Feel free to ask me any question even if you are not buying I don't mind at all. PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS-General Comments All my products have a common theme; they have stood the test of time and their content ingredients have been around and used in the fine gun trade for over 100 years and in the case of alkanet 100’s of years. At the heart of it I’m a purist and I love other purists. I really don’t care what the latest fad is in non-traditional finishes, and in fact, I frequently have contempt for what is. I stand behind my products if there is something wrong let me know and I’ll make it right. I would be very thankful for your before and after pictures as well as comments that I can post on my website! I will be adding new products as they reveal themselves but they will all have the same nature in that they will be true to the past and simply; the very best. Every batch of varnish I create I test myself on a gunstock faithfully. It’s vital to me that it is perfect before it goes into the bottle and comes to you. I can’t be held responsible for the work you do with it but if you truly believe my product is defective send it back to me with a letter and I’ll refund your money after confirming that it is. I personally can’t control how you do things like; application speed, surface prep, temp and humidity or application method. I would encourage you to try a small amount on an area or separate piece of wood to get a feel for my product before using it. The below are my opinions on refinishing. Refinishing is a very personal matter and I don’t pretend to know everything; far from it. Regarding grain fillers, it’s a very personal choice and I would encourage you to research the products and methods for filling grain should you choose to. Some people use them and some people don’t. Application techniques, sandpaper, sealers, finish leveling, raising the grain, stripping; it really is all up to you and the below I just provide my thoughts from my personal experience. I reveal how I do it below BUT do as you will; your results are YOUR results based on how YOU do things :) My products like to be applied thin, applying them overly thick is not a good idea you are missing the concept of what it takes to creating a great finish. You apply as much as you need but no more. TEMPERATURE: It is best to apply all my finishes between 70 and 80 degrees. If your error choose lower temperature than higher. If you use it at much higher temperatures, especially the varnishes, it will respond differently and if high enough, dramatically differently. I had a customer in Texas complain about the way one of my products was drying and I asked him what the temperature was when he applied it and he said low 100's and high humidity. Even linseed oil at 100 plus degrees in its wet state will not be stable and respond the same.
Alkanet Oil Stain Instructions-SHAKE WELL Please see London Blend section for stripping instructions. Use Alkanet as you would any like any commercial stain it is linseed based so acts like linseed in every regard although it may tack up faster based on one of my additives. Shake well before each use. Remember that Alkanet is not a heavy dramatic stain it is more of a hue of color and a highlighter of unique grain. Strip wood completely and sand to 320 grit minimum, tack cloth and apply a generous amount at a time. I use a lint free blue 3M Scott brand blue shop towel folded to 1.5 inches approximately from an initial square of about 3 to 4 inches. I put it on heavy enough to not run all over the place and let it soak into the wood for 15-30 minutes. I wipe off any excess see how uniform it looks and if there are lighter areas usually caused by dense grain I may reapply to that specific area after I let the first coat dry to the touch. I frequently do another coat or 2 entirely and with each coat it will grow slightly darker or you are free to use as a final finish for an oil rubbed stock appearance with the grain full. Remember that it is linseed based it is not a varnis. If you are doing a wood other than walnut like beech used on cheaper guns you may get some blotchiness and I don’t recommend staining without doing a 50/50 mix of Zinsser seal coat wax free shellac and denatured alcohol. Alkanet on lighter woods other than walnut may not give you the results you desire due to its transparency it simply isn’t a heavy stain like a store bought minwax or others. The 50/50 will inhibit blotching if you insist on staining softer or mixed grain woods like beech the grain sealer is wonderful and that tip will serve you well especially when using traditional big box store stains.
London Blend and Alkanet Varnishes Instructions-SHAKE GENTLY I NEVER recommend applying my varnish with fingers! Always shake bottle well before every application NEVER leave the bottle open while workingpour out what you need and close the cap. If you don’t do this evaporation will take its toll and it will cause it not to self-level and leave witness marks of your passes with the cloth over repeated openings. I like to strip the old finish off using any commercial stripper. The risk with stripper and checkering is if you leave it on too long the checkering tips can over absorb the stripper and the tips can become soft. I use a light coat and follow up with an old toothbrush to minimize soak time on checking. Heavily coat the entire gun with stripper (really put it on thick) and leave overnight. It doesn’t matter if it dries because it would have done its work. Get denatured alcohol and some 0000 steel wool. Pour a few inches in the bottom of a pan or bucket and set the stock vertically in it and wipe the stock down with the steel wool and alcohol to remove all stripper it really works great. If you have some finish still left on repeat the process from the beginning in those areas. Some old finishes are like iron and you may need to use a medium grit paper and elbow grease. I like aluminum oxide paper or garnet best I never use cheap paper it is simply not worth the price in my opinion 3M open coat is best. After stripping I like to start with the finest grit paper I can get away with like 320 and I only use 220 if there are surface imperfections or varnish that require heavier grit, then 320-400 grit. Coarse paper can really cause more problems than not so I stay away if at all possible. If you prefer to go up to 1000 that is up to you, some people do, but I have read its best to stain at 400 because some people think stain does not penetrate as well on a glass like surface but I’ve never seen that. I apply each coat with a folded edge of blue Scott towel 1.5 inches wide and let dry 24 hours between coats the longer the better although it may be dry to the touch well before that and another coat can be applied. Dip the cloth in the varnish and apply in long single strokes if you put too much pull the cloth through to level then start the next