Early Sako birch stock finish?

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks for gunsmithing your own Sako' started by waterwolf, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. waterwolf

    waterwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    486
    Likes Received:
    205
    Country Flag:
    Canada
    State/Region:
    CA New Brunswick
    I have a few very early L46/L461 Sako sporters with stocks of relatively light-colored birch or beech. They do not need complete refinishing but could do with some touch-up. I have plenty of experience with walnut but not so much with birch and beech. I have re-stained (dyed) and re-finished a few Finnish military Mosin-Nagant beech stocks and I know how hard this is to do. Does anyone have experience with finishing the Sako hardwood sporter stocks? Does anyone know what the original Sako factory finish was?...some variation on pine tar and varnish? Similar to the Finnish Mosin-Nagant?

    I have read the following:


    https://sakocollectors.com/forum/threads/type-of-birch-used-in-early-sako-stocks.10290/

    https://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?285344-Arctic-Birch-stocks-quot-speak-of-Finland-quot
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018

  2. waterwolf

    waterwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    486
    Likes Received:
    205
    Country Flag:
    Canada
    State/Region:
    CA New Brunswick
    Okay...no replies.

    ....so let me try another question. What do you think the early light colored (although often disguised to look like walnut with a heavy dye or stain) wood used in the early Sako stocks actually is...? It does not look like Beech which is a common replacement for walnut in Scandinavian military stocks. I am familiar with that wood from my long ago days collecting Swedish Mausers. It has a very distinct grain pattern entirely lacking in the early Sako stocks. I am assuming, given the Finnish manufacturing location that the early Sako stock wood is Birch (I see that Silver Birch has been called "the national tree species of Finland". ) That said, it may be something else and I know that many later Sako walnut stocks are very light colored, some almost as blonde as birch.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  3. P04R

    P04R Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    48
    Country Flag:
    Finland
    State/Region:
    European Union
    Early L46 stocks were stained silver birch. More precisely the silver birch variation that grows with the wavy grain pattern in the wood. I can't find clear translation for this "flame birch". The wood was changed to walnut because of the "market demand" (just one bad review) in the USA.
     
  4. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    41
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US West Virginia
    Maybe “flamed” is referring to the scorching process that was used to add contrast to those somewhat plain grained stocks. Maybe?

    hippie
     
  5. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

    Messages:
    3,584
    Likes Received:
    689
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Iowa
    No torches are involved. The "Flame" is natural to the wood. Has to do with the amount & location of sapwood running through that particular piece of wood. It can be enhanced sometimes with fire, but can't be created. With regard to others mentioning Beech. Beech was never used by Sako. Beech is mainly a cultivated nut tree(not a commercial timber tree) that during times of war, when wood supplies can be stressed, was sometimes used for a cheap alternative for rifle stocks. It's use commercially for firearms manufacture is extremely rare. Most of the time when people think a stock is Beech, it's actually Birch. Both are light colored woods, but Beech is much softer than Birch and can have areas in it that have a "gummy" surface texture.
     
    icebear and susanna like this.
  6. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

    Messages:
    1,612
    Likes Received:
    825
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Arizona
    Beech is commonly used for furniture in northern Europe, and is also used to make barrels for aging beer (what was that ad touting "beechwood aging" for some brand of beer?), but, as Paulson says, it has seldom been used for rifle stocks. Probably the biggest user of beech stocks was the Swedish military on their excellent M96 and M38 rifles. Here's a photo of an arsenal refurbished Swedish military stock in unstained beech. (The early beech stocks were stained dark, probably with permanganate.) Note the sort of scalloping in the grain. That is unique to beech, as far as I know, and is a useful visual key for identifying beech. Finnish military stocks were generally made from Arctic birch and many show mottling or "flame" in the grain which is emphasized by uneven absorption of stain.

    Swedish Beech
    CG 6.JPG

    Finnish Birch
    Stock 2-2.JPG.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
  7. blackjack

    blackjack Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    52
    Country Flag:
    UK
    State/Region:
    UK Crest
    Good Evening All. Beech wood was used by B.S.A. and Webley during the 1950's 60's & 70's air rifle production. Walnut was an option, but would add more £'s to the cost. I have a Webley Targetspot .177 Cal. air rifle made in the 1960's with a walnut stock with fabulous figure that would grace a James Purdey, Holland & Holland or Boss & Co. shotgun or double rifle.
    Blackjack
     

Share This Page