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Thread: Russian Red finish????

  1. #1
    Master Endmill Breaker Rhino_66's Avatar
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    Default Russian Red finish????

    Does anyone have pics of the Russian red finish on the stocks? I have been looking around but the only red furniture I could find was this set from K-Var



    Is this the red finish? Or should it be more brownish?

    When I get a few answers to these questions, I'll show you all my attempt...

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure there are many shades of "red" for those. The best place I've found so far are the Mosin-Nagant threads/forums. They (obviously) have more wood to refinish on their rifles than on an AK but the quest is the same.

    Also, you looked on the kalashnikov & world.guns.ru archives, right?

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    Master Endmill Breaker Rhino_66's Avatar
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    I followed the instructions on the Ironwood Design how-to and got a little lighter than I thought looked right. I added a little more red Rit dye to the mix and let it dry. It dried a tangerine color. I wiped a coat of Minwax "Special Walnut" stain on the stock set and let it soak for a little while. I wiped off the excess and had what I thought was a REALLY nice reddish brown. I let the pieces dry overnight and gave them a coat of tung oil in the morning. These are the handguards from a WUM-1 kit that I bought awhile ago. I did the buttstock with the same dye and stain.



    This pic is after 6 thin coats of Tung oil with a light buffing with 0000 steel wool between coats. The last coat was applied with a soft lint free rag. I may do a few more coats to fill some more of the low spots, but it looks really good.

    I apologize for the washed out pic. I had to adjust the gamma, contrast, and brightness of the pic as my camera didn't like the white background and made the handguards look almost black by contrast. The image is pretty close to the actual appearance of the handguards now.

    I looked up some of the Mosin-Nagant boards, but those guys are a little too "purist". The concensus on a couple of those boards is that you will ruin the value of a gun by refinishing it in any way. They are more than happy to offer great advice about refinishing a "junk" stock though. There are plenty of tips for fixing cracks and different finishes for a non-original stock. It took me some time to wade through to the non-purist stuff, but those guys do know their military finishes. I learned more about bees wax, BLO, and stain combinations than I ever thought I cared to know. I never did get a real response to the "red" russian stock finish other than that it was difficult to reproduce.

    So... I'm going to call this "Rhino's Russian Red". If anybody wants the mix, I'll post it. If not, I won't.

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    Gunco Regular Thanatos's Avatar
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    Please do post the mix and procedures for application. This may be one for the library.
    A village in Massachusetts got their idiot back.

  5. #5
    Master Endmill Breaker Rhino_66's Avatar
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    Rhino's Russian Red

    First a word of warning. This procedure with gloss Tung oil will produce a high gloss deep shine. It is more of a fine furniture finish than an authentic military finish. Please keep that in mind. Also, I ripped some of this info off from other sites and called it my own. It's not, but I don't care. Live with it.

    For mixing the red color of the above handguards, I used the following procedure: (A good portion, about 95%, of this is from Ironwood Designs, so kudos to them for the procedure...)

    Wood prep is critical! I recommend following the instructions on the Ironwood Design website for sanding the stock set before even thinking about applying the finish:

    http://www.ironwooddesigns.com/1howto.html

    I highly recommend practicing on a piece of scrap wood to get an idea of what your finished project will look like. Once the dye is on the wood, you will have to bleach the wood to remove it.

    Dyes: I used Rit liquid dyes for this process. They were a little more expensive than the powder (about $0.50), but the bottles can be capped and reused. The cost for both dyes was about $5.00.

    The materials used were:

    Rit Scarlet Red #5
    Rit Yellow #1
    Alcohol (see notes below)
    Minwax "Special Walnut 224" oil based stain
    Ace Hardware Gloss Tung Oil
    Cheap Foam Brushes
    Lint Free Rags
    Plastic Mixing Cups
    Latex Gloves
    0000 Steel Wool

    I mixed the dyes in a plastic cup in the following ratio:

    1 part yellow : 1.5 parts scarlet : 9 parts alcohol

    Wear gloves and mix well...

    The dye was applied using a cheap foam brush. The first coat was extremely thin and produced little color. I allowed time for it to soak into the wood and used a hair dryer to speed up the drying time. Additional coats of dye deepen the color. The wet color you see when applying the dye is what you will get when you apply the oil. Apply additional coats of dye to get the shade that you desire. I wound up using around 6 or 7 coats of dye to get the red that I liked.

    The dye will leave the wood a tangerine color when it dries. Don't worry about it. It will change back to red when the stain or oil is applied.

    When the last coat of dye had dried, I applied a coat of the oil based stain. I put on a heavy coat of stain and allowed it soak for a few minutes. I wiped off the excess stain and looked at the results under bright light. I was satisfied with a single coat of stain, but additional coats will add a lot more brown to the finished product. What you see is what you will get.

    Allow the stain to dry. This is where I messed up. I didn't wait long enough for the stain to dry and wound up wiping most of it off when I applied the first coat of tung oil. Give the stain a chance to dry, possibly overnight. I would have liked a little more brown in the finished pieces, but I'm starting to like the more reddish tone.

