Walnut stock finishing

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twoguns
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Walnut stock finishing

Post by twoguns » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:25 pm

I'm wondering if there are any of you guys that have found the Holy Grail of stock finishing protocols. I have used BLO, Tru Oil, Linspeed and lately "Tried and True" varnish for my rifle projects. They have all worked OK and in a few cases better than OK. I've done the library and internet searches and came up with many ways to achieve a fine stock finish-but not all would be good in the field (waterproofing and hand proofing).

Here is the point of my post: There is something I read in the 80s about filling the grain of walnut that is haunting me. I cannot remember the details but my recollection was that you need to fill pores with a CLEAR finish (oil, shellac, varnish) to really give the wood grain DEPTH and a wondrous shine. It seems most of the current recommendations indicate wet sanding a slurry of wood and oil (or whatever) into the pores for a fill. I'm not sure the two methods are complimentary - putting a slurry of wood dust in the pores seems to me to be a dark cloud of STUFF that would not be a deep reflecting light kind of situation. Any ideas?
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Vbull
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by Vbull » Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:45 am

For a durable and waterproof finish, I like spar varnish. I put the first 2 coats down with a 50/50 mix of spar and mineral spirits to allow it to penetrate. Wet sand between coats. Then full strength spar up to 5-6 more coats with the wet sand between. (600 grit) Final coat and apply paste wax.
That being said, I also like using boiled linseed for the first coat if the wood is too light. Then using Tung oil. The spar varnish is more work but holds up very good. Be sure to use "real" spar varnish or Tung oil as there are a lot of poly based substitutes. Frank M.

blackdog
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by blackdog » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:59 pm

My go to recipe now is shellac to fill the grain and chamber's traditional oil over the top, rubbing in every coat of each. Laurel Mountain Forge's finish works well but it does look like poly.

longbow
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by longbow » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:56 pm

Dalys Sea-Fin Ship and Shore. is a waterproofing oil that soaks in well and seals the grain, also makes the wood alittle harder. Then Brownell's Pro Custom Gun oil, handrub or spray..Pete

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g.pennell
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by g.pennell » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:18 pm

+1 for the Pro-Custom oil finish. I've used it exclusively for a number of years now.

Greg
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mwhite49
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by mwhite49 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:44 pm

Hi Greg, how easy is it to checker a stock with this type of finish? If it makes the wood harder then to my old mind it would be more difficult to checker, but when checkered it may hold up to more usage.
Mike

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g.pennell
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by g.pennell » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:17 pm

Any of the oil-type finishes that are mostly "in the wood" are not going to cause any particular problems with checkering. Some of the stuff that some folks use to fill the grain in the wood is fairly abrasive, and may cause checkering cutters to dull quickly, though. The biggest thing that makes checkering difficult is hard and soft spots in the wood...makes it very difficult to get the lines all cut to an even depth across the pattern. Each piece of wood is unique, but some is definitely better for checkering than others. English walnut is GENERALLY better than black walnut, unless you have a nice piece of slow-growth black...but I've had difficult to work pieces in English, too. My checkerer didn't particularly like the piece I used for my 1885 Winchester...the curly grain made it difficult to keep the lines straight. But he did a fantastic job with it anyway.

Greg
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macca
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by macca » Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:27 am

Hi,
I just stripped and refinished my recently purchased Browing 45/70. Stripped it with paint stripper, wood cleaner and a toothbrush in the chequering. Irned out a couple of small dingg, lightly sanded with 400 grit paper and finished it off with ooo steel wool. Finished the stock with 4 coats of Feast Watsons -Fine Buffing Oil. Its contents include Bees wax, Canuba Wax, tongue oil in denatured kerosine. I t penetrates quite deeply and leaves a silky smooth finish that is totally waterproof. So much better than Tru oil as it does not build up on the surface. It really brought out the figure in the wood.
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Cheapscate-billybobo
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by Cheapscate-billybobo » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:37 pm

I use Tung Oil........ no filler...... many, many coats of Tung Oil. The first couple of coats may be quite heavy, it will soak in. Four "O" steel wool between coats. After a half dozen coats....... sand smooth with 400 to 600 grit paper and start over and repeat. The idea is to fill the pours with oil for that "deep" look. After the first few coats, a few drops is all it takes to cover the whole stock. Rub until dry to the touch........... I let the stock sit over night between coats. Sometimes it takes the best part of a month to get the finish just right. My drying cabinet uses a small light bulb for heat.

The same method works fine for Linseed Oil, but Tung Oil seems to dry faster. Heating or thinning the oil may tend to darken the wood. Don't ask me why.

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montana_charlie
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by montana_charlie » Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:21 pm

twoguns wroteCOLONThere is something I read in the 80s about filling the grain of walnut that is haunting me. I cannot remember the details but my recollection was that you need to fill pores with a CLEAR finish (oil, shellac, varnish) to really give the wood grain DEPTH and a wondrous shine.
The way you say it reminds me of the TV commercials (years ago) for Homer Formby's Furniture Refinishing Kit.
As I recall, he used steel wool to gently scrub the old finish around in circles, and when he wiped the excess off the pores looked filled ... and the surface looked smooth and shiny.
http://www.formbys.com/products/

CM
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Brent
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by Brent » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:49 pm

When filling pores, the reasoning (or at least a major reason) behind using a filler like rottenstone in a slurry of your favorite oil elixir is that the oils and varnishes, by themselves, dry and shrink over long periods of times so the pores have a habit of reappearing eventually. If you use something like rottenstone, this effect is far less (but not absolutely zero).

With acknowledgement to Dave Crossno for pointing this out - buy a bottle of Pilkington's gunstock oil. If you want, pour the contents out - though it is very good stuff. But for sure, read the directions and with any finish you might use that does not come in a spray can, and whether you use filler or not, those directions are simple and golden. Follow them and you will be successful.

Brent
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Cheapscate-billybobo
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by Cheapscate-billybobo » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:58 pm

I doubt there is anything that will last forever. If the stock begins to look a bit tacky..... after 8-10 years, rub a bit of oil on it as if you were starting over. It's pretty easy to remove minor scratches this way too

gunlaker
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by gunlaker » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:03 am

I just noticed how ancient this thread is. :mrgreen:

That is a nice looking finish Macca.

Chris.

macca
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Re: Walnut stock finishing

Post by macca » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:21 pm

Thanks Chris,
that timber is unstained, the finish just deepens and highlights the grain and can be achieved in a day.
Cheers macca
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