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  #1  
Old 03-13-2010, 04:04 PM
woodstock63
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Woodstocks Amazin' Stock Finish & photos



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Ok, grab a cup of coffee and sit back. The top three photos are of my Winchester 72A which had a really good finish when I picked it up, for $200, but age was hiding the beauty of the grain. The other was for a customer.

Brief History:
I've used this process for four years now on Walnut and laminated stocks. This accounts for about six stocks per year. I've been doing them for our local gunsmith, who is a very discriminating individual. I do his own personal guns as well as his customers. There has never been a single problem with any of these, no matter the weather.

Benefits
No worries regarding humidity/drying time; runs, drips, errors or overlaps that a traditional Tru-Oil only finish can leave requiring sanding out, the end result is a finish smooth as a baby's bottom.

Step One; Preparation
Strip old stock, use a wet cloth over dents and use the tip of a steam iron, which swells the area around the dent and lifts out just about all except the deepest. Be aware that any sharp edged dents will probably require deeper sanding below the dent and then blend into the surrounding area. I use 220 grit sandpaper (always with the grain), primarily to avoid leaving deeper sanding marks and scratches. I constantly will backlight the stock turning it to view along the wood for any imperfections. When the desired smoothed finish shape is there, I go to 400 grit, then 800 grit.

Now de-whisker. With a wet cloth wipe down the entire stock and let dry. This raises small fibers or "splinters" which I now lightly sand off with 800 grit. Now lightly rub the stock down with 0000x steel wool.

Step Two; GO NO FURTHER!
This is important; check your work, use the light source. It is what it is, don't scrimp on your quality now and be satisfied with your prep results. The next part is the easiest.

Step Three; The Magic Elixir
Here's what you've waited for..,the formula!

I use Birchwood-Casey Tru-Oil and ArmorAll. Other brands of tire shine will also work, but I usually have enough ArmorAll around. I do not use grain filler or stain unless the stock really begs for it.

Spray on a coat of ArmorAll, rub it over the entire stock and wipe off the excess. Now rub a couple of fingers worth of Tru-Oil over the ArmorAll in all directions, but initially across the grain to fill the pores. (Doing sections at a time intially is best because you can see where you've been.) Once some coats have been built up, you can do one full side of the stock at a time. Rub briskly with palm and finger tips until the surface loses its tack and feels like glass. This may take 5-10 minutes but subsequent coats will go even faster. The first coats will appear dull, but subsequent coats will start to gloss up .
( EDITED:Added note thanks to Tom Beck suggestion- Every single coat uses ArmorAll and TruOil combination)
I will put on as many coats as required to give the perfect flat surface finish. Don't rush the coats or thickness application or you'll be rubbing longer.

As I continue once the sheen has been built up, I often lightly buff with 0000x steel wool. This gives a bit of bite for additional coats.

I can put two or three dozen coats on in a day and typically finish a stock in the same day and use it immediately. When I'm satisfied with the final coats I will often put a good furniture polish on a small piece of 0000x steel wool and gently rub it on in the direction of the grain, buff it off and add pure wax and buff again.

For a flatter sheen, the last step is a light 0000x steel wool buff without wax, your choice.

Why does this work?
I believe that there is a chemical reaction or catalyst occuring between the ArmorAll and the Tru-Oil that is much the same as a two-part epoxy that strengthens, hardens and gives such a rapid working/drying time. Don't panic; the process starts working only when you start rubbing the mix together and in.

I know this was long winded, but I hope it gives you greater satisfaction in a much shorter amount of time. Repairing small nicks later on is a snap, steam and/or sand the area, apply your "elixir" and it'll blend right in. Thanks for your patience and please feel free to ask about anything you feel I may have skipped over. Start with a beater stock if you have doubts, but don't
have any fear, this works like a charm.

I look forward to hearing from you after you give this a try and also please submit pictures/comments of your results.

If you don't like your results, I'll refund your money...,oh wait a minute, you didn't pay for this tutorial.

Last edited by woodstock63; 07-07-2012 at 03:35 PM. Reason: Helpful added note thanks to Tom Beck
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:34 PM
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Wow... can't argue with those nice results. Thanks for the info and details.

How does it do on beech? I'm wondering if the ArmorAll darkens up the beech at all, or if the result is very blonde?

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Old 03-13-2010, 04:36 PM
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The results look awesome. I have never heard of this before. I learn something new everyday.
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:38 PM
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Related to my first post about this process, there was someone who questioned the use of ArmorAll ;so I did a web search and found this quote from "The Highroad".

