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Old 03-19-2009, 04:32 PM   #1
Scratcha
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Default Russian red AK furniture stain or oil

Would anyone know where to get russian red stain or oil for wood AK furniture?

I'am in the process of reconditioning a Maadi ARM; that someone hand-painted a terrible job of camo, on the wood furniture. It's a laminated stock in really good condition; I found out once I stripped the camo oil-based paint off.

I like the russian red look. But I don't know what color stain or oil Maadi originally used on their laminated stocks.

I appreciate any input on this subject.

Have a great one,
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:34 PM   #2
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Ding will know.

I imagine he will be along shortly

Hang tight
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:11 AM   #3
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Rit clothing dye mixed with alcohol and Formby's tung oil to top it off. Google Ironwood designs
I used this method and it's cheap and it works.

Here are some stain recommendations from a few of my customers as well as our own formula.
This is my new full proof stain formula. It is by far the easiest staining method I have ver used.
Materials: RIT clothing dye, available at supermarkets, fabric and drug stores. I happen to use the powder form
but you can get it in liquid form as well. In powder form they cost around $2 to 2.50 per color. Denatured,
Ethyl alcohol, also available at drug stores, cost, around $1.50 per bottle, reason, it evaporates faster than water
and raises the grain less, making it easier to lightly de-fuzz the stained finish before oil or clear coat application.

Mixture and method: I used Scarlet red and Sunburst Yellow, it created a red finish with a little orange. I suggest
you might try Red and Orange or even some Brown to get the authentic looking AK stock color. The store
I went to happen to be out of the Orange, so I went with the Yellow.

Mix 1 Tsp of Red and 1 Tsp of Yellow dye into some sort of cup. Hint, if you can grind up the dye a bit before
adding the Alcohol, it will help it dissolve more completely. Add 9 to 10 Tsp of the Alcohol and mix together.
Hint: You can also control the color by how much Alcohol you add, more =lighter color, less=darker, experiment.
Note: Only apply stain after you have taken the stocks through the grain raising process and final polish sanding
as listed above in the sanding suggestions. Apply the stain, I used a rag, you can use a sponge brush, but you
don't need to. Apply one coat, check the color, more coats=darker color. The color you see is the color you get.

When you are happy with the color, let the stock dry for about 10 minutes. Using some 600 wet dry sand paper
lightly sand down the slightly fuzzy surface or the stock parts. Sand lightly so as not to go through the stain.
This process will make the surface clear and smooth again, ready for oil or clear coat.
Final coat: I used an oil finish as listed in the finishing suggestions above, 4 coats of the Watco .
Finish, then 2 coats of Varathane Diamond grade Water based semi-gloss interior grade clear coat.
Note: let the oil finish dry for 24 hours before applying the clear coat. Also, Laminate is very thirsty for oil,
soak the wood well with oil on the initial coats as well as in between coats. You will see the shine go away as
the oil is drawn into the wood The wetter the better. When applying the clear, wait at least 2-3 hours before
applying the next coat. The optimum air temperature to apply the clear will be listed on the can.
Also, you can apply as many coats as you want, it will help if and when you wet sand
the final finish. I did not wet sand as I wanted to get the semi-rough finish as found on military stocks.

The beauty of this formula is that it is inexpensive, any one can do it, you can control the color, and, the stain
will not fade or dilute when applying oil or clear coats. Pay attention to detail, make sure the stock set is
properly sanded and prepped before staining / dying. If you do this, you will create a beautiful finish.
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Last edited by Southern Wind; 03-20-2009 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:05 AM   #4
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Coolaid!
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:25 PM   #5
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I have mixed up some iodine and amber tinted shellac and came out with some really pretty looking furniture.

I didnt stain or dye the wood, the only thing that gives it color is the shellac finish. AFAIK, this is what gives the wood an almost 3-d appearance, the grain will reflect different shades with different angles of light.

the only thing that sucks is im finding it increasingly difficult to find iodine. my local drugstores stopped carrying it because its used in making illegal drugs... or so they say.
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Old 03-20-2009, 04:48 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your help.
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Old 03-21-2009, 12:13 AM   #7
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There are no dyes or other "coloring" systems required. I asked this same question 2 years ago and after being told and looking into it myself (asking the Ishmash folks) I found out that all you have to do is strip your stock down to bare wood and put several coats of amber shellac until you get the shade you want.

