The information below describes and shows the application of a Linseed Oil or Tung Oil Finish to a gun stock. The gun used for this demonstration is a Turkish Model 1903 8mm Mauser Rifle made in 1940 with serial number 29147. This gun is from Zane Wilson's Collection.
The Linseed Oil referred to is Boiled Linseed Oil. The Tung Oil referred to is Pure Tung Oil and does not refer to any of the many Tung Oil products that contain varnishes.The stock is first cleaned using the Thorough Cleaning Methods described at Gun Stock Cleaning. The cleaning results are shown below:
Note that the stock MUST be thoroughly cleaned and allowed to air dry for at least 48 hours before finishing.
This stock, made of Beech I believe, will be finished in Linseed Oil. The demonstration will show the progress of the finishing process on the portion of the stock that a dent was virtually removed from, as described at Gun Stock Dent Removal, that follows:
1. Boiled Linseed Oil or Pure Tung Oil
2. Mineral Spirits
3. 220 Grit Sandpaper
4. 320 Grit Sandpaper
5. 400 Grit Sandpaper
6. 600 Grit Sandpaper (Wet/Dry)
7. Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
8. Paper Towels
NOTE: Read, understand, and follow all product labeling precautions and directions.
Step 1: Sand
Sand the stock thoroughly with the grain using 220, 320, 400, and then finally 600 grit sandpaper. Vacuum all dust from stock between each sanding.
Step 2: Final Cleaning And Inspection
Clean the stock of any remaining surface oil using a clean lint free cloth saturated in Mineral Spirits. Inspect the stock for any imperfections and resolve before continuing.
The results after sanding and final cleaning are shown below:
Step 3: Seal
Seal the wood by applying a mixture of 50% Finishing Oil and 50% Mineral Spirits to all surfaces of the stock. Allow to soak for 5 to 10 minutes and then wipe off excess. Wipe off any exess every 5 minutes that seeps to the surface till seepage stops. Allow to dry for at least 24 hours.
The results after sealing are shown below:
Step 4: Fill If Desired
If the stock is to have the grain filled, wet sand with the grain with a mixture of 50% Finishing Oil and 50% Mineral Spirits using 600 grit sandpaper. Allow to dry for 24 hours. Repeat filling process as many times as desired.
Note that for this demonstration, the filling process will not be performed because this process would not have been performed originally on this gun.
Step 5: Final Finish
Hand rub the stock thoroughly with Finishing Oil and then wipe off excess. Wipe off any exess every 5 minutes that seeps to the surface till seepage stops. Allow to dry for 24 hours. Repeat at least 3 times.
The results after 3 hand rubbed applications that dried 24 hours between each application follow:
Notice how bruised areas are much darker. This is due to the deep absorpion of Finishing Oils and will occur with Boiled Linseed Oil as well as Pure Tung Oil. The entire finish will darken over time with Boiled Linseed Oil.
Alternative Oil/Varnish Finish
One solution to this darkened bruised areas issue is to use an Oil/Varnish Finish such as Minwax Antique Oil Finish which consists of Linseed Oil and Varnish. This Oil/Varnish Finish not only prevents bruises from showing as much but is also much more durable and prevents the stock from absorbing moisture, grease, oils, and dirt. The information below below show this stock after being stripped (using the Thorough Cleaning Methods described at Gun Stock Cleaning of the above Boiled Linseed Oil Finish and then finished using the Oil/Varnish Finish.
The results after cleaning, sanding, and final cleaning and inspection follow:
The results after one application of Oil/Farnish Finish follow:
The results after three applications of Oil/Varnish Finish follow:
The results after five applications of Oil/Varnish Finish follow:
The before and after photos of the Mauser are shown below:
For information on Oil and Oil/Varnish Finish comparisons, refer to: Gun Stock Oil Finish Comparison
The gun below is an M1 Garand 30-06 Rifle made in May 1945 with serial number 3830827. This gun is from Zane Wilson's Collection. The Walnut stock on this gun was cleaned using the Thorough Cleaning Methods described at Gun Stock Cleaning and was then finished in Boiled Linseed Oil using the above procedure: