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Popping Figure in Walnut #16158213 06/10/21
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Fallschirmjaeger Offline OP
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I picked up this old semi inlet Fajen stock from a darn good guy here on the 'fire. I'm currently working on a Greek Mannlicher project, that someone had started sporterizing a few years ago. The gun has a 25" barrel with a great bore and a slick action. Plans include changing the swept back "butter knife" bolt handle to the more classic vertical one, adding some sporter sights, a banded sling swivel, and maybe a rust blue. The stock had already had some tinkering done to it and it appears someone tried to use bedding compound to force fit their action into the semi-inlet. I ground out most of the bedding compound and more properly inlet the action into the wood. I also sawed off the high monte Carlo comb and smoothed out the top of the stock to be more iron sight friendly. I'm planning to add some ebony pieces to the stock, but for now I'm sanding the other areas and trying to make the figure "pop". I've been using a Transtint aniline dye with a light concentration in 50/50 distilled water and denatured alcohol solution. I apply to the wood, allow it to dry and give it a light sanding. My hope is that the figured grain will more readily take up the dye solution and through repeated applications, darken much more than the surrounding wood. Any thoughts? I'm no expert at this by any means but I have refinished a few stocks. I'm always open to hearing ideas, tricks and tips...

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16158235 06/10/21
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pullit Online Content
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Nice chunk of wood and the plans you have will be fitting for a fine rifle.


I may not be smart but I can lift heavy objects

I have a shotgun so I have no need for a 30-06.....
Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16158813 06/10/21
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Your protocols sound good. I bet when you hit it with the first coat of finish it'll really pop.


"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
"Always certain, often right." Keith McCafferty
Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16159067 06/10/21
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Sheister Offline
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This is a case where a little goes a long way. The grain has "popped" about as much as it is going to with the dye application. In most cases, once the dye and carriers have completely dried, you can raise the grain and sand back to bare wood and put on a gloss or semi gloss finish. Most figured finishes show their figure best with a deep gloss finish IMO.... one of the reasons I use Truoil or similar most of the time. You can build it up to the depth you want, and if it is a bit too glossy for your taste you can easily knock it down with stock rubbing compound or rottenstone after a sufficient curing period- about 30-45 days....


Never underestimate your ability to overestimate your ability.
Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16159701 06/10/21
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Fallschirmjaeger Offline OP
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Thanks Sheister... My experience with rottenstone has been that it increases shine and gloss rather than knocking it down...do you have a certain technique for decreasing shine with the rottenstone?

IC-A

Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16159844 06/10/21
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I like where it is now.


NRA Life,Endowment,Patron or Benefactor since '72.
Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16159910 06/10/21
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ctw Offline
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To much stain. Natural is the way to go.


What you have done is not nearly as important as how you have done it!!!
The Old Fart 2008 A.D.
Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: ctw] #16159955 06/10/21
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Originally Posted by ctw
To much stain. Natural is the way to go.


This. Sand off the excess stain.


"There's more to optics than meets the eye."--anon

"...most of us would be better off losing half a pound around the waist than half a pound on our rifle."--dhg

Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16160365 06/10/21
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Cowboybart Offline
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Leave it alone - I like it now.


Some is Good---More is Better----Too Much is Just Right
Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16161425 06/11/21
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back to the question of popping the grain: for what its worth, this is the process I've used on furniture in attempting to pop the meduliar rays on quarter sawn white oak: after raising the grain with water and sanding smooth, apply the transtint dye and sand smooth again. Next step is a coat of shellac and again after dried, sand smooth. The next step is where the grain has really, really popped: a coat of gel stain. And after that, the top coats. I've not used this on walnut, but I know it works well on curly maple as well.

IC-B

Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: ctw] #16161724 06/11/21
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Sitka deer Offline
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Originally Posted by ctw
To much stain. Natural is the way to go.

+1


Mark Begich, Joaquin Jackson, and Heller resistance... Three huge reasons to worry about the NRA.
Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16161806 06/11/21
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I avoid stain so the natural beauty can show, the only time I use stain is as a last resort.
Phil

Last edited by TenX; 06/11/21.
Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16161833 06/11/21
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Fallschirmjaeger Offline OP
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I should clarify.... from what I understand oil based stains cloud and muddy figure in wood whereas dyes go into the grain and are transparent. At least that's what I've read. Those pictures are taken with the wood wet with the water and alcohol solution. This is what they look like dry and pre-sanded.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16161886 06/11/21
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gnoahhh Offline
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Remember too that walnut, when freshly dyed, looks pretty blah but when the first coat of clear finish goes on the magic happens. I'll refrain from commenting whether this wood needed stain/dye or not because I can't see it in person. Generally I like to let the wood speak for itself.


