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Stock refinishing thread: BLO vs PTO vs Tung Oil Finish

Discussion in 'Military Surplus' started by coolhandluke, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Sharpshooter

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    Most people who are passionate about collecting and preserving antique and surplus firearms have a huge issue with anyone attempting any level of refinishing on a gun. For the most part (excluding the rarer and more valuable firearms), I don't share their same viewpoint. IMHO if it is someone else's firearm that was purchased with their hard earned money who am I to pass judgement on how they see fit to "upgrade" it? What irritates me much more is seeing a collectible firearm that has been completely neglected and ruined by rust, mold, and mildew. I find what you are doing as admirable..finding parts or non-working firearms and giving them new life for you and your family to enjoy. :thumb:
     
  2. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Sharpshooter

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    Sure thing...

    Pine tar is used as a protective finish for wood over in the Scandinavian countries. There are those that believe that the Finns used pine tar as a stock finish, but there are others that say it is just a myth. Birch that has been treated with pine tar will exhibit the same marbled or flamed look that you see on Finnish birch (mostly M39's) and some USGI birch stocks (also similar to figured stocks treated with potassium permanganate). Cutting the pine tar with turpentine allows it to better penetrate the wood where it hardens and forms an extremely protective finish. You can easily see that the softer areas of the wood will draw in more of the pine tar, darkening those areas more than the surrounding harder grain. Pine tar takes quite awhile to dry so the process is kind of tedious. I wouldn't recommend attempting this type of finish until the temps are in the 90-100 degree range as the pine tar does not like to penetrate or dry well in colder temps. Also be warned that your stock will smell like a bonfire for a few weeks afterwards as well...the odor eventually disappears completely.


    Here's a link with additional info...there's lots of resources and how-to's out on the web if you are interested in learning more. http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=85350
     
  3. Catt57

    Catt57 Gill-Gun Guru

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    Thanks Luke,

    Story time...

    In fact 3 of the 4 gill-guns were Non-working when i got them. It wasn't an attempt to collect them. More like I wanted a parts gun for the first one. So I bought one that it turned out was only missing the firing pin. So I replaced the firing pin, had it working and thought... "I still need a parts gun for these." So I bought another one for parts and found the only thing missing was the cocking knob. So I replaced the knob and had 3 working rifles. and then I thought... "I still need a parts gun for these." So I found the Wards that was rusty, crusty, used, abused, wouldn't feed, and looked worse than a pig with pimples. I was thinking there was no way I'd be reviving this one. And then after completely breaking it down, cleaning the crud and rust off, and reassembling it, I found out it was perfectly functional, just in very poor cosmetic shape. So I fixed it up and changed the color for my daughter. So then you what I thought?? Well, I thought, "I still need a parts gun for these." And finally I found a guy selling everything but the stock, receiver, and barrel for $30. So that way there was nothing for me to resurrect and I have every spare part I could need for my 1, er.. 2, ahem... 3, wait, no..., 4... yes 4, gill-guns. (and now I'm looking for 1 more to revive for a friend... lol)
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  4. Shadowrider

    Shadowrider Sharpshooter

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    Thanks! I'm like those in that link that have never heard of pine tar being used as a wood finish. I'm going to pick some up and experiment with it when it warms up. Do you have a local source or do you order online? I know Academy has it in the baseball section, but IDK if it's pure.
     
  5. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Sharpshooter

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    The Auson Swedish pine tar in the link is by far the best product to use. It's available on eBay, but very pricey. There is a member on surplusrifleforum.com that gives out free samples if you are only looking to test it out. His sample bottles are large enough that they will finish two stocks. I have not tried bat pine tar, but I assume that it would be a much better option than equine pine tar. The equine stuff is greenish, runny, doesn't smell particularly well, and doesn't dry cure like you would need it to.
     
  6. ronny

    ronny Sharpshooter

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    I regret not having better pics and especially not having before and after. My bad. This is a 91/30 which had an upper forearm that was completely non-matching to the classic red and black Mosin stock. I used ordinary Rit red (maroon) and black dye mixed with Tung Oil. Not an easy feat, since they are basically incompatible. After a lot of experimentation, including some vigorous mixing, I came up with a match that was virtually identical to the original. I then topped it off with amber shellac. Just goes to show what you can do if you're patient and willing to spend the time. It looked much better in the light of day, too.

    red shellac.jpg
     
  7. gfercaks33

    gfercaks33 Sharpshooter

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    My thought on the milsurp is to keep it original, when I did the mosin I saw where the Russian Arsenal used iodine and shellac to give it that red color. Now if I buy a milsurp and it's been touched by bubba I will probably keep it that way (like my sks). As far as my obsession with 10/22s they are fair game for what ever my brain comes up with.

    Catt can you enlighten me on the tung oil you use?
     
  8. gfercaks33

    gfercaks33 Sharpshooter

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    That's what happened to mine, I got gun cleaner on the stock and ruined the finish. I wanted the red and I tried mixing the iodine with the shellac and they wouldn't mix, so dyed the stock and then shellacd.

    Damage
    [​IMG]

    Refinished before I knocked down the shine
    [​IMG]
     
  9. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Sharpshooter

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    I believe that he uses Formbys low gloss tung oil finish. I've heard that Minwax tung oil finish is the same stuff, just rebranded.
     
  10. Catt57

    Catt57 Gill-Gun Guru

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    Luke has it, I use the Formby's Tung Oil Finish. I prefer the low gloss because with a little effort it can be made any sheen from matte to high gloss. I prefer it over pure Tung Oil because it cures faster and harder than PTO and long term maintenance is virtually nil. And it still has virtually the same look. But that's just my preference, others may vary. As for the Minwax brand, I have tried it in the past and for some reason it just didn't seem to have the same quality of finish. That was years ago so maybe it's changed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016

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