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  #1  
Old 06-11-2021, 03:30 PM
hydrojohn

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Grip Finish on Medalist International I



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I would like to know what finish was used on the Browning/FN International I pistol. Pretty sure nothing has been done to these grips since it left the factory in 1970. It does not really look like an oil finish as it is pretty shiny. I am guessing probably a lacquer finish. I would like to clean and then maybe put a top coat on.
No plans to do any sanding. There is a tiny chip which has exposed unfinished wood that maybe could be addressed. What should I be using to clean and then wipe down the grips to address the chip and bring back the shine. Thanks to any and all who reply.
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Old 06-12-2021, 01:11 PM
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I'm not sure what is on them from the factory, but I'd guess it's lacquer. You could probably top coat it, but unless the finish is really smooth in pretty good condition, it may look like it's been top coated if you don't sand and prep it.

I found that the factory Medalist/International Medalist grip finish was removed pretty easily with gelled/paste Methylene Chloride (hard to get nowadays). If the factory finish is lacquer, lacquer thinner would probably remove it as well.

If your gun is pretty nice otherwise, I suggest you consider stripping and replacing the finish. It's relatively easy to do, and it'll result in a great-looking grip. Here's a left-hand grip that I bought used to swap onto one of my International Medalists for my left-handed son (shown here with a 4.5" Challenger barrel on it). I stripped it and refinished with Tru-Oil. The gun is just a shooter, so I only sanded it down once to level the pores after applying some coats of finish, then put some final coats on it. If I wanted a deeper finish like I've done on some rifles and shotguns, I'd repeat the process at least once more.


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Old 06-12-2021, 01:48 PM
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To stain the chip without color use a Sharpie, always start with a much lighter color than the plastic top shows, then go darker if needed. For the shine to match use Birchwood-Casey "Tru-Oil" Be sure to apply with finger a very light cote the wipe off lightly with paper towel. Do this morning and night for a couple of days. It will be perfect. note if you goop the Tru-oil on heavy to save time it will take much longer than the two days to dry and it will not be smooth. If you really want it slick you can use some 3000 grit sand paper or better yet is Brownell's 5F stock rubbing compound applied with a piece of thick felt and rubbing it for the shine. Note Mid-Wax stain or other stains tend to remelt when applying the Tru-Oil and makes a mess. Hope this helps and if not clear private message me a phone number and I will call. Mark
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:03 AM
hydrojohn

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Thanks for the detailed reply. Still not sure I want to strip the finish, but I might try the sharpie to touch up the chip. I have some boiled linseed oil. Do you think that would work like tru-oil?
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrojohn View Post
I have some boiled linseed oil. Do you think that would work like tru-oil?
No, it won't leave a finish like Tru-Oil or the original Medalist finish. BLO doesn't cure to a varnish-like finish. Tru-Oil is a type of wiping varnish (despite the name), BLO is a oil and does leave a nice finish once completed, but it's quite different than a varnish type finish.

Here's an original finish (with some wear from use) on the center gun and Tru-Oil finish on the right. The smooth areas of the wood would be an apples-to-apples comparison to the original finish on the center gun. Ignore the dark area of the checkering and the other strange shapes of the grip on the right. Someone (in Europe) had pretty seriously "customized" the shape of this grip and it was pretty ratty when I got it. I straightened it up a bit, stripped it and refinished with Tru-Oil. As messed up as it looks, it actually fits my hand well. I have other grips for the gun but tend to keep this one on it.

The gun on the left has a Challenger grip.


Last edited by I6turbo; 06-13-2021 at 10:05 AM.
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  #6  
Old 06-13-2021, 09:48 AM
Camster

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Most likely a poly finish. I can well understand your desire to address an issue, but you're opening a can of worms.
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