Assuming you are working with a new gun stock or have removed the old finish from an existing stock, consider these things when finishing a tiger maple gun stock. Unlike some other types of wood, tiger maple can be tricky to finish if you’re looking for those pop-out tiger stripes to show on your finished stock. Here’s how to really bring out those tiger stripe highlights.
1. Sand the gunstock with 150-grit sandpaper; finishing with a 400-grit sandpaper till the stock is smooth.
2. Thin boiled linseed oil 50/50 with mineral spirits. Warm up a bowl of it and rub it into the entire stock to seal any holes or pores. Allow to set for an hour, then wet sand twice, wiping the stock dry between sandings. Wipe clean and allow stock to set for two days.
3. Wipe the gun stock clean and dry and then apply a heavy vinyl seal coat. Allow it to cure then sand the seal coat with 150-, 400- and then 600-grit sandpaper so it is perfectly smooth.
4. Apply a very thin 25/75 mix of linseed oil to mineral spirits to the gun stock. Rub it in and the wipe it off and rub down with the finest steel wool you can find. Allow the gun stock to dry 12 to 24 hours between applications. Apply a 50/50 second coat, followed by a third 75/25. The thin first coats will help the oil penetrate farther into the wood and bring out the natural grain.
5. Continue applying nine more coats of linseed oil at full strength till you have 12 coats. Allow the stock to dry fully; 12 to 24 hours between coats. When finished allow the gun stock to dry for a week.
6. Apply three coats of high-gloss clear coat. Allow the clear coat to dry for 12 to 24 hours between coats and wet sand with 150-, 400- and 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper till smooth. The gloss finish will help the oil finish stand out and the tiger stripes in the maple should be clearly visible.
Items you will need
- Wet/dry sandpaper, 150-, 400- and 600-grit
- Soft linen cloth
- Boiled linseed oil or nitric acid-based gunstock treatment (Aqua Fortis)
- Mineral spirits
- Vinyl seal coat
- Super high-gloss polyurethane clear coat
- Don't shorten drying times if you want the full effect of the tiger-striped wood grain.
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