• Stripping old stock finishes

  • 20 November 2014 by 0 Comments

This is a process for stripping old stock finishes before refinishing.  This technique will work for oil and varnish finishes, it will not work on the Browning and Weatherby type finishes from the 1960’s- 1980’s. The gun in this case is an original Marlin m-39.

The first thing to do is to pull the wood from the gun and remove any stock hardware such as butt-plates and sling swivel bases.

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First is to use some commercial chemical finish stripper.  Zip-Strip is a popular brand. Follow the directions which usually involve cover the stock for half an hour to an hour with the slop. Keep it wet and check on it every fifteen minutes or so. After the old finish liquifies, use some 0000 steel wool to wipe the mess from the wood. Do this several times. You could also use a knife blade or hard piece of plastic to ‘scrape’ the mess from the surface of the wood.


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Once you get all of that mess off of the stock, then chunk it into a bin full of lacquer thinner ( acetone will work too).

Allow it to soak for at least 8 hours, overnight is better. You can turn it occasionally.


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While it is soaking a good idea is to cover the bin with some aluminum foil in order to keep the chemicals from evaporating. Once done soaking be sure to save the Lacquer thinner because you can use it over and over.


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Before you pull the wood out to dry, use a tooth brush with stif bristles to clean out both the checkering and the inletting.

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Here you can see just how clean this leaves to wood and how there is no accumulated dirt and crud in the checkering..and how clean the inletting is.

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