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How to increase walnut stock striping contrast? (pic heavy)

This is a discussion on How to increase walnut stock striping contrast? (pic heavy) within the Steel and Wood forums, part of the Rifle Forum category; I just picked up a CMP Special on Friday, and noticed it had a small bit of striping just below the op-rod, but only in ...


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Old December 2nd, 2012, 06:58 PM   #1
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How to increase walnut stock striping contrast? (pic heavy)

I just picked up a CMP Special on Friday, and noticed it had a small bit of striping just below the op-rod, but only in about a 10" section. After a few coats of BLO I've found that the striping appears to go almost, if not all the way down the stock at the right angle/lighting (though more faint to the rear).

I'd like to make it stick out as much as possible, preferably without staining as I really like the color as it is. It seems the BLO is already bringing it out the more I use, and if that will make it more obvious I'm more then happy to take my time to make it come out more over the next few weeks. I read somewhere that the grains that cause striping absorb more oil, but don't recall where I heard it.

So far I've been using BLO, a plan on using a wax finish as I will be using the rifle to do a lot of shooting, and hopefully competition in the future. Hence some more weather protection is a necessity.

This is how it started out (note small striping under the op-rod):


~~~~~
This is the method I've used so far. I realize it's quite a bit of BLO in a short period of time, but it's sucked it right up and not left any sticky residue, but I'll be cutting down to every other day after tomorrow.

I put the first coat of BLO on a bit heavy, wiped off the excess after about 20mins, and let it hang and dry over night.

I then put a 2nd and 3rd coat on yesterday with about 10hrs between each. I wiped it in moderately hard with a cotton rag, and then wiped the excess back off in about 5-10 minutes. Let it sit overnight to dry.

Then this morning, I wiped a light coat on, wiped it off about 20mins later,let it sit for about 3hrs, then did a BLO scrub with 0000 steel wool, wiped any slivers of metal off, put a light coat on, and wiped it back off almost immediately.
I then repeated it again after about another 6 hours. And then wiped a last light coat using heated up BLO mixed with pure lemon juice to polish it up a bit more. I found that it really gave it more depth to the grain.
~~~~~~

Here is what it looks like right now (only camera I have is my Iphone, quality isn't the best):











tl;dr version: Will just using BLO/Lemon Juice continue to make the striping more defined and give it a high contrast if I continue that route? If not, what should I try?

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Old December 3rd, 2012, 03:29 AM   #2
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not sure, but if you change your mind about staining (I like them a bit darker), then you can stain right through the BLO if you use an alcohol-based stain (like Chestnut Ridge). I am pretty sure that staining WILL bring out the stripes more.

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Last edited by AKA Hugh Uno; December 3rd, 2012 at 03:30 AM. Reason: wrong forum..
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 05:51 AM   #3
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Medium brown with some black added wood dyes. TransTint. Black accentuates the walnut grain.

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Old December 3rd, 2012, 06:22 AM   #4
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Not that I am suggesting this, but many years ago some maple stocks as found on muzzle loaders the stocks were "flame" created and then finish applied. Tried it one time on spare piece of walnut just to see how it looked and used hand held torch and actually it turned out pretty nice. Again, I would not suggest you do that unless you were to practice a bit for your Special grade is a very nice firearm. Have one myself and it had some nice grain to start with, but made up a concotion of red oil paints and BLO and gave the stock a nice dark red/walnut appearance. Similar to the old Winchester finishes

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Old December 4th, 2012, 06:47 AM   #5
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Aqua Fortis, which is a mild solution of Nitric Acid, was used in the 15th - 19th century especially to bring out the grain on fine musical instruments and gun stocks. If one does a google search, you can get all kinds of articles on doing it.

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Old December 4th, 2012, 07:01 AM   #6
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Oh, on the subject of using heat to artificially make "grain" patterns on wood.

When Aqua Fortis was applied in the old days, they would heat up an iron bar and hold it close to, but not touching the stock where they had applied the acid solution. The heat helped activate it, though that is not the correct definition of the chemical reaction.

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Old December 4th, 2012, 07:07 AM   #7
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I have a nice M21 stock Art L gave me for Christmas present, for a reasonable fee, who can I talk to to put a nice finish on it just like OP is the trying to achieve and bring out all the fine grain in the wood. All my M1As are field guns with stick um all over the stocks. I would like to own a nice showpiece for a change.

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Old December 4th, 2012, 08:14 AM   #8
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I'll do it for free as long as the wood is walnut and you aren't in a hurry. I can't do birch.

Strip with MS, TransTint Dye Mix, 10 coats or so of BLO with 0000 steel wool smoothing. You've seen my builds and such. TransTint Dye mix would have some black. The black darkens the grain lines and therefore brings out the patterns. Doesn't make the lines black, just darker in their natural tone.

I ain't burning it or treating it with Aqua Velva though :)

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Old December 4th, 2012, 09:13 AM   #9
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Hmmm.

I've heard of Aqua Fortis a few times while looking up ways to increase the contrast. I've seen mention that it can turn walnut into a greyish/blackish color compared to other woods though. Is there an easy way to strip it without using lots of chemicals?

Would transtint mixed with BLO work? If possible I'd like to just mix it in and try it now instead of stripping the stock back down and starting from scratch.

If push comes to shove I'd rather leave it with just the BLO instead of risking ruining it. Not overly experienced with wood and stains and the like.

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Old December 4th, 2012, 09:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammonje View Post
I'll do it for free as long as the wood is walnut and you aren't in a hurry. I can't do birch.

