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Old 08-27-2004, 09:17 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2004
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can birch be made to look like walnut?

im refinishing my dad's garand. it looks like its gonna turn out great, i stripped it down and steamed the dents. the only dilemma i have is with the front handguard which is birch and much more red than the rear handguard and stock.

if i apply a walnut stain to the birch will it be possible to make it even close to matching the rest of the wood?

anyone have any tips or tricks to make birch more walnut-like?

ive been tossing around the idea of staining the walnut pieces to look like birch, but that seems a shame...

thanks guys
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Old 08-27-2004, 10:32 AM   #2
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Like the old saying.... "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear"....

Trying to match birch to look like walnut or vice-versa is POSSIBLE..... but very difficult to do, if at all. Attempts to do this are usually very unsatisfying.

You'd be much better off to just buy a matching handguard and go from there.

Just my 2 cents,

Garands forever
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Old 08-27-2004, 10:33 AM   #3
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just buy a used walnut front handguard. you may get the birch looking close, but that's all. birch stains redder. for what you will spend on stains trying to match birch, you can get a good used walnut HG, IMHO.
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Old 08-27-2004, 03:40 PM   #4
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I agree, get a use walnut handguard.
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Old 08-27-2004, 05:13 PM   #5
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If you want to stain it you can come very close using a water based aniline dye. Woodworking supply stores sell it. Most oil based stains will not get dark enough on birch to match walnut, they don't penetrate the wood, but the aniline dye will. You will just have to play with different colors or combinations of colors to get the match you want. It comes in a powder form and you mix it with water. In the long run the others are probably right, it would be less hassle to just buy a walnut handguard.

Regards, Augustus
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Old 08-27-2004, 05:15 PM   #6
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Or you could defy convention and have a blonde front handguard with the walnut. Be a trend setter.
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Old 08-27-2004, 05:28 PM   #7
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I'm doing that right now, actually. it doesn't look that bad
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Old 08-27-2004, 06:40 PM   #8
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I once made chicken salad out of chicken sh it and it just about tasted the same.

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Old 08-27-2004, 08:03 PM   #9
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Birch and walnut have completely different grain patterns. You might be able to match the color -- though that would be difficult in itself -- but you'll never be able to match the grain pattern. The only way you'd ever be able to make the two different types of wood match completely would be to cover the wood so the grain doesn't show. I.e. paint it. And that would be silly.

The advice the others gave you is good. Get a walnut handguard and you won't have to worry about anything.

And, conveniently enough, I have a recently acquired service grade IHC from the CMP that has the birch buttstock and walnut handguards. I want to get some birch handguards so they match the buttstock. Shoot me off an e-mail if you'd like to work out a trade, even up. My e-mail address is ptrthgr8 @ Just be sure to leave out the spaces.


~ Greg ~
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Old 08-28-2004, 12:15 AM   #10
Join Date: Jun 2004
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well upon closer inspection and some consulting with someone a little more knowledgable about wood grains, perhaps i do have a walnut front handguard....the difference in color was astounding though. i did a heavy sanding to it and it was a lot lighter underneath, and with some chesnut ridge military stain it matched up nice with the other wood. the stark contrast is now gone. i appreciate the help anyways guys...this thread will benefit someone at some point im sure, as im probably not the only one thats having troubles with mismatched wood.
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Old 08-28-2004, 12:50 AM   #11
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ltcboy is offline  
Old 08-28-2004, 01:38 AM   #12
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soon...soon, but first a field test! and final approval from mi padre
qualityrockola is offline  

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