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Wood finish question

885 Views 14 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  noremf
I have a Hoo1T and want to get a glossier look to the stock. I used some ScratchX polish with decent results but want to get it even glossier. I know I can with a clear gloss paint but I don't know which would be best, acrylic or enamel. I guess acrylic would be less likely to attack the finish. Just wondering if anyone else has top coated their stock.
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Henry wood finish

It is toner poly. One of only a very few mass produced commercial stocks that using poly. It is a fairly thin coating and "polishing" it out to try and make it something it is not could reduce areas to such a thin coating that from a practical standpoint would offer little or no protection to the wood and allow contaminants like the synthetic "citrus oils" etc in formulations like Howard's Feed and Wax, to enter the wood and then you would have a much more difficult task to refinish. The factory topcoat is not robust.

I would not advise putting any topcoat over the factory finish as it will probably not "stick". If you want a different finish I would say IMO and IME that you need to take off the factory finish and start from scratch.

I would also not advise using Howard's F&W because of the "Citrus Oil" in it or any other that advertise lemon oil or orange oil etc. They are synthetic "oils" made from Mineral Oil/Kerosene/Turpentine and a fragrance and those "chemicals" can and have really screwed up a finish OVER TIME and are not recommended or used by fine woodworkers. Fine being the definition of the wood, not necessarily the woodworker.

If you are not gonna refinish completely then a good paste wax will help some but you still will not get you the depth you might want. Will make it look "shinier" but not deeper.

noremf(George)
 

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Finish

Henry uses a satin polyurethane to finish their stocks... You would have to strip and refinish it completely... Some have used a buffer and Scratch-X followed by a paste wax... Howards, I think... Very glossy result... :bthumb:
 

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If you want the "cast in plastic" look then you'll need to strip away the old finish and re-do it from scratch. That means stain then multiple coats of gloss varnish then allow to fully age and dry then wet sand with 1200 and 2000 grit paper and finally buff to a glossy finish with a buffer and suitable compounds and finally wax it with automotive wax.
 

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As has been stated, if Henry uses a "satin polyurethane" finish on it (polyurethane varnish) do they apply anything on top of it? Such as wax. etc. If not, then why should you have to strip it and start from scratch? In applying polyurethane finishes, more than one coat is often applied. If the OP is looking for the "gloss" finish, he should be able to lightly steel wool the existing finish and apply the "gloss polyurethane" on top of it. Steel wool does have oil in it so after steel wooing the finish, it should be wiped down with a solvent such as paint thinner to throughly clean the stock, remove any of the oils left on it from the steel wool as well as any minute steel wool particles.

As a former cabinet shop/custom millwork shop owner, I primarily used spray lacquers. On certain items, polyurethane finishes were used. In spraying lacquers, each coat was rubbed out and another coat applied. I often built up coats of satin lacquer and would then top coat (several coats) of gloss lacquer if the customer desired that look. In reverse, if the stock had a "gloss" finish, it would have to be rubbed out - steel wool or extremely fine abrasive paper - 400 or higher grit - in order to remove the glossy finish so a satin finish would adhere to it.

Unless I'm missing something here, I can't for the life of me figure out why you'd have to remove all of the existing finish and start from scratch - unless the poly finish has been top coated with another product? You wouldn't want to just apply the gloss finish over the existing stock without rubbing it out and wiping with a solvent to remove, but to have to strip the stock completely just doesn't make sense.

If you were going to want to finish the stock with something other than polyurethane, then yes, you'd have to strip it completely. This would apply to any type of "oil finish" that you'd want to use. If you wanted to stain the stock a different shade, you would also have to strip it in order for the wood to absorb the stain.

If uyou doubt that you can apply the gloss over the satin after it's been steel wooled or sanded lightly with a fine grit paper, take a scap of wood and pick up a small can of satin polyurethane and a small can of gloss urethane. Apply the satin to the wood - give it several coats and rub out between coats. After the last coat of the satin, rub it out and then apply the gloss polyurethane finish. This simple test will let you know what to expect.
 

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You'd be surprised at how the satin texture still comes through and produces a foggy like finish. Also as much as I like my Henry it's pretty obvious to me that they use a tinted poly for the finish to give it that even brown color. Again this hides the wood itself to some extent and will produce a less than "mile deep" look to any glossy product applied over the existing finish.
 

