removal of the "STAIN" from an old gun stock

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by wpshooter, May 10, 2011.

  1. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

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    How do you get the existing wood "STAIN" (not the varnish or lacquer) out/off of an old gun stock ?

    Is there a way of doing this other than just using sandpaper and/or steel wool ?

    I have used chemical stripper on the stock several times and all of the varnish, etc. is gone but it does not take the old wood STAIN/coloring off of the stock.

    The stripper that I am using says something about not using water on the wood but someone else told me that I needed to wash the stock with water and soap in order to get to actual old stain out of the wood. Are they correct ?

    Thanks.
    Last edited: May 10, 2011
  2. goofy

    goofy Well-Known Member

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    Hi wpshooter If the stain is years of oil and gun cleaner working it's way into the grain of the wood It's almost imposable to get it out. If it is soaked deep into the grain then too much wood will have to be sanded off to take it out with out leaving a dent in the stock. But if it is on the surfice then a lite sanding should take it out.It has been my experence that if stains are deep and you want to use the same stock then stain the wood intill it matches but sometimes if it is oil that caused the stain then it might not take the new finish.But i will be watching this post to see others ansers someone (i am sure) here have very good witches brews and more experence then me so we both could learn something new that can help us in the days to come............GOOFY:) Did you try mineral spirits?
    Last edited: May 10, 2011
  3. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

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    I think that perhaps you misunderstand my question.

    When I say "STAIN", I am not talking about "A" stain on the stock but THE stain that is on the stock (covering the entire surface of the stock) that was put on there either when the gun/stock were manufactured or perhaps by someone else that may have refinished the stock previously.

    But even at that, is it possible that like you said, that the stain on the stock is so deep into the grain of the wood that you would have to sand quite deeply into the wood in order to get to virgin wood ??? If this IS the case, should I consider just putting an additional coat of stain on the stock over the existing stain, then put on Tru-Oil, followed by Sheen & Conditioner ?

    Thanks.
  4. Sarge756

    Sarge756 New Member

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    I think I understand your question.Don`t be afraid to wash the wood after stripping.I use the degreaser found at most automotive supply outlets.At Auto Zone it is called Purple Stuff.This is a pretty strong Alkali cleaner so use rubber gloves.It will remove the stain and the residue from the stripper you used.I scrub with a stiff brush and those plastic scouring pads that collect in the kitchen sink..Be careful on the edges as the wood will be softened and you can round them off.Rinse in hot water and soap it down with Dawn and scrub with the brush again.This will get rid of the alkali residue.Rinse again well in hot water.Towel it dry and set aside to dry completely.Put it in the sun or use a hair dryer to speed it up.This should take care of any stain in the wood.You mentioned Truoil so I thought I might give you an alternative.

    I have done many stocks through the years and like most old guys started out with linseed oil and then every concoction that came on the market searching for the perfect finish. Along the way I discovered a product named "Waterlox".The original sealer is the only one I use. Awhile back this subject came up on thegreatmodel8.com and I posted the following about Waterlox:
    For finish I sand in, beginning with 220 or 320 wetdry paper about 2inches square on a backing block like thick leather with a 50/50 mixture of "Waterlox" and mineral spirits. Waterlox original sealer and finish is the one you want available at Woodcrafters and online about $30 a quart. Sand with grain a small area at a time using generous amounts of the mixture.For first two passes (About a half hour or so on a buttstock use the same grit.Allow to dry between passes.For the third and fourth go to 400 and use straight Waterlox.The dough(sanding residue will have filled the grain and any damage you couldn`t steam away. For the first two or three passes don`t worry about wiping the residue off.As the wood becomes filled about the fourth pass you can wipe it down with fresh Waterlox but be sure to wipe it off before it gets tacky.If you want real shiny go to 600 or 800 grit.You can also do a finger dunk of Truoil cut 50/50 with mineral spirits and wiped off with a paper towel before it gets tacky for ultra shiny. For satin, rub it out lightly with fine steel wool and wax with a good paste wax like Johnsons.
    Advantages are it gives a real handrubbed finish like Linseed oil or tung but drys much faster. Waterlox is tung oil,linseed oil,gum esters and phenolic dryers .They`ve been around since 1910 so must know what they are doing. I`ve found it gives a very durable weather resitant finish that is easy to repair when a ding occurs.
    For stains to blend in a light area that you mentioned I use the powdered water soluable stains (available at Woodcrafters)and mix them with alchohol.You can apply the stain after the second or third pass with the finish and it will penetrate through the finish.A light touch with the 400 wet dry and Waterlox after the stain drys well and you can blend it in.
    In that search for the perfect finish this method had a few things that appealed to me .First , you start with a stripped clean stock and after steaming dents,oil stain removal etc. you do no dry sanding and you don`t go anywhere near it with steel wool (I hate leaving bits of steel embedded to shine like stars after the finish is done). Second, you don`t whisker for there is no need for it. Refer above that the mixture of the waterlox and sanding residue fills the grain. Third, the drying time doesn`t require 24 hours hang time.I use the sun to speed things up .I can usually do a complete stock in one day or two at the most.
  5. goofy

