Pete Mazur uses Herters French Red to refinish stocks. If it’s good enough for a craftsman of Petes quality, it’s good enough for me. As Pete recommends, follow the instructions on the can to the “T”. The results are amazing.
SDH wrote an article in Shooting Sportsman years ago about Petes excellent refinishing techniques, it’s a great how to. Herters French red is highly praised in the article. I recommend reading the article. The results speak for themselves.
Arts French Red Filler is the most amazing thing I have ever used with wood. On TS.com Song Dog posted not long ago that he used it on model 12 trap & skeet
before he sent it to John Durkin @ Winchester custom shop for B carve patterns. In fact, John called him about the color, it was better than the stain he used @ Winchester. The thread was started about using Minwax wipe on oil and by coincidence I have moved to Minwax Antique Oil Finish.
In the 70's through the early 90's many including me used Tru-Oil. I blame Weatherby with the high gloss finish that many associated with "quality". Browning followed suit with the bowling pin finish. By the mid 90's many wanted to go back to oil finishes as did I. Eventually settled on Daly's Ben Matte tung oil and Waterlox Original Sealer Finish. Both done with a sand in finish. Much better it is an IN the wood finish instead of ON the wood finish. Up to a point. Never been a fan of fillers, stains or even dyes. Would rather fume cherry to get the look of aged wood. Fillers especially are muddy and obscure the grain often with silica (sand). No way was I ever going to use a filler on a wood project let alone a gunstock.
Then about 10 years ago discovered Art's French Red. Talk about a game changer...
I totally agree starting out with it you want to stick with the directions to a T. Especially the part about stirring for 15 minutes (IIRC). I have enough experience with it now I use a different method but always still stir for 15 minutes. With the exception of hitting the checkering.
1949 16 ga. Ithaca 37 Field Grade with 2 light coats of Art's and 5 hand rubbed coats of Minwax AOF
Kind of defines an in the wood finish to me. And has held up to rain, snow and a lot of carry and handling for a decade with no problems.
I have thought of trying Timberlux for a finish but really have a hard time justifing it. Spent half a century doing things the hard way already.
Last fall custom ordered a 16 ga. Iside though IFG. Came in 6 weeks ago and Italy messed up the order, they forgot the wood upgrade. So they sent me some wood options to pick from
I selected #2 because I know with Art's I can make that tiger stripe Fiddleback pop. And I mean really pop.
IFG took pity on me because FAIR messed up the order and let me have a really good discount on pick of the litter for an in stock 28" coin finish (custom order is 30" BT CC) and I selected this one
Because I KNOW that I can use Art's and make it look a lot nicer when I am done with it.
I have nothing bad to say about Art's French Red it all I use anymore. They also make a walnut filler but have never used it. French Red nails it for me.