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custom/homemade gun stock question
Discussions related to Guns and Firearms
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tlo7mm
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:19 pm    Post subject: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

I have a beautiful stock that I was asked to finish by my Aunt. My uncle passed away Friday night. In the 70's when they got married he had started building a stock for his Model 03A3 Smith Corona 30-06 that he hunted with as a young man. It is made mostly of Black walnut. The Stock is cut and shaped and fitted for the barrel and action. I finished a few rough spots on the stock this evening and am ready to move onto staining and sealing it. I have never done this before and it means a lot to me that I do the best job I possible can for my Aunt. I was hoping someone on here can help me decide the best route to go in order to make sure it is as nice as it possibly can be. I am the family wood worker and have a great deal of experience with it but never with a gun stock. Thank you all for any help you can provide.

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Vince
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:25 pm    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

A labour of love...that is great. Sorry to hear of your Uncle's passing mate. Please pass our commiserations on to your Aunt.

Stain and seal...not the route I would take. I think if the piece of walnut is a quality piece I would apply a hand rubbed oil finish. It takes a while to do it, but the results in my mind are far superior to an artificial finish.

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tlo7mm
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:56 pm    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

So what sort of products to you have in mind Vince? Can I go down to the local hardware store and get them or do I need to look into getting them from a gun shop or online?

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"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." ~ The Dalai Lama
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. - Napoleon Bonaparte
The wisdom of man never yet contrived a system of taxation that would operate with perfect equality. - Andrew Jackson
Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain
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tlo7mm
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:46 pm    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

Here is a look at the stock so far



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_________________
"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." ~ The Dalai Lama
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. - Napoleon Bonaparte
The wisdom of man never yet contrived a system of taxation that would operate with perfect equality. - Andrew Jackson
Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain
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Elvis
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:07 am    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

tongue oil is the stuff local hardware store worth a go. apply coat and rub in by hand over and over again..something about steel wool to take off fine hairs raised too????
have a google search on stock finishing and see if someone in your area who can guide you on your journey .

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Vince
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:35 am    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

I agree with Elvis...Tung Oil. That stock is screaming out to me for a hand rubbed oil finish.

Also, think about if you intend adding any checkering, which will need doing before oiling. If you have never done any checkering before, look at paying to get it done by a professional.

I would imagine you could get various grades of Tung Oil from hardware stores etc, but I would also do some research online of gun shops and hardware outlets etc and find the best quality one that would suit your needs. At the end of the day, I would choose an oil and then be looking at price and availability. You might find that you can get the same product from more than one place at different prices. Also, read the fine print on what is in the Oil...often they will not be pure oil and will contain other chemicals.

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SingleShotLover
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:49 am    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

Don't use stain. If the action and barrel area is fir correctly, a coat of polyurethane does a better job of sealing than most anything else you can use. Just make sure that you don't get any on the rest of the stock. Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil is hard to beat for the average person to use. You will find that the wood darkens dramatically when oil is applied and makes any available grain "pop" out in a pleasing manner. That is the reason you won't need stain. Make ure that your stock is sanded as perfectly as possible and finish up with 0000 steel wool. Carefully wipe it down with a clean lint-free cloth to make sure that all sanding dust and etc. is gone before applying oil. Follow the directions on the bottle of oil. A little goes a long way - you will be applying quite a few coats to get it to the luster you will want. As each coat is perfectly dry, buff the stock again with the 0000 steel wool, wipe it down and do it again. It's these thin, hard layers that make the grain look 3-D. It looks like your fore-end tip is maple. Maple does not take normal stains and the oil will make what grain there is appear to shimmer - a pleasing look.

If you decide to checker the stock, be sure to do so after the finish is applied. The finish penetrates and toughens the wood fiber for a clean cut. Bare wood often splinters or gouges rather than cuts.

Good luck and keep us posted. That stock looks a lot like the one I'm doing for a Rock Island Arsenal 1903 Springfield.

