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Stock refinishing thread: BLO vs PTO vs Tung Oil Finish

Discussion in 'Military Surplus' started by coolhandluke, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Sharpshooter

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    Gfercaks33...this thread is for you.

    Hopefully this will help give you an idea of what to expect when using boiled linseed oil, pure tung oil, or tung oil finish during a stock refinish. Below are a few examples of each type from stocks that I have refinished in the past.




    Examples of BLO:


    BLO on American Black Walnut

    Stock color was very lightly toned with a small amount of Feibings Medium Brown alcohol based dye prior to applying BLO coats. The walnut was naturally dark so it did not require much in the way of staining.


    [​IMG]



    BLO on Arctic Birch

    Stock was stripped of remaining shellac with denatured alcohol as there was only 10%-20% of the stock that was still covered. Stock was then treated with an aged oil finish technique using BLO and Feibings Medium Brown dye without being cleaned, stripped, or sanded. The goal was to replicate the look of a 70 year old military oil finish.

    More info on aged oil finish: http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=73332


    [​IMG]



    BLO on Birch

    Stock was stained with Feibings British Tan, treated with Pine Tar/ Turpentine mixture to accentuate the figuring in the wood, and finished with BLO.


    [​IMG]


    BLO on Chinese Catalpa

    Stock was stained with Feibings British Tan and finished with BLO.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    Examples of Pure Tung Oil:


    PTO on Walnut (Italian stock...not sure of species)

    Stock was stained with a custom mixed color using RIT dyes and finished with Real Milk Paint Pure Dark Tung Oil.


    [​IMG]




    PTO on laminated and non-laminated Birch (Beech pistol grip and possibly upper handguard)

    Stock has not been stained...it was treated with Pine Tar/ Turpentine mix and finished with Real Milk Paint Pure Dark Tung Oil.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Example of Tung Oil Finish:


    Tung Oil Finish on laminated and non-laminated Birch

    Stock was stained with RIT brown dye and finished with four coats of Minwax Tung Oil Finish. Finish can easily be dulled from gloss to matte by buffing with 0000 steel wool once the finish has fully cured. Using a wax such as Johnsons paste wax while buffing will help prevent swirl or burn marks from occurring.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  2. Perplexed

    Perplexed Sharpshooter

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    Most informative, Lucas! But I'm curious; why the liberal use of stains in your refinishing? Have you tried a refinish without using a stain, and if so, can you post pics of that, please? I've never tried using stains, but I haven't stripped any milsurps down to bare wood - just a cleaning and re-oiling, usually with regular or dark PTO.
     
  3. jbrentd

    jbrentd Sharpshooter

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    Thank you for the explanations and the great pictures to go with them. I could have used this thread back when I refinished the stock on my T53. That's really the only milsurp I've made an attempt at refinishing...just because it was in so bad of shape when I got it.
     
  4. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Sharpshooter

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    Todd,

    A majority of the stocks that I have refinished have been completely stripped down to the bare wood. Once you have done so, most (if not all) of the color and all of the patina have been removed. IMHO because of this most refinished milsurp stocks will stick out like a sore thumb if only oil is reapplied. There are definitely some exceptions and walnut tends to be one of them...it usually doesn't require much if any stain. Birch on the other hand tends to scream that it's been refinished if no stain has been used. On most of my projects I try my best to use stains that resemble the color and appearance that a stock would potentially have had after several decades of oil applications that had oxidized. Please note that I only choose to refinish a stock if it is a commercial piece that the finish does not look correct on or if it is an original stock has a major issue (i.e. needs repair, mold, etc). I definitely do not use any varnish or poly finishes on milsurp wood (not counting cheap AK furniture). As an example, the Mossberg 44 US stock above had suffered from water damage and had black mildew stains throughout. In order to get rid of the mildew, the stock had to be bleached which removed any color that the birch had in it. The combination of alcohol based stain and pine tar nearly perfectly replicated the appearance that a 50's-60's era USGI birch stock will have. I'm not sure if it would be easily identifiable as having been refinished.

    The older I get, the more prone I am to leaving things alone. A very gentle cleaning and PTO oil coats are all that I do to maintain most stocks. Other than the AK stock above that was finished with pine tar and dark PTO, I do not have a single firearm in my collection that wears a refinished stock (both the Garand and Carbine have USGI wood installed and the commercial stocks are spares).
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  5. Catt57

    Catt57 Sharpshooter

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    Also examples for your consideration. Unlike Luke, I use Tung Oil Finish (Varnish) more than PTO. Nothing wrong with PTO I just prefer the faster drying and cure times of the varnish. All depends on if you are striving for original methods or not.


