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Discussion Starter #1
The factory finish on my new SAI is a rather dull, lifeless oiled-walnut looking thing. Anyone have any idea just what Springfield does apply?

Anyone tried removing it or perhaps True-Oiling over it in order to bring out a bit of the wood pattern, and perhaps also to lighten it a bit?

Any experiences with their OEM finish would be appreciated. (No, I don't want a glossy yuppoid finish. However on this forum, I do see many much nicer looking wood tocks, with lots of grain showing, and would like to duplicate that if possible. Assuming the wood's good that is...)
 

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A couple years ago, I owned a SAI National Match in Walnut that had a shallow scratch on the buttstock. Thought I would sand lightly and touch up with Tung oil which would normally be no problem on any of my Garand's or 03's. Big surprise.....seems SAI uses some kind of spray on....tinted.....finish. When I sanded through it, the natural color of the Walnut came through and I ended up having to refinish the entire stock. Not what I intended but the final result was much more attractive to my eyes than the original muddy brown factory finish so I guess it worked out OK. HTH
 

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you can rub in boiled linseed oil or tung oil, with no problems. true oil would also work, but will end up with more of a built up glossy finish over time.
 

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My SAI was rather dry and dull out of the box, I applied 3 coats of tung oil to mine. It brought out the wood grain very nicely, and looks like it sealed the wood up.
 

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Oil Finish

Springfield continues to use the same finish on their NM rifle as found on their standard model. Unfortunately this is an incorrect finish for a NM rifle. Oils finishes do not seal the wood sufficiently to keep moisture from penetrating the stock.

Military armorers used True Oil and similar finishes. Urethane and similar finishes work well too. It's important to insure the stock is sealed on it's end grains, not only under the butt plate, but down in the tool holes and the inside surfaces as well.
 

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My M1a had the same problem...nice wood, but dull and dry. Lots of BLO did the trick...I think I did about two very "wet" coats (allow to dry thoroughly between coats!), which soaked in, and then I applied my proprietary finish, which is nothing more than BLO which I pour into a shallow container (don't need much), and allow to air for 5-7 days. When it starts to gel (you're looking for a kind of sticky "gel" here...it should take a little work to rub into the wood), rub another coat into the stock; the trick is, since it's started to gel, it doesn't penetrate the wood as much (hardly at all) and you get a nice, even, glossISH finish after it drys ( a couple of days of fondly rubbing should do). I'm a little leery of Tru-oil, my suspicion is that it's a polyurethane type varnish; in any event what you get is a very hard, glossy finish...think Browning sporting arms. Same with tung oil...a good initial finish, but hard to get that warm "glow" that you do with BLO. The above comments about NM stocks might be valid, and in fact I might just seal the out of sight areas with polyurethane, but I'm assuming that you're after some aesthetic satisfaction as well...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Good Wood below!

Yes, Tue-Oil is a urethane-component finish: urethane mixed with, probably, Tung Oil. It does dry quite glossy if you let it, but I thin it down, at least initially, about 2.5 TO to 1 of fine, odorless thinner, so that it then penetrates more easily to the grains. Then, the last 2 - 3 coats are hand rubbed in (with those blue nitrile gloves on now tho'; I don't want that stuff to invade my frail liver...). I may even use some matting agent, but haven't tried that more than once or twice. More experimentation is obviously required.

The advantage of any urethane finish is that it is truly waterproof, at least where it has not rubbed off, and my early thinner penetration coats essentially prevent that from ever happening.

When I'm satisfied that the last coat is applied and allowed to dry for about one week, I then rub it with very fine steel wool ("000") or I use Meguiar's 1200 or 1600 grit paper to lose the gloss.

OF course, if you were to fully fill the grains, sand it all down ultra-smooth, and then spray on True-Oil, you would indeed have an inappropriate bowling ball finish, ala' Browning's commerical rifles. But there's no need for that.

Thx for the info: that dark Bag Brown (or Cow-Sheize Brown, as I called it first time out of the box..) finish will certainly look good "gone", and I like that there might be a lighter wood option lingering under the suface.
 

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Orygunar, I have been curious about this stock finish I see on my scout. If this stuff is a spray on finish, then would some sort of stripper or solvent remove it?

I have heard guys mention using some sort of wood bleach too, would that remove the spray on stuff or at least destroy the tinting since its not a sealant anyway?

Just curious as I don't like the thought of sanding as it is removing material. If it were a question of damage, yeah I wouldn't hesitate, but that does not seem to be the situation on these.
 

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m1jerm,
Once I realized I would have to redo that complete NM stock, I'm pretty sure I used CitriStrip to remove the rest of the finish. Any good paint stripper should do the job of taking it down to bare walnut. I doubt bleach would have a desirable effect on the finish itself as it is usually used to lighten the color of bare wood. As for sanding, I personally wouldn't worry much about taking off a bit of material as the SAI stocks I have handled have been pretty beefy when compared to the contours of GI wood. My scout came to me in one fat SOB of a walnut stock that would have only been appropriate on a Super Match. My opinions here are based on my experience refinishing this....1....SAI stock from a 150K serial numbered rifle. It might be that not all are done with the same tinted material or that they have used it through out their production. I have what I believe is a SAI clone of the E2 of much earlier vintage that didn't have the tint. HTH

 

