Refinishing a stock - Little woodworking advice here please...

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Thread: Refinishing a stock - Little woodworking advice here please...

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Refinishing a stock - Little woodworking advice here please...

    Okay so I got my mitts on the AK clone and it's after Christmas and all that... won't get to fire it until next year but I am considering doing something about the furniture.

    It's actually not at all bad. The quality of the wood seems to be okay, which actually surprises me somewhat, and it seems to be free of cosmo-goop. The only thing I am slightly concerned with is that the "sealer", if you will, is not exactly great.

    I do not aspire to be name myself a man of the building trades, but having worked for some time in the building materials and maintenance trades, I realize that at some point the furniture on this thing needs to be (lightly) sanded down and resealed. Realistically, it is good enough that it will probably be just fine in the relatively mild Texas climate, but where's the fun in that?

    What I am looking for input on is some tips or tricks for getting the furniture off of the gun without ruining it. It is well fitted, I have to admit. The rear stock seems simple enough to remove. It's the handguards that seem like a challenge.

    The lower guard seems to be held in place by a pin which looks like it would be very difficult to punch out, and quite frankly I'm not sure how to get the guard off of the gas tube assembly without breaking it. The last time I did this (on an SKS), I was replacing it anyway so I just snapped the rotted wood in two and it came right out.

    I may just have to settle for carefully sanding the guards down entirely by hand and then refinishing them with them still on their assemblies. I can mask off the metal no problem if it came to that. But even that seems like half assing it and I'd rather not anything than half ass it. Yet if won't come off readily, that's all I know to do.

    I'm actually considering, if I can resolve the how am I going to sand and strip issue, getting a can of paint mixed and painting the furniture a color... but then I am getting ahead of myself. As I said if I can't strip it to my satisfaction I will simply not do anything.

    I figure if I completely ruin it I can always get synthetic furniture but I want to give the wood a chance.

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  3. #2
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    or you could get used wood furniture and redo it. I redid my 10/22 stock with cherry stain and a poly coat finish. worked well , and really sets the 10/22 off from others.

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    Euc - the top hand guard just has a clip at its rear - pull up on that and slide it back a bit. That lower one - heck I don't think I have tried to get mine off - so not sure.

    I can't remember the site but maybe the AK-47 forum even - somewhere has lots of info on takedown. I'll add if I find.

    If some sealer - ''varnish'' - perhaps strip with methylene chloride stripper and then when washed off and wood dry - get to the sanding.
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    Not sure Euc of ideal URL but - just maybe some searching here might yield info on that handguard.

    http://www.akfiles.com/forums/
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Member Array Kompact9's Avatar
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    Euc,

    Can't help with the removal of the handguards, but I refinished an old Stevens double barrel's furniture (it was painted) using 120 grit to sand, steel wool to finish, and about a dozen coats of handrubbed tongue oil that finished nicely. The gun is about 35 years old (or so) and still looks good. It's not fancy, but it was a fun project.
    noli nothis permittere te terere...

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    VIP Member Array CLASS3NH's Avatar
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    If I'm correct, the pins you see on the forend need to me punched through in order to remove it (the forend ) Take a long nail set tool (bought at Lowes, HD etc, and carefully knock it through.. you might need to twist them out ( I believe there are 2 of the pins, which are brass or copper) with vice grips. then re-finish and re-assemble the forend punching the pins thru, utilizing a small finish hammer, in the reverse order to the weapon afterwards.
    Why Waltz when you can Rock-N-Roll

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    Ex Member Array HollowpointHank's Avatar
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    Hey Euc, I don't know if you want to tackle this or not, but. . . . I ordered a walnut set for my AK47 from aimsurplus.com. While I didn't install them myself, they look fabulous. The fit was not exact as there are so many different manuf. of AK's, but I am sanding the parts that hang over and will finish them with tung oil and poly eventually.

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Well I'm considering the cost of the punch, sealent, etc. I'd need vs. the cost of new furniture. I'll go price it all sometime and compare that to a good set of furniture.

    Any AK furniture you get is going to require a little fitting.

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array CLASS3NH's Avatar
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    Euc? the punch is only a few bucks............called a nail set
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...lance&n=228013 punch
    Why Waltz when you can Rock-N-Roll

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Update

    Well this project got underway today.

    First, some helpful information I was able to find. Check this out:

    http://www.gunsnet.net/Linx310/furnitureremoval.htm

    Although my rifle is not a SAR series, these general instructions for furniture removal worked beautifully. YMMV.

    I returned the nail set and picked up about $20 worth of supplies at Lowe's. I worked there for a while and had a pretty good idea about what it was I wanted to do, but I talked to my old friend David in paint, caught up a little, BSed about the 1903A3 I want to have some day and his 1903A3 (his is really cool) etc.

