Stock refinishing and oilingRight, this is my guide to the stripping, preparing and finishing of beech and walnut stocks.
The kit i used
Step 1: Undo stock screws/trigger guards screws as required to remove stock, also remove butt pads (see tip at the end of guide) and any other trim that can be removed and store all screws etc somewhere safe so they cannot be lost.
I would say do steps 2 - 6 on a beech stock only as it is what required on beech and not always walnut, unless your walnut stock has a tough to remove factory finish.
Step 2; Find a suitable work surface, not near any kids/animals (same thing really), lay out plenty of layers of newspaper and your required tools/materials, which will comprise of the following; Paint and vanish stripper (nitro mors or similar) couple of paintbrushes, old toothbrush, course wire wool and a shave hook. You will also need plenty of rubber gloves, safety glasses, kitchen paper and a bucket of soapy water and of course your stock finishing kit, I have used the Birchwood Casey kit several times now and had good results every time the oil is second to none and can be seen on my Pro-sport in the gallery. The only time I have had a problem doing a stock is when I bought a popular one of a guy on the BBS and did my Weihrauch Hw80 with it, pics are in my sig. The stain was a pain to use and the oil I did not get on with, if you want to know which kit it is pm me, Gotw (paul) has just using the Napier kit for his stock and I can?t wait to see the results, but have no doubt that it will be top notch as all Napier products are.
Step 3; Put rubber gloves on both hands (if you get the stripper on your hands you will see why). Poor a sufficient amount of paint stripper into a container and using your paint brush dab an equal amount of stripper all over the stock, leave this for 5-10mins not allowing the stripper to dry out. After 10 mins you will see that the stripper has bubbled apply another coat of paint stripper on the stock but this time work it well in the wood with your paint brush and using you old toothbrush work it into your checkering and any hard to get areas, leave this now for 20-30 mins again not allowing it to dry out, re-applying as required.
By now you will be glad your wearing gloves and you should be feeling a very cold feeling through the gloves as the stripper starts to work, so it?s time to change gloves. Also a word of warning on a few stripping adventures I have had stripper flick in my face right by my eye, it hurt like hell on your face so god knows what it would be like in your eye, so I would recommend wearing safety glasses or goggles. Also beware of rinsing in a plastic sink as from the first time I stripped a stock we still have marks on the sink.
Step 4; After waiting the 20-30mins required you can tell how well the stripper has worked by going over the stock once a gain with another coat on your paint brush, if the oil/lacquer/varnish has started to remove, move to step 5 if not repeat step 3 again.
Step5; Put you stock in the bucket of water (one end at a time) and using the wire wool start to remove the old finish and paint stripper using plenty of soapy water and then repeat on the other end of the stock any stubborn parts can be removed using the shave hook, again any finish that has not removed repeat step 3. Putting the stock in soapy water neutralises the paint stripper so if any goes on skin just rinse it in the bucket and you should be fine.
Step 6; Because your stock is now wet, that will give you a rough idea of how it will look when the stain is applied, it has also raised the grain which you will need to sand flat. Allow the wood to dry and then start sanding, any mods required to the stock need to be carried out now so get those Dremels out.
Sand the stock so that it is silky smooth using sand paper getting progressively finer and finer as you go. Any dinks or dents can be raised using a damp cloth and an iron, this steams the wood raising the dents but be very careful doing this. Put the damp cloth over the dent and apply heat with the iron
Step 7; Now is the time to seal the grain by either using off the shelf grain sealer or by using the oil in you stock finishing kit (mixed with sawdust from when you were sanding, beech from a beech stock and walnut from a walnut stock), apply the sealer all over the stock working it well in, allow to dry and then sand flat again, repeat this until you have a nice smooth finish. This step is up to you if you do it, but it speeds up the oiling process as less oil is needed to absorb into the wood as you have ?sealed the grain?. I sealed the grain on some stocks and not on others and still get the same finish it just takes a bit longer when oiling. I did not seal the grain on my walnut Pro-sport stock, and that still looks fantastic.
