Custom Coloring a Boyds Classic Stock

In the Beginnig
As many of you may or may not know  I had purchased a Boyds Classic Mosin Nagant stock sometime ago, This was going to be my first project rifle, but then I decided I wanted to start on my MosZilla project rifle first.  The original project gun was going to use the Boyds stock as it base, I had selected the Nutmeg laminate colored stock as I liked the look.

When the stock arrived it was a really beautiful piece,  I was going to simply do a Tru Oil finish on it and then install the action.  But then it happened,  one of the users on the SOCAMO forum had won the Mosin of the Month contest with a beautiful M91/30 stained a striking Russian red with a high glass finish.   So in a moment of inspiration (or madness) I decided to see if I could mimic his color on the Boyds Classic I purchased.

Easier Said,  Than Done
One of the main problems with trying to reproduce a color is what color you start out with, most Mosin Nagant stocks are Beech and so it is a lighter colored wood to start with.  Stripping and refinishing a beech stock is not a big deal.  However staining laminate is an entirely different issue,  using a laminate stock as a base has a very unique set of issues.  During the process of lamination the thin layers of wood are placed under tremendous pressures with bonding agents, these typically soak in to the layers several millimeters, effectively sealing the wood in those areas.  As the wood is milled away to create the stock from the original laminate block the layers are exposed in varying amounts, and so in the areas where the laminate stripes are the widest those are the thinnest layers and are less likely to take the stain evenly.  After I had sanded the stock to get rid of the machining marks etc I tried to apply several coats of stain on the stock, the stain was simply sitting on top of some of wood and  you could see that it clearly wasn’t penetrating into the wood.  So since the stain will not easily penetrate these  areas where the layers have bonded the only real solution is to seal the stock first with what is known as a wash coat, a wash coat is a very thin layer of sealer, this is used so that the stain has an even strata to work with.  Make sure you ruff up the sealer with 400 grit to get the next layer to bond well.  Also dry times are critical make sure you are not trying to sand a sealer that has not properly set.

So now what?
Now that you have an even playing field so to speak we need to apply the layers of stain one at a time and then lightly sand with 600 grit wet and dry sand paper or 0000 steel wool between each coat.  These also need to completely dry before you sand try to sand them.  I didn’t think to take photos of each step, so you’ll have to trust me on this.  But be fore warned this is not a weekend project.  The colors used on this project were as follows

  • 1 Amber 1 coat (to accent highlighted colors)
  • 2 Cherry 2 coats (basic red color)
  • 3 Gunstock 1 coat to darken the red of the cherry
  • 4 Merlot 5 coats (Merlot is a wine colored stain)
  • Tru Oil 3 coats to seal and to darken slightly, the more coat of TO the darker it will get.

My dry times were at least 24 hrs between coats sometimes 48hrs.  So after many hours and many coats this is what the stock currently looks like.  I may put several more coats on sand and then polish and wax.  If you take the time you’ll have a stock that you’ll be proud of.


Well I will post more photos of the stock when the action is dropped in and the whole thing is finished.  Until then.
Happy Shooting
Mark