    I used a foam brush to apply the first coat of tung oil. Unfortunately, this helped pull some of the stain off the pieces. I also had some dirt and dust problems when using the foam brushes in the following coats of oil. Use a lint-free rag to apply thin coats of tung oil. Allow the oil time to dry per the instructions before applying additional coats. Again, what you see is what you get.

    When the coat of oil has dried enough, buff lightly with 0000 steel wool. Don't scrub the finish, as you will easily remove oil, stain, and dye. You only want to dull it down so the next coat will have something to cling to. Apply another coat of tung oil with a lint-free rag and allow to dry. Buff with 0000 steel wool and repeat until desired depth of finish is achieved.

    Multiple coats of oil will produce a much deeper shine and can fill in some small flaws in the wood. I have put a total of 8 thin coats on the stock set now and I finally have it where I want it.

    The how-to on the Ironwood website has some alternative oil and wax finishes that will produce different sheens on the finished product. Consider these before using the Tung oil.


    Notes:

    The dyes are mixed with alcohol to dry more quickly, reduce raising of the wood grain, and thin the color. I grabbed the bottle of Isopropyl alcohol from my medicine cabinet and used that in the first batch of dye. BAD idea! Isopropyl alcohol does not like to mix with water. The dye separated from the Isopropyl alcohol like oil and water. So, I decided to use the other source of alcohol that I had in my kitchen. I used Vodka. It was the only other alcohol source that I had available, and the hardware store was closed by the time I started the project. Laugh if you want, but the Vodka worked fantastically. The Ironwood website includes Denatured Ethyl Alcohol in the materials list, but use whatever floats your boat. At least with the Vodka, you can pour a shot into a Coke while you're working...


    You can mix stain with the Tung oil to produce additional layers of color. I did this successfully on a test piece, and the results weren't bad at all. Just pour some Tung oil into a glass jar and add a small amount of stain. Don't add a lot of stain or the mixture will become opaque. You just want a little tint of brown in the oil. Apply with a lint-free rag.


    Tung oil dries fairly quickly, especially in thin coats. At least the Ace Hardware stuff did... Use enough oil on the rag to keep a wet edge when working with the pieces. Different brands of oil may dry at different rates, so take that into consideration if you're working with a large piece.


    Piles of oil soaked rags and brushes can spontaneously combust. I threw all my used rags into a large coffee can with a strong solution of water and liquid detergent to prevent a fire hazard.

  6. #6
    Gunco Regular Evil_WalksII's Avatar
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    Cool

    Got a pic of the matching t-hole stock? Might be a new look for my CUR2,
    I kinda like the shiny Rom. finish, I'm pretty sure your method would fit the bill.

  7. #7
    Master Endmill Breaker Rhino_66's Avatar
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    Again, I apologize for the washed out pic. I normally use a blue shop rag for a background, but with this dark color the red winds up looking fluorescent due to my camera attempting to balance the color.

    As you can see in the pic, I didn't do as much wood prep as I could have. With some more sanding, the wood could have been smoother which would have given a better final finish. The original stock finish is some type of varnish (I think). I soaked all the pieces in lacquer thinner to soften and remove the original clear finish. I think the pieces were dipped in clear at the factory because there were lots of runs and sags in the finish.

    These are the Romanian thumbhole stocks. Very similar to the Romak 3 stock, but there is no screw that runs through the pistol grip. The only thing that holds the buttstock (and pistolgrip) on is the screws in the stock tang. I will probably run a wood screw down through the PG hole in the receiver to clamp the wood tight. I don't find this type of thumbhole stock as offensive as the others.

    The recoil pad is spring loaded on these, just like the Romak. The easiest way to get the recoil pad off the stock is to lean down on it to compress the springs. With the springs compressed, grab the sling loop with a pair of pliers and pull one side out of the post. Then you can pull the loop out of the other side of the post. This method prevents spreading the loop too far apart and ruining it.

    This is the orientation of the stock as installed on the rifle:



    You can see the sling loop and recoil pad in this pic as well.

  8. #8
    Gunco Regular Evil_WalksII's Avatar
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    Rhino66, thanks for the extra picture! Looks good to me. For whatever reason I just haven't swapped out the stock on my CUR2, it's the only thumbhole rifle I own that still has the thumbhole stock. I've got enough US and spare parts to do it but it's kind-of grown on me, I installed a matching forward grip back in '98 and that's how she's stayed. I remember when I bought it thinking how much cooler the stock was than any of my MAK or NHM t-holes...If I refinish I plan on thinning a bit of the pistol grip area for better comfort, it's definitely been "sporterized" with the typical "way too fat" p.g. area.


    Terrible lighting on this pic but you get the basic idea...
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing, Rhino! Could you snap a few pics in sunlight?

  10. #10
    Master Endmill Breaker Rhino_66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hcpookie
    Thanks for sharing, Rhino! Could you snap a few pics in sunlight?
    Waited too long today to get pics. The angle of the sun through the tung oil clear coat washes out the color. I'll take some tomorrow around noon when the sun is directly overhead...

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