View Full Version : how to refinish a SKS

04-23-2012, 10:01 AM
Refinish of a Russian SKS Laminate Stock

First a few pictures of the rifle disassembled, and how it looked the day I picked it up.

The items I used for the removal of the old finish, this included the furniture stripper in a spray can, blue latex
gloves, rags, steel wool #0000, and a green brilo pad

The stock getting ready to be stripped

Stock sprayed with the furniture stripper, almost an instant reaction, as you can see the bubbling of the old finish,
I left this on for less than the 5 minutes as recommended, since I did not know how strong the solution was, as it
turned out, I had to apply once more to remove the rest of the old finish, and was left with a clean stock.

Stock was sanded next with a few grades of paper, medium, fine, and rubbed with the green brilo pad, or use some
steel wool just to get things smooth, I was not after removing all dings and scratches, I wanted to preserve some of
the handling marks, after all it is old....

Here comes the stain, just used my hands to apply (gloves on) rubbed it into the stock, and after a bit, used the rag
to wipe it down. I let the stock dry overnight, and the next day used some very fine sandpaper, and then the steel
wool #0000 to rub the stock down and get it smooth, wiped down with a clean rag, and applied a second coat of
stain, waited a bit, and again wiped of the excess off with a rag, liked the color left, and hung the stock to dry
overnight again.

once again the next day, the stock was rubbed down with now just the steel wool #0000, until I had the whole
surface nice and smooth to the touch, and it felt good in my hands, it was now ready for its first coat of Varathane
Crystal Clear Waterborne Diamond Wood Finish in a Gloss finish, this was in spray can.

Hung the stock, and sprayed a light coat of varathane to start, waited about 4 hours, (it was try to the touch) and
took the stock and rubbed it down with the steel wool #0000, to give it a dull finish and smooth out any runs or
bubbles and or any imperfections, once this was done, a second coat of varathane was applied, and it was left to
dry overnight.

Next day the stock was rubbed down with the steel wool #0000, just to make sure all was smooth, and a 3rd coat of
Varathane was sprayed and left to dry overnight.

And this is the final result, after allowing it to dry, and putting it all back together. It's not as dark red as it was,
there is a hint of redness to the stock, maybe I rubbed off too much stain, but I was only after getting the stock
smooth to the touch, and not after a particular shade of red, once this finish gets dinged up, scratched up, abused, it
can be stripped down, and the whole process can start over again, I might look for a darker stain, or just leave
more on, and not rub so much off.

Overall I am pleased with the results (the pictures are not the best, I am no photographer) and so the lighting
might be off, or what not, but I think you can get a general idea of what to expect, it was fun, and looking forward
to doing it again when the time comes

Thanks to all the help and support from the many members here on the site, your contribution allowed me to take on this project.























Rory McCanuck
04-23-2012, 10:40 AM
Looks good.
A nice way to personalise it.

04-23-2012, 02:23 PM
Those pictures really don't do it justice!!!

In the daylight it is much nicer!

Wait till you see what I am working on Dan. I was gonna get a laminate SKS but hopefully this next gun will work out much better. ;)

04-26-2012, 02:30 PM
Just curious.

I've never refinished a Soviet but I have done ChiComs.

Is the original finish shellac? If so then a scrub with alcohol will strip it off without the expense of a commercial paint stripper.

Nice work by the way.


04-26-2012, 02:39 PM
very nice! do you want to do my ChiCom SKS to? :p

One Doomed Space Marine
04-26-2012, 09:08 PM
Awesome man!
I refinished my 1950 Tula a ways back.
Stripped off the chipped chunky shellac using the same method, opened up the pores with 0000 steel wool by hand, then hand rubbed in about 12 coats of Boiled Linseed Oil.
Yours looks wicked. Great job!

04-28-2012, 01:11 PM
Great Job!
:Beer time: