I've been working on cleaning/repairing/refinishing my friend's Ruger .44 Deerslayer over the last several months. The rifle was in really rough shape when I first picked it up from him, I have lost most of the pictures but the stock was beaten, dented, cracked, and both the stock and inside the action had never been cleaned. Ever - since 1974.
So I stripped it down, started reading how to try to restore this poor old stock. I stripped it with Circa 1864, steamed all the dents over the course of another weekend, then let it dry before applying epoxy to a large crack and then letting it sit for another month to completely cure.
I sanded the stock first with 100, then 220, then 600 before starting to add my layers of Tru Oil. I only did one coat per day of Tru Oil and after the first 8 coats I started to smooth the finish with 1000 grit and then the final two coats I sanded with 2000 grit to get it smooth.
I discovered what I initially thought was a scratch filled with dirt was actually a crack across the grain on the pistol grip. From another thread that I asked about this crack, I learned that this piece of walnut is an outside cut and the crack could have happened during falling or perhaps a wind crack. My neighbour knew it was an outside cut just from looking at the stock while I was sanding - as most of the stock is a nice cherry walnut but the front forearm on one side is completely blonde - it's kind of unique.
Here it is after three coats
Here it is after 12 coats, polished and also carnuba waxed:
The half blonde side -
I messed up the finish a little during the polishing stage - so that took more time to correct. This whole project was all about learning how to do this properly and now I think I am ready to try another project with some of my other stocks. It was a lot of labour but a lot of fun, I really enjoyed seeing it slowly come back to life.
I can't wait to get this back to the range.