• Removing the Weatherby Deluxe Finish

    I've posted this technique several times but can never find it when I need to reference it!! A Weatherby Forum member recently reached out to me regarding this topic and I was lucky enough to find this old thread so it wouldn't have to be re-written.

    Quote Originally Posted by natehunts View Post
    I am thinking about acquiring a Lazermark stock with a cracked finish. I have searched online and have been reading the only way to remove a Weatherby gloss finish is by scraping it off. Has anyone had any success with chemical strippers?

    I've done this many times for my guns and for the guns of friends; rifles and shotguns. This is not the only method to do this, but it's the one I use.

    Yes, the stripping gel does work. Yes, it is safe to use indoors because there are no toxic fumes. You need to get the orange gel. I keep forgetting the name.

    Personally, I would not use heat because that can also cause the polyurethane to seep deeper into the pores of the wood. The pores will expand a bit and allow the gel to penetrate deeper. You'll find that the pores of the stock are not completely filled after the polyurethane is stripped off.

    The key is patience. The key patience.

    Tape off the barrel channel and seal off the action area inside the stock.

    Remove the recoil pad.

    Use a large plastic storage bin in the neighborhood of 48" L x 18" W x 8" D. They sell them in the Home Organizing areas at places like Home Depot, etc....

    Work on one section at a time and allow the gel to work before stripping off with a blunt scraper. A putty knife is perfect. Several applications may be necessary in each section.

    DO NOT USE A RAZOR EDGED TOOL!!!! You WILL leave cut marks that will be extremely difficult to sand off when it comes time to apply the oil finish.

    Keep working and be careful around the checkering. the most difficult areas will be in and around the pistol grip and the section above the forend checkering along the edge of the forend.

    After the polyurethane is completely removed, begin the sanding process.

    After the stock is completely sanded, assess whether the checkering needs to be recut. In most cases it will. A Lasermark stock is much easier to work with because there are no points in the checkering to try and preserve.

    Attach a recoil pad and sand it completely smooth with the stock. You can't simply attach the old one because the polyurethane finish takes up surface space and the pad will now sit slighty proud of the stock. Besides, you'll more than likely have to cut the old pad off.

    An oil finish is the best way to go and that is a completely different topic area of which there is no room to describe here. I was taught a technique used by Griffin & Howe. An oil finish is very durable, waterproof, is easily repaired, and is the only way to bring forth the true color and nature of the grain to the surface. It does this because an oil finish is part of the stock and doesn't sit on its surface. An oil finish develops over the years and results in a look that is unparalled.

    I hope this helps to get you started.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Removing Weatherby Finish Help. started by natehunts View original post
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. Heat's Avatar
      Heat -
      Excellent information. I've used the gel remover and another remover called Jasco. It's not for indoor use without ventilation and is less user friendly in that you need to wear gloves. It works extremely well however and I just used a plastic scraper. One of the pieces I cleaned up, although flat, had plenty of detail scrolling and there was no need to recut any of it when it was done. Again, this is pretty nasty stuff to use but it is very effective. I need to read your "London Best" article as well. Thanks again for the insight into refinishing a stock.

    1. Ty Linger's Avatar
      Ty Linger -
      Thanks JB!
    1. JB257460's Avatar
      JB257460 -
      You're welcome, Ty.....thanks for suggesting it.

      Another method I just discovered this past weekend for those who don't like the Hollywood shine of Deluxe stocks is this:

      Use a soft cotton cloth or chamois and apply rottenstone, or something similar, like Birchwood Casey's Stock Sheen conditioner, to the entire surface using a soft, circular, polishing motion. This will cut down the shine and leave a very nice, smooth, polished, matte finish to the stock while retaining the durability of the polyurethane finish. For those who don't want to go through the labor intensive stripping and refinishing process, this is a viable option. I tried this and it works very nicely.
    1. trawler's Avatar
      trawler -
      Hello folks, newbie here, just got a Deluxe model with a serious crack in the finish on the bottom of the pistol grip. The wood is a bit discolored there as the finish is chipped right down to the wood, must have gotten some moisture. I want to eventually do the rubbed oil finish, I sure appreciate this information. What can I do to this deep chip til then to seal it ?
      Thanks very much- Steve
    1. natehunts's Avatar
      natehunts -
      Hey JB,
      Is this the 'orange gel' that you mention? Below is a link to 'Citristrip'. It is the only orange gel type stripper i could find.


