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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a birch stock for a Remington 78 Sportsman that is really a 700 short action. Anyway, I had it renbarred to 284 Win. I have want to shoot it in the original stock until my Mc Millan stock comes 6 months. So, I want to redo the birch. Is a gel safe stain the way to go with a oil base sealant?
 

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Keep a can of mineral spirits and a rag handy. And, go for it!

Birch can be consistent, it can also have soft spots in it that come out blotchy and dark. If you hit a soft spot and it gets blotchy before it dries, wet the rag with mineral spirits, and rub some of the stain back out of it. I've refinished a few Birch stocks, couple model 60s in fact, that turned out really nice using gel stains on Birch. Rattle canned polyurethane for finish, it's tough, durable, easy to apply, and affords you a choice of gloss or flat.
 

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FWIW, I redid a birch stock on a M99E several years back. I always thought that walnut or mahogany stain on plain wood looked bad, so I went with a more "blonde" look. I completely stripped the old finish off, sanded and decided on 2 or 3 coats of yellow shellac (easy to work with). For a finish coat I used a satin poly on top of the shellac. It turned out great. I've used poly as a final on several stocks that I've done and it's the easiest and best way to get what is virtually a weather-proof finish. I have stocks that I did like that 20-25 yrs ago that still look like the day I finished them.

Good luck.

Here's one I stripped and then just did clear polyurethane on it.

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As far as a sealant is concerned… I have had great luck with Minwax Antique Oil Finish. Comes in a red can. You rub it in by hand. The more coats you put on, the shinier it gets. Makes it easy to tailor to individual taste.
 
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If you use one of the oil-based finishes (there are several to choose from) and don't stain then you will always be able to repair or touch up to match. My favorite is MinWax Tung Oil Finish. It is not simply tung oil. It contains more than just tung oil and it is great for firearms. I found out about it from CMP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys. I'm not much of a wood finished. Just want to shoot this custom made rifle and not wait over six months for a custom Mc Millan stock. Here is my project so far. Need to get the Badger recoil lug straight and torqe the barrel. Then mill out the slot in the stock for the thicker lug. Last is finishing the stock to look decent.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm kinda at wits end of what to do not being a wood man. I'm thinking Minwax gel Antique Maple and whatever sealer coat someone here suggests. Help me!
 

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I'm kinda at wits end of what to do not being a wood man. I'm thinking Minwax gel Antique Maple and whatever sealer coat someone here suggests. Help me!
You'll get lots of suggestions here. Those who have done a couple stocks and been happy will recommend their favorite. I refinished my first gun stock about 50yrs ago.

A M370 Win single shot shotgun. Birch stock. Stripped, medium walnut stain and poly top coat. Between then and now, I refinished a couple trailer trucks full of furniture (my Dad owned a refinishing business) and I'm not sure how many rifle stocks.

You're best top coat BY FAR is a poly varnish, brush, spray or wipe on. Be sure to pick gloss or satin for your tastes.

Good luck 👍
 

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Gel stain is the way to go on Birch, the soft spots I mentioned earlier will suck up liquid stain like a sponge if present. It penetrates deep, and it's hard to pull back out. Gel on the other hand penetrates more slowly, and if you hit an area that sucks up stain, that makes working an even finish out of it all that much easier.

Were you playing with some real nifty walnut, or even plain walnut with a nice grain contrast where an oil finish would make it pop, it would be different. If it was a nice tiger striped or birdseye maple you were playing with, it would be different. If you were going to keep this stock on the gun for ever and ever, it would maybe be different. But, it isn't walnut, or maple, and you're going to shoot it for a few months, then take it off and stash it on a shelf in the closet, where it is likely to remain for a long long time. Therefore it isn't worth the effort involved in hand rubbing an oil finish on it, because even with an oil finish it's still subject to look like stained birch, and it's going to inhabit the closet shelf in a few months no matter what it looks like.

Find yourself a wire coat hanger to butcher, cut and bend it to hook in a screw hole in the stock, hang it from the clothesline, rafter in the garage, floor joist in the basement, a tree branch, whatever gives you lots of light and room to work, and spray a couple coats of Poly. It'll look nice, it'll be very durable, and it'll be a whole lot less work sitting on the shelf in the closet, when you get your McMillan Stock. Give it a few days to cure, find some cheap furniture polish, the kind that causes waxy buildup, not Pledge, and rub a good coat of cheap furniture polish into it, to finish sealing it.

And, since you infer you aren't much of a wood guy... Strip the finish, sand as little as possible, you do need to run over it all lightly with sand paper to open the grain up for stain. Exercise great care along and around the stock lines. Especially the butt plate, real easy to round the edge over there when you run off the stock. Stick with 200 and 400 grit, sand lightly with the grain.

If it doesn't work out like you want it, go shoot the ugly out of it, strip it down and redo it again next week. Long as you don't sand hard and heavy, you can redo one several times without hurting anything, and this one is destined for the closet shelf anyhow. I had a few I refinished 3-4 times before I found what I was looking for in them. Don't be afraid to try, and don't give up; you can do it!!
 

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Whatever way you decide to go, once you think you're all done and the stock has cured a couple of days, buff it up by hand with some wetted rottenstone. Yes, with your hand. That will really make it POP!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow! rocky1! Nice article written on my stock. This is what I will do with other recommendations by others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you everyone again and especially, Rocky1 for the nice article he written for me. I've been busy working 11 hour days and just haven't had a chance to get back to this thread. Anyway, I am going to start on the birch stock this weekend. I also have a walnut stock for the same gun I came across the other day. Also, I just got back a Rem 700 with a custom 338-06 barrel job. I plan to refinish that stock as well. I guess I will learn on these three and not worry. I have new ones arriving within the year.

If I get time, I will need to post a thread of theses custom rifles along with pics and range report. Working over 60 hours a week allows me to afford these projects, but doesn't give me much time to work on them.

Good shooting guys!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
.We.ll, started stripping today. So far so good on the birch and walnut. I just don't understand how you guys wipe away so much goo and make everything turn out alright.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok, think I got all the finish off the birch and the walnut stocks. What should I use to clean off dusty residue and minor caked residue in hard to reach places? Mineral spirits, alcohol, acetone?
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