Stock Refinishing Comments
There are a few things about stock refinishing in general that you should know beforehand, to avoid any unforeseen surprises. The spray-on factory finishes that have been in common use today often have dark stains incorporated into them. They tend to just sit on the surface of the wood and donít soak into it. The stains used are generally inexpensive, and due to their relatively coarse particle size, are often fairly opaque. This allows the for the use of lighter colored wood, which is often less costly wood. These dark finishes also can mask the character of the grain to such an extent that when it is removed and the wood is refinished, the owner is often not sure that they got the correct wood back. Generally, when these finishes are removed, so is the stain, because it was not applied separately to the wood before the finish was applied.
You can check to see if your factory wood is stained, and if so, to what extent. Most factory finished stocks donít have much, if any, finish applied inside the inletting, under the grip cap, butt plate or recoil pad. Simply remove the metal work, grip cap, butt plate or recoil pad from the stock and have a look at the raw wood and compare it to the color of the finished areas. You can apply a little mineral spirits (paint thinner) with a cloth to the raw wood to "wet" it slightly to see about how it will look with a natural oil finish. If your wood has a dark stain, it will be readily apparent at this time
I don't use stains, either applied before the finish or in my finishes, because when the wood is progressively wet-sanded with finish to fill the pores, sanding through some areas of the stain more than others, results in an uneven blotchy appearance. If you want your wood refinished and want it darker than nature made it, then the most that I can do is to use aniline dyes dissolved in the finish. These dyes are relatively expensive, have microscopic particles and are very transparent. Being transparent, they do not hide the character and contrast of the grain, and can NEVER be as dark as stains. So, no matter what I do to darken your stock, if that is what you really want, it will never be as dark as it was. Also, it is impossible for me to selectively darken only light areas on a stock. It pretty much has to be an all or nothing proposition. This is just a fact of oil wood refinishing. If you have any questions, or concerns, please ask before we start!