    Anyway after getting some professional input, I took my general purpose sanding sponge and some 240 grit sandpaper and went to work.

    Once I got the furniture off, I was able to see it was basically a midgrade quality plywood that had been molded into furniture and poorly finished with some kind of cheap sealant or varnish. The sealant the Romanians used had soaked into the wood pretty deep and neither one of us thought it could be baked out like cosmoline.

    The sealant is really gooped in nicely on the ends on the insides of the furniture where you can't see it when it's on the rifle. It's a black color with a messy finish. Basically it's half assed and I could do a better job myself.

    Still it is fitted to this particular rifle, and the wood seems serviceable even if it's not particularly posh.

    So I took my sanding block and used its roughest edges on the ends of the stock and guards to really scrape off as much of it is as possible, and spent about an hour sanding the furniture. I started with about 100 grit on the bad spots, then used the 180 grit side of the block, and then finished with the 240 grit.

    The butt stock presented a couple of challenges. First it was the most uneven and pitted surface. That is not surprising as it is the biggest piece of wood. Second, removing the swivel and its mount proved challenging.

    Basically I just sanded the devil out of it. I didn't completely remove two of the worst spots but I sure tried. It should be noticeably smoother to the touch now. As for the sling swivel, I had to put the stock in a vise and get the screws to turn the first 360 degrees using a precision screwdriver and a pair of Channel lock pliers. I am glad I did too because underneath was a black, uneven spot that needed to be sanded.

    I got all of the furniture to the point it felt dry to the touch instead of moist, and a a little boot smoother. I finished them all off at one with the finer paper to try to get a uniform texture.

    I had debated sealing it or staining it, but while I was in the store David pointed up my options and a big problem was that to stain it, I had to buy a gallon of stain and that was a waste of money. He said the stain could make the wood look nicer if I was willing to do my part, but quickly pointed out that if all I wanted was to make the furniture more functional and unlikely to rot, an exterior paint was a much easier and cheaper option.

    That's sort of what I had in mind anyway as the wood grain pattern on this thing is not really all that attractive. I picked up a can of flat black, but my sister informed me that black furniture on the gun would look terrible. I thought about it and realized I agree with her, strangely enough. She suggested I paint it gunmetal gray, so I went with Storm Gray, the darker of the two gray hues they offered.

    What David suggested to me that made sense when I thought about it was to apply first a thinner coat of the paint with a little bit of mineral spirits, to try to get this relatively low quality wood to "suck it up", and then to paint it a second time once this first coat dried. He warned it would take a little bit of a careful hand, but I spent a summer working with a painter and I am practiced in that regard.

    The initial coat has been applied and drying for about an hour. It looks like it may turn out looking like smooth, gray synthetic furniture. I can live with that just fine.

    While the gun is apart and the furniture is drying, I looked at the internals and whatnot and everything is in good order, but I've been having some fits with the magazines. I took a look at the magazine well and it was obvious where it had been widened. It was a file job albeit a neat one.

    After looking at it under the light for a while I realized there was nothing inherently wrong with the magazine catch or the well, the problem was that the magazines themselves were just slightly too big for the gun and ill fitted.

    File in hand, I was delighted to discover that less than 2 minutes worth of work turns an ill fitted steel magazine into a tightly fitting magazine which slides in and out easily and locks in tight.

    In other news, I decided to try a Barska brand red dot sight for giggles. I will try it on this AK first, although I bought it for my 10/22.

    Egads, this is turning into a project gun.

    Second coat goes on tomorrow.

  12. #11
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    Sounds to be going well!

    I point re coloring the wood - instead of a gallon of stain - it is quite effective mixing up some Potassium Permanganate if you have any - (KMNO4) - makes that great purple solution - but when applied to wood can produce a very useful brown.
    Chris - P95
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    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    That would work too.

    I must admit I am experimenting more than anything and not really taking this too seriously.

    One neat thing I have realized is that if you were artistic or at least had some kind of decal, you could paint the furniture white and then stencil/draw on it.

    They also have this kind of paint in metallic colors too now. It was suggested I paint it metallic silver. I think if I were to do that I'd go with the gold and be tottally pimptastic.

  14. #13
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    Steady!! Don't go overdoing the ''bling'' - you may finish up not liking it a whole lot!

    Could always go camo' - browns and greens.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    I am sorry I am late getting into this thread. Euc, you seem to doing quite fine. I used paint stripper and a palm sander to get the gunk and dings out of the furniture but I am not a patient guy. For color I used Olympic ebony and finished with tung oil and waxed it silly. Let's see how it handles South Florida humidity next summer.

    Romanian Kalishnikovs
    This is a good site with fully illustrated step by step instructions on just about anything on the Romanian AK's. Sort of AK for Idiots (at least worked well on this one)
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
    Signed: Me!

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