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Gil Martin
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:23 am    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

It depends what you prefer. My favorite stock finishes are either boiled linseed oil or Tru-Oil. Both work well and look great. So it depends. All the best...
Gil

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tlo7mm
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:02 pm    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

I was not asked to do checkering and I am not a huge fan so i wasn't intending to do it. I am considering inlaying something in the bottom of the pistol grip. As for the tung oil or tru oil I will do a little research and figure out which one will suit me best. I am curious that after I do the oil do I clear coat it. I did a plaque for my brother in linseed oil and when it got hot it would leach the oil. I don't want that to happen.

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"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." ~ The Dalai Lama
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. - Napoleon Bonaparte
The wisdom of man never yet contrived a system of taxation that would operate with perfect equality. - Andrew Jackson
Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain
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MacD
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:24 pm    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

I am a tung oil fan although I have also used linseed oil on black walnut with great results. Linseed oil is a bit of a fire hazard if cloths are left out in the open air to oxidize.

The secret to a rubbed finish is careful surface preparation and then slowly building up those thin layers, each time striking off the high spots with superfine steel wool.

My condolences on the passing of your uncle. Finishing the stock is a wonderful memorial.

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Suzanne
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:52 pm    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

My 2 cents worth goes to poly. If you look over an old Mauser stock made of walnut they look wonderful, the wood is almost bare looking but it has an oil finish. The shiny patina comes from years of handling and might just suit you just fine, but my idea is to seal the wood and oil just doesn't do it. It allows water to penetrate, it does not have a hard surface and until the wood is bone dry it won't absorb into the wood. An oil finish with a top-coat of poly with a good UV protectant would give you the best of both. Alternatively, apply thinned coats of poly, sanding between coats to fill the grain and I think it's superior to oil any day. You can do the same with oil but it'll take a very long time to dry and a very long time to finish, but will also be susceptible to water damage. I have a pair of military rifles from Sweden that had an oil finish on them and were routinely propped up against a wall with their butts sitting in snow or mud or both and even though they survived quite well the staining of the butts can't be repaired, they just absorbed water and then mold set in.

Not sayin it can't be done but a better sealant than oil is the way to go. There are oils with poly in them but don't get one with lacquer or varnish it just won't protect like poly.

I can't wait to see how it comes out, that's a purdy stick of wood and lots of love put into it too, good luck makin it happen!


Suz

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SingleShotLover
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:49 am    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

As with anything, personal preferences vary. My preference for oil finishes is due to the fact that they tend to do a better job of making the grain more visible and result in that lovely luster of old, well-made guns. Oil finishes penetrate the wood, where poly finishes mostly dry on the surface without penetration. Properly applied, the finish can vary from a soft satin to a hard gloss much like a poly finish. I do use poly compounds on the end grain areas (like under the buttplate) and in the barrel channel for a more moisture proof barrier. End grain areas is where moisture is more likely to infiltrate than other areas, so it makes good sense to seal these areas as thoroughly as possible.

The problem with many poly finishes is that many formulations won't allow you to re-apply over an existing poly finish. Most formulations just won't cling to themselves. This creates a problem when a stock gets scratched or gouged. The stock has to be completely stripped, repaired and then re-coated. An oil finish can be repaired or touched up by re-applying and buffing to match the existing finish. If you choose poly, it will pay to check this out.

As to your question about sealing the oil finish - it is not necessary. The multiple thin (emphasis on THIN) coats, when allowed to properly cure between coats, are absorbed into the wood fibers and build a protective layer as each application is added. Once the final coat is applied and buffed, if it is allowed to thoroughly dry, the finish is extremely tough and will not "sweat" or become sticky even in heat.

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Suzanne
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:40 am    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

Here's a great article on finishes extension.usu.edu/file.../HI_28.pdf

Suz

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MacD
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:04 am    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

Anyone else use paste wax on their stocks. I also use it on metal when storing for long periods or going out in wet conditions.

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dhc4ever
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:54 pm    Post subject: Re: custom/homemade gun stock question Reply with quote

I have used tru oil with good results.
Apply as mentioned above, no need to seal after application, the true oil is a sealer and is waterproof when dry. Its also fairly robust and easy to repair if you scratch it.
Having said that a quality oiled finish imo does look better if not quite as robust.
Isnt having too much choice so much "fun".

Post piccies when you finish it.
Cheers

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