How to: Stock restoration, the easy way.

I thought I would share my method for stock restoration. Some may find it unusual, I assure you it works.
The proof is in the pudding as they say, so I will demonstrate.
First , what you will need.

Paper towel, assorted grades of steel wool including super fine, some scourer pads , Boiled Linseed Oil, and the most important ingredient, Oven Cleaner.
Specifically this one from Coles or Woolies

It contains sodium hydroxide, a wood cleaner, as well as several ingredients that break down oils and make them water soluble.
It will not dissolve your stock or weaken it, it gently cleanses the surface of the stock.

So we start with this pink horror show. Nice stock, terrible colour.
So we give the can of oven cleaner a shake and we apply.

Then we wait …30mins will remove the majority of surface gunk, oils , grease and wood stain.
The foam will darken as it starts to work.
You can lessen the amount of time if you wish to refresh less. This method is best used on very dark stocks or stocks you wish to refinish.
After the allotted time, take some paper towel and wipe off the excess foam.

Rinse with water, briefly, don’t soak it. At this point, give it a gentle going over with the scourer, it will help loosen stuff up and remove any stray fuzzy fibres. Wipe it down again with paper towel, rinse again, again briefly, wipe down once more. Don’t allow any water to sit in the stock, dry it out, preferably with help from a hair dryer or heat gun. Any residual oil will soak back into the stock at this point. Now we inspect.

After one coat

After two applications.

What I started with.


So at this stage your timber is ready to be re-oiled. You can also at this stage steam some dings out if you wish.
Easy enough with a wet rag and steamy iron

If your stock is proud of the metal work, you can gently sand it at this stage. GENTLY. Maximum 600grit up to 3000grit.
If your timber is flush , DO NOT sand it.
This is where your steel wool comes in.
Steel wool follows grain, valleys and dings. It maintains the timber shape and instead smooths rather than remove excessive material. Sandpaper goes straight over low points and removes material, know the difference.
If you choose to use wool, don’t use it yet.

Staining…Less is more. You essentially can not over thin wood stain. Thin it down 10-1 with the appropriate thinner for your stain.
Wood is easy to darken, difficult or messy to lighten.
Apply light thin coats and observe for desired result. I always use walnut. All the reddish , cherry type stains invariably look pink and shit. You can however mix stains if you are clever.

Allow your stain to dry.
Now we oil it. The first coat of oil, if you did not sand your stock, but wish to use wool, apply your first coat of oil with the steel wool. Wipe down with a rag, observe result. Not smooth enough for you? Apply oil again with wool. Once smooth enough, apply with a rag , one coat every few hours. It’s normal for some stain to come off on the rag.
After about 5 coats of oil. You can leave it, or apply wax or apply the Milsurp concoction of BLO/beeswax/pure gum turps in equal parts. (Google it)
Anyway , bit of elbow grease later and boom.

Heres another stock I did after one application of 30 mins.

This method is 100% gentle on stocks with no harsh scrubbing or sanding if you choose not to. It will retain all scars, markings, cartouche dings etc. It does not harm the wood. I have used this method for years and you wouldn’t even pick which stocks I’ve freshened up. Anyway, try it, or don’t, thanks for reading.

Edit: remove all metalwork, butt pads etc. I have had to leave escutcheons in the timber and they don’t seem affected. Remove what you can though.


Hey babe where is the easy off bam, “why are you finally going to clean the oven” Errr hell no, ive got way better uses for it than that… :sunglasses:


You can clean ovens?

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Lol, not if I can avoid it…

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Aside from the jokes if you have not tried steaming dings out of timber give it a go, really hard to muck up and great results for minimal effort.

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I’ve used steam for that purpose and for bending wood, but this oven cleaner technique for redoing stocks is brilliant imo… :sunglasses:
Btw…Thanks for the tip Supaduke… :+1:t2:

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Digging this up to say thanks Supaduke and bumping for others.

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