DIY Easy Refinish a Gun Stock

Introduction: DIY Easy Refinish a Gun Stock

I was asked to refinish a gun stock to be used as a gift. The finish was worn and dull with scratch marks. Gun oil had stained the wood dark in spots. It needed a good refinishing. He wanted a nice gloss finish on the stock.

Tools/ Supplies needed:

Finish solvent

Steel wool #3 and 4oooo

Heavy Rubber gloves



Safety goggles

Paint thinner

Clean rags

Sand paper different grades #150 #220 #1200

Rustoleum Wood Stain

Rustoleum Water base Poly Clear finish

Safety first!! Goggles and gloves. Chemical solvent feels like ant bites or worse if you get it on your skin and can blind you if you flick some into your eyes. Cover up. I always wear an apron to strip furniture with heavy rubber gloves and safety goggles. Use newspaper to protect the surface of your work area.

Step 1: Step 1

The gun has no flat surfaces so I only used steel wool to remove the finish. Start by applying a liberal coating of solvent over a section of the gun stock. Work a section at a time. Wait a minute or so and test the area. I live in a warm climate so my wait time is short. Solvent works best in warm weather. I always try to use a thick or gelled type solvent so it doesn't act too runny. It is a little more expensive but it clings better, even on vertical surfaces. Use the #3 coarse steel wool and rub the solvent off always trying to work with the direction of the grain. Repeat with a second and third coat if necessary. Once I have worked over an area I will follow up again aith the 4oooo steel wool. It's a finer grade and will help get any missed spots. Once you have finished removing the finish wash the gunstock down with paint thinner or mineral spirits to neutralize the solvent. Let the gunstock dry over night.

Step 2: Step 2

Sand the gunstock. I used various grades to smooth it down. The grain will sometimes raise up when you strip wood. Try not to over sand to preserve the natural patina. In this case though I had to use a power sander as I was having trouble removing oil stains from the side that the solvent didn't remove. Wipe it down with a dust cloth. I keep a bag of clean t shirt rags for things like this. I then followed up with a coat of stain. Wearing disposable gloves, I brushed on Rustoleum Walnut Stain. I have grown fond of this brand because the colors are nice and it dries in about an hour, ready for finishing.

Step 3: Step 3

Time to apply the finish. Working from the butt of the gun stock up, I coated the wood with Rustoleum Clear finish. if possible, always brush with the grain. The finish dries quickly like the stain. After about an hour, I lightly sanded the stock with 1200 sandpaper to remove any dust particles. I gave it a once over again with a fresh dust cloth and applied another coat. And again. Three is what I usually apply but he wanted extra glossy so I added a fourth. I am pretty happy with the results.

Well I hope this has been helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thank you for reading my Instructable!

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    6 years ago

    This is really good work, I hope you get to do more rifles and shotguns. If you ever want to add some value to the work you do, you should also learn how to bed the bed of a wood rifle stock in fiberglass or epoxy.

    You do this so the action sits tightly within the stock of the gun. Over time because the wood is a breathing material it can change in dimension and push against or away from the rifle in place. What might of been a tight fit at the factory, might turn into a gun whose action shifts in the stock when its moved about. (Of course.. lots of guns also leave the factory never having a good fit between action and stock to begin with.) By sealing the outside of the stock so well you do a great of protecting half the stock from dimensional shift.. but you can also do one better by also bedding the inside of the stock too.

    One thing to keep in mind when you bed a stock is you need to make sure the stock does not touch the barrel. you do this because the stock will still shrink or swell in size from temperature difference, and any force on the side of the barrel will affect its accuary. the way this is resolved is to let the barrel float freely from the stock. (it will normally be able to do this since it's usually perfect and strongly attached to the receiver/action of the rifle. The test of a good bedding is to see if you can slip a dollar around the barrel, and in the stock of rifle freely.

    This is a great step to take on rifle that might get some use, or used for hunting. I'm not sure if you want to do it before or after finishing the outside of the rifle, so when to bed a stock is going to be up to you if you take interest.

    Here is a video in case you ever are interested in taking on another rifle project.


    6 years ago

    Do you have any pictures of the rifle after it was reassembled?


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thanks for the kind words. I had the gun owner remove all the parts before he brought it so I never got to see it reassembled.


    6 years ago

    Great job by the way