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Silver Bullet member
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Discussion Starter #1
Go to this site and you will see three rifles http://www.yesterdaysweapons.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=2126#p84081 One of these I refinished and I will tell you why. Right now I am not sure which one it it. But I bought in around 1960 for $20 and being unlearned and ignorant I took the finish off and made it look pretty by coating it with Linspeed oil. It gave it a tan look, not at all like original. Someone on another thread wanted to know about finish for Japanese Rifles.

I am not advising refinishing any Japanese Product unless it is completely gone.
 

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Silver Bullet Member
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Those look very nice.

While I'm not one to mess with original rifles (even beat up ones), I can appreciate the effort to try to restore examples that have already been messed with or re-finished improperly.

Do you have any information or examples of original finish on the darker Japanese Walnut stocks?

I'm considering what to do with a Type 44 stock that appears to have been stripped (maybe?) of it's original finish. I took it apart tonight to have a look and found a very reddish original finish inside the barrel channel and underneath the bands and metal areas. I was surprised how red it looks!

Here are some photos of the handguard in different light...

Natural sunlight, no flash...





Natural light + flash



Various artificial light with and without flash...







Here is what the stock looks like...






I really don't care for the dry appearance and to me it appears to have been cleaned too heavily. It seems like it is too evenly removed to be a naturally worn finish, but I'm not certain. I would have thought, however, if someone was going to strip it down, they would have removed some of the metal? Maybe not? Bubba sometimes works in mysterious ways, I guess!
 

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What you see it typical of a sanded/steel wooled stock. It may have had some Blo or other finish applied.

You can't do much to hurt it now.

No, bubba didn't always remove the metal, often you will see signs of sanding/wooling on the springs, and original color in the ends of the grasping grooves.

The Japanese did not use walnut (at least not American or european) for stocks; refer to the Banzai sticky and the sticky on Japanese wood and finshing for more info.
 

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Thanks, Don. I did find the nice article by Stan Zielinski. Is that the info. you are referring?

I was originally going to leave this alone, but I'm just not happy with the appearance of the cleaned stock, especially after seeing how beautiful the original finish was. I'd like to try to improve the appearance for display on my wall. I really don't want to mess with the original urushi as I am allergic to poison ivy and don't need that. :) Is there a favorite recipe that closely approximates the original appearance? I've really only used shellac and Tung oil in wood refinishing and was thinking that a very slightly reddish tinted low gloss Tung oil might look close.

The Type 2 paratroopers that riceone did look great, but it doesn't look anything like the finish on this one.



 

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Thanks for the photos, Riceone. Are those re-finished or original? Is that the same type of wood as mine?

I've been comparing whats remaining of the original finish on the Type 44 with some of the rifles I have in my collection and it appears very close to an M1A walnut stock (new production) that I used some Tung oil on. I'll take some side by side photos in the sunlight...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I put the finish on the bottom rifle. When sent to me it looked like yours. I think top one is original. In my limited experience I have not come across any Japanese wood that is comparable to wood avaliable to us.
 

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Here is the inside of the handguard (original finish) on the T44 next to my M1A stock. I think the T44 is slightly more red, now that I see it in natural sunlight.




It's not too far off, but certainly more red than the M1A walnut.





Here are some more shots showing the original finish on the T44 stock. I used the flash to capture how red it looks.





I think the original finish of the Type 44 very closely matches the color of a M91/30 ex-sniper refurb...







Anyone ever see a Type 44 (or any Japanese rifle) that looked like the deep Russian red color??
 

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Most 44s are not very "red", many are quite "blond".

You can put on a little stain in your stocks current condition. Try mixing mahogany (a little) into walnut.

Since it won't be original, the easiest final finish could be tung; or just a little spray satin varnish(not urethane). Any finish in the scratches and dings is going to look kinda crappy, JMHO.
 

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Minwax has a new finish called "Gunstock". I have had good results with it on Type 99 stocks. Minwax "Red Mahogany" can be mixed in to get close to the original color. After applying the stain, and wiping it off, and letting it dry, I put on a coat of "satin" lacquer to seal the finish. "Staring and comparing", I have found this proceedure to be the closest to the original finish. There doesn't seem to be any set color on Japanese stocks. Just whatever came out to the barrel.
Using any "oil based" finish will just take off the minwax.
Matching the color can be a challenge, but worth the effort. I only refinish stocks when they have been "enhanced" beyond repair.

Dean (the other one)
 

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Yes, Stan is the man when it comes to wood and original finishes, as are his articles in Banzai.
 

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Thanks, gentlemen.

The Minwax Gunstock and Red Mahogany stains are exactly the stains I used for this AK74 buttstock that was a mess when I got it. I then used Bullseye Amber shellac over top and reduced the shine a little with some 0000 steel wool. I agree completely about re-finishing only when absolutely necessary.

Dean - do you have any photos of the result using the satin lacquer?

While I thought that this AK74 buttstock was very red, it actually seems less red than the T44 finish when you put them together. I'm going to do a lot of searching for pictures of Type 44 rifles before I try anything.



 

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Discussion Starter #14
There is some variance in colors on all 44's. The color of yours under the bands and the barrel are the original color less the fading of the years and that is what you need to match. I have the three variations and they range in color from a reddish on the first to a light yellow tan on the thrid.
 

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Thanks, Riceone. Do you have any photos of the reddish one that you could share?

I just noticed another thread on Captain Emo's "new" $200 Type 44 and he has some good photos showing the original finish. I suppose that is what mine should look like. It looks like it's darker red in some of the areas where the finish may have been a bit thicker.
 

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Here are photos of the original finish on my three T-44s. Top to bottom they are a Tokyo, Kokura and a late Nagoya. I recently upgraded my Tokyo example and have added a photo of it as well
 

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