That's what the Russians did verbatim.
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Old 03-21-2009, 12:42 PM   #8
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use DE-WAXED ruby red or garnet shellac flakes and denatured alcohol mixed and dissolved over night.gives it the look I think you are looking for.you can add some color strained through a coffee filter.you can use the RIT scarlet red(very little) and golden yellow mixed and strained,don't need much of either,added to either the ruby red or garnet shellac.keep applying coats and steel wool between coats till ya get your desired color and depth and then seal it with poly in either satin,flat or gloss.






or you can go lighter
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Old 03-22-2009, 02:30 PM   #9
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I get very close to these same colors as Ding's with Laurel Mountain Forge's "Lancaster Maple" stain, with lot's less experimenting.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:49 AM   #10
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Old 08-17-2013, 07:50 AM   #11
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+1., Shellac is the finish on Russian wood. TrasTint in Reddisah-Brown is a good additive to get the desired color.

http://www.homesteadfinishingproduct.../TransTint.htm
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Old 08-17-2013, 12:51 PM   #12
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Rit dye will get you red if you want red. The real Russian furniture isn't bright red. It's the amber shellac dipped over and over as suggested above.

How red do you want to go?

I do this a little differently. (And sloppily) After stripping and sanding, I apply a little red mahogany minwax stain to pop the grain a bit. I only leave it on a few minutes just to tint the wood a little. Then I load up a sponge brush with pure red rit (I couldn't find the powder any where) And brush it on repeatedly until it just starts to dry a little. (But not enough to crystallize!) Then I barely wipe it down just so it doesn't show crystals or get cloudy. Basically dab it. And clear RIGHT over top the dye base. I usually do a few coats. Real quick and dirty.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asmodeus View Post
Rit dye will get you red if you want red. The real Russian furniture isn't bright red. It's the amber shellac dipped over and over as suggested above.

How red do you want to go?

I do this a little differently. (And sloppily) After stripping and sanding, I apply a little red mahogany minwax stain to pop the grain a bit. I only leave it on a few minutes just to tint the wood a little. Then I load up a sponge brush with pure red rit (I couldn't find the powder any where) And brush it on repeatedly until it just starts to dry a little. (But not enough to crystallize!) Then I barely wipe it down just so it doesn't show crystals or get cloudy. Basically dab it. And clear RIGHT over top the dye base. I usually do a few coats. Real quick and dirty.
I am gonna try this method.

Do you mix the RIT dye with alcohol? I am gonna use liquid RIT dye. If so what ratio dye to alcohol? Would a Tru-oil work as a clear coat on top of the base dye and stain?

How many coats of stain do you recommend before putting on the dye?
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Old 08-17-2013, 02:57 PM   #14
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trans-tint is pretty good but without some care often produces blackish areas
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Old 08-17-2013, 03:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tashunkawitko View Post
I am gonna try this method.

Do you mix the RIT dye with alcohol? I am gonna use liquid RIT dye. If so what ratio dye to alcohol? Would a Tru-oil work as a clear coat on top of the base dye and stain?

How many coats of stain do you recommend before putting on the dye?
Basically, use any method of getting a LIGHT red color on the bare wood. I've used RIT, and I've used Sedona Red minwax stain. The key is to keep it light. THEN start applying amber shellac. The shellac makes light red look like a dark red/orange. That will get you in the ballpark.
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Old 08-17-2013, 07:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tashunkawitko View Post
I am gonna try this method.

Do you mix the RIT dye with alcohol? I am gonna use liquid RIT dye. If so what ratio dye to alcohol? Would a Tru-oil work as a clear coat on top of the base dye and stain?

