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Thread: Birch stock is blonde

  1. #1
    Boolit Master sixpointfive's Avatar
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    Birch stock is blonde

    What can I apply to a military birch stock to darken the wood without stripping it?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    If its an oil finished stock you might use an oil based stain but it may not be an even color due to the oils in the stock. If its a varnish polyurethane or shellac type finish then not much may penetrate them. I doubt the water based stains will penetrate any of the above finishes. A light wipe down with acetone turpentine or other solvent may remove enough of the oil finish to help the stain penetrate. A light block sanding or steel wool rub down ( checkering or fancy work may negate these options) may also help some.

  3. #3
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


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    Quote Originally Posted by sixpointfive View Post
    What can I apply to a military birch stock to darken the wood without stripping it?
    I doubt you can.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  4. #4
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    .

    +1

    It's easy enough to strip - just use some of Homer Formby's Furniture Refinisher (hardware store, home improvement store, wallyworld, etc) and new pads of 0000 steel wool, following the directions on the can.



    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master





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    Without stripping Rustoleam or Krylon.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer in NH View Post
    Without stripping Rustoleam or Krylon.
    Perzactly. Maybe a nice faux grain finish.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    fire. A butane burner can do wonders to ugly blond wood. Keep it moving in full length strokes for grain look. Then when finished coarse steel wool or 220 sand paper lightly till smooth for oil finish.
    Look twice, shoot once.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Birch is a difficult wood to stain - acts such like poplar in that when stain is applied to "raw unfinished" birch, it will stain "muddy". Whenever I used birch to run millwork or make cabinets, etc., I used "toners". Toners are basically a "colored lacquer" which can be applied to produce an "even" color to the birch.

    If you strip the birch down to where it is raw, it will probably accept stain but be prepared for a "muddy" finish - i.e. you may not see a clear grain patter so to speak as it will be "cloudy" and not transparent. If you strip it and want to use an oil finish, you might try what you want to use on a scrap piece of birch to see the results. Try finding an oil stain in the color you like and make up some BLO - get a small can of BOILED (not raw) linseed oil, thin down with "real" turpentine (not artificial). I normally use a ration of 50/50. Then add some of the stain and shake well and try applying.

    BLO finish is a durable finish but it must be applied and rubbed in - the stock set aside to dry/soak in - then repeated. The BLO finish builds up and will give a nice sheen finish when done. Us4e a soft cotton cloth/pad (an old Tee shirt) to apply and use elbow grease. Work it in good and then let sit for 24 hours and repeat. Re-eat until you are satisfied with the results - after use or if the gun gets damp while hunting, etc. - after cleaning the metal, rub in another coat on the stock and leave out to dry. I did this to a GEW98 Mauser that I have and it came out great. It already and an oil finish but was dried out from sitting around since 1919 when it was brought home from France by a WWI vet that I knew.

    CAUTION: When using oil finishes - especially BLO and similar - when you are finished applying, dispose of you application/wiping rag immediately. DON'T leave it laying around on your bench. The same for any oily rags. I was a firefighter for many years and saw a number of fires started by such things due to spontaneous combustion - and it can happen in a short time. I always put mine in a sealed plastic bag - get all the air out of it - and put them in the garbage can which is a distance from my house.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    You can easily stain it without stripping. Fact is, I never stain a stock until I have several coats of finish on it. I use Laurel Mountain stains, I think they are alcohol based stains and they go on smoothly over your finish. Water and oil based stains won't work, they just bead up and look horrible.

    After you get the stain on, you will need to put some light coats of finish on to protect it.
    Phil

  10. #10
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    For best results when staining unfinished birch, leather dye works well. I blend brown, yellow, and red for the desired color.

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    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    The main reason I never stain an unfinished stock is that I have no control over what is happening. Some spots will readily soak up stain while others hardly take any which leaves a blotchy appearance. Staining on top of finish goes on uniformly and if I don't like what I see, I can take some or all off with alcohol.
    Phil

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    dang, give waksupi a cigar on that gun stock! That is sweeet.
    Look twice, shoot once.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Working with birch or beach requires a different approach.

    1. Prep the wood
    2. Brush on some Min-Wax pre stain as per instruction on the can.
    3. Use alcohol based stains, i.e. leathers dies and NOT oil based stains
    4. Finish with your finish of choice.

    Tip...forget the pre-stain and you will get streaks and splotchs in the stain.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I've had good luck with leather dye, as I have refinished a few Marlin birch stock, and they turned out great!

  15. #15
    Boolit Man Markopolo's Avatar
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    Leather dye IS the way... I think this is posted somewhere on the forum....

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    Before
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    After leather dye...

    This was was a blond stock that I did with leather die...
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    There is a stickey somewhere on refinishing with leather die that applies to lots of different wood types...
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

    I will love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I prefer blond myself ,it looks nice in contrast to blued metal .OK it's just me then.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I strip 'em with a cabinet scraper, sand, use the pre-stain stuff - per instructions - and then stain to whatever color I'm fancy about at the moment. Leather dye is fantastic.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Formby's is good stuff. You can strip and clean without sanding. I use it on furniture and gunstocks. Pour a small amount in a shallow pan, dab your steel wool and wipe away the finish. I keep a clean rag that has been dampened with mineral spirits or paint thinner to wipe the scrubbed surface.
    Quote Originally Posted by pietro View Post
    .

    +1

    It's easy enough to strip - just use some of Homer Formby's Furniture Refinisher (hardware store, home improvement store, wallyworld, etc) and new pads of 0000 steel wool, following the directions on the can.



    Shoot Safe,
    Mike

    Retired Telephone Man
    NRA Endowment Member
    Marion Road Gun Club
    ( www.marionroad.com )

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Tokarev's Avatar
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    Potassium permanganate solution would darken birch.

  20. #20
    Boolit Man TRX's Avatar
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    Undyed birch stocks are sometimes found on SMLEs and AK-47s, where they're referred to as "blonde" and command a premium price.

    I like the light color. Aulde wal-nut gets old after a while.

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