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Thread: To stain or not ?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master brstevns's Avatar
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    To stain or not ?

    OK I was wondering about this. Have been carving myself a stock for a Remington Roller from a 100 year old piece of butcher block (maple). Should I leave it as is and just finish the wood or stain it. I do want to keep the lighter color and not go walnut etc. I have used Tru Oil finish for years on my stocks.
    What would you do?

  2. #2
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    Tru oil. Keep the light if thats what YOU want
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Yes, it's what you want, not what we want. There are methods of darkening maple a bit and enhancing the grain visibility.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If you decide to stain test a small area before hand. The glued joints may not take stain and become more prominent. If you like what you have The tru oil finish should work well. I miaght consider thinning the first few coats for better penetration

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I too like the look of natural light Maple but the fact is some Maple can be so light as to be almost white looking giving it a kind of cheap look, if that's the case then maybe a light Maple stain would be an improvement. If however it is a nice shade that is already a pleasing color, as most Maple seems to be, then no stain may be the best option. Going to a place like Home Depot or Lowes, etc and picking up a few of the small cans of different shades of Maple stains in the range of color that you like might be a good idea and that way you can try out a few different pieces to get the color you want. Carving a nice stock from nice wood (Maple is a beautiful choice!) is project you can take pride in so get it right the way YOU want it and the shade range that satisfies you.

    BTW, you do know that pics are required!
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    DOR RED BEAR's Avatar
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    Personally i like seeing the wood natural but thats me. This is a decision that only you can make.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master



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    I personally like darker socks, but that’s just a personal opinion. Since you have always used Tru Oil, you must be happy with it and use it.

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    I've done blond maple stocks, and in my opinion they come out a bit too light. They will darken a bit with age, but it does take along time. My fiddle that I left blond is around 20 years old, and it has gained a mellow yellow color over the years. Were I doing it again, I would have applied a bit of stain first. The finish on it was a French rub, so I did use orange shellac, and that did add a bit of color.
    My preferred method is to get some red, yellow, and medium brown Fiebings leather dye, and do a bit of mixing to find a hue I like. The color saturation can be cut back by adding denatured alcohol. Test on some scrap wood to find something pleasing.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    I personally like darker socks, but thatís just a personal opinion.

    Personally I like white socks the best but I prefer a bit darker color on my gunstocks.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    .

    Whenever finishing a gunstock of any kind of wood, it's best to keep in mind that the final finish (TruOil, Lin-Speed, whatever) will made the color of the stock appear much lighter after it cures/hardens than the raw/sanded wood.

    Then, test different types/strengths of stain(s) on a couple of small pieces of the same wood as the stock, raw/sanded, then let the finish cure before comparing to the other test pieces.

    I usually have a couple of flat boards of the same wood hanging around - to which I apply the different stains, in separate bands down the length of the board.

    B 4 stain, I mark each band with the particular stain used on that band, with a black Sharpie - it makes it easier to keep track of the differences.


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  11. #11
    Boolit Master brstevns's Avatar
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    I read somewhere about the pioneers using rusty water to stain maple gun stocks?
    The piece does not have a lot grain in it
    Last edited by brstevns; 06-23-2019 at 11:50 AM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brstevns View Post

    I read somewhere about the pioneers using rusty water to stain maple gun stocks ?

    The piece does not have a lot grain in it

    Popping the maple grain without amber/yellow effect should be done with the lightest blonde dewaxed shellac that you can find.

    Even a light amber shellac, like the Target/Oxford Ultima-WB Shellac, will work fine since maple has its own creamy color when finished.

    Stay away from linseed oil or tung oil; they will amber deeply over time. (Make samples)

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

  13. #13
    Boolit Master brstevns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pietro View Post
    Popping the maple grain without amber/yellow effect should be done with the lightest blonde dewaxed shellac that you can find.

    Even a light amber shellac, like the Target/Oxford Ultima-WB Shellac, will work fine since maple has its own creamy color when finished.

    Stay away from linseed oil or tung oil; they will amber deeply over time. (Make samples)

    .
    What about ( Zinsser Bulls Eye Amber Shellac) ? Just to add a touch of amber.
    Last edited by brstevns; 06-23-2019 at 04:47 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master brstevns's Avatar
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    Would like to get that light honey color of aged maple

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    i'd go with lin speed oil. i've been using it for years.

    https://www.lin-speed.com/

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Check out laurel mountain forges honey maple stain that with a rubbed oil finish might be what you want.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Reread what Waksupi says about analine dies and create your own color. The dies do penetrate better than just about anything.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master brstevns's Avatar
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    Here is what I have so far. Getting ready to finish carving cheekpiece.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Nice job. I would probably stain that one.

  20. #20
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    Looks good, think I would stain it.
    Last edited by swheeler; 06-24-2019 at 01:00 PM. Reason: delete link
    Hell, I was there!

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