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BLO Finish with an Oil Scrub

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BLO Finish with an Oil Scrub

#1 Post by Zeliard » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:34 pm

Original authors in bold.

Note: Edited to remove superfluous comments.


Well most of you have seen my repair work, but have seen very little of my refinish work.
So here is a How To on a BLO Finish with an Oil Scrub. For those that don't know what an Oil Scrub is or what it is for, I hope this will help. An Oil Scrub is applied with 0000 steel wool and oil, be it BLO, Pure Tung Oil or any oil made for wood. What an Oil Scrub will do is give you that soft butter smooth feel and look without hurting the stampings on your stock.

Lets have a look at our Victim now.

It's our old friend the RC 98k stock that I did the wrist repair post on and the gouge repair post on also.
This is what it looked like when I got it in on tread from GSCSA for some stock work.


Here it is after a good clean up.


Here are the pic's just before I started with the Oil Scrub.



And after all of the repairs I found this little chip as I started on the finish. #-o Oh well Had to fix it.


I did the repair just like a gouge repair with just resin and it came out so clear that you almost can't see it.


To start off the finish I put a lot of BLO on a piece of steel wool and started scrubing the stock. You will need to keep the steel wool wet to get a smoother finish.


After you scrub the stock let the oil sit for 15 to 20 min. then wipe the stock dry. Let the stock dry for 24 hours before you do another coat of oil.
Know I like to do two scrub coats, but you can do 1 or more, this will be up to you.
Here is the stock after two Oil Scrub coats.



After the 2nd Oil Scrub coat was dry I applyed to coats of hand rubbed coats of BLO. Put the oil on in a thin coat and rub it in by hand until it gets warm.


Make sure that you don't have standing oil on the stock and let it dry good between coats.





After the BLO was good and dry I gave it a top coat of past wax and put it back together.


The repro sling came from Sarco and a few small parts came from Tennessee Gun Parts.


This is not a hard finish to put on a stock as long as you don't rush and take your time to do it right.
I would also like to say thanks to Lootershooter for some of the parts I needed and to Bahm_flyer for the deal on the handguard. And if it were not for the great deal that Touhy made me on the barreled action this rifle would not have come together.

You can add an oil base stain to BLO but I never do. All of that stuff on the can is old dry BLO.

BLO will give better protection then ROL due to the fact that it dries better (harder) and will not weep as much when it gets hot.
When doing a BLO finish you can cut it with thinner to get it to soak in better. You can apply one or two coats of BLO and Thinner befor doing an Oil Scrub if your stock is very dry.

StaKol wrote:
An "oil scrub" finish is nothing new. I've been doing it that way for more than 20 years. I would like to add that, IMHO, the best way to do this is to "scrub" in ALL of the coats of oil - after the initial sealing coats. I do 2 to 3 "flood" coats....designed just to seal the pores of the wood...and then 5 or 6 "scrub" coats. The last coat, then, is hand-rubbed. The more "scrub" coats applied, the smoother the surface, the better the finish builds...and the nicer the glow or sheen will be.

Sorry, candyman....absolutely NO intention to criticize your very fine work.
Never say sorry when you have said nothing wrong. :lol:
There is more ways to skin a cat and even more to refinish a stock. I did 2 scrub coats on this stock but have done more on others. I also do oil finishs without doing a scrub coat.
It all depends on the rifle that you are going to put the stock on. If you have a rifle that has dings and a lot of wear on the metal and you just want to clean up the stock, you would not want to have the stock all pertty and shinny, because the rifle would look like a pig in a prom dress.
I do my post to help others and anyone that has more to offer is welcome to add to it. Hell, even add pic's of your own work, we all love gun porn. :mrgreen:


Hey I am going to do this to my MAS 36 stock. It's bone dry wood and could use some fresh BLO. The repairs your doing on my forestock won't come loose with the oil scrub will they?


Once fiberglass resin has cured oil will not hurt it.


I have my A3 stk about ready to finish, Would this work with tru oil and what about steel whiskers off the steel wool? Does the oil bind them to the pad? I can get blo just never used it. Also very nice job on the stock.


You can do the same with Pure Tung Oil. Do not try this with Formby's Tung Oil Finish. Tung Oil Finish is not an oil, but a varnish.
When you scrub you want to keep the stock wet with oil. Not to many wiskers from the steel wool will be left on the stock as when not using oil. Remember to wipe the stock off and the wiskers will come off with the extra oil.

Here are befor and after pic's of an 03 stock that I repaired last month. The owner just wanted it cleaned and oiled after the repairs were done. I did a light scrub with Denatured Alcohol and then did 2 oil scrubs and 2 hand rubbed coats of Pure Tung Oil.




