Tag Archives: Furniture

Super Secret AK Furniture Fitting Tool

Ok, now that I have your attention with that title, I often get asked how to fit the various furniture parts of an AK to a given rifle – the gas tube cover / upper hand guard cover, the lower handguard and the buttstock. Most of the work can be done with a secret tool – a slightly modified single cut file and patience.

For example, this is Palmetto State Armory’s Redwood furniture set on a Romy G kit I built.

Most of the time with new furniture, you need to remove material and a single cut file works great for that. With the pictured PSA Redwood furniture set, I needed to think the half circle ends of the gas tube cover and I also had to fit the lower hand guard just a tad.

This is an 8″ single cut Nicholson Handy File that I bought many years ago and modified. I prefer a single cut file so I can go slow and not remove material too fast. Just remember an old saying – “it’s easier to take more material off than it is to put it back on.”

Now here’s the trick to really make this tool work for fitting furniture – grind one thin side smooth – literally get rid of the file’s teeth. This will allow you to quickly and easy run the file right against a raised edge, such as the lips of the gas tube cover, and remove material that you want while leaving the raised edge untouched.

I find an 8″ file just the right size. 8″ is the measurement from the front edge, or “point” of the file, to the base of the heel – the bottom of the main body before the tang starts.

Any brand of file ought to work. Some come with a “safe” edge meaning no teeth. Just test it first to see if any of the teeth from the perpendicular surfaces protrude enough to cut – if they do then knock them down so the smooth surface can ride on the material you are working on with zero cutting happening from that side.

I used my big belt sander and removed all the teeth from this one edge and ensure it was smooth. I purposefully left the teeth on the other thin edge.

Just be patient – look at where the furniture is binding, remove a small amount and test the fit. In general, you want AK furniture to fit snug vs. rattling around. Patience is the key though – don’t rush things. Just keep inspecting, filing off a bit and testing over and over.

So everything is installed, nothing broke because I rushed and the end result is nice snug fitting furniture.


A single cut file with one thin edge ground is the secret tool but you need to be patient when using it. I can’t even begin to guess how many lower and upper handguards I have adjusted with this file over the years plus I have learned a bit more patience as well.

I hope this helps you out.

Why Does the Color of Grips and Handguards From Ronin’s Grips Fade And What To Do About It?

I’ve had guys ask why the color of my grips or handguards seem to fade with time. The short answer is that it has to do with the liquid wax finish oxidizing and not the plastic – the color is actually in the plastic. You see, we sand every grip and handguard to get rid of mold imperfections and then we blast each with abrasive media (currently it’s Black Beauty or Black Magic depending in the store I go to) and that turns the plastic almost white as you can see in the photo above. We blast the surface to create a very sure grip when you grab hold – your hand doesn’t slide easily. The polished finish we used to do resulted in a surface that is slick when wet due to sweat, water, blood, etc.

So, the blasting abrades the surface and messes up the colors being reflected back to your eyes. To solve this problem, I tried a ton of different oils and waxes and the best was Atsko Sno-Seal. It really brought out the color and it did not fade – or at least I never saw it fade. The problem is that Sno-Seal is a paste wax and I have carpal tunnel. Rubbing it into grips and handguards every day over and over was killing by wrists so I had to stop it.

This pushed me back to the drawing board and this time I looked at liquid waxes. Some of them really smelled as the liquids evaporated and the best option I could find find was the various butcher’s block finishes that combine mineral oil and a wax – often a bee’s wax. This stuff goes on like a dream but does fade with time. There’s nothing wrong with the color – it’s just the finish oxidizing and drying out.

What to do about the fading?

As mentioned above, the finish I apply will fade. The good news is that the owner with a number of options and I’ll shorten it down to the four I recommend:

  1. Buy Sno-Seal and apply it. This stuff is awesome for boots and I actually had it for my boots when I tested it. It’s my #1 recommendation and what I do for furniture I make for myself.
  2. Shoe polish holds up really well and you can nudge the colors/hues one direction or another depending on the color of the wax. This goes on pretty easy and seems to last. Just buff it well so you don’t get any color on your hand. I’ve had very good luck with Kiwi products.
  3. Any fine wax for boots, leather, wood or preservation ought to work. Just follow the directions. Absolutely do not use super thick floor wax or it will be a disaster as one customer found out.
  4. Put another coat of butcher’s block conditioner on it. Easy to apply but it will not last.
Atsko Sno-Seal is my #1 choice. Kiwi shoe polish works great. Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner is what I use in production and is also what fades with time.

How to Apply Sno-Seal

My first recommendation to customers is always Sno-Seal. It takes just a little it to polish a grip or handguard plus you can use it to waterproof your boots.

I did this corner at room temperature and you can tell it takes a bit more effort to rub it in and buff it off.

You can either warm it up on your hand and then rub it in or you can use a heat source to warm up the grip or handguard just a bit – meaning warm to the touch not hot – and it goes on even easier. When I did the M72 hanguard set shown, for example, it was warm after about a minute and 20 seconds in our microwave. You rub the wax in and buff it off – done.

Hello Mr. Microwave! You can optionally warm your piece of furniture up with a microwave, oven turned on at 150F or less, hair dryer, etc. You want it to be warm, not hot. If you can’t pick it up, it’s way too hot. The plastic will not begin to deflect until around 250F and there’s no way you can pick that up hence the rule of thumb. [Click here if you want to read about a heat test we did]
So here’s the finished handguard set after I buffed off the remaining wax.

Again, if you ask me what I do for my own grips and handguards, it’s Sno-Seal and I rarely use extra heat – usually just I just warm it up with my hands and rub it in. Sno-Seal lasts the best of anything I have found.

