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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a nice set of revolver grips (fancy walnut) that are finished with hand rubbed linseed oil. I would like to remove that finish but don't know the appropriate process. Since I have over $220 invested, I prefer to do it correctly. I'm afraid my expertise is limited to the use of varnish remover with a brush.

A recent post by IDShooter showed beautiful results with Tru-oil which I will use, but I could use suggestions on removing the old finish and preparing the wood for the new finish. The grips are sized for my hands, so I don't want to remove any more wood than absolutely necessary.

Dan
 

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DOK,
    Man, you scared me with that $220 thing, that's more than my whole rifle cost ! <!--emo&:)--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':)'><!--endemo-->
    But anyway, I am not really an expert on the removal of old finishes and the fact that yours are custom walnut grips makes me really shy about giving advice. I BELIEVE that linseed oil soaks into the wood and hardens there below the surface, thus the only way to remove it would be to sand it I would imagine. I think El Lobo was a cabinet maker - perhaps he knows more about removing finishes? All the stocks I've refinished have had varnish or urethane finishes so I honestly don't know the answer to your question. Sorry!  ID
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #3
IDShooter,

Thanks for the response. You hit on the exact concern I have, "I BELIEVE that linseed oil soaks into the wood and hardens there below the surface, thus the only way to remove it would be to sand it". This finish is hand rubbed which I suspect makes it even more likely to "soak" into the wood.

Oh well, we'll wait and see if there's an answer. I suspect there may be folks out there that are shaking their heads and saying, "This guy ain't got any problems, let me tell you about real problems!"

Thanks again,

Dan
 

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Dan,

Give me a day or two to talk with my father-in-law. He knows wood like John Browning knew guns. If anyone can help, it'll be him.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #5
Bill,

Be it good news or bad, would appreciate it very much.

Dan
 

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Nawth East Moderatah
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DOk
 I am by no way a craftsman, but I do perform woodworking in my makeshift shop I setup in my detached garage.  I dabble building some furniture and, on occasion, have refinished several stocks[yes, my own also] for friends and the local P.D.'s Honor guard.
 Short of sanding, you have to try to release the finish from the wood, not the wood from the finish.  I have in the past used "zip-strip" for real basket cases, but have found that Acetone will remove ALL finishes, including WWII era oil finishes from some martial arms I have restored.
 The important point in removing the finish in not to 'lift' or disturb the grain; After all that is where the beauty of the wood truly lies.
 The process I use is saturating a cloth( I use infant's cloth diapers) with the acetone and working with the grain, rub, then rub harder!  You'll be able to see the finish being removed.
 Sand only if you have to, depending on the condition of the wood's surface.  Different grades of steel wool have worked better for me.  After the wood is prepared to your satisfaction, the finish is up to you!
 My  M1 carbine finished out to the point (not bragging) that it appers to be a presentation grade firearm.  If I had a camera I'd post the pix.
 Hope this helps!             Be Well!
 Chris..
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #7
m141a,

I just finished watching "One-eye'd Jacks" with Marlin Brando (before there were two of him) and am too wound up to tackle anything requiring careful consideration tonight. I mean, that was back there when men were men and six guns were blazing.

I'm relieved to hear I can lift the finish and sure don't plan on getting close to a piece of sand paper. Thanks for the help.

Dan
 

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Dan,

Just got a reply from my father-in-law. Here it is verbatim:

LISTEN TO M141A. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE EXISTING FINISH? IS IT DIRTY? I WOULDN'T USE A URETHANE ON A SET OF GRIPS, ESPECIALLY WALNUT. THE OIL FINISH "DOES" PERMIATE THE WOOD CELLS AND SOLIDIFIES AS HE SAID MAKING IT AN EXCELLANT ,YET REPAIRABLE FINISH. I PERSONALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT THE ACETONE WOULD DO TO WALNUT BUT I WOULD TRY IT ON A TEST PIECE FIRST. AMMONIA MIGHT HELP WITH A LITTLE SANDING BUT WOULD DARKEN (SLIGHTLY) THE PATINA OF THE WOOD. DON'T USE AN ALCHOHOL ON THEM OR STEAM THEM. I WOULD LIGHTLY SAND THEM, RE-OIL THEM AND THEN "STEEL WOOL" THEM WITH  0000 TO SEAL THE PORES.
 

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Let me just clarify a little bit:ACETONE WILL REMOVE ANY AND ALL FINISH!
 1}Think about it B4 you start, cause once you do there's no turning back.  the acetone will ruin the finish as it stands now,Completely removing any protection the oil rub had afforded.
2} It will not harm the grain,or change the color or hue.
 3}It WILL take many applications of whatever finish you choose to regain what you have now.
 For the listed price of those grips, I'd buy another pair in a different flavor!!!!

Actually, in the handgun section of this forum, I'm "lookin for sumthin' different in a grip myself!   <!--emo&:)--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':)'><!--endemo-->
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #10
m141a/Bill,

The grips are new, never been out of the drawer. It's kind of hard to discribe other than to say they're too shinny. They look like they have a thick, heavy coat of varnish. The fancy walnut has good grain and the grips were completed by a well known professional. I suspect, others would say they're just right and like them...and would be correct.

But I think you're correct, with my experience, I best use them in the current configuration. I really do appreciate the help and hope to be able to repay your thougtfulness.

