Modern Sporting Rifle Evolution
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Posts: 46
Reply with quote  #1 
Snagged a Remington Model 8 in 32 Rem last weekend and looking for advice on refinishing stock and handguard. Finishes don't match and handguard finish is peeling off so not too worried about reducing value. Thinking of using French Red stain from brownells but wondered what process you all would recommend? Have read up on numerous forums and heard twenty different things.

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Posts: 4,620
Reply with quote  #2 
Very nice rifle - something very classy about the model 8s & 81s.  In the late 1980s I met and befriended an old Master Gunsmith (unfortunately since passed).  He was a true master craftsman, as well as an encyclopedia of firearms knowledge.  He only used Fromby's Furniture Refinisher to strip stocks that he refinished - and they always came out fabulous.  He showed me how he did it, and I've used the same technique on 25~30 stocks since. I don't even know if its still made... it has been almost 15 years since I refinished my last stock.  Fromby's is really strong smelling, and evaporates faster than gasoline - use OUTDOORS only.  Use good rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Depending on how bad the wood is, have several grades of steel wool (down to 00) and a roll of blue shop towels or disposable rags available.  Pour a cup or so of Fromby's into something like a coffee can, re-cap the main supply can.  Dip a pad of steel wool (starting with the coarsest) into the Froby's and start scrubbing the stock (obviously removed from the rifle and stripped on butt plate, swivels, etc.).  The finish will gum-up quickly.  While the Fromby's is still wet, wipe it down with a shop towel/rag.  Add more Fromby's to your coffee can as needed.  Repeat - repeat - repeat.  Use finer grades of steel wool as you progress.  Eventually the old finish and stain will be removed and the wood looks great.  You can do more if you need to remove gouges, deep dents, etc. 

How you finish the stripped wood is up to you... as I was always doing military stocks, I used boiled Linseed Oil (many coats - hand rubbed between).  Many modern finishes are available.

Sua Sponte | Ranger Joe

Posts: 45
Reply with quote  #3 
looks like a nice rifle indeed.  i do hand rubbed oil finishes on customer's pieces and if you would like to invest some time and effort, you can do the same.

strip the wood from the rifle and remove all the metal and recoil pad.  be very careful with the screw heads and get a gunsmith screwdriver set with multiple sizes of heads to fit the screws exactly.  if you get a stubborn one just don't tear into it.  place in a solid fixture and press down on the screwdriver with your body weight to turn the screw(s) out.  if still stubborn, use some penetrating oil and let work it's way in to loosen.

i use heavy duty paint stripper to remove finish with coarse steel wool.  wear a sturdy pair of rubber gloves.  if you feel your fingers burning, you have a leak in your gloves. change them out to protect your hands.  after removing all the finish, wash the wood thoroughly in soapy water and hang to dry.  let hang for a couple of day.  during this time, the stocks will swell because of the water and will take out many of the surface blemishes.  look your stock over to make sure you didn't miss any varnish.  if you did, restrip those areas and wash again in soapy water and let hang to dry.

for the finish, get yourself some formby's tung oil or if you can't find that, teak oil will serve you well and some mineral spirits.  mix about 50/50 or 40/60 in favor of the mineral spirits.  you will also need some 250, 400, 600 and maybe some 800 grits wet/dry sandpapers.  start with the 250 and cut into about 1" squares.  wet the paper thoroughly in your 50/50 mixture and lightly, i repeat, lightly go over your stocks, remembering to keep your sandpaper wet. if you have checkering, stay away from the checkering with your sandpaper unless you have a set of checkering tools to recut the checkering.   do each grade of sandpaper each leaving to hang for a couple days.  after you have lightly sanded, hand and wait about 20-30 minutes before wiping the surface off.  what you have created by sanding is wood flour which fills in the snags and cuts on the surface.  when you finally get to the end of the 400 stage, you will begin to life taking hold in your stocks.  this will spur you on to continue finishing.  the whole process should take about a month.  do not be in a hurry to do this.  take you time lightly sanding, drying, wiping off, 2-4 day wait, before starting again.  if you do as i have laid out, you will have an incredibly smooth stock that shows the life inf the wood and will actually feel like a plastic stock for being so smooth.  you will love it.  best of luck.  

it is better to be thought the fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. 
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