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Gun Checkering and Refinishing

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  • Gun Checkering and Refinishing

    I am looking into checkering a rifle and putting a shinier finish on it. I am planning on gently sanding the entire stock, then checkering the pistol grip and forend, and putting a new finish on. Is there a need to use a stain on the checkered portion? Does this sound like a fine plan? Thanks for your help!

  • #2
    Typically the stock is refinished first. Then the checkering is cut.

    The checkered portion will get a light coating of diluted finish.

    If you try to refinish over fresh checkering, between the sanding and heavy finish, you'll have a mess on your hands.


    • #3
      I agree with Kev. I don’t checker, but I strip the old finish, sand, then mask the checkering. After I’m satisfied with the refinish, I pull the masking and put some oil in the checkering. Seems to work well.
      I cut it off twice; it's still too short
      Oregon, USA


      • #4
        I am NOT a professional gunstock refinisher, but one thing I would respectfully suggest is that you use chemical stripper to remove the old finish, and wood bleach if you have to in order to remove old stain. . You can take the wood to a furniture stripper and let them soak it in a vat for a while. That gets rid of the finish without sanding. You want to minimize sanding so as to maintain the wood to metal fit. Joe S


        • #5
          I'm not a pro refinisher either but I have a couple of books that say to use a cloth soaked in the appropriate solvent (alcohol, turpentine, paint thinner) and wipe off the old finish. Personally I shudder to think about putting a nice stock in a chemical bath and then having it thoroughly soaked with water to remove the solvent.


          • #6
            Gunstock finishing and care, by Donald Newell, starting on page 327, on refinishing carved and checkered surfaces:use varnish remover to remove old finish, if it doesn't, use a toothbrush to remove the softened finish. Make sure that all of the old finishbis removed. When this is done, proceed with the dewiskering using fine steel wool, pinched into a fine edged bundle, working carefully not to knock off the tops of the pyramids. When you apply the varnish/sealer, allow it to sit until the wood stops absorbing it, then WIPE OFF ALL THE EXCESS, using a toothbrush to remove the finish in the bottom of the grooves. I've shortened four pages down to the above. He also gives detailed instructions on using a washcoat to limit the penetration(and darkening) of stain when refinishing. Check Abe books online to find a copy.