FAL Tutorial: Fake Wood L1A1 Handguards
The earliest (1989-1990) Century Arms L1A1 Thumbhole sporters that were imported came with fiberglass thumbhole stocks and handguards. These were made by the Bell & Carlson stock company. As both US parts and wood handguards are scarce for the L1A1, I decided to see if I could make these US fiberglass handguards look like wood.
If I do this again, I will fill the rear two cooling slots with MarineTex epoxy as L1A1 handguards only had two (FAL had three). I started by sanding the splatter-coat paint texture smooth. I like to have the handguards mounted to a barrel so the top and bottom remain aligned during sanding.
After they were smooth I took the side of a checkering file and scored the fiberglass in a wavy manner to simulate wood grain.
the hardest part was the screw hole. The original was grossly oversize. I epoxied a metal sleeve in the right side and reinforced the threaded insert on the left side with more epoxy. I recommend against tightening the handguard screw more than snug.
Finished with a few coats of flat polyurethane spray.
after making the fake wood grain, I painted with Krylon. Then after it was dry I painted a second coat and wiped some of it off to try to get a more irregular color. Finally, I took black paint and thinned it and “washed” the pieces so it will settle in the grain and accentuate it.