refinishing a shotgun stock

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Forum topic by stratiA posted 03-05-2009 08:16 AM 2451 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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101 posts in 3573 days

03-05-2009 08:16 AM

hi everyone, I have an older remington model 58 semi auto shotgun made between 1958 and 1962? Its just a shooter but it is magic in the field. The stock is fairly plain with some checkering on the grip and on the forearm. I am not sure if it is stained but it has an almost orange red hue. The finish is pretty worn and cracked. The problem is when it gets wet. The finish turns an opague color, especially around the crackled areas. whats worse is moisture is getting in and swelling the wood. It rains alot during hunting season. I was hoping to strip the finish, possibly stain or probably dye stain the wood to a darker hue and apply a tougher finish to hold up to the New England weather. Finally the questions. What is the stock species? Most gunstock are walnut. I’m not so sure about this one. What is the likely existing finish, and how do I remove it. How do I remove the finish around the checkering without damaging it. What would be the best finish to use. I am leaning towards Arm a seal from General finishes. With several coats. I find it pretty durable and easy to use. But am better served using a poly or even a spar urethane. Any special techniques I should be aware of. I hunt in snow and rain but not used while duck hunting. Meaning it will get wet but not in overly moist conditions.
I am a relative new comer to LJ and any advice is appreciated

-- Strati Alepidis, Burlington, Ma, Member Red Sox nation

3 replies so far

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 4072 days

#1 posted 03-05-2009 08:41 AM

I don’t know what species of wood is in your stock, but I have a Remington model 1100 auto. I believe it too has walnut stocks, but am not certain. I use it all year long for hunting everything from dove to turkey and everything in between. Mine too, had cracking finish. I stripped the finish off, sanded well down to 180 grit, then used poly, sanding between coats. It has been several seasons, and is holding up very well.

BTW, welcome to Lumberjocks!

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4188 days

#2 posted 03-05-2009 10:28 AM

I have a muzzle-loader that I finished in 4 coats of satin polyurethane. I used poly because it takes a real beating and yet scratches can be steel-wooled and refinished very easily. It’s over 20 years old and I haven’t had to even touch it up yet! And there are no issues with water.

My newest project (definitely will blog this here) is a Savage model 340C rifle that was salvaged from a neighbors old barn. It has a black walnut stock and was covered with peeling, flaky shellac. I used my card scraper set to “sand” it down (scrapers work very well!) and am now in the process of doing a silver colored inlay. I will then stain this stock a dark color and top with several coats of gloss poly. It will be a gift to my grandson and since he’s only 7 at this time, that gives me several years to finish it!

I Googled the model 58 and find a wealth of info, (it’s the predecessor to the model 1100) but find no reference to the stock wood type. Resale value is $130-$150.00 so you’re not going to ruin that. The photos given are small but it appears to be walnut. I’d get a set of card scrapers and go to it. Maybe it has some interesting grain pattern you can augment with stain. Maybe do a little inlay for yourself?

So I would suggest a oil based poly over an oil based stain.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View mart's profile


190 posts in 3822 days

#3 posted 03-05-2009 11:13 AM

The model 58 was stocked in walnut and should finish nicely. Be sure to thoroughly strip the old finish which was a commercial varnish that had a tendency to turn milky when exposed to moisture. I would sand to a 320-400 grit (being careful not to sand the points off the checkering) after you have the finish off and apply several coats of a satin poly. Checkering can be cleaned up with a stiff toothbrush and a little paint stripper. Stain may enhance any figure found in the wood but most 58’s had fairly utilitarian pieces of walnut. They were a good gun but seldom stocked in anything other than straight grained walnut. Good luck, I am sure you will be much happier with the satin poly for the conditions you hunt in.


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