One other thing.... I've found that the green scrubbing pads (I buy the XXX grade at Home Depot) are better for oil application than steel wool. They do NOT leave any "whiskers" or threads or fibers (or whatever) on the wood surface.


You have to be careful with those green pads. Some will scratch when new. I use them sometimes when doing a finish that dries hard like Tru-Oil, but when doing an oil finish you do not have to worry about the wiskers getting into the finish.
When I do use a green scrub pad I rub it on a scrap piece of wood to get rid of any ruff spots on the pad before I use it on a stock.


For me the green pads are too ebrasive, esspecialy brand new. And if you have a stain applied to the wood I think oil and a a scotchbright pad might remove the stain. I did my MAS scrub today with 0000 wool and it made a world of difference, it hydrated the dry wood, removed any surface dirt, gave it a low sheen, darkened the wood a bit and highlighted the beech grain. Good idear Candy!


Candyman, When you add thinner to the BLO does it make the wood look a little glossy ? I have being playing around on one of my Savage Enfield stocks and it is turning out glossy ! I know all I have to do is rub it down with steel wool to dull it down but was wondering if by adding the thinner is why it is turning glossy ? Thanks !


Make sure that you are uaing real BLO and not something labeled BLO Finish.
What thinner does to BLO is make it thinner and helps it soak into the stock deeper. Make sure that your not leaving oil standing on the stock when you let it dry.

I think what is happening is that you might be leaving a thin coat of blo on the stock when it dries and the thinner is drying the BLO fast and giving you the shinny finish. Be sure to wipe off the stock before you set it to dry.


I was wondering if a stain can be applied after I complete your oil scrub method...?


You can apply stain over an oil finish, but you will need to let the oil dry first. You CAN NOT use just any type of stain. You will need to use an ALCOHOL BASE stain. Chestnut Ridge Military Stock Stain from Brownells is easy to use and works gerat.


This thread has some pretty good info. After reading it, I am wondering if anyone has tried the "no scratch" scotchbrite pads (the blue ones) for this type of application. Seems like they could work pretty good without doing much damage.


I have some of the no scratch pads. They are much softer than the green ones. I'd still use 0000 wool as a first choice though. It's meant for wood working more so than the blue pads, and will put a smoother finish on your stock. For porous woods that tear up the wool, i'd use the blue pads.


Even better than steel wool or Scotchbrite pads is bronze wool

It is popular for woodwork on boats. It doesn't shed as much as steel wool and the fibers don't rust like steel wool.

Get it at woodworking supply shops like Woodcraft or Rockler, some hardware stores, or at http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools ... d7391.aspx


Do you really have to wait 24 hours or can you start applying a second coat as soon as its dried?


You can apply the 2nd coat as soon as the first is dry but it is best to wait 24 hours. Just because the 1st coat appeares to be dry, it may not be fully dry. Oil is a great finish and very easy to apply and the up keep is also easy but, it does take time to do it right.


Hi candyman, I really like the way your Mauser refinish turned out.I want to know if you used tung oil.I have just got a bottle of both raw tung and regular tung.Have you used both of them? If so do you think the raw oil will make the stock much darker than yours.I am aiming for the same finish you have.


I finished the stock with BLO. I do use Pure Tung Oil but not the raw. The Pure Tung Oil will not get as dark as the BLO and the raw Tung oil.


Do you follow the grain when you do the oil scrub? or like when you wax a car?


Depending on how many coats I will be doing and the condition of the stock. If I do 3 scrub coats, the first 2 will be like putting on wax the last will be with the grain.


I too like to use the green scotchbrite pads. I actually LIKE the abrasive nature of the pads, though I only use the finest grade, which I think is XXX. The abrasiveness seems to improve the penetration of the oil, though I can't swear to it....and it smoothes or burnishes the wood surface, making the wood silky smooth. The more applications, the smoother the surface will be and this really brings out a nice, soft sheen. Of course, I must admit, I prefer a glossy surface on a nice piece of wood - even a milsurp gunstock. However, the green pads will not make the finish glossy - only smooth the surface, much like using 600 or 1200 grit sandpaper. If one wipes away all of the excess oil, then the surface will still be "satin", as most people prefer it.


When you apply the second coat of BLO, do you scrub down the stock again with 0000 steel wool, or do you just apply the 2nd coat directly onto the stock?


You can apply each coat with a scrub or just the first two coats. I always finish up with a hand rubbed coat.


Do you have any recommendation of a specific brand of paste wax to be used after the coats of BLO are good and dry?


Min Wax or Johnson paste wax are good. I also use Tom's 1/3 mix. wax when I want a softer look, it does not buff to a shine like the past wax will.


Candyman: Another exceptional thread.

In your initial list of pictures you have one of a very light stock following your cleanup (and I think I have found stickies for that process) Next you have a picture of stock just before you started the oil scrub.