How many coats of stain do you recommend before putting on the dye?
Dye first. Stain goes over it to help punch it into the wood. I recommend 3-4 constant coats of full strength liquid RIT. Do not let it dry. Repeat, do not let it dry sopping wet in rit. Rit will crystalize. Dab it down so it doesn't haze over, then hit it with the stain. Dab that off and after drying via heater clear right over top. If you want to use an oil finish - DO NOT - repeat use my quick and dirty RED AK method. You will end up with a huge mess. You need the poly to "trap" the concoction in and on the wood. The best part is the clear picks up the remnants and as your brushing it on you will see the brush begin to pick up the 'red' into the clear.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cold_Storage View Post
Basically, use any method of getting a LIGHT red color on the bare wood. I've used RIT, and I've used Sedona Red minwax stain. The key is to keep it light. THEN start applying amber shellac. The shellac makes light red look like a dark red/orange. That will get you in the ballpark.
Listen to what he says carefully. Unless you want RED. Not reddish. Not tint, brownish - orangish red. But actual red.

This is the result.



And yes, I did the bakelite (dark brown btw) grip the SAME way.

There are nicer ways of doing this, as some members have listed. Mine is purely the quick and dirty'est way to get it done. But it DOES come out good.
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asmodeus View Post
Dye first. Stain goes over it to help punch it into the wood. I recommend 3-4 constant coats of full strength liquid RIT. Do not let it dry. Repeat, do not let it dry sopping wet in rit. Rit will crystalize. Dab it down so it doesn't haze over, then hit it with the stain. Dab that off and after drying via heater clear right over top. If you want to use an oil finish - DO NOT - repeat use my quick and dirty RED AK method. You will end up with a huge mess. You need the poly to "trap" the concoction in and on the wood. The best part is the clear picks up the remnants and as your brushing it on you will see the brush begin to pick up the 'red' into the clear.




Listen to what he says carefully. Unless you want RED. Not reddish. Not tint, brownish - orangish red. But actual red.

This is the result.



And yes, I did the bakelite (dark brown btw) grip the SAME way.

There are nicer ways of doing this, as some members have listed. Mine is purely the quick and dirty'est way to get it done. But it DOES come out good.
Thanks Asmodeus.

I just started staining and I am about halfway through. Like an Idjit in a rush to get my project started I went with the sedona red minwax first in about 2 coats.
I followed up by 4 coats of red RIT dye. Its drying, as I type this. So far it looks pretty good.

I went ahead and took your advice and went out to HomeDepot and picked up some Amber Shellac.

Any further advice on the next steps of applying the Shellac?

Thanks again.

Tash.
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:19 PM   #18
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I just re did a Mosin Nagant with a laminated stock.
I call her Natashia my Russian red whore.
I used General Finishes Cranberry Red water stain.
I put 2 coats on, then used shop rags soaked with denatured alcohol to get her where I wanted to be. put 2 coats of tung oil on her and she looks like the whore she is.
Beautiful I love a red head.
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Hounds 51 View Post
I just re did a Mosin Nagant with a laminated stock.
I call her Natashia my Russian red whore.
I used General Finishes Cranberry Red water stain.
I put 2 coats on, then used shop rags soaked with denatured alcohol to get her where I wanted to be. put 2 coats of tung oil on her and she looks like the whore she is.
Beautiful I love a red head.
HAHAHA!

I am staining my little "Suchka". You have your whore...and I got my lil bitch!


LOL! Enjoy that whore bro!
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Old 08-17-2013, 11:13 PM   #20
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Russians have used some type of red dye on earlier laminate woods..as I got a couple 74 stocks that were left unfinished, but they had been dyed pretty richly.

I believe later they simply used amber or garnet shellac without dye.
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Old 08-17-2013, 11:54 PM   #21
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Hey guys I am on my third coat of Amber shellac and its looking great.

Question do I need to follow up with a poly coat, or tru-oil, or tung oil to seal and finish it up, or just leave as is?

Is the shellac good enough as a sealer and finish up product. I am getting that reddish/orange tint and it is looking bad ass!

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:49 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan FS71 View Post
trans-tint is pretty good but without some care often produces blackish areas
Never had that happen with TransTint as a Shellac additive it merely adds color to the coating and can be made as dark or light as needed.
If it is used as a wood stain., that is another matter as it will collect and build in any soft grain areas etc.

Shellac is not a durable finish by modern standards., BUT it is easily repaired, removed or darkened. Any poly or other finishes are less likely to be repaired or overcoated readily. Just depends on what you are looking to do. shellac is protective enough for general use and served the Russian, Chinese, Romanian and Bulgarian armed forces for many decades of use. But it is not the most durable at all.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:39 AM   #23
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Since I love the Russian Red stocks here is what I did after researching the various processes.

