Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Shawn.54, Apr 24, 2017.
Started working on a front sight hood today going to make sure lathe is open next weekend and have reamer shipped Tuesday.
After I get the barrel on and head spaced I’ll do final inleting and finish the stock then the part I fear most checkering.
While you are in somewhat of a "holding" pattern, have you done any "practice " checkering? Seems like now would be the perfect time to do so. You are very skilled with your hands. Other than being something you are not accustomed to doing I doubt you will have any trouble. I seem to remember Chris G giving you a few tips to get things started off on the right foot.
Right now I’m in the middle of high school basketball season my youngest plays and that consumes a lot of my time but the good news is the guy who runs my machine on night turn just purchased a checkering kit and wanted me to try it out.
The lathe will be open this weekend no work on it but the shop is closed for the weekend owner leaving town so I have to hold off a week to barrel my action and finish my chamber.
Always something to slow progress.
I have done quite a few stocks and in my opnion, nothing comes close to the depth and beauty of an oil finish. using real tung oil is great if you can find it. most of what you buy in hardware stores does the job admirably. I usually start with a thin coat of dark danish oil (the walnut colored on) and once each coat goes on, sand it lightly with 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper, enough to start to fill in the grain, but not so much that you remove all the finish you just applied. Then let it set for 15-30 minutes then buff off with a clean dry cotton cloth. Repeat this until the desired color is reached. I let it sit for about a week, then I start with tung oil (I use formby's even though it isn't real tung oil). oil, sand, buff, about 20 more times. once it is to the desired shine level and all that sanding has evenly filled in the grain you should have something with a sheen similar to this:
Once it is fully cured, you can add a layer of Furniture wax on top. This is the stuff I use:
I do a coat of this, let it dry and buff it off. I do this twice, not just on the wood either. Adding a coat of it to the metal both protects the metal and gives it a nice dull sheen.
Once all of this is done, then you can checker the stock. It takes a little practice but you seem to be a very detail, hands-on kind of guy. I think you could figure it out and there is no match for a hand checkered wood stock.
This is all my process.... modify as you see fit.
Chris I was not sure which to use tung oil or boiled linseed and didn’t know the difference between the two.
With my stock being so light in color I wanted to darken it some but not so much as to cover over the natural shade differences in wood. Would the Danish oil do that?
Traditionally it’d be a job for alkanet root but it takes a while to make up that potion (walnut oil and ground alkanet root, steeped for two months in a shaded but warm spot).
here are some pictures of the final outcome. This is my personal 6.5x55 Ruger M77 MkII. It was done about 2 years ago and every year I just do one coat of wax over the top after hunting season is over with to maintain it. It is about 8 coats of Danish Oil (Walnut), Then 25 coats of tung oil, wet sanding each coat in, then 5 coats of antique oil over top and finally 2 coats of wax. That is why it is shinier than some of my other work. I preserved rugers factory checkering on this because the wrist is pretty thin and I didn't want to think it any more lest it look unnatural.
These next ones are a marlin 336 that I completely overhauled including rust blue, stock refit and finish and checkering. This was about 6 coats of Danish followed by 15 more of minwax antique oil, then checker, then wax and buff.
You'll notice when you use the Danish oil, it will only get so dark and further coats do not darken it more. However it will slowly age darken a bit as you use it and continually replenish the finish with wax or oil.
It is labor intensive but I really like the finish that oil gives you and there is no spay on quick-fix finish that accomplishes the same thing.
You can get tung oil at lee valley, and Woodcraft, the real stuff. I does a beautiful job, just takes an age to dry between coats.
Another finish I use was designed by the the late great Sam Maloof. You take one part tung, boiled linseed, and Valspar Gloss/matt Polyurethane Varnish, and mix well. Apply like a drying oil, wipe on let sink in, buff off before it sets-up. It builds and dries faster, has a very deep look to it, and is fairly water resistant. Short of epoxy.
Have you tried sticking it in the window and giving it a tan?
Tung oil doesn't have the lingering smell, linseed oil is often deeper and glossier. Tung is more water resistant and was used on boat hulls, though it isn't that water proof. Traditionally it was used in a lot of varnishes. Tung can take a while to dry, but you can add a little Valspar to it, or Japan driers. In my case I don't know if I should be in a rush but I normally have time. So I just let the Tung work it's wonder. You can get a high shine in Tung by buffing it. If you want to cut the shine, then you can use a wax that cuts shine. Rub it out a little flatter. Include a little Valspar semi gloss.
Rule one with finishing is to do test samples.
Front sight is complete and ready to be polished for finish I cheated a little and modified a Lyman sight to fit my needs.
Looking pretty good Shawn
Thanks Rob i decided in the beginning to do as much if not all the work myself. And not knowing all things about gunsmithing I have made some mistakes. I know the front sight is high and so is the rear sight but be it due to stock design or my size they are where I can use them without having to force myself down into them.
The stock would be perfect with a scope but open sights down low is not in the cards.
I’m learning a lot on this build and having fun at it.
Shawn.54, If you don't mind an observation I have one to offer. That front sight looks like it will snag a lot of brush. The barrel band and adaptor should have one slope /curve leading up to the hooded front sight. You might even have the "back side" of the hood angled as well. That would insure that branches etc. would just slide off. I've been following your project from the beginning. I wish I had your machinist skills, if I did I'd be tempted to follow in your footsteps. Glad you're back to making progress.
By all means I like to hear pointers and that situation can be fixed with a little machine time or a little time with the grinder the sight was made many months ago and the plans have been changed a couple of times on Monday I was making a prototype and Tuesday I had the Lyman sight in hand never expected that but it worked out.
When I find out if everything I have made works and all snags are cleaned up I’ll have it finished.
My hold up now is time and it looks like basketball ends February 14 for my son so I should have a little more time before baseball starts.
NECG ramp and hood on my 450 Rigby
NECG ramp and hood on my 458 Win
John P thanks for posting that. Now Shawn.54 has a "pattern" of sorts that he can follow if he chooses to. I really like this site. Guys from all over the world providing helpful tips and insight to folks they probably will never meet except over a keyboard.
Thanks guys the next pics of the sight will incorporate rounded corners.
Probably next week.
Separate names with a comma.