Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sporterizing the Lee Enfield - Porch project Pt. II

nasty old rubbish
You've got your Lee. It's been "bubba'd" and you want to turn it into something nice, so you set-to on the porch and...

Sand the wood to 600 grit, but first strip off the gunky finish; I used K3 with a flexible plastic scraper and 0000 steel wool. Don't gouge the wood, for goodness sake, and make sure you sand with the grain.Then clean with mineral spirits, let dry, and apply the first coats of finish to seal the wood (x3 for me). Wipe on/off as per instructions.

Then fill the grain and build a finish by wet sanding with progressively higher grit (180 - 600++). Cut 1"x1.5" paper and use a block (I used a cut down old dish sponge -- flexible, some recommend a rubber eraser) to keep things even. Sand in small circles, using a thinned finish (I used Minwax Antique Oil Finish and Mineral Spirits, 1:2) until the finish becomes a little tacky and begins to take. Anyone familiar with "bulling" things will understand this instinctively. We used to "bull" our gasmasks till they shone like glass. Same idea, but more useful. See here for instructions.

what's with the Spyderco?
Anyway, when there's a sufficient slurry of oil/varnish and wood dust, wipe it gently counter-grain, just using the weight of a lint free cloth. This will fill the grain and make for  a respectable finish. Please, do not use steel wool in the process. It's a right mess and better off on pots 'n pans. Rottenstone/Flatstones? Knock yourselves out, but this is a quick truck gun fix -- if your truck's an Aston Martin and the Fix is some kind of Edwardian Tomfoolery. 

Leave the partially bulled wood to cure for a day or so and repeat the process till the grain is filled. Leave for a couple of days, buff up with hi-power polishing compound and there you go. I'm nearly at the end of the "fill the grain" bit.

getting there
Do not attempt any of this if you do not like sanding and/or have a heavy, clumsy, heretical hand. Do something else instead, like read Drudge, or ZeroHedge. Or...

You can work on the metal.

Good luck and God bless,



The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Off to a flying start! Keep 'em coming

bluesun said...

Very pretty.

LSP said...

Never fear SBW -- I'm on a mission...

LSP said...

Thanks Bluesun, it's getting there; a few more coats of finish and a final buff up with polishing compound should do the trick. A lot of work for a practice run but... I wanted to make sure I knew how to do it right enough before buying new wood.