Strip with MS, TransTint Dye Mix, 10 coats or so of BLO with 0000 steel wool smoothing. You've seen my builds and such. TransTint Dye mix would have some black. The black darkens the grain lines and therefore brings out the patterns. Doesn't make the lines black, just darker in their natural tone.

I ain't burning it or treating it with Aqua Velva though :)
Dang, hell of a deal. How could I say no. This is a long term project, no rush.

Thank you!

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Old December 4th, 2012, 10:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dire88 View Post
Hmmm.

I've heard of Aqua Fortis a few times while looking up ways to increase the contrast. I've seen mention that it can turn walnut into a greyish/blackish color compared to other woods though. Is there an easy way to strip it without using lots of chemicals?

Would transtint mixed with BLO work? If possible I'd like to just mix it in and try it now instead of stripping the stock back down and starting from scratch.

If push comes to shove I'd rather leave it with just the BLO instead of risking ruining it. Not overly experienced with wood and stains and the like.
Just strip the oil off with mineral spirits. It only takes the oil out. Nothing to the coloration. Then you apply the dyes dissolved in denatured alcohol with a shop towel. They are both pressure and volume sensitive so one can feather in any area one desires. It dries almost immediately once the alcohol evaporates. So no waiting overnight for an oil stain to dry. Oil stains are HORRIBLE as compared with alcohol soluble wood dyes. I bought three dye bottles...brown mahogany (tint of red), medium brown and black. $70 worth of dyes is enough for 10 lifetimes of wood staining. I have been using them for 4 years on dozens of stocks and handguards and haven't even used 2% of any bottle yet.

Then when you get the color you want then just re-oil with BLO. Stupid simple...I mean you cannot mess it up. Just be aware that when you add the oil back the stock will get significantly darker. So go slow. Add oil to one area to see the color. If not dark enough, strip the oil off with MS and dye further. It is really stupid simple once you get AWAY from OIL BASED STAINS.

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Old December 4th, 2012, 10:25 AM   #12
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I guess I'll have to order some then.

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Old December 4th, 2012, 11:33 AM   #13
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Send me a small sealable bottle and I'll fill it up with my favorite USGI recipe mixture and send it back to you. You are only in Columbus, GA and I am in Lilburn.

If you are going to be doing many stocks over time then just purchase the dyes. I was frustrated using the oil based stains as the color just sat on top of the wood. The oil based stain dye particles are TOO BIG and therefore do not penetrate the wood. The specific wood dye particles are very small and penetrate well. It's night and day. One of the most difficult things to do is stain M1, 03/03a3, and M1 Carbine handguards to match the stocks. With these dyes it's a cake walk.

Need more reddish tone....add more brown mahagony.
Need more brown tone....add less brown mahagony and more medium brown.
Need it all darker...add more black. The black doesn't change the color, only makes it darker.

That's all you need to know to use these dyes effectively. It's all I use.

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Old December 4th, 2012, 11:34 AM   #14
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Aqua Fortis can still be obtained and the results can be very good. You can heat the wood with infrared lamps instead of the glowing hot iron bars.
The bad color happens when the acid isn’t neutralized properly.
Personally I’d stay with the alcohol based dye’s. You can get great results that will last.
Personally I’d take hammonje up on his offer. Finishing stocks is more of a learned thing than something you can go directly from a sheet of instructions and do it the way you want the first time. But I agree that his method is one in which you can go back and tweak things until you get the result you want.
IMHO the highlighting of the grain and wood figure will make that stock "POP".

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Old December 4th, 2012, 02:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammonje View Post
Just strip the oil off with mineral spirits. It only takes the oil out. Nothing to the coloration. Then you apply the dyes dissolved in denatured alcohol with a shop towel. They are both pressure and volume sensitive so one can feather in any area one desires. It dries almost immediately once the alcohol evaporates. So no waiting overnight for an oil stain to dry. Oil stains are HORRIBLE as compared with alcohol soluble wood dyes. I bought three dye bottles...brown mahogany (tint of red), medium brown and black. $70 worth of dyes is enough for 10 lifetimes of wood staining. I have been using them for 4 years on dozens of stocks and handguards and haven't even used 2% of any bottle yet.

Then when you get the color you want then just re-oil with BLO. Stupid simple...I mean you cannot mess it up. Just be aware that when you add the oil back the stock will get significantly darker. So go slow. Add oil to one area to see the color. If not dark enough, strip the oil off with MS and dye further. It is really stupid simple once you get AWAY from OIL BASED STAINS.
I could not agree more that using oil based stains on a gun stock is worse than counter productive, it will often/usually leave a mess.

I have also spoken with some EXTREMELY HIGH END custom furniture makers who recreate 18th century burl wood reproductions that cost about 1/3 of what original pieces do. Some of them use Water based stains, but those are EXTREMELY finicky stains to learn to use. I tried a few times, but it was just not worth the effort and really found the color did not stand up well for outdoor usage.

Spirit stains really are the way to go. I use leather dye most often because they are spirit stains. They may not be as good as the stuff Hammonje is referring to, but a bottle of Fiebing's Medium Brown Leather Dye is not expensive.

ONE HUGE THING, THOUGH. NEVER PUT A SPIRIT STAIN DIRECTLY ON THE WOOD THAT HAS NOT HAD AT LEAST ONE, SUPER DRY COAT OF BIRCHWOOD CASEY'S TRU-OIL OR SHELLAC ON THE WOOD FIRST. If you don't do that, the end grain will suck it up faster and make the dull/dark areas that look so bad on many service rifle stocks. Hammonje gets around that by applied the stain IN THE OIL, so that doesn't happen.

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