The stock looks darker in the "just before" picture. What did you do, if anything, to it between the pictures? Or is it just the light.

I think I am ready to go on Mauser. Is there a standard color if you are going for near original..Most I have seen have been very dark from shellac/varnish whatever, and dirt. It looks like the process will yield a much lighter stock, which I think is awesome, I just want be prepared so i do not get ribbed to death by a purist at the range.

Thanks for you help and you willingness to share your knowledge.


The difference in the pic's is a little of two things. One is the lighting and the other is the deep soaked in oil coming back to the surface.
There is no way to remove all of the oil that has soaked into a stock over many years. The main thing is to remove the bulk of it so that it no longer weeps oil.

What you should do is after you clean your stock, let it sit for a few days. That way you can see if it still has a lot of soaked in oil. If there is still a lot of oil in the stock, it will get darker as the days go by. You can keep cleaning it every few days if you wish to remove more of the oil as it comes to the surface or refinish it.

Here is what you do with the Purist at the range. Bring the rifle to the range before you start any work. Let them look at it and then tell them what you are going to do. To the ones that object, offer to allow them to buy the rifle at the going rate, Which would be right at $300 to $350 for a RC k98. They will not be willing to fork over the cash, I bet.
Always remember that it is your rifle and your money.


Awesome info...
In the de-cosmolining stage of my RC K98k, and will continue on to BLO when finished. Two questions:
What should I do between the de-cosmoline stage and application of BLO stage? Ive never worked with wood before, so I dont know whats involved with "cleaning."
Also, are they're any non-glossy finishes/waxes that can be applied post-BLO? Does it even need a finish? Im trying to go for a more matte look, but still leave the wood/BLO coat protected.


A couple coats of Tom's 1/3 wax http://www.thegunstockdoctor.com/Products.html is what you want to apply after the BLO treatment. Non-glossy but with a nice warm sheen that protects the wood finish. A fresh coat of BLO followed by the wax once a year or so and you're all set.

Candyman can give you more info if I missed anything.


After removing the cosmoline let the stock sit for a few days to allow any deep soaked in cosmoline to come to the surface. If the stock gets a little darker after a few days, then it is still weeping cosmoline. Just take your time when it comes to the cleaning and you will be much happer with the finish.


This may be a dumb question but I noticed that in all of your pictures that the stock still has the recoil lug and bolt takedown rings installed. Did you do the oil coat with those still in place or were they added back on for the pictures? I'm a newbie at stock refinishing and I think this is the route I'm going to go with my K98 so I wanted to check to see if removing them was necessary.


The stock disc and the recoil lug were left in place during the refinish. Sometimes I will remove the recoil lug but, the stock disc should not be removed. The tube that holds them in place has to be drilled out on one side to remove it.


Have finished several stocks in a similar fashion to what you describe and have been very happy with the results. Very good post!

I have a question about the repair of the chip or gouge--you filled it with fiberglass resin? I have heard of shellac sticks, but not fiberglass. What is your technique here? How do you get it flush with the surrounding surface without some heavy-duty sanding? Results look great!


Well the Oil Scrub finish is really nothing new. I think that it is one of the finishes that was almost forgoten about when all the new finishes hit the market. People wanted a nice finish but didn't want to take the time to apply a good finish.
An oil finish is very easy to apply, but the key to a good oil finish is taking your time and not to get into a rush.


candyman, what do you mean by "oil scrub"? is the oil BLO or PTO?


An Oil Scrub is a way to apply the oil. You can use BLO, PTO or any other oil that is made for wood.


candyman, can you please elaborate a bit on how you initially cleaned up that stock? I'm worried about the lamination glue in my K98k stock and am interested in a cleaning method that won't damage the glue. I've cleaned/stripped other stocks with antique furniture refinisher but wasn't sure if that would be appropriate for a laminated stock. Thanks!


You just have to be careful when cleaning a laminated stock. If you use a stripper, you must use a mild one. Denatured Alcohol works good and cleaners that are made for wood.
I did sand the stock that I used in the post. The stock had been refurbed twice by the Russians and there were no German markings left on it.


I'm in the middle of refinishing several stocks with the oil scrub method and overall it's going quite well. One problem that I ran into was that I used 0000 bronze wool for the first scrub, and on one stock that was more rough than the others, there were lots of little bronze whiskers left embedded in the wood when I was done. I'm not sure if I was scrubbing too hard or what, but the whiskers are readily apparent when I look at it in the light. I've tried several methods to try to remove them, from a lint roller and pieces of tape to compressed air to try to blow the little whiskers out. Nothing works very well, and short of using tweezers or a set of dental picks (which would likely literally take days of work), I don't think they are coming out. Luckily, it's only the one stock that the problem is widespread (although there are sporadic whiskers on the other stocks too).