    goofy Well-Known Member

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    Sory wpshooter I did misunderstand what i read but i was right that one of the pro's would know what to do.I litely sand with 600 to 800 grit to remove old stain I have not found one YET that this did not take off the old stain but i have only done guns that are not that old 1950 and above and only 200 or so. sarge756 sounds like he has done ALOT more.I dont know if older guns stain are more deep in the grain the ones i have done have a surfice stain that is not that deep and comes off easely with light sanding.I use tru-oil to finish then stock sheen and wax(a good carauba wax) to give it a hard finish.sory for not reading your post more carefull:eek:.............GOOFY
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  6. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

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    Sarge:

    I purchased a bottle of the Purple Stuff from Auto Zone.

    I then reapplied the stripper again, let it set for about 30 minutes.
    Then I took the stripper off by spraying it down with the Purple Stuff and brush.
    Then washed the Purple Stuff off with just plain water and brush.

    I then dried with paper towels.

    After getting it dry, it is now a good bit lighter in color (but I was really worried there for a minute because until it dried, it was much darker than it was before.

    So, should I now repeat the entire, stripper, Purple Stuff, wash down process or should I just continue to spray it with the Purple Stuff and wash and dry until it gets about as light as it looks like that it might get and then start sanding it or should I just let it dry for now and then start the sanding process without doing any further treatment with Purple Stuff and wash down ?

    Thanks for your assistance.
  7. Sarge756

    Sarge756 New Member

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    Sorry I didn`t mention that when wet the Cleaner being alkali will darken the wood a bit.I wouldn`t think you need any more stripper if all the old finish is gone. Don`t forget give it a good bath with Dawn to remove any alkali residue.Use the hottest water you can stand. The hot water will also raise any shallow dents if present.Think you have found that as the wood drys it will lighten up. You didn`t mention anything other than old gun stock.What gun is it ? Is it checkered and what color was the stain.? I assume you are working on Walnut?
  8. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

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    It is an old Remington model 514 - 22 caliber bot action that I am going to pass on down as a starter rifle to one of my great nephews.

    It did not have checkering on it but believe it or not, I do have another one that has actual Remington checkering on the forearm (Remington told me that there are only a few of these that had the checkering put on the 514's by them by customer special request).

    I am fairly sure that the stock finish on the one that I am currently working on is the original finishing that came on the stock when it was made. I think this may be walnut wood with a fairly dark walnut stain. In any case, the Birchwood Casey kit that I am going to use to refinish it has a bottle of walnut stain included with it.

    Thanks.
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  9. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

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    thiers a wood bleach that you can make. I dont remember the recipie but it uses bleach, water ,and Hydrogen peroxide. Ask an old woodworker or a resto shop they might be able to help find the recipie.
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