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  #1  
Old 12-07-2012, 6:41 AM
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Default Chinese SKS Stock Refinish

I've talked about it in some of the other threads about the recent Chinese Type 56 SKS rifles, and it's finally ready to be unveiled!

First, though, allow me to slip into my flame suit... Yes, I know some of you will object to anything done to a C&R. I am not a C&R purist, but I do usually prefer to keep them as-is. In this case, I felt that the rifle was unusable as-is, and deemed that refinishing the stock was the best way to "bring it back."

Also, I am writing quite a bit, so if tl;dr then just look at the pictures.

When this rifle arrived, it was coated in thick cosmo and grime. I gave it a thorough cleaning with a Scotch-Brite in mineral spirits. This was effective in removing the cosmo, but what was underneath was a mixture of flaking shiny shellac, stained wood surfaces that readily came off on my hands, and bare, often damaged, wood. The top and bottom of the buttstock was so chewed up it was in danger of splintering.

Pics of the post-cleaning rifle:
You can see the mix of finish left here and the many gouges and dings in the wood:


It also developed an ugly haze, and denatured alcohol did not remove it or the old shellac:


After a light effort at sanding the splintering portion of the buttstock (which obviously stripped off more original finish):


I decided to use CitrusStrip to remove the old finish, which worked very well, and then lightly sanded which in addition to taking off a layer of "hairy" wood, removed the thumbnail-soft surface layer of wood that was pretty clearly degenerating. I decided against attempting to sand out all the dings and scratches and bruises in the wood, because I didn't want to go that deep. I kept it to the real problem areas and for most of it started with 180 to 220 to 300 grit.



Continued in next post...
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Old 12-07-2012, 6:47 AM
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You have a lot to learn. Sanding is taboo.
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Old 12-07-2012, 6:52 AM
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Scotch brite will take the raised grain off without removing any wood, you just lightly buff with a red pad, then hit it with a few coats of BLO if you want to darken it up some or use pure tung oil that will have less of a darkening affect but will have more of a shine
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Old 12-07-2012, 6:56 AM
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Default Continued...

Next step was to give the wood some pre-stain, which it drank up like a thirsty dog. I used Minwax Sedona Red in an effort to get close to the original finish color. It took five coats, buffing each one into the wood, at a rate of a coat a day. I think it approximates the color and character but so too might a darker stain with a bit of red in it.

Then I used Formby's Tung Oil finish (in matte). I know that this isn't a "pure" oil, and I'm okay with that. The light amount of varnish in it was a good thing in this case, as it sealed the areas that were still left with gouges to prevent any possible splintering or catching on things like a gun sock. I applied five coats, knocking each down in between with 0000 steel wool. Although matte, it was still somewhat shiny, as you'll see in the below photos taken after coat #4. Again, a coat per day...sometimes the hardest part of refinishing is having the patience!



Final step was to give it a coat of wax; I have applied two coats of Johnson's paste wax and will probably apply another and periodically recoat. The paste wax is great - you just buff it in.

The finished refinish, which is now much more usable and in my humble opinion, looks great! It retains the character of the stock with its many bruises but feels a million times better:

(The stock isn't shiny - that's due to the flash because the picture was taken indoors at night).




I hope this perhaps help some others who are deciding whether to refinish, whether the decision is yea or nay. And if you see me at the range with my rifle come on up and say hi, or give me a piece of your mind for vandalizing a collectible, whichever...I can take it...
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Old 12-07-2012, 7:16 AM
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Nice! In my opinion you made ur $250 rifle worth $350. Nice looking rifle. I don't know any collectors dying to own these SKS's in the condition their in. The color turned out well.
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Old 12-08-2012, 7:36 AM
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Here's another Calgunner who refinished his rifle; he was more aggressive with sanding than I was and used rit dye followed by polyurethane. I think his stock dye came out better than mine - more even and it seems to have penetrated the wood better, so I might suggest the rit dye method to those thinking of staining. I wouldn't recommend using poly, though - I would still finish with an oil or oil finish, but that's subjective and depends how you want it to look.
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=653747
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Old 12-08-2012, 7:40 AM
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Now ya gotta do some metal work on that rifle to complete your restoration. Looking pretty good son.
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Old 12-08-2012, 8:20 AM
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Originally Posted by 0321jarhead View Post
Now ya gotta do some metal work on that rifle to complete your restoration. Looking pretty good son.
You think so? I was going to leave it as-is for the metal. There's no rust or pitting, just plenty of bare metal (I'd estimate it's at about 50% bluing; the finish under the wood is fine, so most of the worn areas are showing).

