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12 Step De-Farbing Stock Program

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  • 12 Step De-Farbing Stock Program



    Hallo Kameraden!

    This is a brief Q & D (Quick & Dirty) “how -to” for improving the appearance of Italian reproduction firearm stocks. It is a “Quickie” method for those with less time and less desire to follow some of the other tips on “de-farbing.”

    Original U.S. “Springfield and Harpers Ferry armory firearms had stocks that were made from Pennsylvania American Black Walnut (ABW), that were dipped in period boiled linseed oil sometimes to referred to as “hard oil.” (Note: NOT modern “boiled linseed oil).

    Original British “Enfields” used Northern Italian Walnut or occasionally English beech.
    Italian reproductions use Italian hardwoods (IH) or occasionally Northern Italian Walnut (NIW) (some use beech or basswood).

    Stripping the poly finish from Italian stocks, or removing the “Italian oil,” and them reoiling with modern boiled linseed oil is a commonly accepted and often practiced so-called “de-farb” technique.
    However, for Springfields, the grain pattern and color of the NIW does not look like ABW. (Fine for Enfields, though.)

    To get NIW’s ,and to get sundry IH’s, to look something more closer to ABW used on Springfields, I recommend this short-cut, quickie technique. Please refer to the archived threads/posts for greater detail, or detail on sliming the forestock, wrist, or butt, etc.). While we are stuck with grain pattern and can at best hide it with darker stain, we can replicate color,

    Step 1. Disassemble the gun.

    Step 2. Using “Dad’s” brand stripper (in my experience, I have found this band superior to any other I have tried), or any other quality stripper, remove the poly-urethane “dip” coating, or “oil-finish“ from the stock.

    It may take 4-5 applications. I use “Dad’s” which bubbles up and can be scraped carefully with a dull knife.

    For the “oil,” I use an old towel to wick and raise the oil, as well as stock color/stain (which is often more like brown shoe polish to hide poor wood).

    Step 3. Lightly, carefully sand the wood with 120, and 220 sandpaper- being careful not to “round” crisp edges or mortising- to “open” the sealed surface of the wood. When “open,” final sand with 440 or so to remove any trace of scratches (they fill in with stain and appear like dark lines if not removed…)

    Step 4. Mix up a 50/50% mixture of Tandy Leather's Dark Brown leather dye, and lacquer thinner. Apply a test spot to the barrel channel or butt. This is to check how your particular piece of wood will react. Some wood will shift the dye to yellow ranges, others to red (a common problem if one uses “walnut” rifle stock stain, as I have a comrade with some nice red "cherry" looking stocks).

    That usually means, for your particular piece of wood, you will need more dye in the dye/thinner solution.

    Step 5. Apply a medium “coat” or application of dye/thinner, being sure to be even with no concentrations or runs. Dry stock wood will drink this in, and appear dark. Allow to penetrate into the wood for 2-5 minutes. (Wear surgical gloves unless you want brown hands...)

    Step 6. Using a piece of towel slightly dampened with lacquer thinner, gently wipe down the wood. The thinner will “lift” surplus dye and the towel will “rub off” some. This is how one controls the color, as well as “grain coverage.”

    Step 7. Repeat Step 6, twice or three times (depending upon how the wood is behaving, and how dark you want the stock to appear. Surviving originals often appear blackish, but this is due to the hard oil finish taking dirt and grime over the years, as well as from the hard oil acting as varnish- which as on oil paintings darkens and blackens with age and exposure. (Note: The color will lighten slightly when oiled, and the color will fade over time due to sunlight.)

    Step 8. Color is a tricky thing on undarkened originals as the ACW or NIW varies tree to tree, and where the wood was cut from the tree. Some will appear light, other dark. I try to find sample references in originals, or sometimes colored pictures (never exact due to camera lighting and printing), and duplicate that.

    But to hide “bad Italian wood,” I tend to go on the darker side of ABW ranges.

    Step 9. Mix up a mixture of 2 ounces of Laurel Mountain Stock Finish (not their sealer) for the “hard oil” properties, 2 ounces of Lacquer Thinner, and 1 ounce of Japan Dryer. (Half that will do for most stocks…).

    Apply a heavy coat with a lint free rag. Allow to soak in and penetrate for 2-3 minutes. Wipe of the excess. Allow to dry. The Japan Dryer radically accelerates drying time, down to 1-2 hours an application.

    Steel wool with 0000 Steel Wool to reduce grain that have popped up.

    Apply a light film with a lint free rag. Allow to soak in and penetrate for 2-3 minutes. Wipe of the excess. Allow to dry. The Japan Dryer radically accelerates drying time, down to 1-2 hours an application.