    1. JB257460's Avatar
      JB257460 -
      Nate, that's the one! Are you embarking on a new project?
    1. natehunts's Avatar
      natehunts -
      I am. When I shot my elk 2 years ago with my 460, my dad was carrying my gun out for me while I was dragging and he slipped and landed on the gun. Needless to say the stock got chipped up pretty bad. I have been wanting to refinish it since then and I am finally going to start on it. I am going to refinish it with an oil finish like you have done. I love the looks of the Safari grade rifles. Do you have any recommendations on oil to use? I would love to get it close to the Safari 'look'. From what I understand, it is all in the number of coats applied to get that smooth poreless look. My dad has a couple of WBY shotguns he is going to refinish at the same time. He also wants and oil finish. Any advice is appreciated.
    1. JB257460's Avatar
      JB257460 -
      Sounds like a misfortunate accident may turn into a fun project! I wrote an article to supplement this one on how to apply a Best London Oil Finish. Take a look at that and, if you have questions, let me know and I'll be glad to help. The oil kit produced by Napier is very good, but the fun is in finding the perfect blend of oils, color, and hardener that gives you the color and finish you want. Stay away from products like Birchwood Casey.
    1. natehunts's Avatar
      natehunts -
      Thanks for the info and I found your article. That is what I am going to attempt. One final question. What grit sandpaper do yo finish your sanding before the application process begins?
    1. JB257460's Avatar
      JB257460 -
      You can finish with wet 400 paper, but I've gone to 600 when building up that last round of "muck" on the stock.
    1. natehunts's Avatar
      natehunts -
      I may have misunderstood. Before you even begin to apply the oil finish, what does your sanding prep work consist of? What do you start with and what grit do you finish with as you finish prepping the stock. From the moment you have scraped off the gel stripper to the time you begin to apply the oil finish is the detailed info I am looking for.
      Thank you for your replies thus far.
    1. JB257460's Avatar
      JB257460 -
      Okay, gotcha....sorry about that. After the gel is removed, the stock dried, and checkering re-cut, I end up finishing with 300 grit. You can certainly use a finer grade as the final sanding. The preparation is the big factor in how this turns out. One would be very wrong to think that a very slight file or sanding mark will be covered by the oil finish. The finish will accentuate these minor flaws, so it's critical to take it slow and easy in the removal of the Poly finish (no razor blades!) and end up with a very smooth stock with no blemishes remaining. The more time you spend in preparation, the nicer your stock will look in the end. In the end, you'll end up with a very durable and beautiful stock because the oil, over time, becomes a part of the stock and seems to reach deep inside of the structure to pull out color. An oil finish, if developed over the years, makes future repairs to surface scratches very easy. What I hate about Poly is when you get a minor scratch it sticks out like a sore thumb and there's really not much you can do about it. The nicer the grain, the better the end product.

      Install your new pad on the naked stock so everything can be sanded together. I've installed the classic solid red pads on all my rifles and think they look the best with an oil finish.
    1. natehunts's Avatar
      natehunts -
      We have started the Citri-strip and it's been on for about an hour. We tested scrapping off a bit and it looks like it hasn't even touched the finish. How long do you wait before scrapping off the gel or before reapplying more gel? The directions state about 30min. What have you found that works best?
    1. JB257460's Avatar
      JB257460 -
      It'll take longer to start breaking through that rock hard surface. Apply it liberally and just let it sit for a couple hours. I used to get impatient because I wanted the stuff off "now" but learned to just let it sit for a while.
    1. natehunts's Avatar
      natehunts -
      We have had the Citristrip on now for about 36 hrs and after all of that, the finish is still rock hard. We are going to try some of the other strippers including some of the KleenStrip products. I'll let you know how those turn out.
    1. JB257460's Avatar
      JB257460 -
      Very interesting, Nate. Citri-strip doesn't work as fast as some of the harsher chemicals, but 36 hrs and no progress at all is an entirely different matter. A few of us on the Forum have used it with success and haven't run into a situation like that before. Some of the harsher products will require you to use it with a mask and gloves and also outside or in a well ventilated garage, or something like that. If you find something that works well, let me know and I'll give it a try for my next project down the road.
    1. natehunts's Avatar
      natehunts -
      Here's an update: We've tried the Citri-strip which didn't tought the finish. Next we tried Kleen Strip's Premium Stripper which didn't touch it at all either. Then I went to my Uncle's body shop and tried their Aircraft Stripper they use to strip the cars, and after about a couple of hours and 3 seperate applications, it finally started to peel off. What didn't peel off was still soft enough that I was able to easily scrape off with a puddy knife. That Weatherby finish is some tough stuff. FYI, this is on an older Orion shotgun.
    1. natehunts's Avatar
      natehunts -
      One last update on our stock stripping process. Although we finally found something that stripped the finish off, care must be taken around the pistol grip. On my dad's orion shotgun the white spacer and diamond inlay seem to be plastic and were ruined with the harsh chemicals. I spoke with a stockmaker who is very familiar with Weathery stocks and he said that plastic is common. So I would take extra and don't get these harsh chemicals near those parts incase you have the plastic components.
    1. Oldtrader3's Avatar
      Oldtrader3 -
      Thanks for posting this finish stripping article. There are many other brands of stock (i.e. Browning Safari etc.) that have a hard Urethane finish in addition to the Mark V. I never had been quite sure what to use in the past and appreciate the updated information.
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