I've not had good experiences with cold bluing, and I've never tried any other bluing method. Don't like the idea of paint on this rifle, even the high-quality ones like Cerakote, Duracoat, or Alumahyde. Those are fine for an AK but I think out of character for the SKS. Parking would be out of character as well, I think.

If I do too much to it I won't be able to treat it as a "beater" and I'll start babying it like I do all my other rifles!
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Old 12-08-2012, 8:41 AM
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Looking good
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Old 12-08-2012, 8:42 AM
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At first when i saw the thread title I was skeptical ( I always love leaving them how they are) but thats looks great!
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruinGuy View Post
You think so? I was going to leave it as-is for the metal. There's no rust or pitting, just plenty of bare metal (I'd estimate it's at about 50% bluing; the finish under the wood is fine, so most of the worn areas are showing).

I've not had good experiences with cold bluing, and I've never tried any other bluing method. Don't like the idea of paint on this rifle, even the high-quality ones like Cerakote, Duracoat, or Alumahyde. Those are fine for an AK but I think out of character for the SKS. Parking would be out of character as well, I think.

If I do too much to it I won't be able to treat it as a "beater" and I'll start babying it like I do all my other rifles!
For the blueing, use Brownell's Oxpho-blue in creme form. It works really good for cold blueing. Get the 8 oz.

http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-to...-prod1108.aspx
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:19 AM
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That looked like a piece of crap, just about like mine

Afterwards, *WOW*, that looks great!!!!
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruinGuy View Post
I was going to leave it as-is for the metal. There's no rust or pitting, just plenty of bare metal (I'd estimate it's at about 50% bluing; the finish under the wood is fine, so most of the worn areas are showing).
I would leave the metal alone. It looks fine.

I prefer to leave beat-up stocks alone but yours was too far gone, nice job on the refinish.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:56 PM
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Looks nice! I did similar you what you did on my yugo sks. Except I steamed out as many blemishes as possible then sanded. And instead of tung oil and wax I used the satin finish wipe on poly. Yours looks great! And if you go for the oxpho-blue leg me know how you like it.
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Old 12-11-2012, 1:55 PM
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Sanding is in violation of General Order #13. I've used and still do use Oxpho-blue. It beats Birchwood Casey Gun Blueing any day.
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Old 12-11-2012, 4:40 PM
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I like it and in my mind, you get a pass on the minor Bubbaing. If the stock is so damaged that it is going to put splinters into your face and hands or is literally falling to pieces, I don't think this kind of refinish is too evil.

It looks tasteful and I would not TOUCH your metal, it looks fine.
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Old 12-15-2012, 7:06 PM
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Old 01-04-2013, 8:36 AM
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can tung oil be used over stain?
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Old 01-04-2013, 8:47 AM
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Nothing wrong with a little refinishing. That stock was beat to hell and gone.
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Old 01-04-2013, 8:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdib870 View Post
can tung oil be used over stain?
It is not recommended but I have done it. Just be careful on the first coat to not rub hard at all. Once you seal the stain down its like anything else, coat coat coat. ie Formbys tung oil finish, which really isn't a true tung oil.

OP great looking SKS, nice job.
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Old 01-04-2013, 9:27 AM
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Steaming would have eliminated some of the dings and made the large ones much less evident. Otherwise, great result!
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Old 01-04-2013, 9:38 AM
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what is a true tung oil then?
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:40 AM
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don't forget the barricade coating on the metal,protects and heals the blueing..
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:44 AM
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what is a true tung oil then?
stuff that is about $50 a gallon, it can be found online.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:45 AM
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Thanks everyone for the kind words on the refinish! I have another that had a much better stock that only got oiled, so the above is my "shooter/beater." It shoots great, by the way...tons of fun.

