22:16
I use Hertel Plus to clean. Spray on and let sit for about 10 mins. Scrub with a stiff nail brush and rinse in hot water. Wipe off the excess water and let dry so you can see where the darker stains are. I repeat this until I get a uniform look to the raw wood (usually 2-3 times)

Let the wood dry at least 24 hours, but 48 is better. Then I use BLO, don't use raw linseed oil as it will take forever to dry. I brush it on making sure that the wood looks wet as some will soak in right away, and rub the wood with my bare hand fast enough to make it feel hot.

Once I've done this overe the entire surface I wipe the excess off and let it dry for 24 hours. then repeat 2 more times.

After this I use a mixture of 1/3 BLO, 1/3 turpentine and, 1/3 bee's wax mixed as a paste and rub in letting it dry for about an hour then buffing it out. I do this about 3-4 times with 24 hours between coats.

I prefer not to sand as I restore Enfields and don't want to remove or damage any markings, though this isn't a big consideration with the FAL.

If you want to close the grain and make it smooth try "boning" it. Use either a piece of deer antler (where the name comes from) or a smooth hardwood dowell such as oak or hickory, and rub it with the grain to smooth the wood and close the grain. Practice on a scrap piece first to get the right pressure.

I know it seems long and drawn out but it is woth it, at least in my opinion.

Forgot to add, If it has old varnish on it I use Citristrip to remove before I refinish.

[This message has been edited by recce (edited February 07, 2001).]

February 07, 2001, 23:14
Thanks for all the replys, EVERYONE.
I guess theres as many ways to refinish stocks as theres to wash clothes. Hot water, cold water, baby soap, bleach and so on and so on.
I really do thank you all for the replys.

February 07, 2001, 23:40
I havn't done stocks but with other wood finishing I always us steel wool between coats.

February 08, 2001, 00:11
Yep, steel wool is fine, but make sure that you get all crumbs and splinters off before refinishing.

You can use what are called green scrubbies ( can't remember the proper name right now) A lot of woodworkers are switching to these as they leave no steel crumbs or splinters that can affect the finish.

They are coming out in different grades now to try and compete with the old tried and true 0000 steel wool.

February 08, 2001, 19:44
Please refer to the attached site.



derek huffman, azexarms
February 09, 2001, 03:50
I hate working with wood, I failed wood shop several times.

My method of working with wood.

1. put all in Priority Mail box, attach postage, pack well.

2. send to Barley Pop.

3. pay him when I can and enjoy the results.

The guy is a maestro.

He rubs wood.....good! LOL D.

Farmer from Hell
February 09, 2001, 11:05
Originally posted by recce:
If you want to close the grain and make it smooth try "boning" it. Use either a piece of deer antler (where the name comes from) or a smooth hardwood dowell such as oak or hickory, and rub it with the grain to smooth the wood and close the grain. Practice on a scrap piece first to get the right pressure.

Holy crap I dont know why I didnt think of this. I use a glass rod on my pool cue to get out the dings and close the grain after I clean it. Same idea. Thanks


What part of Shall not be Infringed dont you understand pinhead?

September 09, 2001, 18:01
moved to FAQ