How to Refinish a Benjamin Air Rifle

Written by edwin thomas
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How to Refinish a Benjamin Air Rifle
Old Benjamin air rifles can be made to look like new. (rifle image by petar Ishmeriev from

Now made by Crossman, Benjamin air rifles have been around for more than a century, so the odds of coming across one at a yard sale, flea market or antique shop aren't bad. Old Benjamin air riles, with their fine wood stocks, have the potential to become beautiful working antiques. However, the wood and metal will probably require some refinishing to bring back the rifle's handsome appearance.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Refinishing the Stock:
  • Dust sheet
  • Screwdriver
  • Chemical stripping agent
  • Paintbrush
  • Toothbrush or small detailing paintbrush
  • Plastic scraper
  • Sanding block
  • Medium- and fine-grade sandpaper
  • Old rags
  • Wood finish
  • Lacquer
  • Rust Removal:
  • Gun oil
  • Steel wool pad
  • Clean rag

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    Refinish the Stock

  1. 1

    Spread out a dropcloth to protect your work area.

  2. 2

    Unscrew and remove the butt plate from the air rifle, if it has one. Many, but not all, Benjamin air rifles will have a butt plate.

  3. 3

    Apply a stripping agent to the wood stock with a paint brush, using either a toothbrush or a small detailing brush for the hard-to-reach places. Wait between 15 and 25 minutes for the stripper to take full effect, then check with a plastic scraper to see if the resulting sludge comes off the wood easily. If it does, scrape the sludge off. If not, wait a little longer.

  4. 4

    Inspect the stripped stock of the air rifle, and if necessary repeat the process.

  5. 5

    Sand out imperfections, such as scratches, with a hand sanding block. Use medium-grit sandpaper first to remove the imperfection, and then a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the wood surface. Few Benjamin air rifles have chequering or other engraved designs, but if yours does do not sand these surfaces. You will do more damage than you remove.

  6. 6

    Dust the stock with a moist, clean rag. Allow the wood to dry before proceeding.

  7. 7

    Apply a coat of wood finish with a paint brush to the Benjamin air rifle's stock and allow that to dry for six to eight hours. Clean the brushes with white spirit while you wait, and then apply at least four layers of lacquer to the stock. Between each layer of lacquer, allow six to eight hours for drying. Inspect the surface for dust, hairs and other debris before applying a new layer, and if anything has got on the wood stock, dust the stock before proceeding.

  8. 8

    Screw the buttplate back on the air rifle, if there was one.

    Rust Removal

  1. 1

    Drop a few drops of gun oil onto the rust splotch. Common household machine oil will do in a pinch, if no gun oil is available.

  2. 2

    Scrub the rust splotch gently with a steel wool pad. Remember the point is to remove the rust, not to scratch the air rifle metal.

  3. 3

    Wipe away the oil and rust scuzz with an old rag. If any rust remains, repeat the process.

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