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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I finally got to working on this Richard's Microfit stock I've had laying around for 2 years. After 8 hrs, I'm almost done with the initial sanding with 100grit. I have some 220 that ima go over the stock with. At what point am I supposed to start wet sanding, and what liquid do I use? (water, paint thinner?) Also for the color of the stock what should I use as finish? Pics attached for views :)



 

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I generally go over the wood til I get to 220 or 320 grit...depending on the courseness of the grain. Do this dry. After you finish with the final sanding you can moisten the stock and raise the "whiskers" Sand these smooth with 320. As far as finish that tends to be a personal choise. Is the stock solid wood or laminate? I have a Cayenne stock on order from Richards. I plan on using a Tru Oil finish with no extra coloring... any sanding I do on this finish will be a wet sand 400-600 grit paper.
 

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A luthier I know uses coffee grinds rubbed into to highlight flamed and quilted maple bodies. It gives a real 3D look to the wood grain that might look really interesting on a laminated stock like that. Definitely finish with Tru Oil. The stuff is miraculous with some super fine 0000 steel wool to finish.
 

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In my woodworking experience I'd say don't bother wet sanding wood.

On nicer pieces I progress up to 400 grit.
Sanding any finer than that is pointless on most woods and most pieces.

Save your wet sanding energy for the finish itself.

I personally think there are better finishes than oils out there. They just don't have as hard and solid a molecular composition as other finishes and they're so darn yellow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
so what would be other good recommended finish options other than tru oil as mentioned above? As seen in pics above the stock is a pretty light color to begin with. I was planning on using 100% tung for finish initially.
 

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ar11 said:
so what would be other good recommended finish options other than tru oil as mentioned above? As seen in pics above the stock is a pretty light color to begin with. I was planning on using 100% tung for finish initially.
hmm...I should ask you what you want your finish to be like first.

If you use tung oil or Tru-oil then you will get a finish with pretty good protection. It will be yellowish.

If you use polyurethane you'll get a yellowish color that isnt as yellow as tung oil and if you use an acrylic polyurethane then it will have no color. Polys tend to be slightly more protective than tung oil against scratches and stuff.

If you want to build up a nice smooth surface coat of finish as if the wood had a layer of glass over it then use laquer. many people build up thick coats of tung oil for that look but truthfully it is not durable. The only thing a thick coat of oil has going for it is it is easy to refinish. Tung oil was never meant to be a surface finish even though many in the shooting field would like to think otherwise. Tung oil never even completely hardens into a solid so a nice thick coat will look good now, but not a long time from now.

Maybe you should experiment first.
Get a piece of birch (birch is usually the outside layer of good plywood, so find a scrap piece of plywood) and apply each finish and see what you like. Many woodworkers supply stores dont mind if you try the products and return them because you dont like them.

If it was my stock, I would soak in some boiled linseed oil, wipe off excess, and let it sit for a week.
After that I'd buy a couple of cans of laquer and start adding coats. After maybe 10 coats I would wetsand with 600 grit wetdry sandpaper and water. Wipe clean, add more coats. Laquer can be hard to use in a hand applied form, but in spray cans it is very easy to get a nice even finish, just don't put on so much that it runs. It dried in only 15 minutes and after that you can apply another coat. the resulting finish will be very hard and should look great.

Edited to add:
Here is a pic of an urn I made for my girlfriend's family.
It is bird's eye maple (red maple). The color before finishing is almost as white as birch. It was sanded to 400 grit. I rubbed in one layer of wipe on poly to yellow it a tiny bit, then let that dry real well, then put on 5 coats of clear gloss laquer. I wet sanded it with 800 grit wetdry, then coated it with three more layers of the spray laquer.

I can't hotlink the pic from that server, so just copy and paste the address.
http://www.thewolfweb.com/photos/00407956.jpg

It's not the best pic, it doesn't show the finish well enough, but it will give you somewhat of an idea.
The reason I suggested not using tung oil is because many people try building up a thick finish with tung oil. That is very labor intensive. The oil sags as it's drying. After each coat you have to sand or steel wool it to make it smooth, then when you're done you have to steel wool it again and buff it to make it shine. With laquer you get a harder surface and all you do is spray it on and wetsand only once. The stuff dries quick so its even easier to build it up thick.
 

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Hi ar11,

The shot of the pistol grip show quite a bit of cross hatch which indicates that that part of the stock was not final sanded with the grain of the wood. If you are hand sanding you will need to go down to about 320 to make sure all your sanding scratches are taken out.

