AK Furniture Refinishing Part II by Perro Del Diablo
Wash your steel wool out in the pail of water everytime you scrub the stock after a coating of bix - the less burgundy crap you have in it, the better results you will get, and the less amount of times you will have to rescrub it.

Change the water out with clean water after 3 or so scrubbings.

Once you get all the old finish off of the furniture, set the wood in a cool place to dry for 2 days. Its important to set it in a cool place, because warm, or hot, can crack the wood.

As soon as the wood is dry, you will notice that it feels all fuzzy, and grainy - this is because the water raised the grain in the wood, and you will have to remove the "whiskers" in the wood. Take a #0000 fine steel wool pad, and scrub the wood with the steel wool. When i say scrub, i mean take the steel wool, and run it up and down the wood with good pressure in the direction of the grain - it doesnt involve getting the wood wet at all - you dont want the wood to be wet during this stage. once the wood is smooth as a babies butt, look at it - if there are imperfections, this is the time to fix them.

Small dents can easily be raised by steaming them out with an iron. To do this, break out the ironing board, and take an old wash cloth that you dont mind messing up, and get it wet - turn the iron on its highest setting, and let it warm up. take an old t shirt, and lay it across the ironing board where you will be setting the wood - some of the old color could bleed onto your ironing board otherwise. once the iron is hot, lay the wood down on the t shirt, and put the wet wash cloth over the dent / dents - carefully press the iron onto the wet wash cloth over the top of the dent / dents that you want to raise - do not move the iron around - it will start hissing, and steaming like crazy - once it quits steaming, remove the iron, and the wash cloth - you can resteam a couple more times if you want - please note - steaming will only raise dents, it will not replace missing wood.

After all of the dents are raised, let the stock sit for a hour or so, and hit it with the #0000 fine steel wool again until the stock is smooth as a babies butt again.

Now its time to color the furniture. If youre wood is like mine, it will be a really bright weird orange - this can be removed by sanding down to below where the prior finish has penetrated, however, i do not suggest doing this, because it will make your buttstock a WHOLE LOT SMALLER than it was before, and you will not be happy with the results. instead, pick a stain that will be compatible with the orange. I personally prefer Chestnut Ridge military rifle stain. It is made for walnut stocks, but works great on everything that i have ever done (dark, or light woods) it has a deep red tint in multiple coats. It can be found by clicking here.
The small 4 oz bottle is enough to do about 10 rifles
Take the bottle of stain, and shake it up well, then take an old t shirt and put your finger into the shirt - dab a little of the stain onto the shirt, and then start rubbing it into the wood - redip with the stain often as the wood soaks it up quick, and you will notice the color changing - try to keep it uniformed in color. Once all the wood is coated evenly, let it sit 24 hours, and then repeat the above process with the stain - keep adding stain until it turns the desired shade. once the desired shade is reached, let it dry for 24 hours, and then coat it with the semi gloss polyurethane - spray light coats on to avoid runs, and sags. I let it dry for 4 hours between coats, and once its dry, hit it with #0000 steel wool to smooth out the poly - i usually coat it 3 times with the poly - once your 3rd coat is on, you can either leave it glossy, or knock the shine off of it by using the #0000 steel wool.

Below are pictures of the rifle after finished with 3 coats of chestnut ridge stain, and 3 coats of poly - much nicer that the factory finish:

Alot of people prefer hand rubber oil finishes - I have a few rifles with hand rubbed oil finishes, and truthfully, they are reserved for investment grade firearms. Not to knock the Century SAR 1, but if i were going to spend the trouble of hand rubbing a finish, i would put it on a m1 Garand, or something where its important for the finish to be original. The SAR 1 works well with the Poly finish because its easy, its cheap, it lasts forever, and its a whole lot easier to maintain than an oil finish - plus, the finish that came on the rifle is not original to my knowledge.
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