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HomelessjOe, Stanton Hillis, WRE1
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Original Post (Thread Starter)
by Travis S
Travis S
I have a field grade LC Smith that most of the finish is on the stock but probably 30-50% is crinkled. Any way to smooth this out without changing the original look of the gun pre-crinkle?
Liked Replies
by keith
When I hear of or see a stock with a wrinkled finish, I immediately think it may be an old shellac finish. Many manufacturers used shellac on gun stocks, and many guns have been refinished with shellac. As shellac ages, it typically becomes dark, and it will also become wrinkled, in a way that is sometimes described as an alligator hide.

I have a 16 ga. Field Grade featherweight L. C. Smith that has a shellac finish, and I see no sign that it has been refinished. So it appears that Hunter Arms probably utilized shellac on at least some guns. Other original Smith's I have appear to be varnish.

A way to tell for sure is to apply some rubbing or denatured alcohol to a spot. Shellac dissolves easily in alcohol, but alcohol won't have much effect upon varnish, lacquers, polyurethane, etc. When you buy shellac in flake form, alcohol is the solvent used to make It liquid. It may soften the surface of an oil finish though. If the finish is shellac, the alcohol can easily strip the entire stock for refinishing, or with care, the dissolved shellac can be reamalgamated and evened out to dramatically improve the appearance. The surface should be well cleaned before attempting this, because dirt and grime on the stock will end up in the liquified shellac.

I have a G grade Lefever and a Baker Batavia that I bought very cheap because of their very ugly alligatored stock finishes. I instantly knew they had been refinished with shellac. As it turned out, the shellac had been applied right over the existing original finishes, and even slopped onto the metal and buttplate on the Baker. It was very easy to completely remove the shellac without harming the original finishes underneath. The shellac on the metal did a commendable job of protecting the case colors on the frame too What will always mystify me is why someone would decide to apply shellac over a perfectly good original finish???
2 members like this
by Travis S
Travis S
Ok I just stripped the finish and am going back with a spray on satin finish Pro-Oil finish. I have already sprayed the forearm and it turned out looking about like it did before stripping. This is a field grade gun

I also glass bedded (for the first time ) the stock inletting and am going to do it again on a project that I first have to fix a broken stock and then glass bed. I want to record my process on the next one in pics and narrative.

This time it turned out good but I learned a lot and will put it to good use on the next one.
2 members like this
by Ghostrider
Gunny and Keith are correct. I have had excellent success with a cotton ball wrapped in a piece of old T shirt. I use 192 proof alcohol, rub the stock down with a few drops of olive oil. I do not add any shellac but you sure could. The alcohol dissolves the old shellac, the oil keeps it from sticking. You are just following the same process as doing a French Polish finish. I have done several stocks that had a Shellac finish with great results.
1 member likes this
by Travis S
Travis S
Thanks Stan

The gun is a 12 ga (1920s regular frame) that is as tight as a drum and unmolested great bores with tight F/F chokes and nothing but honest browning(no pits on the outside). The crazing is somewhat endearing as it is just what these guns tend to do after close to 100 years so I am torn about even messing with it. I am going to get after the Turkeys this spring with it and it is likely to get scratched up a little any ways.

BTW Glad you are still with us. I fought a bought of the Chins Flu in March and was near death a couple of nights. Thanks to God and all the prayers, I made it through and am recovering well.

Every day, every friend and every opportunity is a little sweeter these days. The days are shortening here in N Fl and soon it will be time to get back in the woods and fields and I will do so with a renewed vigor.

Take care

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