Do not wet sand the raw wood. The dye in the laminates is a water based dye and will bleed over into your natural layers. I found this out when I first started and tried to wet sand a raw wood red/blue/natural. I ended up with a funky lavender! Purple is one thing but lavender is something else all together! :D

As to your finish. If this is your first stock to do I highly recommend Tru-oil or one of the other rub on oil systems. Take your time (after the stock is sanded correctly) and keep rubbing. You will be amazed at the finish you can get using this process. Final step is either rotten stone for a shiny finish or pumice stone for a satin. Use mineral oil for either the rotton or pumice stone for lubrication.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thx guys for the advice so far. mike, yesterday I did notice that my sanding job is far from complete There are so many **** sanding scratches and it seems like they are the toughest to get out. :( Especially cuz of the contours of the wildcat stock around the thumbhole/grip/cheek area. If I had to guess, I've probably put 12+ hrs of sanding into this stock already. Well I guess its my first stock, but still its a lot of time, with a lot of time ahead of me...
 

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The dovetails were handcut.

I've finished other things with undercoats of different things and topcoats of laquer and they haven't shown that bloom after exposure to water.

A better finish if water impermeability is a concern is Waterlox. It's a poly blend and does very well as a surface finish.
 

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Ar11

Sounds like you got some good tips here. One thing that I like to do is wipe the wood down with Naptha or Mineral Spirits when I get to about 180 grit in the sanding process. This wiping will help highlight any scratches or dents that may not be easy to spot. I will do this a few times until I get everything that I see taken care of. Don't use water to wet down the wood though, or you will need to knock back the fuzzy whiskers from the raised grain.

Any oil/varnish blend finish such as Tru-oil or Lin-speed do a good job and are available pretty easily and small enough sizes that you aren't buying too much. Both of these contain Linseed oil for the oil portion. Seal-a-cell clear and Arm-a-seal are very good products that I have used also, but come in bigger packaging. You aren't going to get a drastically different finish between the different blended finishes. I personally prefer these blended finishes over a 100% pure oil product. Linseed oil based blends will come out a little darker versus Tung blends, but as a personal preference I like it the darker color on light woods. You shouldn't need any topcoat after using the blended finish, but you can always use a oil based rubbing poly or gel varnish.

Rubbing out the finish at the end of the process is also good. Use Paraffin (white mineral) oil with 2F and 4F pumice, followed by rottenstone. Felt pads work good for application.

Since you are doing a laminate stock, I won't get into pore filling since the laminate will work well without that hassle. I also do not recommend wet sanding the raw wood on the colored laminates and not only because of the bleed possibility. The colored dust will lodge into the small grains and muddy the look and is easier to remove when dry.

If you are wanting the finish as clear as possible, and little to no yellowing, then you will need to look at the acrylics and other finishes that are basically clear.

You may want to practice on a bit of scrap wood similar in color first to get the feel for it and to see how you like the color.
 

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some info from an antique phonograph site http://www.antiquephono.com/instruct.htm

PUMICE STONE AND ROTTEN STONE are polishing materials. Rottenstone is one of the finest abrasives used in the refinishing of wood. It is used primarily in powder form to polish a varnished or lacquered surface after coarse rubbing with pumice.

To Use: Dip dampened felt block in powder and rub. Begin with various pumice grades and final polish with rotten stone to obtain desired luster. Be sure to remove all powder grit before final wax coat, if used. The use of rubbing oil to dampen cloth will produce a more dull-satin finish than if water is used.
 

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sanding

I'm going to chime in with MKnarr on the progression of sand paper. I've made hand made smoking pipes from briar and discovered that if you go to too fine a grit too soon, you polish defects instead of removing them for a smooth surface. The progression that I used on my stock was 60-100-150. Most of the shape and contour of the surface is done with the 60 and the subsequent grades are to remove the sanding marks of the preceding grades. It is quite frustrating to try to attempt too much with too fine a grade of paper. I'm at a stage right now about one step beyond you but am probably going back to 100 to smooth a couple of details. My stock is a Fajen and not as nicely done as yours (no pistol grip butt cap for instance). I also agree about no stain. I put a water base orange-ish stain on mine and it came out quite dark. I don't know how that is going to look after I go back with the 100 grit. Ah well,live and learn
Regards, Aitch Dog
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
alright thx for the additional tips on sanding. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to hit those scratches with a finer grit or not. I just got back from HD and bought some 320 and 400 for the later steps, and a rasp for removing some wood I have in a problem area. (wish i had that rasp way before..)
 
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