Not too long ago I bought one of the Civilian Marksmanship specials. The specials are remanufactured M1 Garands with new barrels and new stocks. Once mine arrived I was rather pleased with how it looked, however I needed to do something with the stock as it was essentially bare wood when I got it. I decided to use Birchwood Casey’s Tru Oil on this project.
Unfortunately I did not take any pictures before I started so I will use some proxy pictures that hopefully will serve the purpose. On the right is a picture of the CMP special from the CMP website. You can see that the wood looks nice but it needs some finish. After receiving mine I took all of the furniture off and used a bit of 400 grit paper to smooth out a few rough places and then give it a light sanding overall. Then I blew all the dust off with my compressor and then used a tack cloth to remove anything else. Seeing as how I failed to take pictures of my stock before refinishing, I am going to show some pictures of a box that I made for my wife not too long ago. I made a small jewelry type box out of mahogany and I used Tru Oil to finish it.
The piece on the left is this picture is raw mahogany that I had cut to form one side of the box. I sanded it with 200 and then 400 grit paper to smooth it out. Then after cleaning it and wiping it down I applied the first coat of Tru Oil. I used a piece of cheese cloth folded up into a pad and applied a light coat. I stress the light coat part. You do not want to put this on too heavy. It would probably be a good idea to do this in a dust free environment. The piece on the right has had one coat of Tru Oil applied to it. The first coat will probably soak right in but keep it light and spread the oil into the wood grain. The first coat will probably need to dry for at least 2 to 3 hours depending on the humidity.
Once the first coat is dry you will need to buff it out with some steel wool. I usually use OO or medium grade steel wool depending on the branding. In the picture on the right the steel wool grades from the left are coarse, medium, and fine. This brand of steel wool the medium is about OO and the fine was close to OOOO steel wool. You do not need to push hard when buffing the finish, just some light pressure should be fine.
After buffing out the finish I used the compressor to blow out the dust and wool particles and used a tack cloth to clean up the surface. Then I applied a second coat of Tru Oil. You will find that the second coat will use less oil than the first coat so go sparingly at first. In the picture on the left you can compare the raw mahogany to a piece with two coats of Tru Oil on it.
For my Garand I used three coats of Tru Oil. Some people will say that you need to use more. I have seen some nice rifles that have used six to eight coats but I was pleased with finish after three and at the time I was tired of buffing it with steel wool and I wanted to get out and shoot it!!!! On the right is a picture of my Garand with the three coats of Tru Oil. You can see that it has a nice satin finish and the Tru Oil really made the grain pop.
And now since I know you want to see it is a picture of the box that I made for my wife. With this I went to six coats of Tru Oil. If you click on the picture and look close you can see that not all of the grain is filled in. You could go even further if you wanted and continue applying coats and buffing until all of the grain is filled but I kind of like the way it looks.
You can put a really nice finish on your gun stock with Birchwood Casey’s Tru Oil. There is a little bit of work required with the prep work and buffing. If you take your time and plan carefully you can end up with some nice looking furniture.