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Finishing a Walnut Stock

This is a discussion on Finishing a Walnut Stock within the The M14 forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; I have a brand new standard M1a with a walnut stock. I know zip about properly treating and protecting the wood, and need some quick ...


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Old September 5th, 2004, 09:08 AM   #1
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Finishing a Walnut Stock

I have a brand new standard M1a with a walnut stock. I know zip about properly treating and protecting the wood, and need some quick and dirty tips.

Its not a show gun, and the stock is hardly presentation quality. I just need to put on a practical finish to seal and protect it from the weather. I have rubbed some linseed oil into it a few times, but after it drys it seems woefully inadequate.

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Old September 5th, 2004, 09:55 AM   #2
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1. Strip the finish from the stock - I usually use Easy Off oven cleaner. Apply the EO, let it sit for 3-5 minutes, and then rinse with hot water while scrubbing with a scotch brite pad. You'll get all the old finish of & will not hurt the wood.

2. Raise any dings/dents in the wood. You can steam any dents/dings out with water and a steam iron, or you can try running the stock through the dishwasher. The dishwasher method is pretty extreme, and you'll stand a good chance of losing the DAS cartouche on the stock. I only run stocks through the dishwasher when the dings/dents are really deep.

3. Sand the stock. You need to get the old "dead" wood off and expose the grain. Depending on the condition of the stock, I'll start with 150-200 grit sandpaper, then 400 grit, then 600 grit. Be careful of any stock markings (DAS cartouche, proof mark, etc...)

4. Apply finish. BLO, tung oil, tru oil, danish oil, whatever you prefer.

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Old September 5th, 2004, 09:58 AM   #3
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Richard, make sure that you sand it first to remove the old stuff. Start with 180 then finer and finer. You are going to have to put a couple of coats and let it dry for 24 hours. Make sure to no put on too much with each coat. On the final coat I use the black wet/dry sand paper and wet sand the oil in. I makes come out with a real nice finish.

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Old September 6th, 2004, 04:20 PM   #4
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Quag and Emperor, if I'm reading his post correctly, he has a brand new stock on a brand new SA Inc M1A. If he has a brand new stock, I don't think he'll need to strip it, as the new Boyds stocks that SA Inc don't have much of a finish to start off with. If he's using a beat up USGI stock, then stripping it would be a good idea.

How you finish your stock depends on what you want out of it. Pure tung oil (PTO) followed by many coats of BLO (boiled linseed oil) is the most "correct" military finish for a US military firearm with a wooden stock that was manufactured after 1940. Natural oils are neither as durable nor as water resistant as synthetic finishes. PTO is a bit more durable and water resistant than BLO, but is more expensive (hence why the US issued BLO to its troops) and still neither as durable or water resistant as a synthetic finish. Marine spar polyeurethene will provide the absolute best finish in terms of durabiltiy and water resistance, but will look and feel like your stock has been dipped in plactic. Oil/varnish blends offer a compromise in terms of looking like a hand rubbed oil finish but provide better protection, but again, not as much as a purely synthetic finish like polyeurethene.

For a brand new stock, I'd rub in about seven coats of BLO (boiled linseed oil) wearing thick rubber gloves and using a lint free rag. Let each coat dry at least 24 hours, 48 if its humid where you are. Dispose of the rags properly, as rags soaked in BLO or PTO can spontaneously combust. After the last coat of BLO has dried, I'd lightly sand the stock with 0000 steel wool and then clean it with Mineral Spirits (don't forget your gloves and always work in a well ventilated work space). After the Mineral Spirits have dried, put onthree coats of either Minwax Tung Oil Finish or Fornsby's Tung Oil finish (they are both varnish/oil blends and not pure tung oil), allowing each coat to dry at least 24 hours. Use a Scotchbrite pad to lightly rub out any undesired gloss.

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Old September 7th, 2004, 08:09 AM   #5
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On a new stock before putting on the BLO should you clean/wipe down the stock? What type of cleaner do you recommend.I have a new springfield M1A and have gone to the range several times and would like to treat the stock.

Thank you
Ezra
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Old September 7th, 2004, 10:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragracer440wedge
TEA
On a new stock before putting on the BLO should you clean/wipe down the stock? What type of cleaner do you recommend.I have a new Springfield M1A and have gone to the range several times and would like to treat the stock.

Thank you
Ezra
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On a new Springfield (Boyd's) stock I would wipe it down with mineral spirits. They come pretty dry anyway. You may want to lightly sand it, or not.

As for the finish, on Walnut I like PTO and/or #600 Behr Scandinavian Tung Oil Finish. It is a mixture of BLO, PTO, waxes, and dryers.

PS, the Behr is what I used on your Heavy Birch.

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Old September 7th, 2004, 11:40 AM   #7
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Thanks fellas, thats exactly what I needed to know. TEA has it right, this is a bare bones "stock" stock.

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Old September 7th, 2004, 03:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyReb
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragracer440wedge
TEA
On a new stock before putting on the BLO should you clean/wipe down the stock? What type of cleaner do you recommend.I have a new Springfield M1A and have gone to the range several times and would like to treat the stock.

Thank you
Ezra
Dragracer440wedge
On a new Springfield (Boyd's) stock I would wipe it down with mineral spirits. They come pretty dry anyway. You may want to lightly sand it, or not.
What Johny said. Also, you may want to cut the first two or three coats of BLO 50/50 with Mineral Spirits to thin it out a bit so that the stock will be able to absorb it more deeply. Don't forget to remove as much of the metal from the stock as you can and tape up the rest, or to get inside of the holes in the buttstock. I found that after my stock absorbed a few coats of PTO (first two coats cut 50/50 with Mineral Spirits and the stock actually dipped and soaked in the PTO/Mineral Sprits so that capilary action would absorb as much as possible) that the wood seemed to swell a bit, making for a tighter receiver lock up but also for a tighter mag well and buttstock cleaning kit holes (also a bit heavier). Before I switched to TOF (about a year and thirty or so coats of PTO after my initial seven coats of PTO), I used a small drum sander head on a drill bit extension to widen the holes just a skoshi. The guy who just bedded my rifle for me also removed a bit of wood from the mag well so that its not quite as hard to slide a mag in.

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Old September 7th, 2004, 03:35 PM   #9
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Uh oh. Is BLO going to hurt the metal on my stock? I field stripped it, but (lacking tools) worked around the rest of the hardware on the stock.

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Old September 7th, 2004, 04:37 PM   #10
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It shouldn't hurt the metal (remember, GIs didn't remove the metal either), but may leave a tacky residue on it. Another thing to consider is that the wood covered by the metal won't absorb as much BLO. This isn't much of an issue with the sling swivels, but the buttstock and stock liner cover up a lot of wood, and the buttstock and stock ferule cover up the wood with the most open grain.

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Old September 7th, 2004, 04:54 PM   #11
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and another thing, the buttstock and front stock ferule don't need any special tools to take off, just a screw driver or maybe a knife and pair of pliers for the stock ferule. SA Inc sells something called a "gadget" that has two scredriver blades (one smaller than the other) a bottle opener and the spanner for removing the stock liner all in one little tool on a key chain. The key chain itself is pretty flimsy, but I find the gadget itself fits into my Otis cleaning kit really well.

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