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Good points BCRider - I didn't give thoughts to the fact that whoever makes and finishes the stocks may be using "toner" as well in the finish. No two pieces of wood take stain for finish the same. In the cabinet industry, "toners" are used to even the colors on the cabinets so they match - red oak, which is commonly used, is not friendly as far as two different pieces from different trees taking the stain the same. Therefor, toner is used to "make all pieces equal" in color shade. Walnut, while different, is not that much different. Each piece of walnut will have a different "density" - a good comparison would be a nice piece of straight grained walnut versus one with a "burl" or area in it from a nearby "knot". Both would not only take stain differently but a sealer coat as well whether it be lacquer, oil varnish or polyurethane varnish, etc.

Thanks again BC for bringing up those points - on which I'll rethink what I said before. If a "toner" urethane is used, applying more over it would certainly "cloud the issue" so to speak. That being the case, it would perhaps be better to strip the entire stocks down and start over. If the butt and forearm did not seem to match closely after stripping, then I'd use a penetrating transparent stain of some type to make the "tone" (shade) of the butt and forearm match and then apply the type of top coat that was desired.

Personally, I don't like "gloss" finishes - I prefer a more "satin" finish. I think it is much easier to maintain and much easier to "doctor" scratches, etc. that happen to us all no matter how careful we are.

If the OP does strip his wood down and re-do it in a "gloss" - I hope he'll post some photos of it. Even an old geezer like me can change his ways and a gloss finish may give a Henry a whole different look. Let's face it - the Henrys are a beautiful rifle just the way they are as they come from the factory but they are also a rifle that can be easily "personalized" by refinishing, re-doing the receiver finish, etc. The name of the game is to have fun and if a guy likes to tinker, he can certainly make his rifle "personal". Good luck! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, if the original finish is a poly, then I see no reason not to just apply gloss coat of poly on top of that. There is no way I am going to strip the finish off the wood as that is just too much effort and nasty, caustic chemicals. I can always test whatever spray coating I get on another stock to be sure it doesn't attack the finish of this stock. I have several that Henry sent me when I was try to get some fancy wood.
 

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Since you are gonna "play" anyways

Well, if the original finish is a poly, then I see no reason not to just apply gloss coat of poly on top of that. There is no way I am going to strip the finish off the wood as that is just too much effort and nasty, caustic chemicals. I can always test whatever spray coating I get on another stock to be sure it doesn't attack the finish of this stock. I have several that Henry sent me when I was try to get some fancy wood.
If you have a heat gun and a couple of spare stock pieces you might want to try taking off the poly with the heat gun on one of the spares you ain't gonna use anyway. Using low heat, heat up a small area until you see it blister then scrape it off with a plastic putty knife. Don't get the knife next to the heat source cause it will melt. DO NOT IMO AND IME USE A PROPANE TORCH unless you gots lots of experience with em. Burns wood before you even notice.

BEFORE you start, regardless of what you do, wipe down the wood with Mineral Spirits and let that dry overnight to make sure you have any waxes or lanolin from you hands etc. off. Don't want that stuff on there before you add another layer of the topcoat.

Often, but not always, the poly will simply come right off and you don't have to use any strippers, don't have to sand it and it won't change the color of the wood underneath so unless you want to, you don't have to add color.

Since you are gonna play with it anyway, and extra 15 minutes, if'n you got a heat gun is worth the effort IMO.

I have done this a bunch of times on furniture as a few stocks cause like you, I am not a big stripper/sander/coloring fan unless there is no other way.

If you are just gonna add another poly topcoat then you can use Synthetic Steel Wool, not the metal stuff, and make sure you rough up every square inch and have at it. Don't think you will have any bonding problems if you get it all "scratched" up. The metal stuff can often leave really small metal "threads" in the finish which show up like black pores when you add another topcoat. Not always but why take the chance when there is a better way.

Not talking about Brillo Pads or anything like that. The synthetic stuff is inexpensive, comes in a variety of grit and looks like this.

http://www.thebestthings.com/newtools/norton_synthetic_steel_wool.htm

Other brands like 3M etc. Sold at box stores like Home Depot or Lowe's. Thinner pads are better cause you can conform to the countours. Useful around the house after you get done with your stock.

noremf(George)
 

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I have several that Henry sent me when I was try to get some fancy wood.
Can you elaborate? How many did you end up with and what were they charging? I am thinking about a fancy stock set for my GB, but have not asked Henry how they pick one out(do they send pic's first) and what the cost might be.

Also, if you have several stocks, show some pic's please:bthumb:
 
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