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Stock de-varnish and oil finish

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A few people have asked about removing varnish finish from their shotguns or rifles and applying an oil finish in its place.

 

This has been covered recently in Tips & Tricks, but as we have DIY section now I thought it would be an idea to do a "how to" here with some more pictures.

 

Before you start be absolutely sure you want to do this, have a good look through the varnish to make sure there is a reasonable bit of wood lurking under there!

 

But once you start this there is no going back, so be warned.

 

The gun in the following pictures was not expensive and the wood was really plain, and it worked out fine, so it would have to be terrible for you to not see any improvement.

 

Here is the before:

HPIM0210__Medium_.JPG

Edited by stuartp

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First step is to remove any metalwork so you are just left with the wood itself.

 

Next step is to get the varnish off.

 

I used Nitromors, which is pretty nasty stuff, so read the label if you are going to use it, the advantage is it water soluble so the woodwork can be washed down under the tap afterwards.

 

Several applications may be required to get all the varnish off, DO NOT be tempted scrape at the wood with anything other then very fine wire wool (0000 grade) or for clearing out any chequering and old toothbrush; you may damage the wood without even realising it.

 

Once all the varnish is off and you have washed any surplus stripper away you should end up some scary looking plain wood like this, or hopefully better.

HPIM0216__Medium_.JPG

Edited by stuartp

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This would be a good point to remove any dents from the wood, if you have any.

 

If you have never done this before, you can steam them out using and iron and a wet tea towel.

 

Simply put the wet towel over the dent and then apply pressure with the hot iron.

 

Even quite nasty dents will lift using this method, antiques restorers have been doing this for years you have to see it work to believe it.

 

If there are any nasty marks they can be sanded out now, but only very fine sanding paper and always go with the grain, NEVER across it.

 

In this case I also had to dye the fore end as the wood was very much lighter than the stock, I did a small test to make sure it would have desired affect before applying it to the whole fore end.

 

I used fine wire wool dipped in white spirit to make sure the wood was free from any remaining stripper or grease and then started to apply the oil, again rubbing it gently into the wood with very fine wire wool.

 

After the initial applications you can rub the oil into the wood using your hands, rubbing until your hands warm up to help the oil go right into the wood.

 

There are gunstock finishing kits you can use or just use plain old linseed oil, I used an old CCI gunstock kit topped up with linseed oil, but most importantly LITTLE & OFTEN, do not soak the wood in the stuff give it chance to soak in, otherwise the wood will get slimy and the oil will ooze out on hot days.

 

The finish will improve with age and applying a little more oil once in a while, but the overall look of the gun is much better, and it doesn't have that 'Ronseal' feel to it anymore.

HPIM0218.jpg

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