TFB Armorer's Bench: Stock Finishing – Blunderbuss Kit

by Sam.S

Welcome everyone to the TFB Armorer’s Bench! As mentioned in the little blurb below, this series will focus on a lot of home armorer and gunsmith activities. We are back again with the Traditions Blunderbuss Muzzle Loader Kit and this time we are finishing up the stock. Stock finishing is very basic and similar to most other woodworking processes. Thank goodness woodworking is pretty forgiving because if it was not, this whole procedure would be less enjoyable.

Note: I have never played with a kit gun like this. I have plenty of experience in metal and woodworking but when it comes to these kits, there may be a few tips and tricks that I myself don’t know about them specifically. Feel free to share with everyone down below! Armorer’s Bench is supposed to be a welcoming and informative space for beginners and enthusiasts.

Recent TFB Armorer’s Bench Content:

TFB Armorer’s Bench: Stock Finishing – Blunderbuss Kit

Here, we at TFB hope to inform, entertain, and even inspire any would-be gunsmith or armorer out there. Ideally, with the information I provide and with the help of our sponsors, you can have some useful knowledge about the conservation and improvement of firearms technology while at the same time sharing experiences and teaching each other new tips and tricks along the way in the comments. Digging deep into what it is to be an armorer or gunsmith has significance but what is important is what those people do to show they’ve earned that title. I am happy to share my experiences and knowledge and hope it is informative!

Make your personal safety a priority:

  1. Practice proper gun safety. Always make sure before the firearm hits your bench that it is unloaded and safe to be handled.
  2. Wear the proper safety equipment. The main one would be safety glasses (decent ones) since parts are often under spring tension and you may work with high RPM tools. Other honorable mentions would be latex gloves or a respirator when working with potentially harmful solvents and oils. Also hearing protection when working with loud machinery or test-firing firearms.
  3. Modifications, alterations, and customizations will void your firearm’s warranty 9.5 times out of 10. Please take that into consideration before attempting any at-home gunsmithing.
  4. If you are unsure about proper safety practices, disassembly procedures, or warranty standards, stop, put down the tools, and consult a competent gunsmith.

Sanding – Stock Finishing

Just about everyone knows how to sand something. Sanding a gunstock is no different than sanding anything else. The initial grit of sandpaper used depends on the starting condition of the stock. In this case, the stock was pretty smooth overall, with some rough spots, so further shaping was not necessary.

I opted to start with around 200 grit sandpaper just to knock off any large fibers sticking out. As you may already know, it’s best to sand only with the grain when working on a gunstock.

When sanding a gunstock, it can be helpful to square off your sandpaper by placing it on a wooden block or square piece. This prevents rounding off edges that you want to remain sharp.

After going over it thoroughly with 200 grit, I jumped to 600 grit, and then 800 grit. Since this is meant to be a quick project, I did not spend too much time obsessing over absolute smoothness. However, I did want to demonstrate the process of whiskering.

Whiskering, as I learned in college, involves getting the gunstock wet with water to make the knocked-over fibers stand up. A gunstock we worked on in class was literally dunked under cold, room-temperature water. It doesn’t really matter how you get the stock wet – just make sure to soak those fibers so they stand at attention. Then sand over them with your current grit of sandpaper.

Finishing – Blunderbuss Stock

Once the sanding is complete, we can move on to finishing. There are many finish options, and everyone has their preferences. I’m partial to oil finishes since they’re easier to apply and maintain. Linseed oil and Danish oil are popular choices. Danish oil is great for quick jobs since it soaks in fast.

There are also versions of Danish oil with stain mixed in (along with a “natural” clear version). The application is straightforward – take a rag, put some oil on it, and rub it into the stock. Typically the whole surface will be dry by the time you’ve gone over it.

Repeat oil applications until the wood stops soaking it up quickly. Allow time to dry between coats. You can keep adding oil until the stock is fully saturated. Finally, wipe down the exterior to remove any excess pooling oil.

Waxing/Sealing – Stock Finishing

After letting your oiled stock sit for a few hours or overnight, the final step is waxing. A product called Feed-N-Wax works very well. Either squirt some into your palm and wipe the stock down, or run a bead of wax across the stock and rub it in. This will nourish the oil finish and add a slight sheen. You may need multiple applications, especially on thirsty stocks. Eventually, you’ll know the pores are sealed when the stock stops accepting more wax.

Conclusion – Stock Finishing

That covers the basics of stock finishing for now. Next up is bluing the barrel, which I’m excited to demonstrate since it’s a process most home gunsmiths can tackle. See you next time!

As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for the TFB Armorer’s Bench! Also, let us know what you think in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.


Writer | TheFirearmBlogWriter | AllOutdoor.comInstagram | sfsgunsmithOld soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.

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2 of 5 comments
  • Themastermason Themastermason on Oct 18, 2023

    MidwayUSA's videos on stock refinishing were instrumental in turning my 1903A1 from a gooey, dented mess to a gleaming showgirl. I used Tru-Oil instead of Danish though.
    The results here are lovely.

  • Core Core on Nov 01, 2023

    Start at 80 grit and do the wet grain wash between sanding and finish at 600 grit. 80-100-150-200-400-600 You should use raw Tung Oil and do about 20 coats each with an overnight dry period. You need to use a lint free applicator and apply the last ten coats very thin. Take a few ounces of dragon blood tree resin and dissolve in high test ethanol for a few weeks shaking the glass bottle daily. Let the ethanol vape off when the dragons blood is mostly dissolved. Add an ounce to 8oz of Tung Oil for a old English red hued oil finish. Melt a few ounces of beeswax and add ten drops of lemon oil for a wax polish.