"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
"Always certain, often right." Keith McCafferty
Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16166024 06/12/21
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DBoston Offline
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The best for walnut is alkanet root oil, it will improve any grain and I have seen several times where the wood came out looking one grade higher than before.
This will give a slightly red hue to the wood which I like. I would sand back some as you are about to lose figure not increase it with the stain. Whatever finish you use first put on a couple coats of artist grade linseed oil, this pops the grain like it is whet and improves any finish. A dark filler will also enhance the grain. Herters French Red is good but on an open pored stock like yours it may need several applications and then becomes too red with out heavy sanding back. I just add burnt umber to a good silicone sealer like silisol. Polishing the wood with rotten stone will make the grain come out nicely, I do this during the finishing process so it is polishing the wood not just the finish. Last stock I did had so much chatoyance I wondered if it would scare the game away.

Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16166601 06/13/21
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Fallschirmjaeger Offline OP
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Dboston,

Alkaet red oil is is the coloring agent I typically use in all my gun stock refinishes (except Beech) and is the next step in my plan. I would love to hear more details regarding your polishing the wood with rottenstone technique...

Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16167006 06/13/21
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Sitka deer Offline
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Rottenstone is for polishing finish, not wood...

Last edited by Sitka deer; 06/13/21. Reason: Friggin' autocorrect!

Mark Begich, Joaquin Jackson, and Heller resistance... Three huge reasons to worry about the NRA.
Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16175829 Yesterday at 10:33 AM
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DBoston Offline
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I got it from James Howel's book "Modern Gunsmithing" (circa 1950's) it is one of my go to sources. In the first book he has three or more chapters on gun stocks, stocking, and finishing. He has some oil/varnish formulas that are variations of slacum that work well. He recommends applying an oil finish with a muslin wheel coated with rotten stone and a few drops of finish added. The rotten stone does indeed polish the wood and completes the final filling of the wood as you cant, entirely wipe it off. I do the wheel treatment and then after 15-30 minutes I hand rub the finish. If the stock still feels oily then wipe it down with a clean cloth. Not sure if this is necessary but it looks good afterwards. Usually the film is so thin that 24hrs. is enough curing time before another application. I usually use a hand drill or if on a bench wheel set the RPMs pretty low and be careful of edges they can get torn loose. Too high on the RPMs and it can burn the finish.

This method only works with slower drying oil or oil varnish mixes. You could use any finish and add oil and turpentine to it to use the wheel finish method. If the surface of the wheel glazes over or gets hard just cut it back and start over and use less finish on it.

I treat the wood with artist linseed oil after the alkanet then fill with straight varnish or a paste filler if the wood is open grained or both with varnish first as a sealer filler. Then sand back to wood and start the wheel finish. This will not build up much if any surface coat so if you want that finish with another application method.

Get a hold of his book if you can, they are getting a little pricey but still worth it.

Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: Fallschirmjaeger] #16175835 Yesterday at 10:37 AM
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DBoston Offline
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Originally Posted by Fallschirmjaeger
Thanks Sheister... My experience with rottenstone has been that it increases shine and gloss rather than knocking it down...do you have a certain technique for decreasing shine with the rottenstone?


I have had the same results and have gone back over a stock with a grey 3m pad or 4F pumice to knock the shine down. But usually use the rottenstone and then wax the stock with a bees wax/carnuba wax and use minimal buffing for a satin sheen.

Re: Popping Figure in Walnut [Re: DBoston] #16175917 Yesterday at 11:25 AM
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If you are using Truoil or Permalyn Gloss, you will have an almost glass like finish once you have enough coats to get the pores and finish completely filled IME... once it cures for 30 days or so, you can decide if you want to keep that level of gloss or if you prefer to knock down the shine a bit to a satin finish. Yes, rottenstone will polish a finish if it isn't crystal clear to begin with- depending on the finish material used, but it will also knock down a glass smooth and clear finish just enough to take a bit of the gloss off if that is what you prefer. This works fine for me, but may not be your preferred finsih. On highly figured wood I prefer it because it knocks down the shine and still allows the chatoyance of the figure to come through the best.

There are other stones, not quite so fine, that also do this job but give a more satin finish, as well as stock rubbing compounds but most of them require a buff at the end to clean up any residual scratches left from application. It is a learned process and it takes a long time to get it right, but worth it in the end IMO....

I've never been much of a believer in using paste fillers or slurry sanding to fill grain to be honest. I've always felt it tended to fill the figured grain and decreases the chatoyance of some otherwise beautiful wood surfaces... it takes longer, but using your final finish to fill or slapping on some fresh shellac to fill the pores and sanding back to flat is my preferred method for filling grain where a lot of figure is present in open pored woods.... everybody has their method and this one works for me...

Bob


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