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Some hardwoods have so much natural oil in them that they will not absorb BLO or any other kind of oil. Cocobolo and rosewood are two that won't take any oil. You may get a very thin coat on the surface which will need to be replaced frequently on something that gets a lot of handling. People who work a lot with Pau ferro (ironwood) have taught me that the only thing you can use to finish or darken it is brown Kiwi shoe polish. It really works very well but needs regular reapplication. On something like checkered wood you would need to use a toothbrush to get it on and buff it off.
 

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U. S., Trapdoors, Krags and '03 Springfields as well as British rifles of the first half of the 20th century were finished with raw linseed oil rather than boiled linseed oii. I'm pretty sure that walnut used in M1 and M1 Carbine stocks were also finished with raw linseed oil.

Most folks don't want to wait on raw linseed oil to dry so go with the boiled linseed oil which has added drying agents.

Raw linseed oil is all that I use on finishing or rehab'ing a rifle stock or on handgun stocks. Raw linseed oil is the same thing as the flax seed capsules sold on the heath remedy shelves. The capsules are handy applicators. I don't mind the 4-5 days drying time between applications and I love the results. Touch up on a subsequent ding is easy with the raw linseed oil because it blends well.

Here are some photographs. Rehab'ing a sporterized No. 4 Mark 2 with a replacement stock set and refinishing grungy stock on a Remington Model 511. The narratives are taken from older posts I put up on some firearms forums.

Enfield No. 4 Mark 2

Here it is with the ugly cut-down stock, stained some orang-y color and polyurethaned, all slick and snotty.




Look Ma, no import marks! No. 4 Mark 2's aren't so common anyway and ones not having import marks are even less so.


This stock set is a sickly gray hue. When wiped with an alcohol damped cloth though it turns a lovely warm brown. I think the oil finish will be just right without any staining.


A sneak preview of the difference made by an application of the raw linseed oil. I just laid the hand guard out my wife's black compost bin, allowed it to warm in the 91F sun then applied the oil.



It's seen here just after I finished hand rubbing it using two fingers. No stain was used. One capsule, split across the end is enough to cover the hand guard including a healthy coat to its underside and makes a good applicator if one takes care not to squeeze it too hard. Leave it to lie in the sun for 15 minutes then wipe off all excess oil you can with a cloth.

Compare the oiled rear hand guard with the unfinished front hand guard. The hue looks exactly the same as that on both my Krag Jorgensen from 1894 and Rock Island 1903 Springfield from 1913. Both still have their original stocks. I thought it looked a bit reddish for a proper Enfield stock. Most of the No 4 Mark 2 stocks found on internet examples of the rifles are quite blond. Perhaps post World War II they used a different stock finishing process. An internet search of several sites that give data the original stock finish used for Enfields including the No. 4 Mk 2 finds that the Brits used ... raw linseed oil.

The steamed places where a couple of dents were raised have been sanded and the stock parts have been left to warm in the sun while I posted this so I'm going out to give the rest a coat.

15 minutes after the first coat, most oil had soaked into the thirsty wood in the hot sun as evidenced by the whitish appearance behind the bottom of the wrist of the stock.



Here's the second coat after it had soaked in for about 15 minutes and just before I wiped off the excess. This morning the wood is still tacky to the touch so we'll wait a few days until it hardens some more.




The front handguard was of some different species of wood from the rest of the stock set. Probably should strip it off and attempt to stain it to match. I imagine that rifles in service were commonly seen with off color wood components so am going to leave it alone for now.


Action area, barrel channel and all other interior areas were treated to an extra helping of oil to help seal the wood. These will just stay sticky/tacky for a while but will finally cure.


Forgot to mention that before oiling, I relieved the stock a bit where the barrel rests out near the fore end tip in an effort to see if an accuracy improvement may be gained. If not, then I'll fix a slice of business card in place there to see if pressure helps accuracy.



