Ironwood Designs Observations

Ironwood Designs is well known among AK enthusiasts the source for difficult to find stocks such as angle cut stamped and milled receiver MAK 90 rifles. The prices aren’t cheap but the quality is top notch. Nothing new there but there are a few notes I felt were worth sharing.

First is to order sooner rather than later as they are not quick. The quickest I have received an order is just over a month from ordering and in the past it has taken multiple months. I’m not complaining as the quality is outstanding but it’s good to know going in.

First thing I do with a stock is fit it up to the receiver. In every case with stamped receiver Chinese AKs I have found that they require some fitting at the rear of the lower handguard and on the top of the stock where it “steps” down. It’s not particular difficult to cut and sound down for a perfect fit but I prefer to do it before finishing.

The wood may look really nice and you may be tempted to apply a finish as is. DON’T! Matt used to have instructions for finishing stocks on the web site however I cannot find them at this time. It’s very important to “raise the grain” and re-sand the stocks a few times. To do this I simply rinse the stocks with hot tap water and allow them to dry for several hours. This causes the grain to raise which can be easily sanded smooth. After doing this a few times and then using compressed air to blow the fine sawdust out of the pores of the wood it’s ready to finish.

I’m not an expert in wood finishing techniques but I recall reading years ago that the Fabrique National would dip stocks in hot linseed oil. I’m sure this is insanely dangerous so don’t do it at home. Having said that I keep a 50 caliber ammo can full of linseed oil that I heat on a propane burner up to around 250 degrees and let the wood parts soak fully submerged for 30 minutes to an hour. After that I allow the parts to cool for a few hours which allows all the remaining oil on the outside to soak into the fiber.

On a few rifles I have applied a shellac finish over the top of linseed oil finish on walnut stock and it looks incredible but it’s a lot of work. Maybe more on that later if anybody cares.