Dan
 

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Nawth East Moderatah
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The thing that's great about oil finishes is that although they are both durable and beautiful, with use they will develope the look or 'patina' your looking for.  To put in layman's terms; think about how nice an old cherry cabinet or walnut bureau look after they have grown old gracefully.
If this a 'woods' gun or a gun you pack around without having to worry about them getting beat up, I'd say put em' on and let your hands do the work of breaking them in.
 Of course, this may involve having to shoot the pistola, and you know how we all hate doing that!!!
Something like" I know the lawn needs cuttin', but I really have to break these grips in"...

Good luck in whatever you choose.
Be well,         Chris...
 

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Hey, DOK, you liked "One Eyed Jacks"? A very good western. Excellent dialogue.

"Harvey, you're a'gonna be famous around these parts."

"How's that?"

"You're gonna be known as the man who got his brains blowed out by the Rio Kid."

And...

BOB- "####, kid, that hand ain't ever gonna be any good. I believe now even I could get six in you."

RIO (Brando)- "You might get them six in me, Bob.... but not 'fore I got that ONE in you."

L.W.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #13
m141a,

That's what I'll do, put them on and we can both age gracefully. It will be  poetic justice when the grips age better than I do and people say, "Oh look at that old man with the good looking grips!" Thanks for all the help.

Leanwolf,

Thoroughly enjoyed the movie, kinda a little out of the normal rut of good guy, bad guy Western. You never could tell just how low down Rio really is, but I'll bet he doesn't show up in the spring.

Dan
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #14
m141a/Bill,

I used two different web sites to post my problem, thought you might be interested in the responses from "Shooters.com". I'm still going to follow m141a's suggestion of growing old together.

Response 1: Go to your local NAPA auto parts store and get some of their spray gasket remover. Spray it on and let it sit for about 10 min. Then take a 3M scotchbrite pad wet with water and scrub it off. If your grips are checkered clean out the checkering with a toothbrush and water. One app. should remove most if not all of the linseed oil. let them dry and then you can finish sand them(400 grit) to prep them for the trueoil. Take care to keep your edges sharp, nothing shouts amateur like rounded edges. When applying the trueoil use another toothbrush to keep the checkering from filling up with finish. I usually apply only one coat of trueoil to the checkering on the next to last coat, and I scrub it in with a toothbrush to keep it flat, no gloss. Luck.

Response 2: The best way I've found is to use paint remover and 0000 steel wool. Wear good gloves and rub lightly (don't scrub it, just rub lightly) in circular pattern. This removes all the finish and leaves the wood alone, wipe off with cotton rags and repeat as needed till all the finish is removed. I've never used linseed oil but hear it darkens slightly and takes forever to dry. Have used tru-oil and think it's great. Am told linseed and tru oils have same main ingredient so you may be able to just apply the truoil over existing finish

Response 3: I have never used gasket remover or paint remover, but have used Easy-Off oven cleaner. I suspect they all do about the same thing. After the oven cleaner has blistered the finish, I take it off with OOOO steel wood and acetone. I don't like putting water on wood. On a plain linseed oil finish, a good scrubbing with acetone and OOOO steel wool will get it off. Acetone will get pretty deep into the wood to remove the oil. Breathing Acetone fumes is not good for you, so do it outdoors. I have used Tru-Oil for 40 years and like it very much. After you have filled all the pore and have a nice surface, use a fine rubbing compound on a soft cloth backed by a large pink eraser (you can get these in the grocery story). Be careful not do go to deep with the compound. Then put on a final coat of Tru-Oil, making one drop go as far as you can. The final finish will be glass smooth.
 

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Glad I was able to help, even in the smallest way.
This web site has the best folks on it!
 

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Well Dan,
    I see you've had quite a few responses since I last checked this thread and have decided to let the grips age. If you don't get satisfactory "aging" (I find I'm not aging very satisfactorily!! ) you can do this...
    I tried this out on a bolt action stock that I have previously finished with Tru-oil so I could report back to you. Since the primary thing you want to change is the gloss of the finish, you don't need to completely remove the old finish. No need for chemicals at all, just take 0000 steel wool and rub away the old finish surface. While it is still a little glossy you will feel the steel wool tug at the surface, but once you have gotten down to the surface of the wood it'll glide easily. Hold the surface at an angle to a bright light and you will be able to check your work. You'll get to a soft satiny glow but without much depth.
    Then you are ready to coat with Tru-Oil. I've tried three different application methods- 1) The one on the package which is to apply and then steel wool between coats  2) To apply the finish totally by hand and RUB RUB RUB it in which is the true hand-rubbing method and leaves the shinier finish such as you have and 3) The method I used on my Marlin, which is to rub the Tru-oil into the wood by hand until you just can't get any more to soak in and then rub vigorously with a rough shop cloth before the finish has dried. To me this gives the most attractive finish, a deep satiny glow without the shiny effect that is left with pure "hand rubbing". I hope your grips arrive at a finish you like, one way or another!      ID
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #17
IDShooter,

Certainly beholden to you for the extra effort --"deep satiny glow without the shiny effect that is left with pure "hand rubbing"" is exactly what I'm looking for.

It sounds like a minimal risk operation vs. the chemical route. I'll give it a try and let you know. Since, as my wife will vouch for, I have infinite patience, I'm sure I'll do a good job. That story about blue smoke coming out of our basement is not true.

Dan
 

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What's a little blue smoke? Flaming bits of tarpaper 60ft in the air, now THAT'S alarming!!  <!--emo&:D--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':D'><!--endemo-->    ID
 

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Oh yes, the good news is that the flaming tarpaper was TOTALLY unrelated to this project. I swear....
ID
 
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