I hope this helps you out.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Rick’s R4 Forgery

I always love it when folks send me photos of their firearms using our parts. Rick sent in these cool photos of what he calls his “R4 Forgery” and it is using one of our Galil grips.

Very cool Rick!

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Check out Frank’s New Hog Rifle – A Vepr With Our Stock Set

Check out Frank’s New Hog Rifle – A slant back Vepr With Our Stock Set.  What Frank did that I think is really neat is that he machined the slots into our Vepr handguard.  The urethane pastic we use is glass fiber reinforced and acts like a hardwood – you can easily route or mill it with a cutting bit.



If you are interested our Vepr furniture, you can buy individual pieces or the set at:  http://shop.roninsgrips.com/Vepr-Furniture_c16.htm


How To Install Ronin’s Grips’ Vepr Furniture Set

Ronin’s Grips Vepr Furniture Installation Notes

Version 1.7  1/27/2014

First and foremost, please ensure your rifle is unloaded and a round is not in the chamber.  Please be safe!

In general, the urethane plastic we use for the buttstock and handguard will behave like hardwood when it is being cut.  Thus, if you choose to install something, follow the guidance for a wood stock in terms of hole sizes to drill, tools to use, etc.  Note, the plastic has very little give and forcing parts together will risk stress fractures.  Make sure they seat/fit in a square even manner.

The following are installation notes for each component of our Vepr rifle furniture system.  What you need to install will depend on what you purchased.


The buttstock is attached to the rifle’s rear trunnion via two #10×7/8” screws.  The urethane plastic we use is very hard and ideally the hole for the screw should be drilled with a #21 (0.1590”) drill.  Take care to ensure the stock is centered before locating and drilling each hole.

Tip:  If for some reason you need to drill a new hole, the old hole can be filled with quality epoxy cement and allowed to cure per the instructions of the glue. To fill a deep hole, either run the epoxy down the side or use something long and thin, such as a toothpick, to get the epoxy to the bottom.

For durability, use a longer setting high-strength epoxy as the quick 90-second, 5-minute and 10-minute epoxies are prone to “sugaring” or breaking down with constant jarring.  JB Quickweld, Brownell’s Acraglas (our recommendation) and DevCon industrial epoxies (such as “Plastic Steel”) are all good choices.  If you want to color the epoxy black, add a bit of black powdered tempera paint to the mix while stirring thoroughly.

Please note that if you buy the buttstock without a recoil pad, you must add one to protect the end of the stock from abrasion.

Optional Recoil Pad

The recoil pad is secured to the rear of the buttstock via two #10×3/4” screws.  Again, be sure to drill a hole first with the recoil pad centered on the stock.

If you want to blend the pad to the stock, put a thin film of black RTV silicone on the buttstock and use your finger to smooth the edge between the stock and the pad.  This is for looks only – the screws must still be used to secure the pad in place.  If you decide to do this, fit the pad first and have everything ready.  Then remove the pad, add the thin amount of RTV, put the pad back on, tighten the screws and then blend the silicone with your finger.


There are two key things you need to know about the handguard:

First off, there is a special 13mm wide x 5mm thick spacer in the bag with the screws.  It must be used between the handguard and the barrel lug to get the angle correct.  The original Vepr screw is used and the special spacer is mandatory.  If you lose the spacer at some point down the road, stack 6mm washers from the hardware store to get the necessary space between the barrel and the handguard.

Second, with the spacer on the screw, swing the handguard into place but do not tighten the screw.  The Vepr handguard sometimes fits tightly and you don’t want to adjust the screw hole if the unit isn’t fully seated at the rear in the receiver.  Carefully remove the screw, leaving the spacer properly positioned and look down in the hole and check the alignment between with the screw hole in the forearm and the hole in the barrel lug.  You may need to use a circular file to carefully “slot” the handguard hole just a bit to get proper alignment.   It is very important that you make sure the handguard is fully seated to the rear before you make any changes. Take a little off and test over and over– go slow and don’t rush.  Use the oblong washer that came with the stock to reinforce the hole.  If the handguard does not rest squarely against the receiver you will risk the handguard cracking by the barrel lug as it will be placed under undue stress during firing.  So, take your time slot the hole as needed.

Care of the Handguard and Buttstock

The handguard and buttstock are made from our proprietary urethane plastic that is machinable.  This means you can drill, cut, sand, abrasive blast and so forth.  When we build the furniture, we sand to 180 grit and then use 80 grit AlOx blast media at 90 PSI to frost the plastic.

If something chips or gets scratched at some point in the future, sand with 80 grit, then 100-150, then 220, then 320 then 400.  Another option is to repair the scratched area and then abrasive blast after 150-180 grit sand paper is used.  When making the furniture, we use an abrasive blaster with 80 grit aluminum oxide media at 90-100PSI to create a non-slip surface.  After either sanding or blasting, you can apply a wax based finish as a “top coat”.  The recommended sealer is actually a beeswax blend developed for boots called “Sno-Seal” by ATSKO.  In general, you could use any wax based finish such as clear or black shoe polish, that is then buffed with a cloth.


Thank you for purchasing our furniture.  We truly hope you enjoy it.


Kevin’s badass Veprs with our Vepr handguards and second generation Molot grips

Kevin’s badass Veprs with our Vepr handguards and second generation Molot grips!

ronin_1 ronin2


The 2nd Generation Molot Grips are in our store at:

The Vepr handguards are in our store at:

Tharin’s Rifle – KVar US Plum Furniture and Our Dark US Plum Polish AKM/Tantal Grip


Tharin’s Sweet rifle – it has K-Var US Plum Furniture and Our Dark US Plum Polish AKM/Tantal Grip.

Our Dark US Plum color is the one that comes closest to the K-Var color by the way.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.