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  1. #1
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    Default AK-47 "Red Russian" wood refinishing tutorial (WASR)

    Alright, so as most people know, the wood that comes with WASR's are pure garbage, but with a little bit of work, you can actually make that ugly WASR into a decent looking rifle!

    What You will need:
    -Sand Paper: 80 grit, 120 grit, 220 grit
    -Steel wool: fine
    -McCormick red food coloring (this is the stain, believe it or not)
    -Polyurethane (i used Minwax wipe-on poly)
    -a clean working space
    -foam brushes
    -rags and newspaper
    -Rubber gloves (because food coloring stains and polyurethane is sticky)

    Roughly cost me $15 and about 4 days of work for much better looking wood.

    Just proof of what I started off with :P


    **I kept all of my grooves/ parts that don't show free of any stain and poly, since that would only make the fit tighter. Results may vary dependent on the condition of your wood. Also, I put (WASR) in the title because I don't know how red food coloring would affect hardwoods that come with other AK's. If you have any questions, feel free to post in this thread or send me a PM, and i'll try to help you out. **
    Okay, lets get started:

    Step One:
    ((optional)- Ive heard of some people running their furniture through the dishwasher to clean the grease off, I didn't do this and mine came out fine.)

    You are going to want to take your furniture off of your gun, remove all of the metal pieces such as the sling notch and butt pad, and sand it down with 80 grit, then 120 and finish it off with 220 grit. I used 220 grit to loosen up the grooves on my foregrips, and the front of the stock since they were a tight fit, just don't take too much away.

    Step Two:

    Pour your bottle of food coloring into a container easier for dipping brushes in, and use a foam brush to apply a heavy coat on all of the wood, let this sit overnight. The next night, you will want to run it under water real quick and give it a little wipe with a rag. Let it dry.

    Next day put several coats on, letting it dry completely in between, and after you feel that enough has soaked in, wipe it down with a damp towel and let it dry.

    Step Three:

    (Make Sure that your furniture touches as little as possible, I put the edges of my stock on scrap wood blocks, and I set my fore grips with the flat ends touching the wood, since only the inside would be touching.)
    Apply light coats of poly, sanding with 220 in between each couple of coats, letting each dry completely. I put on about seven to eight coats. Once you feel you are satisfied with the texture, rub the furniture gently down with fine steel wool.


    EDIT: more pics







    If you have any additional questions or need tips just let me know.
    Last edited by Trap9; February 16th, 2012 at 05:29 PM. Reason: more pics

  2. #2
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    Default Re: AK-47 "Red Russian" wood refinishing tutorial (WASR)

    You know - I am half tempted to do this to mine, but if anyone asks how I got that color, I'll tell them I used the BLOOD of CAPITALIST PIGS!



  3. #3
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    Default Re: AK-47 "Red Russian" wood refinishing tutorial (WASR)

    Looks awesome and turned out great!! I'm contimplating doing this to mine as well.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: AK-47 "Red Russian" wood refinishing tutorial (WASR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap9 View Post
    -Rubber gloves (because food coloring stains and polyurethane is sticky)
    In Mother Russia, Kalashnikov stains you.


    Nice job, like that color.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: AK-47 "Red Russian" wood refinishing tutorial (WASR)

    Looks good, thanks for sharing. I refinished my WASR's handguards and stock, not Russian Red, but they turned out ok. Fun project.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: AK-47 "Red Russian" wood refinishing tutorial (WASR)

    For Romanian furniture with a top coat. You will need to remove that as well. You can't rightly stain over shellac. There's an easy way and a hard way. The easy way is to grab an ammo tin or equiv. (7.62x25/x39/x54R) And put about 2" of acetone in it. (Outside) Put on some rubber gloves and roll it around in the solution. The Shellac will literally melt off leaving you a perfectly bare wood surface that only takes light sanding to prep.

    I achieved the same color with a little stain and red rit dye. Basically the same process as you used with food coloring / stain, except it only took me a few hours in one night, and the second top coat the next day. If you want to speed up the staining / drying process use a small space heater. It will cut drying times into 1/3rd's. I also recommend building a "stock holding jig" for the drying parts. It keeps you from accidently touching them when the top coat is going on.

    Something as silly as this works wonders.





    I use Scarlet RIT dye. A little Minwax red mahogany to pop the grain.
    And minwax semi gloss clear poly. You need about 4-5 coats of red RIT at 100% solution brushed on wet, and allowed to only slightly thicken - NOT DRY ON YOUR STOCK OR IT WILL CRYSTALIZE! Followed by a top coat of red mahogany stain. You only need to leave this on for 5 minutes! This will cement the color into the wood. Then you wipe it down with a clean towel, allow it to dry. Then you apply the top coat. I do recommend only gently rubbing the stain off to remove the excess. You want to leave a little more than you would if you were staining a chair, or floor. It will get picked up by the clear coat a little and add a depth of color to the shine as well if you carefully only remove the excess when you are rubbing the stain off.

    Goes on like this; Just red RIT.



    Looks like this after the stain is applied over the red RIT



    Rifle looks like this after 2 coats of poly.

    Put up, or SHUT up.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: AK-47 "Red Russian" wood refinishing tutorial (WASR)

    Great info on this thread!
    "I quote no authors but God and experience" Principles Osteopathy

  8. #8
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    Talking Re: AK-47 "Red Russian" wood refinishing tutorial (WASR)

    Here's another picture of the WASR that I had on my phone Trap9. The kitchen light makes the finish look a little weird but whatever.



    You're welcome!
    Last edited by Subverto; March 14th, 2011 at 06:08 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: AK-47 "Red Russian" wood refinishing tutorial (WASR)

    Wow it came out beautiful, good job. I might try the same when I get my AKM. I wonder how much it would cost to buy the grip/stock with this finish though?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: AK-47 "Red Russian" wood refinishing tutorial (WASR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmodeus6 View Post
    I use Scarlet RIT dye. A little Minwax red mahogany to pop the grain.
    And minwax semi gloss clear poly.
    I used these instructions with awesome results.
    If anyone wants to do the same, I can provide everything needed for free if you're local (Lower Bucks County) and wanna pick it up. Otherwise it'll just sit and collect dust in my garage... and eventually all go bad. Save you some bucks.

    Even the foam brushes and sand paper.

    PM if you want.


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