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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a couple of questions about restoring a wooden stock and also on how to match woods of different type and color.

The scenario: 1942 Lee Enfield - someone sporterized it and lopped off about 1" of barrel (removed the bayonet lugs). I know it will never be a collector piece (and therefore don't want to sink $150 worth of new furniture into it) but really like the look of the original and am endeavoring to restore it as much as possible. I got the lower handguard from an online enfield parts outlet and the two upper pieces from ebay. The lower piece I really got dirt cheap, but it turns out to be in rough condition. It looks like it may have been buried at some point and was caked in dirt. After thoroughly cleaning it, it revealed an ash coloring (similar to a weathered barn siding). The upper handguards appear to be oak (possibly red oak).

I've prepped the wood as best I know how (various YouTube videos) with sanding and linseed oil (which the lower handguard sucks up like a desert sucks up rain) and moved on to staining

I've played around with various stains and have the colors matching, pretty much, but only when the lower handguard has a fresh rubbed in coat of linseed oil. After nearly 15 coats of linseed oil, it keeps on going from a smooth polished look to a dull and lifeless tone, in stark contrast to the butt stock and the upper handguards.

Now, after all that back story, does anyone know if there is something I could do to reach maximum absorption on the wood? If I keep on rubbing linseed oil into the wood will it eventually hold a shine or would I be better off putting a polycrylic finish on them and be done with it?

Left to right: Butt stock, upper handguard front, upper handguard rear, lower handguard (with a fresh rubbing of linseed oil).

EDIT: I failed to take a "before" shot of the handguards, but here is what I was seeing initially:
20150205_211134.jpg

20150207_122520.jpg

20150207_122704.jpg

EDIT: Here is a "before" of the original before I started doing stuff:
20141114_124350.jpg

Any tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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My thoughts are the wood would eventually come to a gloss finish, although 15 coats doesn't sound just real promising. My next thought would be a polyurethane finish in the finish of your choice be it gloss, semigloss/satin or flat.

To me, polyurethane is much more durable than any other finish. It works well on everything else it is used on, I certainly know of no reason not to use it.
 
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I would just stain and urethane it and consider it done. Old wood will drink linseed oil like water, until it gets to a point where it will leach out if it sits in the sun too long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That was pretty much what I kept coming back around to. The furniture there is still needing to dry a bit more (drying time is simply stupid in winter, even when sitting on a heating vent) and I was going to hit it once more with 1000 or 2000 grit sandpaper then make the final decision. My worry is that over time it would start looking like my Mosin sort of patchy where the varnish is rubbing off. That's the primary hesitancy. Thought I'd ask around, though (thanks for the replies, BTW) and see if someone far more experienced than I would have an idea.
 

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If I understand correctly, your issue is with the lower hand guard absorbing and absorbing linseed oil and still look rough/dull after drying. Your biggest clue was that you believe the lower hang guard was buried. Wood in contact with dirt often become infected with microbes that can make the interior part of the wood porous similar to 'Dry Rot'. If you must use the lower hand guard, I would take a thinned spar varnish (not polyurethane) and put on several coats. Allow it to be absorbed into the wood pores and dry. The idea is to block the wood pores so the linseed oil will not absorb so deeply into the wood.
Now If you are a very experienced finisher you could try using Epoxy resin thinned with MEK and allow the wood to draw in as much as it wants. The epoxy will strengthen the hand guard. There are many health issues in using MEK and it's use needs to be left to a pro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To follow up, it would appear that four coats of stain (varying from Jacobean to Red Oak and Dark Walnut for the lighter pieces) and 16 coats (really thick, slathered on and allowed to soak in for days at a time) of Linseed Oil finally did the trick.

I believe I'm going to reassemble and debate on doing a polycrylic coat since I really do like to periodically rub the wood down with linseed or tung oil.

I'll post the finished product soon (I hope!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The Semi-Final product:

20150209_182429[1].jpg
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've been thinking about taking it into the woods as well. Suggestions? (Probably will slap a polycrylic coating on it this spring / summer, for added protection)
 

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I've been thinking about taking it into the woods as well. Suggestions? (Probably will slap a polycrylic coating on it this spring / summer, for added protection)
Even on a working gun, not just a range gun, I don't do much more than that. I'll use Birchwood Casey tru oil and their conditioner. You could use a good gun stock wax if you wanted it shinier. I prefer matte to shiney but it's iust personal preference.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Normally, I do too (prefer matte) but for some reason, I've begun to have a bit of magpie in me (OooooH Shiney!!) and will probably take your wax advise to heart. (I do love a good Johnsons wax polished floor and a buffer rodeo! ;D)
 
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