To answer mdib's question about the oil:
True tung oil is 100% oil, and is hard to find. You can get it on Amazon and other online vendors but I've had no luck finding it at Lowes, Home Depot, or OSH.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Hope-Compa.../dp/B002V4PF3K

Most of what you find is "tung oil finish" like Formby's, which is a mix of the oil (or oils) and some varnish.
http://www.amazon.com/Formbys-30064-.../dp/B000BZZ4ZU

With pure oil, it will dry more slowly and usually requires more coats, and will often tend to wear more quickly (although you can always simply apply more). The varieties with varnish will often dry more quickly and because of the varnish will be a bit tougher, but the look will be determined by the varnish (matte, gloss, semi-gloss). It also adds a layer of varnish that wasn't original to the gun, so it isn't ideal if you want the piece to remain in its best collectible state.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stitchnicklas View Post
don't forget the barricade coating on the metal,protects and heals the blueing..
I've been using Break Free "Collector" on my C&R gun metal. Do you mean the Birchwood Casey product? Do you think it's better?
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:05 AM
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I've been using Break Free "Collector" on my C&R gun metal. Do you mean the Birchwood Casey product? Do you think it's better?
yes
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdib870 View Post
can tung oil be used over stain?
Yes!
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Old 01-04-2013, 7:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruinGuy View Post
Next step was to give the wood some pre-stain, which it drank up like a thirsty dog. I used Minwax Sedona Red in an effort to get close to the original finish color. It took five coats, buffing each one into the wood, at a rate of a coat a day. I think it approximates the color and character but so too might a darker stain with a bit of red in it.

Then I used Formby's Tung Oil finish (in matte). I know that this isn't a "pure" oil, and I'm okay with that. The light amount of varnish in it was a good thing in this case, as it sealed the areas that were still left with gouges to prevent any possible splintering or catching on things like a gun sock. I applied five coats, knocking each down in between with 0000 steel wool. Although matte, it was still somewhat shiny, as you'll see in the below photos taken after coat #4. Again, a coat per day...sometimes the hardest part of refinishing is having the patience!



Final step was to give it a coat of wax; I have applied two coats of Johnson's paste wax and will probably apply another and periodically recoat. The paste wax is great - you just buff it in.

The finished refinish, which is now much more usable and in my humble opinion, looks great! It retains the character of the stock with its many bruises but feels a million times better:

(The stock isn't shiny - that's due to the flash because the picture was taken indoors at night).




I hope this perhaps help some others who are deciding whether to refinish, whether the decision is yea or nay. And if you see me at the range with my rifle come on up and say hi, or give me a piece of your mind for vandalizing a collectible, whichever...I can take it...
Strong work! Nicely done!
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Old 01-04-2013, 7:46 PM
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nice looking sks
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Old 01-04-2013, 8:39 PM
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A lot of stains have a varnish component as a binder which would negate a true tung oils ability to penetrate the wood as desired and intended.
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Old 01-06-2013, 7:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixoclockhold View Post
A lot of stains have a varnish component as a binder which would negate a true tung oils ability to penetrate the wood as desired and intended.
Yes, some stains do have 'sealers', which you do not want in this situation, when you're trying to get the wood to absorb the tung oil.
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Old 01-06-2013, 8:56 AM
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I found minwax red mahogany stain did a pretty good job of approximating the red shellac finish on mosins. After the stain, I put on about 5 coats of true-oil letting each coat dry overnight and rubbing out with 000 steel wool between coats. The last coat of tru-oil I rubbed out wet using diesel as a lubricant until I had the dull sheen of the old shellac.
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Old 01-06-2013, 8:59 AM
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I found minwax red mahogany stain did a pretty good job of approximating the red shellac finish on mosins. After the stain, I put on about 5 coats of true-oil letting each coat dry overnight and rubbing out with 000 steel wool between coats. The last coat of tru-oil I rubbed out wet using diesel as a lubricant until I had the dull sheen of the old shellac.
That may work OK, except for the diesel smell.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:59 AM
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Ha ha, not a problem with stinky diesel. A head injury left me with no sense of smell. Any non-Tru-Oil sovent oil would work as a lubricant. Even baby oil I suppose. I found that dry steel wool left little teeny scratches. "Wet" steel wool did not. I never tried a nylon pad but that may be worth trying.
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