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Walnut Finish Restoration NOT Re-Finish

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Forum topic by HorizontalMike posted 11-14-2013 04:25 PM 757 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HorizontalMike

6956 posts in 1610 days


11-14-2013 04:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: gun stock restoration refinish walnut

My favorite rifle, a 1947 Remington Model #121A FIELDMASTER with a Weaver 2.5x B60, needs just a touch of TLC. I got this from my father back in the late 1950s (he bought it new), and shot/hunted with this up through he early 1970s. I still remember “scratching” the stock while hunting at the ripe old age of 15. Today’s post is regarding that and a newly discovered, but old water spot on the stock.

This rifle has been very well taken care of and has actually been in storage for nearly 40 years. I am NOT interested in doing a complete “refinish” at this time, but am very interested in doing the best “restoration” of the existing finish possible.

BELOW are some of the issues:

First the Glory Shot—V 8^)

Rightside Rear Stock—V
  • Two deep scratches near butt (Howards Restora-Finish helped here) The line near the butt is the figure of the grain. About that much more/added distance above the butt, you can make just out the deep scratch in the center, that Howard’s helped blend away.
  • Water Stain near bottom of stock and seen on the right side of this image—has slight raising of grain to touch, and is darkened visually
Grip Area—V
  • This area, while not chipped in any way, has all of the finish worn off from use and is dull, lacking depth.
Grip Area PLUS Forward Stock—V
  • Dull/Worn grip area shows better in this image
  • Forward stock is in near perfect condition with minimal wear on finish

QUESTIONs:

  • How best to “restore” the existing finish?
  • Build up “Deft Clear” coats with #0000 sanding on the Deft finish only?
  • Other options?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."


24 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1694 days


#1 posted 11-14-2013 04:37 PM

If you are not in the mood to go all the way with it, I would just give it a good waxing (lots of coats in the area) and move on for now.

Reasons:

It will always look like a patch job if the finish is not uniform

It won’t hurt anything

Easy to renew

It’s a nice finish in itself for objects that will get a lot of handling.

Won’t hurt the metal finish if you get some on it.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6956 posts in 1610 days


#2 posted 11-14-2013 04:43 PM

I have thought about going the JPW route, so I am glad you brought that up. Other than that, I was also wondering about BLO as well.

Since this is the original OEM 1947 era finish, I would assume it is just a varnish or lacquer finish that would readily come off with MS, acetone, or the like, right?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View jumbojack's profile

jumbojack

1200 posts in 1320 days


#3 posted 11-14-2013 04:48 PM

Mike, I dont want to point out the obvious but have you cleaned the stock with say shampoo? I think most of the dull areas are from dirt, hand oils, and related crap that we transfer.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6956 posts in 1610 days


#4 posted 11-14-2013 05:09 PM

Jack,
I am not so sure shampoo would be the best long term answer (thinking getting H2O too close to steel too often). I know shampoo is a surfactant, aka solvent, but water-based unlike Hoppe’s #9 that is used for cleaning the bore, receiver, etc. That, and the grip appears lighter, as if the finish is all gone.

You do have me wondering though, about what type of finish resists the traditional gun cleaning chemicals and lubricants…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1694 days


#5 posted 11-14-2013 05:11 PM

Probably a lacquer. No to the BLO unless you want it looking like WWI surplus. You could get a little blond shellac and do a french polish on the area. That would blend a bit better. It will still stand out a bit. If you go that route, it wouldn’t be that much more to strip it and do the entire stock as you would need to go out beyond the area to blend it.

Pull the butt plate and see if the end of the stock is finished to test your options and see how it looks where it doesn’t show.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6956 posts in 1610 days


#6 posted 11-14-2013 05:21 PM

David,
OK, No BLO. I like the blond shellac idea, if I can get it to match the front ribbed pump stock. The front looks great, but I did notice that the ribs appeared to be cut AFTER that piece had been finished, so refinishing the front might be more of a challenge.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1694 days


#7 posted 11-14-2013 05:27 PM

Before doing anything go with a little Murphy’s or something similar and get it as clean as possible so you don’t just just embed the dirt in the finish repair.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

15283 posts in 1264 days


#8 posted 11-14-2013 06:36 PM

I’d have to disagree with David if you plane to use the piece. I wouldn’t even consider shellac. I can’t tell by the pictures, but it doesn’t look like a lacquer, and the gun is old enough it may never had been. There is not a gun in my cabinet that I haven’t used BLO or Danish oil on. Wet sand with a fine grit o blend the area’s.