    Lightly steel wool with 0000 Steel Wool to reduce grain that have popped up.

    Apply a very light film coat with a few drops in the palm of your hand.. Allow to soak in and penetrate for 2-3 minutes. Wipe of the excess. Allow to dry. The Japan Dryer radically accelerates drying time, down to 1-2 hours an application.
    Lightly steel wool with 0000 Steel Wool to reduce grain that have popped up.

    Step 10. Most woods will now have a uniform, dull satin or “egg shell” look to them as found on originals. Do not apply further coats once this even “slight sheen” has appeared, as the 4th or 5th application may start sealing the wood under a semi-high gloss like a modern hunting rifle!

    Step 11. Using 0000 Steel Wool and oil (like 3-in-1 brand) gently work the stock to cut any excess shine or sheen. (I also rub the stock down with Birchwood Casey’s Stock Finish, which contains pumice and acts as “rottenstone” for a period slight “egg shell” sheen (look an excellent to mint original stocks for what this appears like).

    Step 12. Reassemble the gun.

    Maintenance Step. Wax the stock with a 50/50% mix of beef or mutton tallow and beeswax, and even as periodic “maintenance.”

    I have refinished stocks using this method in one afternoon of a few hours of “easy work.” (While I would recommend the better, and longer method and “mixes” found in the “de-farb” posts- IMHO this also produces a much more “period looking" Springfield and Enfield stock with little effort, little cash (cheaper if more than one comrade joins in) and little time invested… ;-)

    (Hint: Look at the originals…make your gun look like them, not an Italian reproductions!)

    Others’ mileage may vary.

    Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
    Former CW Gunmaker Mess
    Last edited by Eric Tipton; 01-11-2020, 01:09 PM.
    Curt Schmidt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
    -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
    -Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
    -Vastly Ignorant
    -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.

  • #2
    A few questions

    Originally posted by Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
    4. Mix up a 50/50% mixture of Tandy Leather's Dark Brown leather dye, and lacquer thinner.....
    Does one need to sand again here with #440 before going to step #9, or will the steel wool take care of it all?
    9. Mix up a mixture of 2 ounces of Laurel Mountain Stock Finish (not their sealer) for the “hard oil” properties, 2 ounces of Lacquer Thinner, and 1 ounce of Japan Dryer.
    Is this the Permalyn Stock Finish? That's the descriptor used when I looked it up on several sites. There seem to be as many LMF products as Internet trolls. :wink_smil
    11. Using 0000 Steel Wool and oil (like 3-in-1 brand) gently work the stock to cut any excess shine or sheen. (I also rub the stock down with Birchwood Casey’s Stock Finish, which contains pumice and acts as “rottenstone” for a period slight “egg shell” sheen (look an excellent to mint original stocks for what this appears like).
    Again, is this Casey's Tru-Oil liquid Finish?
    13. Wax the stock with a 50/50% mix of beef or mutton tallow and beeswax, and even as periodic “maintenance.”
    Finally, is this the stuff you sell in tins? It's plenty greasy and smells like a bear. :confused_
    Bill Cross
    The Rowdy Pards

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

      Hallo Kamerad!

      "Does one need to sand again here with #440 before going to step #9, or will the steel wool take care of it all?"

      No, the sandpaper will remove more wood, even 600 grit is to coarse. All one wants to do is smooth out the finish, not remove any of it or the wood underneath and the dye along with it in uneven patches due to uneven hand pressure being applied.

      "Is this the Permalyn Stock Finish?"

      Yes. "Laurel Mountain Forge Permalyn Gun Stock Finish" is its full name.

      "Again, is this Casey's Tru-Oil liquid Finish?"

      NO, different company, different product. I have found TRU-OIL to actually have too many hardeners in it so that it dries to a thick, "Baltic amber" type thick shell. I suppose it could be cut and thinned just like Permalyn Finish in the end- but I have been using Permalyn for over 20 years and have never experimented with TRU-OIL since. Again, if thinned, it should work just as well, I guess.

      "Finally, is this the stuff you sell in tins? It's plenty greasy and smells like a bear"

      No, but similar. For the Civil War, I use Ordnance Department beef or mutton tallow/beewax Minie "lube" for this; and use bear oil and beeswax for 18th century uses as I am not around livestock much back then. However, when out of the former, I have been known to lazily reach for an "on hand" tin of bear oil/beeswax.. ;-) rather than brewing up a CW batch. And since my pards get lazy and do not always want to shoot and render down a bear for oil, they often hit me up! :-)

      The dyeing part of this tip remians exactly the same whether one goes this Q & D "quickie" route, or follows the several day or week long process I shared before with blending "look alikes" for period hard oil. Even that is a Short Cut (SC). Period oil CAN be made, by gently boiling raw linseed out with some a few small limestone rocks in it to help neutralize the acids. As some of the gums and resins tend to float up, they are skimmed off and discarded- leaving a more period "boiled linseed oil." How exactly alike is it? I know of no research on chemical analysis of period oil, so I have to go on a similar process looking for the same results when applied to stocks on a small scale "home production." That is where some of the "recipes" come into play-similar product, identical functioning and appearing results.

      Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
      Curt Schmidt
      In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

      -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
      -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
      -Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
      -Vastly Ignorant
      -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

        Originally posted by Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
        "Again, is this Casey's Tru-Oil liquid Finish?"

        NO, different company, different product. I have found TRU-OIL to actually have too many hardeners in it so that it dries to a thick, "Baltic amber" type thick shell. I suppose it could be cut and thinned just like Permalyn Finish in the end- but I have been using Permalyn for over 20 years and have never experimented with TRU-OIL since. Again, if thinned, it should work just as well, I guess.
        I must be missing something, then, because the only Birchwood Casey products for stocks are under the Tru-Oil sub-brand (refer to this site, for example: http://www.gunaccessories.com/Birchw...kFinishing.asp). You mention using the Birchwood Casey product at the end because of some pumice in it, but I can't reconcile the two. Sorry if I'm being dense, but I don't want to go to all this trouble and find out I #$%&ed up a step. :confused_
        Bill Cross
        The Rowdy Pards

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

          Hallo Kamerad!

          No, the fault lies in my "flow-of-consciousness" or "flow-of-unconsciousness" writing...

          "Birchwood Casey’s Stock Finish, which contains pumice and acts as “rottenstone” for a period slight “egg shell” sheen (look on excellent to mint original stocks for what this appears like). "

          The current and correct name is not Birchwood Casey's Stock Finish" but rather "Birchwod Casey's Stock Sheen & Condtioner."

          Sorry.

          (I have also used automotive rubbing compound which is "grittier" and less forgiving of mistakes or over-enthusiast rubbing in one spot too long...)

          Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
          Curt Schmidt
          In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

          -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
          -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
          -Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
          -Vastly Ignorant
          -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.

          Comment


          • #6
            Please help! Non-gunsmith aims to refinish stock!

            Howdy,

            I have a rush stock refinishing project ahead and am seeking advice.

            A friend is lending my brother a reproduction Tower to use at a Gettysburg area event at the end of June. I have not seen the musket but it by all accounts fires reliably even though it SURVIVED HURRICANE KATRINA. Apparently most of the finish was completely washed off but the stock is fairly smooth, not weather worn like an old unpainted barn, &c.

            I was hoping I wouldn't have to completely disassemble the musket but appears from reading the 12-step process this is the best way.

            My friend isn't inclined (and we have to have this done by 24 June) to have the stock reshaped or even put the square eared washers on. Not sure what bands it has but I think he said it was an Armisport version.

            Here are some questions:
            Can this be done over a several day period or are lengthy drying times needed?

            What shade should the woodwork of an "Enfield" be? I know from looking at the stacked arms at progressive events that there is a lot of variation in taste. (Yes I'm familiar with the organ pipes photos of the Springfields.)

            I apparently don't have to strip the wood. Anything I should do to prep the stock before beginning? Not sure if the grain is raised in a prominent way from being water damaged.

            Is "linseed" from the hardware store remotely accurate? What should I be asking for? (Or, duh, just stick to the 12-step formula?) Would a linseed oil finish darken the stock after several coats or should I plan on using a stain?

            Guess I'll know more this weekend when he shows up with the musket.

            Thanks for any advice in the meantime. I will also try to navigate through the Monster Enfield folder -- if anyone can link me to an appropriate page that they feel covers the bill, that would be excellent.

            Paul All Thumbs Hadley
            Paul Hadley

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

              I'll just throw in a insignificant tidbit about the walnut used at Harpers Ferry. Early HF muskets used Maryland and Virgina walnut that grew on Maryland and Loudon Heights, which surround Harpers Ferry. This is why the mountians were bare by the time of the Civil War. Im not 100% sure when the local supply ran out, but I recall they were bringing in walnut by the 1840's. The abundance of walnut in the surrounding mountains was one of the two main reasons the gun factory was located at Harpers Ferry (the other being the water power provided by the Potomac River). Also, the location of the Antietam Furnace (source of a minimal amount of iron) a few miles up the river and the abundant coal furnaces in the Catoctin area (north of Frederick, MD) made the site attractive.
              [B]Mike Wilkins[/B]

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

                The Tandy's in our town closed a couple of years ago. The company's web site doesn't list "dark brown" dye. What do you recommend? Mahogany?