ribbon of varnish alongside the first with the slightest of overlap. You have to get a feel for this by doing it. As soon as you apply any varnish there is a very limited time you can work with the finish before it starts to tack up so speed is everything. I can coat an entire gun in about 90 seconds and you need to move quickly as if it could tack up at any minute. You will have time to work to get perfection but move quickly, the better you are at laying out a perfect coat quickly the last chance for the finish tacking on you and messing up your finish. I’ve blended it so it’s the perfect balance of application time, flow and tack time but it is not an oil finish like my hand rubbed that you can play with for a long time. I break application into two sections the lower butt section and the forearm section. You will find that the Scott towel does an amazing job but of course use whatever application method you desire at your own risk. Remember that the dry time and work time of London blend is greatly affected by humidity and the thickness of the coat. Do not waste time and never hand rub my varnishes. With London Blend I scuff with a 3M Pad (gray specifically for varnish) between coats if you don’t it’s so glossy you can’t physically see your new application finish. It’s important to 3M pad or steel wool only if the finish is COMPLETELY surface dry if you are not patient you can burn through the layer you just applied. I personally let it sit for at least a day prior to doing this and very little pressure is applied at all. Remember all you are doing is effectively leveling the finish for greater gloss and removing any dust nibs that may have contaminated the surface. Some guys say you should not use steel wool because it leaves imbedded particulates that can ruin the finish coat I have not seen this in my experience in using 0000 yet I don’t; if you do scuff between coats you need to wipe with a tack cloth faithfully. Like any product containing petroleum distillates in some people they can aggravate skin. I like to use 7-15 coats but some people will go as high as 30 and I have based on the specific wood I’m working on. After you’re finished use a high quality paste wax to protect it if desired. I use Renaissance wax it is expensive but a few ounces will last most people a life time but I know people who use Johnson’s and are very happy with it. Remember a great stock finish is based on the simple principle of preparation and patience and it’s worth the effort and time!
London Blend Hand Rubbed Oil Finish London Blend Hand Rubbed is an oil based finish and can be applied by hand or if you prefer a lint free cloth or blue shop towel as mentioned in the varnish instructions above. I like sand and fill, I wet sand with 400 into a light slurry and wipe the excess off with a blue shop towel. Once I'm done with sand and fill my favorite way, is slow, I wipe it on give it a few minutes to cover then wipe off the excess. As a general rule 1 coat per day for non-varnish oil based finishes is typical and London Blend is no different. Depending on temperature and humidity it may be possible to apply 2 coats per day 1 in the early morning and 1 in the late evening. What needs to be understood is that oil based finishes can be dry to the touch for reapplication of a second coat but the finish itself has not fully hardened. Oil based finishes need time to set to keep it in simple terms. The way I have blended this oil it will go on fairly thin just rub it in until it is uniform. Unlike varnish it will allow you plenty of time to work with it until its perfect. In London gun work the general rule was 1 coat per day for 30 days. In general I typically apply 15 o 30 coats until the grain is full and even when I think I’m really done I apply a few extra coats. Like any oil based finish, it is not as weather resistant as a varnish so I always complete the job with a quality paste wax a few weeks after completing the finishing. Be careful in your choice of places to allow the stock to dry it should be as dust free as possible. If you do get any excessive dust “nibs” or a minor run that takes a set, I would wait 24 hours and use a between coat varnish scotch bright (typically grey in color) to gently, and I do mean gently to rub out the imperfection. Oil based finishes like London Blend are nice because when you reapply the next coat it reactivates the last layer and provides a nice touch up finish and strong bond.
Minor Dings and Dents Many minor surface irregularities can easily be removed with general sanding of the flaw. For some indentations you will be amazed at what you can raise back to the surface with an iron. Soak the ding with water and let sit and add more as absorbed for a few minutes’ time. Set the iron on highest heat setting with steam turned off. Wet a wash cloth and lay over soaked area and now place the iron (frequently only the pointed tip) on the washcloth directly above the area. Give a minute or so and repeat as necessary until you have lifted as much as possible. Your best luck will be found with impressions like a subtle bump would leave. The most challenging cases will be sharp impacts that have dented and cut the wood fibers but you will be amazed at what you can lift back to the surface. It helps if you read other opinions too there is a wealth of knowledge out on the web and a variety of opinions. The one sure thing that I think all would agree on is preparation is everything and makes the absolute difference in a great piece of wood becoming an incredible piece of wood. It is all the more important on an everyday piece of wood because color hue and finish is all you have to work with. If you have any questions simply send me an email at Dustybirdshoot@aol.com Thanks again for your purchase!! S.B. McWilliams Product Warnings-READ PLEASE Reactivity Alerts -none Air & Water Reactions-Flammable. Barely soluble in water. Fire Hazard-HIGHLY FLAMMABLE Health Hazard-Inhalation or contact with material may irritate or burn skin and eyes. Fire may produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases. Vapors may cause dizziness or suffocation. Runoff from fire control or dilution water may cause pollution. Reactivity Profile-Saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons, which are contained in PETROLEUM DISTILLATE, may be incompatible with strong oxidizing agents like nitric acid. Charring of the hydrocarbon may occur followed by ignition of unreacted hydrocarbon and other nearby combustibles. In other settings, aliphatic saturated hydrocarbons are mostly unreactive. They are not affected by aqueous solutions of acids, alkalis, most oxidizing agents, and most reducing agents. When heated sufficiently or when ignited in the presence of air, oxygen or strong oxidizing agents, they burn exothermically to produce carbon dioxide and water. May be ignited by strong oxidizers. dioxide and water. May be ignited by strong oxidizers.