I have been given a B.S.A. 303 to fix up as a gift and have encountered a situation that requires some help. As a machinist for many years, I have been asked to repair metal gun parts many times, but not many stocks. The carpenter in town usually did these, but has left. These Lee-Speed rifles had a fore stock with some kind of metal end cap to protect the end grain. It is missing and there wasn't much there to attach another one, so I was asked to just round the end to make it aesthetically pleasing. The end grain however looks "iffy". I recall my carpenter friend, in a similar situation, once telling me he used MinWax Wood Hardener to protect the end grain from deteriorating. I have some hardener, but am not sure how to proceed. Do I soak it before I sand it or after? Once done, will it take a water-based stain or do I stain everything first? I would appreciate any response and will strive to answer any questions. Thank you kindly!