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Thread: Would you refinish it or not?

  1. #1
    Boolit Man Steppapajon's Avatar
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    Would you refinish it or not?

    When my Brother died I inherited a Winchester model 61 that belonged to our uncle. It is one of two from my childhood. The second one belonged to another uncle (they were brothers) and it was the first gun I ever shot. I was five years old sitting on my uncle's lap and I can still remember it!
    Now the big question, should I have it restored? It is in good shape mechanically and shoots like a champ. I took it shooting today in fact. The metal and wood are solid but the blue is completely gone in places. It was not a safe queen by any stretch of the imagination.
    Before I lost my son I would have never contemplated a refinish. But when I am gone I have no family to leave it to and it will be put on the auction block and its history will be gone forever. So my thought is why not restore it to factory finish and enjoy it as long as I can. I just thought I would ask to see what most of you thought about the idea.
    SPJ

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    This is a decision you need to make.

    If the stock is a oil finish a few hand rubbed coats of lisseed oil, or tru oil after a very light steel wool wiping can really go along ways without being real noticeable. As to the metal a light coat of wax ( Auto wax works good) will provide a protective finish on the bare metal.

    On my used rifles I like the dents dings and scratches in the wood and bare spots, they add character and on my personal guns there is usually a story behind them.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    If you can find a company that does as good a job as Winchester used to do I'd say go for it . Poor work though will not leave you happy that you had the work done . Since you are the one going to enjoy the rifle for the rest of your days have it done (right) and enjoy it .

    Jack
    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

    Black Rifles Matter

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Only you can decide that
    I have a shotgun that was my grandpa's. It's probably doesn't have much collector's value. The blueing was go long before I got it and it has a cracked stock that was supposedly repaired by a historical figure from the Missouri Ozarks. Whether that is true I can't say but I'm not changing a thing.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master opos's Avatar
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    Only original once.

  6. #6
    Boolit Man
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    Personally, I would not. I like honest patina...

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric123 View Post
    Personally, I would not. I like honest patina...
    +1^^^. A gun's history lies in the character/"love marks" that adorn it. Since you have no one to remember what they mean after you're gone, why should you care what value it may/may not bring at auction? Personally, I'd rather hold and use them with all the blemishes and faults they possess as long as I can.

    Steppapajon, whatever you decide will be the right thing for you. Warmest regards, Ed

  8. #8
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    I collect the old ones myself. I'll pay fair prices for unmolested rifles, and never give a second glance to refinished ones. Does that answer the question?
    flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    You'd have much better luck selling it to me if you left it alone. I don't know how many I've left on the rack after saying "GAWD******! A REFINISH!"

    Restoring guns isn't like repainting a car where you sand down one surface and paint another over it; you're looking at the actual surface of the metal and wood through a chemical treatments, so all those nicks, scratches, pits, and friction marks need to be somehow dealt with to have the slightest chance of it even looking a little original. Unless you have it done by Turnbull or another serious specialist, the result often looks similar to a sheet of paper on which a kid has written in pencil and erased several times.
    WWJMBD?

    "I'M MELLLLLLLLLLTING!" - Elphaba

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub TWBryan's Avatar
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    I tend to be a pragmatist. My question is do you intend to use the rifle out in the weather ,maybe for hunting? If so get it dura-coated and enjoy it. If you don't then I wouldn't bother.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    I redid my rem 550 that I inherited from my grandfather after a deleading attempt ended up with the patina being removed about 6" down the barrel. Did a rust bluing. Took a couple weeks but the finish looks amazing with a matte plumb-ish black and the finish looks very even being matte.
    "In God we trust, in all others, check the manual!"

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I would leave it as is. A good wipe with your favorite oil now and then.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    And if your going to use it in the weather Renaissance wax is the best there is! Period the end! I have a Remington 121 that gets the Ren wax treatment every year and is 100% original. After all, if it's good enough for the best museums, is good enough for me!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I would leave it as is. Remember your uncles hands put the wear there. Refinishing would be erasing your family history and your connection to it.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowa Fox View Post
    I would leave it as is. Remember your uncles hands put the wear there. Refinishing would be erasing your family history and your connection to it.
    My thoughts exactly.

  16. #16
    Boolit Man Steppapajon's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice. I really value the feedback. Thank you everyone. I think I will find some Renaissance wax like Thundarstick suggested and leave it as is. Iowa fox made a very good point with
    " Remember your uncles hands put the wear there. Refinishing would be erasing your family history and your connection to it."
    And uscra112 also put it into perspective when he said "I collect the old ones myself. I'll pay fair prices for unmolested rifles, and never give a second glance to refinished ones. Does that answer the question?"
    I am glad I asked.
    SPJ

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I recently was faced with a similar paradigm, mine being a Model 42C Mossberg which was my great-uncles -- his having purchased it in the early 1930s or so to shoot rabbits off the New York City 3rd Avenue el (elevator-railway)! (Albeit the 3rd Ave el is long gone... imagine being able to fire a .22 in NYC "today"?) Anyway, I pondered sending metal off for re-bluing; perhaps getting muzzle recrowned as there is a small nick; and, trying my hand at refinishing the wood -- steam iron to raise dents, as a start. However -- I took a local gunsmith's advice and bought a spray can of a wonder chemical called G96 ( http://www.g96.com ), spraying it liberally on entire firearm -- yes, the wood as well as the metal. Amazing to me was the color of the paper towels used to wipe it after spraying... but, the firearm seemed to be mysteriously made pretty -- complete with stock dents, worn away bluing, and even that muzzle nick. And -- it still shoots famously!
    'Smith suggested to try the G96, and if the results were not acceptable to me, I wasn't out that much $$$ to hopefully give me back the .22 Uncle Vinca shot eighty years back. I am ever so happy I did!
    Good luck.
    geo

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    I am another fan of original old guns. That said, the key is “I” and that gun is yours. In the condition you described you are not harming a mint, collector gun, so do whatever will give you the most enjoyment. I would have it professionally reblued if you go that route. Refinishing wood is something that can be done very well DIY. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steppapajon View Post
    When my Brother died I inherited a Winchester model 61 that belonged to our uncle. It is one of two from my childhood. The second one belonged to another uncle (they were brothers) and it was the first gun I ever shot. I was five years old sitting on my uncle's lap and I can still remember it!
    Now the big question, should I have it restored? It is in good shape mechanically and shoots like a champ. I took it shooting today in fact. The metal and wood are solid but the blue is completely gone in places. It was not a safe queen by any stretch of the imagination.
    Before I lost my son I would have never contemplated a refinish. But when I am gone I have no family to leave it to and it will be put on the auction block and its history will be gone forever. So my thought is why not restore it to factory finish and enjoy it as long as I can. I just thought I would ask to see what most of you thought about the idea.
    SPJ
    You are not going to restore it to look like anything near the factory finish unless you spend big bucks at Turnbull Restorations. All other refinishes will not look factory. Save you money and shoot the darn thing as is.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  20. #20
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    I personally wouldn’t. First, it’s obvious you enjoy it as is.

    Second, the money you spend on refinish could be allocated somewhere else.

    Third, you’ll regret it.

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