Step 8; Not absolutly neccesary with a walnut stock. Now we can start to apply the stain, if you have or can get some red alkanet root oil this will add a red tinge to your stock, only a little is needed apply as the stain is applied in the next sentence, apply your chosen stain (usually walnut) to the stock using controlled even strokes using the cloths supplied or any you have making sure you get it everywhere needed and allow to dry. This is the time needed to take your time don?t apply too much stain too fast because it will darken very quickly (the main problem I had with my Hw80) and will look far too dark once oiled. You will also need to water down your stain to a colour that you like before applying. Keep applying the stain until you reach the desired colour and then leave overnight to dry. The stain will look slightly darker once oiled so don?t go over the top.
Step 9; Oiling, using the supplied oil in your kit pour a little into a small container and in a dust free and hair free room (hard to find with 4 dogs) I found the bathroom the best. Start to apply your oil, by dipping 2 fingers in to oil (not too much at a time) rub it all over the stock, the first few coats will be absorbed into the wood, allow at least 2 hours between coats (24hours is better) hang the stock up to dry I use string through the stock screw holes and hung mine on a clothes airer over the bath, keep applying until the stock starts to shine after the oil has dried. Now we need to start lightly dulling the oil finish with 0000 wire wool between each coat, this removes any runs from excess oil and keys the finish ready for the next coat. Now this is were we start to apply the oil properly and the more care you spend now will show at the end. Using a small piece of new/clean sponge ( the ones your wife uses in the kitchen that are scourers one side and sponge the other are ideal) cut to a suitable size say 1.5? x 1.5? dip it lightly into the oil and apply it evenly all over the stock in nice steady motions, I started on my chequering first so as to get it in the recesses easy, you will notice how little oil is needed to cover the stock now as it getting smooth. At the end of each coat hold the stock up to the light and move it around checking for streaks and runs and any areas missed, hang your stock up to dry for at least 2 hours again. You are not trying to apply loads of oil with each application little and often is the name of the game and as said, the longer you take the better it will look. Also beware of finger prints in the finish. A great tip i can provide is after a couple of mins go back to your stock and look at the chequering and you will probably see runs as the excess oil comes out the recesses at the bottom lightly wipe to remove this with the sponge you used for oiling, throw each piece of sponge away and use a new piece each time, any oil left over I would throw away as it can ruin the end finish putting it back it the bottle. After about 7-8 coats of oil you should have plenty on now for a good finish, this is where you need to take your time on your final coat making sure you have no runs or hair etc stuck in it, but don?t worry if its not perfect. I did a coat in the morning and one just before bed. After rubbing down with the wire wool make sure you blow all traces of wirewool bits from the stock, as itll end up in the oil finish if your not careful.
Step 10; After you have let the stock dry for 12- 24hours, inspect it all over for any runs, if you see any lightly rub them with your wire wool until they are flush with the rest of the surface. You will notice this area is now dulled compared to the rest of the finish, now get some T-cut that you use on your car and lightly apply some using a cotton cloth but don?t apply too hard, buff off and the finish should be perfect again. Now this is where you get a choice of a gloss finish or satin finish and you only have 24hours to decide. If you want a gloss finish go to step 11. If you want a satin finish you now need to apply the satin stock conditioning oil supplied in the kit, lightly apply all over the stock and rub lightly until dry and there you go a satin oiled finish.
Step 11; Re-attach the stock to your gun (carefully) and stand back and admire. Then using a suitable stock wax give the stock a polish.
One last tip you can do is don?t fully unscrew you butt pad, leaving a gap between the pad and the stock, and mask the pad up , you can then rest the pad on your knee as you oil and you wont get bits off your trousers in the oil finish as you fingers touch your leg. . You will also notice you will have very sticky fingers after oiling, spraying wd40 on your hand will remove the oil easy, you will stink of wd40, but it is better than sticky fingers.
The kit I used was a Birchwood Casey kit that came with full instructions, wire wool various sandpaper, wood stain, Tru-oil and the stock conditioning oil all for around ?16 and I think it?s a great kit for the money. The gun wax is from the same company and cost ?4.95, I would still follow the instructions supplied in the kits as they may vary, but you get the idea from my guide. Anything I have missed out/got wrong please amend as needed or add comments below.
The "Birchwood Casey" full line up is here is US dollars but is available over here http://www.birchwoodcasey.com/sport/index.html
Hope this help anyone looking to finish there stock
ps my hw100 is having its stock oiled at the moment and ill post pics as soon as its done