"Armor All (yes, the kind you use on tires and your dashboard) will cause Tru oil to harden almost immediately and bond to the coat beneath it. I would spray into my hand and rub the whole stock down with just the film on my hands. It does, however, dull the finish just slightly so don't do this for final finsh. It helped for the wiping on/off phase to get the nice translucence."

I don't have a problem with sheen I guess because I put Tru-Oil over the ArmorAll.

I discovered this for myself when I had a full Tru-Oil finished stock that I'd put ArmorAll on as a protectant and then went back and touched up a spot with Tru-Oil over it and had a happy accident.

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Old 03-13-2010, 04:41 PM
woodstock63
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I'll tell you what guys, I'll let some more questions come in and then will respond to all of your questions in a single response if that's alright., I promise.

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Old 03-13-2010, 04:53 PM
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Do you only apply the ArmorAll once, or between every coat of Tru Oil?? You only state it being used first, and never again. Just wondering how the following applications of Tru Oil will harden with this if its not used every time you apply the Tru Oil.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:27 PM
woodstock63
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Some answers.


"Do you only apply the ArmorAll once, or between every coat of Tru Oil?? You only state it being used first, and never again. Just wondering how the following applications of Tru Oil will harden with this if its not used every time you apply the Tru Oil."

Sorry, my bad! Yes, ArmorAll between every coat.


"Wow... can't argue with those nice results. Thanks for the info and details.
How does it do on beech? I'm wondering if the ArmorAll darkens up the beech at all, or if the result is very blonde?"


Ohhh man, I'm not too fond of finishing Beech but I have. No, it won't darken it much. If you need to darken Beech, I've used Analine Dye which is a powder that you mix with Wood Alcohol and water .Follow the mix directions on the Analine (a true dye that comes in different dye colors)very carefully, but it's easy. It's typically available from a good wood workers supply house, maybe even Brownell's. Then the elixir once that's dried good.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:29 PM
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I am going to have to try this. Your results speak for themselves. I have a stock that has been finished with Tru-Oil already, can I put Armorall over this and continue with your process?
Thanks for the tutorial. Looking forward to seeing more results.


Mals

Edit: Got my answer above.

Last edited by mals9; 03-13-2010 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:56 PM
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Both of those rifles look great! Especially the finish on your 72. I personally like a non-gloss finish on a good rifle, and yours is perfect, IMHO.

Your 72 has got some real nice woodgrain, too. Very nicely done! I may have to try that on the model 69A. It's a hunting rifle already, not a collectors piece.....so refinishing it won't hurt a thing.

Thanks woodstock, for sharing this.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:26 PM
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Very excellent results! This just gave me the motivation to find something and give a try. I've only gone the True Oil only route and had good results - but this just begs to be tried.
Thank you for sharing!
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:21 PM
Don Fenton
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woodstock63,
Wow, I like your stock work.
This sounds just what I've been looking for, I've got a Marlin laminated stock that I want to refinish, can't wait to try your "elixir".
Thanks for you advice and tutorial.

Don
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:49 PM
woodstock63
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To all thus far, thanks for all the kind comments.

I'm glad to have been able to provide this info to such a wide audience ...,and a dedicated one.

I'll keep monitoring this thread in order to answer any questions that may come up...., at least until its "shelf life" is up.

I've tried to submit this method at least twice to the "Tips and Techniques" category but it has never popped up.

Does anyone know if this category is now defunct? The last post was in 2005.

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Old 03-13-2010, 09:39 PM
woodstock63
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"Zoned" was gracious enough to research the compatibility of Tru-Oil and ArmorAll and he states:

"I looked up the MSDS info for Armor All and it's Dioctyl adipate [a plasticizer] and Polydimethylsiloxanes [silicon]. As far as I know, Tru-Oil is a synthesized oil which hardens like a varnish. Both products probably "set up" in a similar manner and it appears the blend is an agreeable handshake."

Thanks Zoned!

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Old 03-13-2010, 10:23 PM
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Woodstock, what have you found to be the best finish stripper and maybe some tips? Thanks for this post.
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  #15  
Old 03-14-2010, 12:55 AM
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Woody old man: Thanks for your efforts. That Winchester is truly amazing! I am trying to work up enough nerve to refinish my 77-22 stock, and you have added to the impetus. Live long, and prosper!
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