How to Refinish a Gun Stock

Refinish a Gun Stock
Refinish a Gun Stock (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

One of the most attractive features of a fine old gun is the wooden stock. However, guns that are used see no small amount of abuse, and before long even the best-cared-for gun will see its stock scratched and dented. Refinishing a gun stock, however, is relatively easy, especially for those already experienced in refinishing wood furniture.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Chemical stripping agent
  • Paintbrush
  • Toothbrush or small detailing paintbrush
  • Plastic scraper
  • Washcloth
  • Clothes iron
  • Sanding block
  • Medium- and fine-grade sandpaper
  • Wood finish
  • Lacquer

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Lay out a drop cloth to catch runoff from the stripping process.

This stock needs serious refinishing.
This stock needs serious refinishing.

Unscrew the butt plate.

Apply stripper to the stock with a brush. Use either a toothbrush or a small detailing brush to get to the hard-to-reach places.

Wait between 15 and 25 minutes, as directed by the instructions on the stripper bottler.

Check the progress of the stripping by trying to move the sludge with a plastic scraper. If it comes off easily, the stripper is done. If not, wait longer.

Scrape the old finish off with the plastic scraper.

Repeat the process if necessary.

Place a wet washcloth over dents and scratches in the stock, and then even these out by pressing the wood around them with the iron.

Remove the remaining trace imperfection using the sanding block with medium-grade sandpaper. Be careful to not take off too much wood. Major dents and scratches should be dealt with by pressing, and sanding is just to touch up. Do not sand the chequering.

Chequering
Chequering

Create a smooth finish with the sanding block and a fine grade of sandpaper.

Apply wood finish with the brushes to the stock, and leave this to dry for several hours.

Apply lacquer to the stock with the brushes, leaving each layer to dry for several hours apiece. Between two and four layers will be necessary.

Screw the butt plate back on.

Sanding chequering damages it, and should only be done to remove it.
Sanding chequering damages it, and should only be done to remove it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not sand any grip chequering, unless it is intended to remove the chequering entirely.
  • Do not sand the butt of the gun at all, due to the risk of altering the fit of the butt plate.
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