P.O. Box 52,  Crown Point, IN 46308

Permalyn Gun Stock Finish


Old Wood
Make sure all metal and plastic parts are removed from the old stock. Remove all of the old finish with a quality commercial paint stripper. If you are refinishing an open grained wood such as walnut, try not to strip the grain filler out of the larger wood pores. Once the stock is stripped and dry, thoroughly examine the surface for surface blemishes, repairing any scratches and dents that you may find.

Sand the surface lightly with succeedingly finer sandpaper grits. Always sand with the grain. Start at 180, then progress to 220, 280 and then final sand with 320 grit. The next step is to vacuum the stock thoroughly. Any areas of checkering or incised carving should be gone over carefully with a fine, soft-bristled brush to remove any residual sanding dust. If desired, stain with Antique Wood Stain and allow to dry.  Now follow the instructions for finishing New Wood.

New Wood
For maximum durability when finishing firearms, a penetrating sealer should be applied before the application of the final finishing coats. Please refer to our instructions for applying Permalyn Sealer.

After the last coat of sealer has dried, you are now ready to apply the finish coats. Permalyn Gun Stock Finish was designed to build more rapidly than the sealer. It also has some unique drying properties that allow it to be applied by hand, like an oil finish. The instructions included with Permalyn Gun Stock Finish are only for general application. The instructions detailed here are much more detailed and give a comprehensive application method. This by no means is the only way Permalyn Gun Stock Finish can be applied. If you feel more comfortable using a varnish brush for application, by all means go that route. Just be careful to apply the finish very sparingly.

We prefer applying finish in the following manner, as it gives me more control of the application process. The finish is applied straight from the can, without reduction. Apply the finish to a small area of the stock, by daubing the finish evenly over the surface. We use our fingers, but a soft lint free cloth would work just as well. The secret is to apply just the right amount. You are trying to build the finish up in the wood, not pile it up on the surface.

Apply the finish to one side of the butt first, distributing it evenly by rubbing lightly with the fleshy part of the palm of your hand. Initially rub briskly, with moderate pressure. At first the finish will feel slippery and oily, but as you continue to rub you will feel the friction warm the stock and the finish start to dry. At this point begin to relax the pressure, until finally you are only lightly skimming over the surface. If you were to grab the stock at this point you would be able to mar the surface, so some care is required in handling. If you find you have marred the surface with a fingerprint, palm print or other type of surface damage, just add some additional finish to the damaged area. The damaged spot will be re-dissolved allowing the area to be smoothed again. Once you get an area covered, move on to an adjacent spot.  Work on one side of the butt first, then the other. Next, finish the comb, wrist and then finish up with the forearm. Remember, the finish is still tender at this point. Do not touch the surface until the finish has dried more thoroughly. As when applying sealer, applying some finish to a glass plate and placing it near the stock, will give you a good idea of the degree of cure on the stock itself.

After the first coat of finish has dried sufficiently, usually about 3 hours, apply another coat in the same manner. Repeat this process of applying a coat of finish, until you can see the finish start to build up on the surface. The point that this occurs is determined strictly by experience and judgment. The best indication is when the gloss level starts to build and the small wood pores appear to be filled. The number of coats it takes is dependent on your technique and how porous the wood is. On a maple stock it typically takes only one or two coats.

Once the finish starts to build on the surface of the stock, it is important that the surface of the stock be smoothed lightly between coats with 0000 steel wool. This serves not only to level the surface and remove any imperfections, but it also enhances the adhesion between coats. After steel wooling the stock, vacuum the surface carefully to remove all traces of the steel wool and the dust from the smoothed finish.

When you apply the first couple of coats of finish it is not usually necessary to roughen the surface. The first couple of coats of finish are still mostly filling the wood grain and do not need to be smoothed by steel wooling.

At this point you need to proceed carefully. It is important that you take care to apply the finish as evenly as possible. The previous coats were mostly used to fill the remaining large-scale wood pores, and you were able to get away with less care in your application techniques. The remaining coats are what the eye will see as the final finish on the stock. The extra care you take at this point will pay off in less effort needed to smooth the cured finish and a generally more pleasing job. Also be careful that the finish does not build in any of the checkered areas or next to relief carving. Using the same technique you used with the sealer, go over any checkering or incised lines with a soft-bristled brush, to lightly smooth away any of the buildup. After brushing the area, re-smooth the surface with hand rubbing if necessary.

It is also important not to be too aggressive in the use of the steel wool. If you are not careful you may wind up removing too much finish. You only need to steel wool enough to smooth the finish. Remember, the finish at this stage is still not fully oxidized. It is cured enough to handle and process, but not enough to take hard abuse. However, within 24 hours the finish becomes much more difficult to smooth, so don't wait too long after the 3 hour cure time to start smoothing.

As the gloss on the stock starts to build, you will notice it is taking on the appearance of a nice hand rubbed oil finish...which is exactly what you are applying, except you are not using a drying oil. When you hand apply a finish in this manner, whether it is oil or varnish based, you very slightly roughen the surface as you hand slides over the surface. This gives the surface of the stock that soft luster that we all love so well.

Once you have filled all the grain on the stock and you are satisfied with the overall appearance, you need only apply the final smoothing coat. This coat fills the remaining surface scratches and gives you the final gloss. For the final coat, we like to use Permalyn Sealer, as it dries a little slower and does not build as fast as the Permalyn Finish.

If you have been happy with the gloss you have been getting prior to steel wooling, continue in the same manner, applying a smooth coat of sealer by hand rubbing. Since you have already built the finish to the desired level, you are only trying to fill the remaining surface imperfections from the steel wooling operation and adjust the final gloss. Permalyn Sealer and Permalyn Finish are made from the same polymer base, so by using sealer as the final coat you will not lower the overall durability of the finish.

If you want a higher gloss, apply the last coat with a lint free cloth pad. Since you are not roughening the surface the gloss will be quite high. Make sure you apply this coat with care, as the tendency is to apply too much with a cloth applicator. Remember, since this is the final coat, the pad must be totally lint free. Any lint that comes off the pad will remain in the finish.

Those of you who have worked with hand rubbed linseed oil finishes will be familiar with the finishing technique we have been describing. The application method is almost identical, except that you will not have to wait for days to apply additional coats. If you have never tried this technique, try it on some scrap wood first, even an old piece of pine will work fine, to get a feel for the process.
When applying Permalyn Gun Stock Finish in this manner, you are able to control build up very easily. The amount you apply per coat is less than you would be able to apply by brush or spraying. This results in a smoother finish. Remember, you are only trying to apply enough finish to fill all the wood pores, with a minimal surface buildup. The finish should be abrasion resistant enough to withstand heavy field usage without having to resort to a thick coating to achieve it.

The total time it takes to finish a stock, using this method, will naturally be dependent on a number of factors:
        1. The species of wood and its porosity
        2. Environmental conditions
        3. Technique of the stock finisher

Typically we have found that most people are able to start applying sealer to a stock on Friday evening and have it completed by Sunday night. This does require diligence on the finisher's part. After the first overnight coat of sealer, subsequent coats of sealer or finish need to be applied in 3 or 4 hour intervals.
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