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refinishing walnut stock (10/22)

joewemedjoewemed Posts: 2 New Member
I've been researching a refinishing project with an old walnut 10/22 stock i just picked up. I hope not to screw it up. Any advice or if you could point me in direction of a prior thread would be greatly appreciated.    

Here are some photos of the stock. I guess the first question is whether it is actually walnut. It looks like it to me, and had an old metal butt plate.

My loose plan was to strip the old finish off with Citristrip, then gently sand to bare wood.
I'm going to use steam to try to lift dents and dings. 
I was going to apply a wood stain (maybe Varathane or a tobacco colored guitar stain) depending on how it looks bare. 
Apply several coats of Tru-oil to finish over several days. Light sanding or tack cloth between coats.

Again, any suggestions greatly appreciated.  


  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Posts: 6,114 Senior Member
    This may or may not be an issue for you, but be patient and take your time!

    I've only refinished one stock (5 or so coats of tung oil on a reproduction Garand stock) but it was definitely a case of do one step, hang it in the garage for a week, do another step, etc. 
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Posts: 8,814 Senior Member
    The early 10-22 stocks were walnut, they switched to birch stocks in the late 70's so it depends on when it was made. To me looks like birch.
    Those dents may steam out if the wood grain is not broken. You can also blend them in by scraping the area down with a cabinet scraper. 
    Leave the butt plate in place while you sand otherwise the wood will become undersized and the plate will not fit right. The edges of the but plate will hang over the edge of the stock. 
    Welcome aboard and good luck, looking forward to pics of the finished stock!!
  • zorbazorba Posts: 25,286 Senior Member
    Al beat me to it, it looks like Birch to me. If it were mine - and it isn't - I wouldn't stain it. Tru-Oil is good stuff, but take your time with it.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • FreezerFreezer Posts: 2,755 Senior Member
    Welcome. That looks like birch. You have the right idea just take your time an don't rush the dry time between coats.
    I like Elmer Keith; I married his daughter :wink:
  • Gene LGene L Posts: 12,817 Senior Member
    edited December 2020 #6
    I would definitely stain it.  I don't like light-complected rifles.  Zorba does, ask what he did to his M 1!!!  Ask, but don't look at his photos of it; once seen, it can't be unseen.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • joewemedjoewemed Posts: 2 New Member
    Well, I took my time and I'm finally done. It actually turned out better than I expected. This is basically a Tru Oil finish. The main thing I discovered (well, confirmed) is that you need time and patience. There are no fixed rules or steps; just move along and if something doesn't go right take a step back and correct it. 

    Basic steps:

    1. Used Citristrip to try to remove old finish. THIS DID NOT WORK WELL, even wrapped in plastic and left for extended periods. I scraped off what it did remove but still had a lot of old finish left.

    2.  I used my wife's clothes steamer (don't tell her) and old T-shirts to steam out the finish and raise the grain. This worked EXTREMELY well, and transferred the finish to the cotton. Much better than using the steam feature on an old iron. If you have access to a clothes steamer, very helpful.

    3. I sanded between steaming, 120 grit, 220, 440 etc. and leveled out the dings and gouges that were too deep to be raised by steam. I was too hesitant here and left some of the old marks, but they look cool anyway.

    3a. There was a deep, rotting knothole in one spot that i carefully dug out with the tip of a pocketknife. I think the preferred method is to fill it with shellac, but i filled it with a mixture of stock sawdust and carpenter's silicone then carefully shaped and sanded it in. Turned out fine. 

    4.  I considered staining with Varathane and did a test area but it looked muddy so I went with the bare wood, which I think is walnut, not birch. It was naturally darkish.

    5.  I then did a 1:1 Tru oil/mineral spirit layer first, then lightly sanded to raise some dust, then rubbed the dust into the grain with the Tru oil/mineral spirits mixture. Might have done this more than once.

    6. Slowly, over weeks, hand rubbed full strength Tru oil in very thin coats over the stock and hung to dry for about 24 hours between coats. Didn't count but probably 15-20 layers with 000 steel wool or 1000 grit between most coats to even it out.     

    7. Finished it off with a couple of coats of very thin 1:1 Tru oil/mineral spirit applied with a blue shop towel. Gave it a gloss that can be knocked back with steel wool. 

    8. Hung it to fully cure in a place I couldn't easily get to (because I kept screwing with it) for three weeks.

    9. Couple layers of BC wax. Done.   

    This was the original, which came with an aluminum butt plate. I dremeled the black paint off the aluminum plate (see above) but I haven't decided whether to repaint with textured paint or polish up the aluminum. 

    Old finish and new:

    In contrast to a boring OEM stock:

    Fun project and it looks better in person. I was so pleased with the tru oil finish that i sanded down an old nightstick and refinished that too. 

    Can't wait to do something with my Mini 14 stock next.

  • FreezerFreezer Posts: 2,755 Senior Member
    That is  very nice work. Patience pay off when your doing stock work. There is a faster method that I've had great success with, Laurel Mountain, Permalyn. You can compete a stock in a weekend with it.
    I like Elmer Keith; I married his daughter :wink:
  • NNNN Posts: 25,236 Senior Member
  • Diver43Diver43 Posts: 12,763 Senior Member
    Very nice 👍
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 7,642 Senior Member
    Good job.  Refinishing a stock is a labor of love...
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    Real nice work!
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Posts: 8,814 Senior Member
    That turned out very nice!! Looking forward to seeing your next project!! :)
    Refurbing and old gun is a very addictive hobby!! But rewarding!!
  • zorbazorba Posts: 25,286 Senior Member
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
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