                The directions for refinishing my Tower musket stock seem straight-forward, am just having difficulty rounding up the right color with which to tint it.

                Thanks!
                Paul Hadley
                Dyed in the Blue Wool Mess

                http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/h...ture=Product_5
                Paul Hadley

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

                  Hallo!

                  Now with alcohol being a hazmat substance requiring a $25 additional shipping charge, those $4 or $5 bottles of dye are pricey to mail-order.

                  Aside from Tandy's and Fiebing's dye, I cannot think of any substitutes that might be available for everyone locally in Big City, Small Town, and East Cupcake, USA.

                  You may want to try some of the muzzleloading suppliers (such as Log Cabin Sport Shop in Lodi, Ohio) to see if THEY add the hazmat charge or not to Fiebings dye?

                  Using other dyes or stains in problematic on Italian hardwood as the wood itself can have a tendency to "shift" into the red end of the spectrum and end up looking like cherry.
                  Other dye or stain colors (even so-called gun stock stains like "Walnut") ALSO can have a problem with "going red."
                  Plus the combination of wood and dye/stain can also shift things red or reddish.

                  Curt
                  Curt Schmidt
                  In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

                  -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
                  -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
                  -Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
                  -Vastly Ignorant
                  -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

                    Yikes. They sell a Casey's walnut stain at the local sporting goods store, but I'm hesitant to put too much "stock" into it. I'll try a couple more of the hobby businesses locally to see what leather dyes they might have. A friend is helping finance this adventure and if it works as we hope, he'll introduce your method to the rest of the mess and split the cost of materials. Still, that hazmat fee really adds up!

                    So far, so good.
                    Thanks.
                    Paul Hadley
                    Next I'll Be Rebluing Barrel Brigade
                    Paul Hadley

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

                      Hallo!

                      Sorry, I have not experience with BC's water-based walnut stain.
                      Everyone I know uses alcholol-based stain, my having been taught to use leather dye by the late gunsbuilder Kit Ravenshear.

                      In my experience over the years, I have NEVER found a walnut stain, alcohol or water based I liked, and so went to various dilutions of leather dye.

                      Others' mileage will vary...

                      Curt
                      Curt Schmidt
                      In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

                      -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
                      -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
                      -Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
                      -Vastly Ignorant
                      -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

                        Hi Paul,

                        I think Curt meant the Fiebing's Leather Dye from Tandy, which does have a Dk Brown shade available

                        http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/h...ure=Product_75

                        Edit: Whoops, looks like I didn't read the entire thread. Sorry for that.
                        John Taylor

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

                          Hallo!

                          There is Fiebings, and then there is Tandy's own "house" brand.

                          Curt
                          Curt Schmidt
                          In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

                          -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
                          -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
                          -Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
                          -Vastly Ignorant
                          -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Q&D stock refinish

                            Well, lads, the famous "Katrina Gun" now has a new finish to its stock. (You may recall an earlier post that a friend bought this Armi Sport "Enfield" after it survived the Gulf hurricane a couple years ago -- the stock was completely bleached.)
                            Sorry that my photo seems a tad too red, but the color really isn't too bad and the finish is a big improvement over the rough, bare wood with which I started.

                            I spent several hours cleaning up the lock and interior parts (oops -- I loosened the screws just enough that I ended up with a pile of springs and sundry parts. Hope I got them all back in the right places!) from storm sludge, rust and yuck.

                            Rounding up the shopping list of chemicals needed for the job was a lot tougher than actually doing the work. If I had to do it again, I would have reshaped the stock a bit more and of course replaced or modified the lock plate and hammer. But this is to become a loaner musket so I concentrated on the finish.

                            I've included a photo of the materials I purchased, as well as before and after shots of part of the stock.

                            Hope that helps.
                            Thanks, Curt, for your guidance. I hope Bob likes his "new" gun.
                            Paul Hadley
                            All Thumbs Squad
                            Attached Files
                            Paul Hadley

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 12 Step “De-farbing” Stock Program

                              Curt,

                              Thanks for the tips. While cleaning my Springfield after Retreat from Bentonville, I was highly annoyed by the poor staining job I did on it five years ago. It looks like I coated the stock in @#!&% poster paint! I have some of your suggested items in my "don't drink" box down in the basement; think I'll give it a shot this weekend!
                              Brian White
                              [URL="http://wwandcompany.com"]Wambaugh, White, & Co.[/URL]
                              [URL="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wambaugh-White-Company/114587141930517"]https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wambaugh-White-Company/114587141930517[/URL]
                              [email]brian@wwandcompany.com[/email]

                              Comment

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