Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default AK Furniture Finishing

    I recently received my WASR 10/63 UF, and in the next couple of weeks, I plan to buy a pistol grip/handguard combo from Iron Wood Designs. The furniture will come bare and pretty much ready for finishing.
    I'd like to use Minwax stains, for no other reason than I have experience using them (on regular furniture like tables & chairs), so I'm sure with a little mixing I can get the color I want.
    My question is: What then?
    What type of clear coat can I use that will hold up to being wrapped around a hot gun barrel? My instict is to use spar varnish since it's marine grade and pretty much impervious to anything but years of sun bleaching.
    I've heard I could just use regular polyurethane, but how well would it hold up?
    Anyone have any experience with spar varnish or polyurethane?
    I've also heard that if I choose laminate (a.k.a plywood) parts, I have to treat them with an oil, such as tung oil, pryor to finishing. Is this true?
    I say if because they also sell straight hardwood parts... Not traditional, but I bet solid birch would look really nice!
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Sooper Jenius; January 31st, 2010 at 03:12 PM.
    "No one knows what’s next, but everybody does it," George Carlin

  2. #2
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    Default Re: AK Furniture Finishing

    Tung Oil, look for real tung oil - not the fake shiit. Stuff's like freakin clear iron.

    If you want the Soviet effect - clear shellac over your stain, thin THIN THIN coats at a time! Don't rush, shiit takes forever to dry solid if you go too thick - BTDT.

    Basic WASR on top,
    "Polish Brown" WASR in middle,
    Russian Red shellac on bottom:

    Last edited by nfafan; January 31st, 2010 at 02:36 PM.
    All of my guns are lubed with BACON GREASE.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: AK Furniture Finishing

    Treating plywood parts with oil prior to finishing is probably recommended only to "pop" the grain. It offers no additional protection if you intend to put poly over it. Keep in mind that oil dries to the touch in a few days but takes weeks or longer to fully cure. Poly over uncured oil is a bit of a mess. Shellac will pretty much stick to anything and can be put over oil even if it's not completely cured yet.

    Tung oil or boiled linseed oil can be applied by wiping very thin coats with an old tee shirt or cloth. It's a good idea to allow 24 hours between coats. Either of these oils dry to a tough finish and don't necessarily need any further finish. The nice thing about an oil finish is that once a year or so you can rejuvenate the finish by giving a quick wipe with a fresh coat.

    There are commercial finishes that contain some oil along with hardeners and driers so the finish cures faster. Things like Watco Danish Oil, Watco Teak Oil and my favorite Birchwood Casey Tru Oil which is actually made for gunstocks.

    Poly coatings are nice in that they provide a very tough finish but I don't like the fact that they essentially put a layer of "plastic" over the wood. It's just a matter of taste. Oil or oil and shellac give a natural look to the wood which I prefer.

    Disclaimer: I have very little experience finishing gunstocks (I'm working on two sets of grips now) but I do a lot of hobbyist woodworking and knifemaking and these are the finishes I use most. You can also make a hybrid finish by mixing boiled linseed oil and dewaxed shellac.

    Knife below finished with Tru Oil


  4. #4
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    Default Re: AK Furniture Finishing

    There is a post on here if you search. The guy did a great job finishing his. IIRC he used Min-wax as well.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: AK Furniture Finishing

    When I did mine, I used a Minwax stain, and just used lacquer. Than wet sand and buff.



  6. #6
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    Default Re: AK Furniture Finishing

    This was done with Minwax Red Mahagony stain and a Satin polyurethane spray clear coat. I can't comment on the durability. The wood is what came on it, Romy cheap-o stuff.




  7. #7
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    Default Re: AK Furniture Finishing

    Quote Originally Posted by Sooper Jenius View Post
    Not traditional, but I bet solid birch would look really nice!

    Im currently working on a set of SAR1 wood for my WASR that is solid Beech. Its a nice mixed set but the stock has a knot in it. Im just going to go with it and do it in Russian Red using Minwax and Rit dye for color.


    Ive got it all bleached out I just need to figure out how much stain to apply before going with the red Minwax/Rit mix as I dont want it to come out too gaudy looking.


    .

  8. #8
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    Default Re: AK Furniture Finishing

    Ironwood should/did have some "recipes" on their site. It as cradle to grave .. meaning prep to finishing it. Check it out.

    I can't add more that what was already said.
    Quote Originally Posted by GunLawyer001 View Post
    If the police could confiscate all of your guns and ammo using just one van, then you didn't own enough guns or ammo.
    WTB - NDS3 or NDS1 receiver FTF

  9. #9
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    Default Re: AK Furniture Finishing

    Thanks a bunch guys.
    I think I'm just going to go with poly since I know how to work with it and what kind of results I'll get.
    Never done an oil finish.
    Maybe after I sacrifice a chair or something for the sake of experience I'll feel a little more brave with oil.
    Thanks again everyone.
    "No one knows what’s next, but everybody does it," George Carlin

  10. #10
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    Default Re: AK Furniture Finishing

    I've refinished a few AK stocks and have had success with minwax stains and minwax wipe-on polyurethane. The key is repeated thin coats of poly for high gloss, if that's what you're going for. That stuff holds up well too. It'll burn off a little where the metal touches the wood the first time you shoot it. After that, good to go.

    Id suggest avoiding the spray on type poly coating. Tried that on a wasr once and it literally boiled and bubbled off. Burned the hell out of my hand too. It can't take the heat.

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