Edit: I do agree with cleaning it thoroughly before doing anything though.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15706 posts in 2915 days


#9 posted 11-14-2013 06:55 PM

I’d try cleaning it first with Murphy’s Oil Soap and see where you need to go from there. I’m thinking a cleaning and waxing will do the trick.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6956 posts in 1610 days


#10 posted 11-14-2013 08:08 PM

Well, I just spent the better part of the past couple of hours to completely disassemble the rifle, and to clean with PBBlaster w/rags, then compressed air, wiped dry, and finally applied very small amounts of BreakFree CLP to moving contacts. I inspected the stock once it was free of the gun and they look good.

After putting everything back together and being amazed at what removing 65 years of internal grime can do, I decided to go the slow route with the stock and for now follow David’s FIRST recommendation and just use “wax” on the stock. With this being the least intrusuive, it buys me time to decide.

So far just one coat of JPW, but I do see/feel an improvement in the areas where the finish is gone… the grip and the alleged “water spot”.

I say alleged because once I JPW’d the rear stock, both of the above areas looked and felt very similar, so I am suspecting that that “water spot” may actually be just physical wear and tear from long ago. Trying to wake up the +50 year memories, I do recall many, many, marathon target shooting episodes in our basement as I was growing up. We had built a “prone” rifle range of about 45-50ft (a 6-8yr old’s dream!). I can almost visualize how my elbow may have been the culprit so long ago… hmm…

Anyway, the JPW does seem to be raising the shine and smoothing the bare areas. Good enough for now, and now that the cleaning has made the action feel so new, I have a clear need to burn some powder first ;-)

I am going to save this thread for future reference. FWIW, I have used Deft Clear and BLO when finishing newly turned/cut Knobs & Totes on several hand planes so I do have that experience to draw on as well.

Thanks guys!

GRIME!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1144 posts in 2567 days


#11 posted 11-14-2013 08:11 PM

Mike, from that era, it would have been Nitocellous lacquer, I suggest clean it good with naphtha or mineral spirits and either remove or mask off the stock and some good old spray can lacquer will do the trick . Done it a time or 50 , a light scuff sand with some 600 or finer “Tween” the coats . You will be fine

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6956 posts in 1610 days


#12 posted 11-14-2013 08:23 PM

OK Charles, you have really sparked my attention,...Nitocellous lacquer?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1144 posts in 2567 days


#13 posted 11-14-2013 08:28 PM

yep thats what they had. and what is in spray cans. , not the most durable finish compared to some of todays finishes, but still works pretty well, DEft, Sherwin Williams moisture resistant lacquer are all Nitro lacquer, or if a want , send it to me . I will be happy to finish it for you , No charge , you pick up the shipping, I love finishing guns.

Edit to say .. restoring the finish, not refinish have done this for museums all over the USA and Europe .

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6956 posts in 1610 days


#14 posted 11-14-2013 08:50 PM

Wow Charles! What an offer! I am sorry, but need to turn your offer down and tackle this one myself, kind of like my initiation/pledge ceremony getting me back into my rifles after such a long sabbatical!

I also have my father’s #722 Remington .222 with a Weaver as well, but the stock is in great shape. However,, I will be needing to look at the scope as it been banged hard enough to ship one of the lenses. This one will cost more to “sight in” as the cost of the .222 ammo is nothing like the old 22LR stuff!

Thanks again for the offer, and the advise!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View madts's profile

madts

1282 posts in 1036 days


#15 posted 11-14-2013 08:51 PM

Don’t do anything. Leave it alone, if you are not using it. Unrestored things are going like crazy.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

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