traditions pennsylvania flintlock rifle stock question

sourdough

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When I was a teen in the sixties, my Dad got a Dixie catalog every year. One of the things that intrigued me was a kit to create "tiger stripes" on a maple stock. If memory serves it consisted of some type of metal filings and a solution of some type. I see a lot of this striped finish on many rifles (particularly on Kibler's site) and it is very eye-appealing.

Jim
 

Booner

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When I was a teen in the sixties, my Dad got a Dixie catalog every year. One of the things that intrigued me was a kit to create "tiger stripes" on a maple stock. If memory serves it consisted of some type of metal filings and a solution of some type. I see a lot of this striped finish on many rifles (particularly on Kibler's site) and it is very eye-appealing.

Jim

What you're talking about is a solution called "aquafortis" ( not sure if I spelled it correctly). It's made by disolving iron in an acid, (the fumes of which are toxic). It's a very traditional stain and penatrates deeply into the wood, especially on a suger maple stock. It will stail other woods, but it does best wkih maple as it reacts with the sugars in the wood.

Many of the professional makers still use it today. You can purchase the solution already made from any major muzzleloading supply house.

Once the iron was fully disolved, it was wiped on the stock then heat was applied to the stock after the solution had dried and it would bring out the stripes in a curly maple stock. Some say you need to apply a base to it, like baking soda to stop the oxidation of the iron particles embedded in the stock. It may be one reason why the stocks on old muzzleloaders are so dark. And the acid may react with any metal it comes in contact with it it hasn't been nutralized.

I've got some that I've tried on some scrap maple, but I'm not real thrilled with the way it looks, and the idea that it could continue to darken the wood, while it may be historically correct especially on a Southern Mountain Rifle, doesn't appeal to me. You also have to put a lot of heat on it to make the grain "pop" Not enough heat and the wood has a green color to it. And you run the risk of scortching the wood as you apply the heat. I paid a premium for an extra curly maple stock, I want those stripes to show!!!! Plus I'm building a new rifle, not one that looks like it's 200 years old.
 
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WJC

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What you're talking about is a solution called "aquafortis" ( not sure if I spelled it correctly). It's made by disolving iron in an acid, (the fumes of which are toxic). It's a very traditional stain and penatrates deeply into the wood, especially on a suger maple stock. It will stail other woods, but it does best wkih maple as it reacts with the sugars in the wood.

Many of the professional makers still use it today. You can purchase the solution already made from any major muzzleloading supply house.

Once the iron was fully disolved, it was wiped on the stock then heat was applied to the stock after the solution had dried and it would bring out the stripes in a curly maple stock. Some say you need to apply a base to it, like baking soda to stop the oxidation of the iron particles embedded in the stock. It may be one reason why the stocks on old muzzleloaders are so dark. And the acid may react with any metal it comes in contact with it it hasn't been nutralized.

I've got some that I've tried on some scrap maple, but I'm not real thrilled with the way it looks, and the idea that it could continue to darken the wood, while it may be historically correct especially on a Southern Mountain Rifle, doesn't appeal to me. You also have to put a lot of heat on it to make the grain "pop" Not enough heat and the wood has a green color to it. And you run the risk of scortching the wood as you apply the heat. I paid a premium for an extra curly maple stock, I want those stripes to show!!!! Plus I'm building a new rifle, not one that looks like it's 200 years old.
I certainly agree. What is your preferred process for staining?
 

Booner

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I certainly agree. What is your preferred process for staining?

I'm going to be using Laural Moutain Forge's "Landcaster Maple" as a base and maybe a little of their regular maple stain to help darken some of the stipes. The regular maple has a more brown tone to it while the Lancastle maple has more of a red cast.

First sand the stock with "Mico mesh" it's finer than 600 grit sandpaper with grits that go out past 2500.. Some like to use 0000 steel wool as the final prep prior to staining but the micro mesh won't leave little slivers of steel in the wood like steel wood will, plus the Mico mesh is a much finer grit than steel wool. Blow the stock off with an air compressor, put on a heavy coat of stain and let it dry then sand it back and stain again. Keep on doing that till your satified. You can cut the stain with alcohol and blend two stains together if you want. In maple, the dark wood is the softer wood and takes stain readily. The light color wood is the harder wood. And as you tilt the stock light areas will darken as the Ray's of light hit it, sort of a 3D effect-you don't see that in a lot of wood.
After I'm happy with the staining, I'll seal the wood with a product called " permalyn" which might be a type of polyurethane. You put it on heavy, leave it for15 minutes then wipe it off, let it dry overnight then do the same again. After the second coat you do a light sanding and the apply two more coats, then sand again. Once it appears the pores are filled you put on a lighter coat of permalyn, do a light sand then add another coat, except this time you put it on with your fingers. After it's dry you may do a very light sand with 2000 grit micro mesh just to take a bit of the gloss off of it, then thats it. Your done. The permalyn seals the wood against moisture and solvents, and is simple to touch up if you scrape the stock, etc.
It's not the way the old-timers did it but I'm not making a museum piece. It should be a pretty accurate .36 caliber squirrel gun and hopefully it'll get passed on down through my family
 
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