It took 11 months but the No. 4 Mark 2 is finished. One thing about it, the raw linseed oil is certainly cured. It turned out a pretty nice rifle. I don't keep large quantities of loaded .303 ammunition on hand but have lots of cartridge cases and several hundred bullets of various styles including some 174 grain boat tail spitzer FMJ from the UK courtesy my Yorkshire friend. I can handload ammunition as required. I'm hoping to get it to the range in the next week or two for a session over the bench rest. Here it is all kitted out with its post-war green web sling and Mark 9 bayonet and scabbard. Also shown is some period 1952 Kynoch Mark VII ammunition. The rifle might actually make a good stand-in for duty if we had "the societal breakdown" that is commonly discussed on some firearms forums.

 

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Remington Model 511

What's up with this? Nice walnut on old 500 series rifles? Serendipity in a rifle stock. How often does that happen?

A Model 511's lived in the gloom of the back row of the safe neglected. I was applying a little raw linseed oil to a few stocks, taking advantage of the August heat in this part of Texas so thought to clean up the rifle's stock while I was at it.

The rifle's nothing to write home about. It has a fine bore, an outstanding trigger for the breed, and a grooved receiver and its "LB" code indicates a February of 1955 production date. I was interested in it because of the grooved receiver, good bore, and the nice trigger. It's just ... ugly. Metal not crusty with rust but turned brown with the odd spotting here and there. The stock was thick with grime and was just ... brown. No wood figure or grain showing.

Cleaned the stock with mineral spirits and denatured alcohol. After wiping away the initial application of mineral spirits some actual wood showed through and I thought to photograph it. Wish I'd photographed it from the start for a true "before and after."

The layer of grime initially penetrated.


Cleaned and prepped.


Raw linseed oil being applied.






I didn't intend to do any sanding and filling, but rather only clean the stock's surfaces. That ugly scratch down the left side of the stock just dissolved with the cleaning. Fortunately it didn't go through to the wood, but was only cut into the build-up of "yuck." The stock's surfaces were fundamentally sound and could have easily been given a fine finish. I'm staying the course charted though and only oiling the surfaces for now.

The rifle would look really weird with a fancy stock attached to a shabby barreled action.

How often do you folks here on the Forum encounter nice wood on plebeian .22 rifles?


Just buttoned up the rifle in its stock. It's still a sow's ear, but it's got a cool stock.





A realistic look at the steel surfaces of the barreled action finds little to recommend it.
 

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I put 3-4 coats of BLO on these stocks back in the late 1970s. I buffed them between each coat. It's probably had 2 or 3 more over the years. I don't carry this revolver often now, but it still looks pretty good.
 

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Remington Model 511

What's up with this? Nice walnut on old 500 series rifles? Serendipity in a rifle stock. How often does that happen?
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A realistic look at the steel surfaces of the barreled action finds little to recommend it.
Love the wood. We've restored a few ol' 22's like that, (and even used the broken window-glass trick). It's how I know well that Oxpho Blue (I prefer the gel) will work perfectly well on the metalwork. Sand and wool that sucker and go. Hell, you could even get it bead or sand-blasted for a nice effect, first.
 

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I agree with the posts above about Tung oil. I learned about it from Haken Pek, and have had all mine that were custom made done with pure Tung oil since. Takes longer, is a bit more labor intensive, but produces a lasting and beautiful finish, doesn't darken with time (at least mine haven't) and sheds water pretty darn well IMO.
 

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Early M1 Garand's were finished with linseed oil. Later production used tung oil. Tung oil is a superior protectent.
FWIW - Minwax Tung Oil Finish looks very much like pure tung oil when dry but is vastly superior to either linseed or tung oil for water, skin acids, etc. protection.
 

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Pure Tung Oil seems to be regarded as better than Linseed, Tru-oil or the Minwax or similar versions.
SgtV only used Tru-oil decades ago on 1911 slabs and we are now thinking of just pure Tung Oil on the current run of 1911s, X frame grips and long gun stocks.
Always interested in factual results with other possibilities.
thx
RT
 
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