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A couple years ago, I owned a SAI National Match in Walnut that had a shallow scratch on the buttstock. Thought I would sand lightly and touch up with Tung oil which would normally be no problem on any of my Garand's or 03's. Big surprise.....seems SAI uses some kind of spray on....tinted.....finish. When I sanded through it, the natural color of the Walnut came through and I ended up having to refinish the entire stock. Not what I intended but the final result was much more attractive to my eyes than the original muddy brown factory finish so I guess it worked out OK. HTH

Sir, that rifle looks wonderful. What exactly did you do to the wood after you sanded it down? (I'd like to duplicate it)
 
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A couple years ago, I owned a SAI National Match in Walnut that had a shallow scratch on the buttstock. Thought I would sand lightly and touch up with Tung oil which would normally be no problem on any of my Garand's or 03's. Big surprise.....seems SAI uses some kind of spray on....tinted.....finish. When I sanded through it, the natural color of the Walnut came through and I ended up having to refinish the entire stock. Not what I intended but the final result was much more attractive to my eyes than the original muddy brown factory finish so I guess it worked out OK. HTH
If the stock is walnut, strip the stock completely, and then brush on a coat of Raw Linseed Oil. Rub vigorously, then wipe off after allowing to sit for about 10 minutes. Over the next few days, repeat using Boiled Linseed Oil. RLO will dark and age to give the reddish brown color common to WW2 Garand stocks. BLO will do the same, however it does not age as dark nor as fast. BLO has driers added to help it dry quicker than RLO, which is why I recommend it as a top coat. Stain is not needed with linseed oil finish.
This stock was done with BLO 4 years ago when this pic was taken:

As the stock looks now:
 

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Orygunar's stock looks to me like the 'varnish/stain' from SA soaked in to the more open grained areas, accentuating the 'cathedrals' of the walnut. It almost looks like the Boyd's Nutmeg laminated stock.

But now I need to mention handgaurds that are painted to match the SA shiesen browne. My currently service rifle has one on a birch stock. I think I'm going to try to repaint with something a bit more orangey, maybe even try some faux graining on top with something like the SA brown. Or at least a spray bomb of satin black would look better.
 

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m1jerm,
Once I realized I would have to redo that complete NM stock, I'm pretty sure I used CitriStrip to remove the rest of the finish.
Can I have a few more details about that? I like what you've done and I'd like to cookbook it.
 

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Howard Feed-N-Wax is some really good stuff. I've used Citristrip before on stocks and then, once TOTALLY dry and clean, used Howard Feed-N-Wax over the bare wood. About 3 coats (with drying and buffing down in between) and it comes out really nice.
 

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I wish I had taken a before pic of this NM stock as it was radically different in appearance. Just a neutral no figure brown...kinda like a semi transparent paint. No question in my mind that SAI used a tinted finish on this particular stock but CitriStrip removed it down to the bare wood. Any grain details are not from any stain but just the natural colors in the walnut. Boyd's may very well supply SAI with stocks....don't know, but the appearance of the walnut in this NM is very similar to a couple of Boyd's Garand stocks I have worked with. Large open grained rather than the nice tight grain usually found in GI stocks. After the stripper did it's work, I applied three coats of Formby's Tung Oil Finish. I now use 100% Tung Oil as I think the Formby's is more of a varnish than oil. It's a good finish....I just prefer the look of real oil.

Thanks for the kind words guys. CAVman...I'm a big fan of gun porn myself and that E2 clone is a personal favorite. It's all GI (Winchester) on an Armscorp receiver and I'm pretty sure the walnut stock was originally from an early SAI.

 

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This is a Boyd's stock. I understand that Boyd's supplies stocks to SAI. Mine came with the dark brown, almost opaque finish that is on SAI stocks.

I removed the original finsih with a chemical stripper I got from the local box store (BizStrip I think is the brand I used, although they are pretty much all the same).

I then lightly sanded with 140 grain sandpaper and then followed that up with 200 grain paper.

Next, I lightly dampened the wood with water, allowed it to dry thoroughly, and then lightly sanded with 240 grit paper to remove the "fuzz" raised by the water. After this step, your wood will have a nice sheen all by itself with no finsih.

I then applied several light coats of stain. My stain consists of denatured alcohol mixed with dark brown Rit dye (box store again) and separately the same mixture except with dark red dye. I apply the very light, thin (mostly alcohol) stain alternately (brown and then red) by dipping a rag into it and wiping onto the stock. I apply a coat of brown and wait for it to dry (usually just a minute or so), and then apply red. I keep doing this until I achieve about what I want. This step really brings out the grain.

Rub the stock down with 000 or 0000 steel wool.

Allow the stain to dry for 24 hrs. and then brush on a sloppy, dripping wet coat of BLO. Hang the stock up and let it dry, drip for one hour. Wipe off the oil with a rag and let it dry for 24 hrs. Repeat this step at least 4 times.

This process has worked for me for many years and has turned many dull, lifeless stocks into nice looking pieces of wood.

daveboy
 

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Daveboy, that stock is very nicely done. I've been thinking about doing something to make the stock on my scout just a tad better looking, and your method looks like just the ticket.
 

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Know I'm coming in late on this one, BUT-
Felt the same way about the finish on my wood stocked Scout. DID use Tru-Oil having not had the patience for the Lindseed oil drill and it's rather extended cure time. Finish did come out glossy, but knocked some of the shine down with 0000 steelwool after a 3 week wait after the final coat.Went over it LIGHTLY so as not to cause thin spots in the finish. Used a paste wax on it following that and I am happy with it.GI2
 
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