I used McCormick RED food coloring.

I put on 2-3 coats per wood staining others have talked about on nice clean prepped wood.

Let dry for a couple of days, polish lightly with 0000steel wool. Use tack rag to remove any residue.

Apply Minwax clear gloss Polyurethane building up coats. Lightly steel wool and tack rag when you think you are near where you want to be finish wise.

My wood looks like it's a 3 D finish very deep. I'll try and post photos here.

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Old 09-27-2013, 03:15 PM   #24
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Best results are with the original style finish. The Russians used shellac tinted with various colors depending on factory, era or model. In the USA TransTint is a great additive and available in many colors.
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:20 PM   #25
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Gonna have to try this.
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:29 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asmodeus View Post


And yes, I did the bakelite (dark brown btw) grip the SAME way.
You stained the bakelight somehow?

Or did you coat over the top of it with red shellac? I am a bit confused. I would love to be able to match one of my red grips perfectly to the wood.
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:37 PM   #27
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TransTint will generally stain bakelite to some . Not like wood but depending on the surface and fibers etc. It can also be added to thinned shellac to restore or smooth bakelite that light surface wear, up to a point of course.
Most milspec or Russian furniture was not made matchy-matchy., but it can be made pretty close.
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Old 09-27-2013, 05:36 PM   #28
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Interesting but was he also coating the bakelight with some tinted shellac? Enquiring minds want to know.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:20 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ding View Post
use DE-WAXED ruby red or garnet shellac flakes and denatured alcohol mixed and dissolved over night.gives it the look I think you are looking for.you can add some color strained through a coffee filter.you can use the RIT scarlet red(very little) and golden yellow mixed and strained,don't need much of either,added to either the ruby red or garnet shellac.keep applying coats and steel wool between coats till ya get your desired color and depth and then seal it with poly in either satin,flat or gloss.






or you can go lighter


...so I take it that the poly clear coat will protect the shellac or should just keep it as is?
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:51 PM   #30
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AKBLUE is always right about everything...just saying IMHO

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKBLUE View Post
+1., Shellac is the finish on Russian wood. TrasTint in Reddisah-Brown is a good additive to get the desired color.

http://www.homesteadfinishingproduct.../TransTint.htm
I have to go with AKBLUE on this one. Per his advice I went out and bought several colors to play around with. I can't wait to use it to recreate original colors and finish on a couple of my stock sets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKBLUE View Post
Never had that happen with TransTint as a Shellac additive it merely adds color to the coating and can be made as dark or light as needed.
If it is used as a wood stain., that is another matter as it will collect and build in any soft grain areas etc.

Shellac is not a durable finish by modern standards., BUT it is easily repaired, removed or darkened. Any poly or other finishes are less likely to be repaired or overcoated readily. Just depends on what you are looking to do. shellac is protective enough for general use and served the Russian, Chinese, Romanian and Bulgarian armed forces for many decades of use. But it is not the most durable at all.
Transtint is an extremely concentrated tint that is soluble in water, oil and denatured alcohol. Like any stain, it will always sink in more deeply to softer grains. There are pre stain conditioners, both latex and oil versions that can be applied to the wood prior to using any type of stain. Minwax makes a decent one I have used many times for staining interior trim wood in my years as a contractor. Transtint like any other stain will darken the surface more the longer it is left on the surface being stained. Pre conditioner does not affect the staining process, but simply allows softer portions of the wood to be slightly sealed before staining. I would only recommend the oil version when top coating with shellac, poly or other oil finishes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKBLUE View Post
TransTint will generally stain bakelite to some . Not like wood but depending on the surface and fibers etc. It can also be added to thinned shellac to restore or smooth bakelite that light surface wear, up to a point of course.
Most milspec or Russian furniture was not made matchy-matchy., but it can be made pretty close.
I am currently using it to modify the original color of a purple bakelite bayonet to something truly wonderful. There has been a steep leaning curve involved, but at some point I will post pictures of the before and after on a thread. Transtint does not soak into bakelite well, but I think I found a trick to get around that issue. Not easy, takes time, but worth it so far.
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