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Laminate Refinishing

559 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Mathieu18
Is dry sanding and wipe on poly still the way to go? Been searching and reading but A) a lot of posts are years old and B) a lot want to change colors etc.

I just want to bring some shine and depth back to the stock. It’s a black and grey and is generally in fine shape, just want it to have a good sheen.

Thanks for any advice.
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
From my reading, basically, two types of wood finishes exist: penetrating (oils and stains) and non-penetrating (sits on top of the wood—paint). I prefer the penetrating finish, because it becomes part of the wood, not just a layer.

I have refinished 6 or so Russian M91/30 and German K98 laminated stocks, which were in horrible condition: huge dents, scrapes, dirt covered: scrap wood. The cost was minimal, and I bought them to practice refinishing. The wood was very good, once I got down to it. I do NOT know if modern laminated wood will delaminate with modern thinners (mineral spirits).
The following is only my results.

Any stain, including clear, darkens the wood. I have no idea how that works. Clear should be clear, but it makes the wood darker. Go figure.

I have tried various wood finishes. The one I like the best is 100% tung oil, not a commercial product calling itself tung oil finish, because those products contain only 10% tung oil, if that much. I dilute 100% tung oil with mineral spirits in 1 part 100% tung oil to 3 parts mineral spirits. I have found this mixture to do well for the above stocks, as well as for Swiss K31 and 1903 stocks. 100% tung oil is thick and will not penetrate deeply without dilution. I use mineral spirits to penetrate the wood, taking the tung oil with it. As the mineral spirits dry, which takes a long time, more tung oil is drawn into the wood. I do not apply more than the wood can absorb, and I wipe off any excess. When the wood stops absorbing it, you stop applying it. Once dry (give it a week in the summer—two months in the winter—and besides, you don’t want your house smelling like mineral spirits or tung oil, plus you don’t want the associated fire hazard). Dried tung oil leaves a hard penetrating finish, the same texture as the prepared wood, but it darkens the wood. Way, way back, the Chinese used tung oil for waterproofing on their ships.

I do not know how to make shiny wood finishes: I leave that to the experts. If you want a shiny finish messed up, I am your man.

You may wish getting scrap wood to practice which finish you like better. This may sound nutty: I have found that some pallets are made with hard wood, and can be had for the asking. Refinish a few planks of that wood to perfect your methods, and to get to know which finishes you like. The cost is minimal, and it beats messing up a good stock.

Also, do all wood finishing prior to bedding the stock: I learned this the hard way.
I used real Tung Oil from Real Milk Paint for 22/45 scales, I generally agree with the preference and they came out great, natural live oak, no stain.

That said, from reading about these colored laminate stocks, between the glue and coloring and pressure used, at least it’s claimed they don’t really have grain to absorb the tun oil before it polymerizes. Happy to be wrong?
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