In the meantime, I switched to using 3M synthetic steel wool pads like these. I was hoping that they might scrub some of the whiskers free with the second scrub, but that doesn't seem to have happened. But at least the problem isn't getting worse. If anyone has any ideas of how I might get those whiskers out, I'm all ears. I'm hoping they'll just tarnish and lose their shine and be less visible, but I'm also worried that the copper in them will tarnish and turn green and that I'll have little flecks of green in my stock, which would not be good.

Other than that, though, the stocks are really starting to look nice. I'm really impressed at how the BLO is bringing the grain out. I've just got to hand rub a coat or two of oil on them and then a coat of Tom's 1/3 mix and I'll be done.


Your problem is common when the surface of the stock is rough. To remove the wiskers from the bronze wool, you will need to do a light oil snding.
Get some fine wet/dry sandpaper. I like to use a sanding block whenever doing any sanding. Wet the paper with the oil that you are using and lighty sand the stock. Be sure to keep the paper wet. After sanding wipe the stock dry and check the surface for wiskers.
Here is a trick to check a stock before doing a scrub. Use a cotton ball to wipe the stock. If the cotton ball starts to snag, so will your steel wool.
You can remove most of the wood wiskers that are snaging the cotton by wiping the stock with a damp rag (water). Rember to only use a damp rag and not one that will leave water on the stock. All you are trying to do is wet just the tiny fibers to get then to stand up a little. Next use a fine sand paper to lightly rub the stock with the grain, but aginst the wiskers. Just one or two passes will be all that is needed to remove the wiskers.


When you say "scrub", how much pressure are you using? Is it more of just using the steel wool as an applicator with very minimal pressure? When I see scrub I assume it is with a good amount of pressure applied. Just trying to make sure before beginning.

Fantastic forum by the way.


It is more or less a light Scrub, besause you are not trying to remove wood. The ke is to pollish the wood, but without getting a shine. The oil will allow you to get the smooth finish without allowing the stock to get shiny.
So depending on the surface of the stock, use a light to medium pressure.
If you wish to use wish to use more pressure, then you will need to use a sanding block to hold your steel wool.


Will the stock become darker with the more coats you put on it? Or will it just make it glossier?


After the 2nd are 3rd coat the stock will not get darker from the BLO.
There are two things that will make it get darker.
#1 If there is still cosmoline in the wood, if it comes to the surface, after the stock has been finished, it will get darker.
#2 Age. As BLO ages it will oxidise and become darker. But this can take years. The more time it is in the sun, the faster it will happen.

BLO does not become shiny, unless you allow it to dry on the surface. This will cause it to become sticky. If you buff the sticky surface with a lint free rag (this will take a lot of time) it will take on a look of an old oil finish with some shine.


On the hand rubbed coat, when you say not to leave any standing oil do you mean to wipe it off with a towel like in the scrubbing steps?


If the oil has not soaked into the stock within 30 min then it will start to dry on the surface. This will cause you to get a tacky film on the stock and will have to be wiped off with denatured alcohol.


Also on the hand rubbed coat: Are you using a lint free cloth, or literally putting oil in your hand and rubbing it on? And when you say 'until it gets warm' - what level of warm are you getting to?


When using BLO you should be using gloves. I wear latex gloves and rub the oil in by hand without any rags. I rub the polish coat until the my palms are very warm.


Mineral spirits - is that the same as pure turpentine? Or are they interchangeable?

Also if using Tru-Oil can you cut the first few coats as you've indicated you do with BLO and Tung Oil?


Mineral spirits and pure turpentine are not the same. I use turpentine to cut Pine Tar.
Cutting BLO or PTO with Mineral spirits is done to help it soak in. This is most often done when working with a dry stock. I don't cut my oil when working on a stock that I had to remove a lot of cosmoline from.


You're right to avoid the products with "finish" in its name. Look for Boiled Linseed Oil. It's available online all over the place. I use it cut 50/50 with mineral spirits or turpentine.

Pure Tung Oil will be labeled that way rather than Tung Oil Finish (or varnish), which has other stuff in it.

Best of luck.


Straying away from BLO,This is why I went with shellac flakes and grain spirits for my shellac cuts. Modern canned shellac has additives that were not found in vintage shellac. I'm of the opinion that even BLO comes in "grades" home depot is not going to carry the best grade of BLO. Don't get me wrong,it will work. Go to a quality wood working supply house and products are a bit better...


Try a paint supply store.
Linseed oil and boiled linseed oil are common ingredients of old style house paints.
Proud alumni of Transylvanian Polygnostic University. "Know enough to be afraid."

"Vertroue in God en die Mauser".-Faith in God and the Mauser.

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