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Removing Varnish
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Great Basin
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January 31, 2021 - 9:37 pm
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I’ve been planning to take the old varnish off this 1894 and refinish the gumwood stocks for a while.  This is the first of a two-part series where I share a tip I learned from Bert years ago on this forum about using denatured alcohol to remove old varnish.

Keep an eye out for part 2 where I’ll try to get as close to the Winchester factory finish as possible for these gumwood stocks.  I’ve been collecting several types of stains and dyes to try. 

 

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January 31, 2021 - 11:29 pm
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Great video, as always, Mark.  A couple of years ago I picked up a Model 54 that had a heavy shellac coating on the wood including run marks.  I followed a thread on this forum and found a post by “Chuck” regarding use of denatured alcohol.  Worked great!  I used cheesecloth for the most part and an old toothbrush for nooks and crannies including the checkering.  When complete I applied several coats of Scott’s Liquid Gold as the underlying wood finish looked good.  I’m very happy with the results.

Mac

P.S.  In case you’re wondering, I didn’t continue to use the toothbrush for it’s intended original purpose.

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February 1, 2021 - 12:50 am
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Big Mac said
Great video, as always, Mark.  A couple of years ago I picked up a Model 54 that had a heavy shellac coating on the wood including run marks.  I followed a thread on this forum and found a post by “Chuck” regarding use of denatured alcohol.  Worked great!  I used cheesecloth for the most part and an old toothbrush for nooks and crannies including the checkering.  When complete I applied several coats of Scott’s Liquid Gold as the underlying wood finish looked good.  I’m very happy with the results.

Mac

P.S.  In case you’re wondering, I didn’t continue to use the toothbrush for it’s intended original purpose.  

Mac, you really took a big risk doing something I said to do.  One thing to remember, look at the container and see what you can thin or clean up the product.  Use what it says to remove the finish. Alcohol and lacquer thinner are my friends.  Denatured alcohol is ethyl alcohol that a substance has been added to keep you from drinking it.  I believe rubbing alcohol is the same?  Go to Home Depot and buy it by the gallon.  You can mix it with a lotion and have your hand sanitizer too.  You can not drink methyl alcohol.

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February 1, 2021 - 8:47 am
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Mark another great video, look forward to watching them and each one is interesting .

Looking forward to the next one keep em coming !

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February 1, 2021 - 10:46 am
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It’s been many years since I’ve removed varnish from a stock but I used Easy Off Oven cleaner.  Hang the stock by wire over newspaper, coat, and let it do its work.  Then, wipe down with damp rags and let dry.

Technically, the glass is always full; half liquid, half air....

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February 1, 2021 - 1:47 pm
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Good video, Mark. How’s the stain research coming?

 

Mike

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February 1, 2021 - 2:44 pm
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Great video Mark.

I have my father in laws old pre 64 model 70 that either he, or someone before him put a coat of varnish on.  I may try the denatured alcohol on it.

Thanks,

Al

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February 1, 2021 - 4:02 pm
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Thanks guys.  I appreciate the compliments!  It’s been hard to film outside lately.  We don’t get much moisture here, but the wind blows enough that it ruins the audio and likes to blow the camera over.  I’ve been having to spend a lot of time in the shop, so I’ll probably be doing more of these kinds of “how to” episodes for a while.  I’ll keep watching the weather and try to get out and make some fun shooting episodes when I can.

rwsem said
It’s been many years since I’ve removed varnish from a stock but I used Easy Off Oven cleaner.  Hang the stock by wire over newspaper, coat, and let it do its work.  Then, wipe down with damp rags and let dry.  

Great tip!  I’d really like to try it out now, but I don’t think I have anymore varnished stocks to try it on.  I’ll file it away for the future.  Thanks.

TXGunNut said
Good video, Mark. How’s the stain research coming?

 

Mike  

I’m still gathering up some stains and dyes to try out.  Fortunately, I have a pile of gumwood veneer that I can use for trial and error instead of using the stock.  If anybody has suggestions or has had success staining gumwood stocks, I’d love to hear about it.

tionesta1 said
Great video Mark.

I have my father in laws old pre 64 model 70 that either he, or someone before him put a coat of varnish on.  I may try the denatured alcohol on it.

Thanks,

Al  

When I’ve needed to remove a finish and it turned out not to be varnish, the denatured alcohol just didn’t do anything to the finish and I had to try something else.  I try to exhaust all other options before going to sandpaper.  If it doesn’t work for you, it likely won’t hurt the existing finish.  Of course, your results may vary.  

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February 1, 2021 - 5:52 pm
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Mark, if you are not getting the color you want try using shellac as the base coat to seal the wood.  Then wipe the stain over it.  Once dry you can put a protective coat over it.   The shellac keeps the stain from soaking in the wood and going too dark or uneven.  Often times when you stain soft wood it comes out not the way you wanted it to.  Lots of modern furniture is finished this way so all of the small pieces come out looking the same.  You might also try the new paste types of stains.  These will lay on the surface too.  Wipe these on/off until you get your desired look. Then apply varnish or boiled linseed oil.  If you use Truoil it will look shiny like varnish.  If you want a little sheen either hand rub the linseed finish or mix a very slight bit of Truoil with it.

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February 2, 2021 - 2:28 am
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Chuck said
Mark, if you are not getting the color you want try using shellac as the base coat to seal the wood.  Then wipe the stain over it.  Once dry you can put a protective coat over it.   The shellac keeps the stain from soaking in the wood and going too dark or uneven.  Often times when you stain soft wood it comes out not the way you wanted it to.  Lots of modern furniture is finished this way so all of the small pieces come out looking the same.  You might also try the new paste types of stains.  These will lay on the surface too.  Wipe these on/off until you get your desired look. Then apply varnish or boiled linseed oil.  If you use Truoil it will look shiny like varnish.  If you want a little sheen either hand rub the linseed finish or mix a very slight bit of Truoil with it.  

Thanks Chuck!  That’s great info.  I’ll get some shellac coming and take a look at those paste stains.  Mark

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February 2, 2021 - 11:56 pm
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Mark Douglas said

Thanks Chuck!  That’s great info.  I’ll get some shellac coming and take a look at those paste stains.  Mark  

I have a lot of stains that I mix to get what I want.  Mahogany will add some red to the mix. Even the first coat of stain can seal the wood.  If you start a little lighter you can just stain over the top of it with something a little darker.  When you get the color you want wipe some on the forend so it looks like the stock.

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