Tips on reparing/refinishing beech sought

Hi group,
I recently purchased an old military rifle, a Yugoslavian SKS with a beechwood stock. The stock is dented and scraped and I'd like to repair it. Yes, I plan on spending an inordinate time repairing a $180 rifle, but mind you I'm doing this more as a fool's errand because it amuses me.
Currently the stock is coated in what appears to be a lacquer. I plan on removing the existing finish with a combination of sanding and chemical strippers. I hear the traditional finish for gun stocks is linseed oil applied in thin coats. (What should I use to repair the dents and such? Filler?)
Any advice appreciated.
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On 4 Aug 2003 12:43:07 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Miki Kanazawa) wrote:

Traditionally, but getting rare now.
If you use linseed oil, it'll need some treatment to get it to cure. "Boiled" linseed oil has "driers" added to make it do this.
A nice recipe for gunstocks (I found it in "The Modern Gunsmith" of 1930, which is an excellent book to search out) is to use a genuinely boiled oil finish. You start with raw oil, heating it in a water-jacket cooker (I use a kitchen slow cooker), then wipe it on. Then you do it again. After a week you're getting a good build up, and the repeatedly-cooked oil is now like treacle.
With all oil finishes, apply it thin. After half an hour it shouldn't still be sticky. If you do over-do it, use some mineral spirits to wipe it down and take some off.
Oils get hot when they cure, and in the summer this is enough to make your finish rags spontaneously combust ! Throw them in a fireproof steel bucket, burn them, dunk them in water, or flatten them out and leave them somewhere fireproof.
Do some web searching - lots of resources out there on stocking and finishes. You can do almost anything, but polyurethanes look too "plasticky" and some finishes are for display or range use, not field use.

Try steaming them. Put a damp towel over the dent, then iron it. I wouldn't use filler on a stock - the stuff always pops out if you thump it. Looks ugly too.
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