Many of our customers call us and
say "I can't get my gunstock finishes to come out looking right? What am I
doing wrong?" Probably nothing. The difference between a really fine finish and
one that turns out "so-so" is attention to detail and making sure each step in
the stock finishing process is completed before going on to the next step. Each
step is very important and vital to the overall quality of the finished job.
If you've visited the Cowboy Campfire this month, this article is right
up your alley. Put a few of these ideas into practice and you'll be on your way
to a first rate finish. Sanding: The First Step to a Fine
Progressively finer grits up to about 400 or so are usually
sufficient. As much as possible, sanding should be done with the grain of the
wood to minimize surface scratches that can show as imperfections in the final
finish. Some finishing techniques require "whiskering" to be done at this time.
Whiskering is accomplished by slightly dampening the stock with a clean
rage that's been soaked with denatured alcohol or water. Alcohol dries faster
than water, so it is preferred. The moisture raises the grain so you can sand
off the whiskers left from preliminary sanding with coarser grades of
Care must be exercised here to make sure that all flats are
dead flat, corners are sharp and edges don't get rounded over. Sanding without
a sanding block to back up the paper and not giving proper attention to the
maintenance of edges and corners are the biggest problems that arise during
this stage. Sealing: A Lasting Step
Sealing the wood
with a liquid sanding sealer prevents moisture from moving between the
atmosphere and the wood. Try the Birchwood Casey's
Clear Sealer &
or Permalyn's Sealer
. This is very
important when the rifle may be subjected to rapid changes in environment, such
as a hunting trip to a different part of the country. All surfaces of the wood
must be sealed with a penetrating sealant that will be compatible with the
final finish product to be applied to the wood. Finishing: The
This is actually two processes. The first is applying
the finish uniformly to the surface of the wood. Usually some type of varnish,
oil or urethane finish is chosen for durability and coloring. This application
can be done in different ways depending on the chosen finish and desired
effect. A wide variety of wood finishing products is available from Brownells.
Some favorites are the
Antique Wood Stains
Peter Vanderhave's Military
. There are even more on pages 222 - 224 of the #56 catalog, or
look them up under the keyword search on our website.
After the finish
is applied and fully cured, it usually needs to be "rubbed" or "polished" out.
This is done by making the surface uniform and polishing it to the desired
"sheen". Very fine sandpaper (1000 or 1200 grit) may be used to level the
surface of the finish and remove any imperfections like dust specks.
This must be done slowly and carefully.
You must avoid cutting
through the finish and into the wood. Then, the stock may be gone over with one
of the stock rubbing compounds we offer to achieve a uniform low, medium or
You'll really like our
Stock Rubbing Kit
all the right materials you need to produce a fine, hand-rubbed finish in one
easy-to-use kit. Check out our
Remember, the steps given here have been found to provide
very acceptable results for most stock finishing applications. Because of
differences in relative humidity, ambient temperature, wood density or
composition, you may need to modify these techniques slightly to achieve the
exact finish you're looking for.
If you find a particular technique
that works best for you and produces the desired results, then that's the one
you should use. The end result is what's most important.