This is what will give the wooden stock longevity and enhance reliability.
The object is to seal moisture out of the stock. We will stabilize the
wood by sealing it. The more moisture in the wood the more the wood will react
to temperature change causing stress on the barreled action, thereby causing
precision to suffer. Of coarse sealing the wood also helps protects it from
the deteriorating effects of weather. There are other sealers but
or modified tung oil is the usual choice for sealing a gun stock and filling
its grain. The last rifle I finished I used a product called
Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish
. It is a tung oil product that was recommended to me and I do
like it. I was not able to find it locally but the fine people at Waterlox
quickly sent me a quart C.O.D. at my request.
Great American Gunstocks
offer some other good tung oil products specifically for us.
It is important to realize that upon sealing the stock any moisture currently
in it becomes locked into the wood. For this reason, I advise not applying a
while the ambient atmosphere is or has recently been high in humidity. Rainy
days are not good here and, in fact, I would place the bare stock in a warm low
humidity area for some time before applying a sealer. If too much moisture is
allowed to be trapped inside the wood it could cause grain to open and
disfigure the finish during periods the firearm is subjected to hot dry weather.
For me, sealing the wood is the easiest and one of the most enjoyable parts of
finishing a stock. Now finally the basic color(s) and figure of the grain will
be exposed. We do not have to worry about getting the sealer on smoothly or,
except for non-wood parts permanently attached, wiping it off. We do want the
sealer to be
and to apply it to
areas of exposed wood. This means that we will dilute the sealer so that it
will penetrate deep into the wood and that we will apply sealer to all the
stock including (if possible) areas that grip cap, butt plate, etc. attach to,
barrel channel and action area and inside holes that sling studs reside. The
stock must be sealed. Areas of glass bedding and factory bonded parts such as
grip cap and forend tip are already sealed by the bonding.
Before sealing the wood you may know whether the stock is to be (glass)
. Although not essential because areas to be bedded are roughed before
bedding, if the stock had not yet been sealed, I might elect to bed the rifle
before sealing the barrel channel and action area,
thereby allowing the bedding compound to soak into the grain. The
rest of the stock should be sealed and filled before bedding. This keeps the
epoxy that pushes out during the bedding process from soaking into unwanted
parts of the stock thereby discoloring it. Even though it is wiped off as it
is exposed it will still penetrate into the wood if no protective barrier is
present. The epoxy bedding will seal the wood and
should be applied to the surface of the finished bedding. Sealer contacting
bedding should be wiped away.
all inletting joining the bedding.
The stock should be clean of dust or whatever before applying the sealer. If
you used steel wool on the stock, be sure no fibers were left behind. Those
little buggers get in everything they can find. If you miss any now you'll
find them after the final coat of finish has been applied.
To seal the wooden stock you will need mineral spirits, tung oil, a small
container to mix the two and a small clean brush or lint free cloth. This part
is easy and fun. Mix 4 parts mineral spirits to 1 part tung oil. A little
more mineral spirits is not bad but more tung oil is. Seems too thin? You
want it to be. Get that oil deep. You can apply another after this one dries.
Replace the cap to the tung oil container soon as it thickens quickly and you
will need it several times again for
filling the grain
. Saturate all the stock you can but only once. Do not put more on a little
later but do check to see if any spots were missed. Periodically turn the
stock for gravity to help deepen penetration on all sides. Let the stock cure
at ambient room temperature in a dry ventilated place for at least one full
day. Two days is better. Do not allow the fresh stock to be subjected to direct
sun light or try to hurry the drying process by heating it. Enjoy the beauty
of the wood that the oil has begun to bring out and inspect for areas
that need more work (a missed sanding mark, whatever) and correct them before
applying more sealer or finish. If, after the sealer has dried, you decide to
do another coat keep it diluted as described above. The wet sanding procedures
that follow will also help to seal the stock, however, the deep sealer coat is
essential to stabilizing the
You can extend the life of your oil by putting small clean
into its container in order to evacuate excess air.