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STAINING

Changing, or darkening, the color of new — not previously finished wood — is accomplished readily by the use of water-soluble dyes. Some suppliers of these include:

  • “Homestead Dry Dyes”, “Transtint Dye”, and “General Finishes” available at Rockler.com
  • “JE Moser’s Aniline Dye” available at Woodworker.com
  • “H. Behlan Dry Aniline Stain” available at vandykes.com
  •  “Color Tone Liquid Stain” available at stewmac.com

The wanted effect, at least the first time. is obtained by trial and error. If possible, the dye solution should be tried on scrap wood left from the subject stock or, next best, on wood closely resembling it. If nothing else is at hand, perhaps it can be tried on successive sections of a barrel groove, where it will be hidden later” on. Control of the amount of staining is possible by rinsing the stock under a running water tap after the dye is applied. This step will remove at least some of any excess stain and a light rinse should be made in any case. Then blot the stock with paper towel and set aside to dry. The stock should not be actually soaked in the dye, nor held under the tap so long as to cause needless saturation. The dye can be applied with either a clean paint brush or a swab of clean cloth fastened to a makeshift handle. The dye should be allowed to remain wet on the wood surface long enough for some penetration. End grain will dye darker than the rest of the stock. Some dye should be saved and diluted, for use in any checkering is added later. Only new wood, that has had no finishing material applied is suitable for dye application. Oil type stain is not as easily controlled as the water-soluble dye, but can be very successful, provided the color obtained is right and that the oil vehicle is a drying type that will not contaminate the LIN-SPEED oil applied later and slow its dry. The first application of the LIN-SPEED gunstock oil finish after the stain is in place will seal against unpleasant bleeding of the stain. An oil type stain is the only possibility for the color alteration of wood being refinished.

Varnish stains or any type stain that “seal” the wood should not be used because they will undesirably block the oil finish out of the wood.

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REPAIRING SCRATCHES & GOUGES

Scratches and gouges can be repaired in one of two ways, or a combination of both. If the color of the wood must not be cut through by sanding, the missing wood must be replaced by filling. Extremely large work will require inletting well-matched wood — perhaps, wood borrowed from inside a barrel groove. For the usual filling of reasonably sized repairs, a mixture of wood dust and a clear adhesive cement will serve nicely. Preferably, the wood dust should come from the stock itself. If the stock is a stained one, the chances are that the wood normally covered by butt-plate, pistol-grip and such fittings was also stained at the same time. The small amount of wood needed may be scraped from such areas and will not show removal when the arm is reassembled. If such areas are not available, there may be others available; for instance, the mid-point of a barrel groove (if not oil-soaked) where removal of a sanded amount will not affect the barrel bedding. The obtained dust should be mixed with clear cement so that it is a thoroughly permeated, mealy paste. It should be applied in more than one layer. with dry between the layers, if the depth of the hole exceeds perhaps a sixteenth of an inch and, as the patching material will shrink during dry, should be built up just a little higher than the surrounding wood. Then, when dry, it can be sanded down to level. Some holes will fill more securely if their walls are cut out to a vertical square with the surface. Some even slightly undercut, if wished, and the bottoms scored for best adhesion. All cavities should be cleaned with Naphtha before filling, so as to give maximum adhesion.

The other method of removing scratches and gouges is by sanding them out. As with all sanding of complete stocks, great care must be taken not to sand enough along inletted or fitted edges to change and damage the fit of the parts when the gun is reassembled. It is important not to leave sanded hollows that will be emphasized later by the final finish. A suitably sized block of wood or foam used to wrap the sandpaper around will help prevent such unsightly hollows. Ordinarily sanding should be carried well beyond the area of actual repair. For instance, sanding a gouge out of the flat of a butt-stock may well require a diminishing change of shape all the way to the grip area and not only all the way to the rear in the other direction but also, perhaps, even a slight change in the shape of the butt-plate or pad. Many scratches are not sanded just quite enough. This is a case of stopping just short of perfection and is typical of all sanding operations. The bottom of many a scratch is actually a dent combined with the scratch. If the dent-raising technique, discussed earlier,  is applied initially to all such damage, the situation can be improved in a routine manner. Final sanding of a repaired stock should be limited to the finest grit paper that w ill do the job. There is no point in having to sand out scratches left by needlessly coarse papers. Perhaps #600 is too fine, but #280 should usually serve before the #600 paper finalizes the preparation for finishing. Such wet-or-dry papers can be used dry or, as a lubricant. ordinary Linseed Oil can be used in moderation. Such an oil must not be used in profusion or it will soak into the wood and possibly cause a slow, or even unsatisfactory, dry of the finish.

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DENTS

Dents in the wood  can often be removed by placing a damp cloth over the dent then putting a hot iron on the damp cloth taking care to not burn the wood or yourself. The steam created should raise the wood and remove the dent. You have to remove the existing finish to accomplish this task.

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Exotic Woods

There are some woods — generally described as “exotic” — that are so oily by nature that the oil finish may dry very slowly, or even not at all. Such woods are rarely used as a stock-wood but sometimes appear as forearm tips etc., and as such, as long as the natural oil remains, require no actual protection. Such woods usually take a good polish when buffed. If also porous, perhaps a little hard wax (such as an automobile wax) is a good thought. Any Lin-Speed Oil that has not dried promptly on such woods can be rubbed away with the fingers or a coarse cloth. Any unsatisfactory dry of Lin-Speed, in less than 24 hours, can be considered affected by some adverse condition, no matter where applied. Most exotic woods dry out in a year or so and can be oiI-finished then, perhaps as part of a periodic maintenance application.

Wood Characteristics
Bubinga High density, closed pores, and natural oils can cause problems with Lin-Speed Oil penetration
Cocobolo Very high oil content and high density.
Cumaru High oil content and high density.
East Indian Rosewood High oil content and medium/high density.
Ebonies Some oil present, along with very high densities.
Goncalo Alves High density and natural oils prevent water absorption.
Greenheart High density and natural oils.
Honduran Rosewood High oil content and high density.
Katalox Very high density, along with natural oils.
Kingwood Very high oil content and high density.
Lignum Vitae Extremely high oil content and density pose penetration challenges.
Osage Orange Oils present can give problems.
Purpleheart High oil content and high density.
Rosewoods Typically very oily and very dense.
Santos Mahogany High density and moderately oily.
Teak Oils/resins can present challenges in outdoor applications.
Verawood Extremely high oil content and density can pose challenges.
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CHECKERED AREAS

If your gun stock has checkered areas, apply Lin-Speed to these areas right after completing the inletted areas. Dip an old tooth brush or similar stiff bristled brush into the Lin-Speed (again, put a little Lin-Speed in a separate container) and push the product throughout the checkering. Using a semi stiff bristled brush will help prevent the checkering from getting clogged with finish. Again, a little Lin-Speed goes a long way. The excess Lin-Speed from the checkered area can simply be rubbed into the smooth areas around the checkering. Only do one or two very very thin applications in the checkering so as not to clog the checkering with Lin-Speed.

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USE SAWDUST MIX TO FILL WOOD-GRAIN

We have learned that some folks prefer to apply a coat of Lin-Speed then sand the piece with 600 grit sand paper while the product is still wet. This creates a paste of sawdust and Lin-Speed. Go over the whole piece (except for checkered areas) using this method, and then let the paste dry on the stock over night. This will not be a thick paste. The piece will appear cloudy in appearance over all. After it has dried over night — it still may feel a bit tacky but that is OK — take the paste down with triple zero steel wool lubricated with regular boiled linseed oil all the way down to the wood, and then wipe the piece off with paper towel. This method, if used, should be done on the first application.