    Chinese SKS - Spare stock, original # matching stock is tucked away and safe. Stripped, lightly sanded, stained with English Chestnut, 4 coats of Formby's Tung Oil Varnish low gloss, and knocked down with 0000 steel wool. Gives a nice Military look with modern methods.
    [​IMG]

    Mosin 91/30 -This was already a victim of "Bubba". I stripped it, sanded it, as the stain would not come out with stripper or mineral spirits. Stained it Sedonna red (oil stain) and 14 coats of Formby's Tung Oil Varnish low gloss. (and no, no attempt to make it look original)
    [​IMG]

    Multiple Savage/Stevens 6A/87A Gill guns
    These range from simple restoration of the luster (Walnut stock at the top), retaining the original patina (yellowed one 2nd from the top) to total tear down, strip, rebuild, and color change (red Western Field at the bottom) All done with Formby's low gloss
    [​IMG]

    If your curious here are links to the threads of what i did on each of these along with before and after pics:
    1949-Savage-6A
    1950-Stevens-87A
    1948-Springfield-87A
    1951-Western-Field-87-SB87-TA





    A note on the Formby's: I steel wool between every coat.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  6. gfercaks33

    gfercaks33 Sharpshooter

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    Lucas to your reply from the last thread, I do have an understanding of staining and refinishing but I always want to learn more. I have tried a tung oils but it was too yellow for what I was aiming for, it was also very cheap and low quality. I think on the stock I'm going to try blo on this one because I'm going a dark color so I'm just wanting to protect and have a sheen. I think I'm with you on tru oil as I have had to really build it up and than cut and buff the imperfections out, the best luck I had with the tru oil is to hand rub the oil in.

    Here are a few stocks I have refinished and what I used.

    This was a mosin stock, I rubbed the wood with iodine to give it a red color and finished with an amber shellac.
    [​IMG]

    10/22 stock for my wife, it's purple rit dye applied with a rag and coated with 10-15 coats or tru oil hand rubbed in.
    [​IMG]


    This is the red one from the other thread, it was dyed with red rit dye sprayed out of a spray bottle (great coverage!) and finished with the tru oil (same method)
    [​IMG]
     
  7. milsurp2.0

    milsurp2.0 Sharpshooter

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    *Bites tongue, slowly backs out of thread*
     
  8. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Sharpshooter

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    Based on your photos it looks like you definitely have experience refinishing a stock. In all honesty BLO won't offer nearly as good of protection against moisture etc as tung oil or any modern varnish or urethane and it takes a fair amount of work to build a sheen as BLO tends to have a matte appearance. Since you are looking to refinish a 10/22 stock rather than a milsurp, I would definitely recommend using the same tung oil finish product that Catt recommended over BLO. I definitely agree with you regarding hand-rubbing Tru-Oil and I recommend the same process with tung oil finish. I typically will wet my index and middle fingers with oil and sparingly apply it to the stock. This prevents runs and lint build up in the finish. If you do decide to use BLO, you can easily give the stock added protection and a little bit of sheen by applying a couple coats of Johnsons paste wax after the oil has been allowed to cure for 48-72 hours. Just be aware that after doing so, the wax must be fully removed with acetone if you ever wish to apply additional oil to the stock down the road.




    Awww Clint....don't be that way. :comfort: :wink2:


    I don't think anyone here is advocating Bubba'ing of milsurp wood. Gfercaks33 had questions about the appearance of different finishes on stocks as he was planning to refinish a stock for his 10/22. The question originated in the military surplus section and I don't have many examples of non-milsurp stocks...hence the reason this thread is in this section. Like I mentioned earlier, I only choose to refinish a stock if it is a commercial piece that the finish does not look correct on or if it is an original stock has a major issue that requires a refinish (i.e. needs repair, mold, etc). I do not use any varnish or poly finishes on milsurp wood...period. Stock repair and refinishing is a good skill even for collectors to have as there are handfuls of surplus firearms out there that have been neglected or molested and are in need of restoration and preservation.


    Catt provided a couple examples of milsurp stocks that he has refinished in a non-traditional way with modern stains and finish methods. I believe in each case that he has done so, he has only refinished a spare or previously refinished stock and kept the original one untouched.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  9. Catt57

    Catt57 Sharpshooter

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    This is true.
    The SKS stock was a clearance table special in poor shape and the Mosin stocks are all "pre-bubba'd". As for the rimfires, the 2 that were salvageable I did just that. For the other 2, the one stock was in dire need of restoration and had 0 finish left, and the other was so far gone that anything I did to it was only going to improve it's function, appearance, and value so I let my daughter choose the color she liked as it will be hers one day.
     
  10. Shadowrider

    Shadowrider Sharpshooter

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    Can you give any info on this pine tar/turpentine mix and what it actually does? Is it like putting on a coat of BLO before shellac/lacquer/etc.
     

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