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Thread: Degreasing a Stock before Finishing

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Degreasing a Stock before Finishing

    Folks,

    been sweating cosmoline out of an '03 "C" stock. Greek return and full of cosmoline.

    After many hours of sweating the cosmoline out in the sun, it is to the point where I'm not getting a lot out anymore.
    Used to look like a glazed ham or BBQ ribs from the leakage of melted cosmo. not anymore.
    I've never used alcohol based dyes or stains. Always used water based. Will the alcohol penetrate the area's of residual cosmoline??

    It appears that the stuck has been worked on before. The reason is that there are traces of numbers on the buttstock what have been sanded away. A shame. The two other rifles I did I was meticulously carful to save the markings and cartouches.

    What about water based dye?? I thought I might get a damp sponge and wet down the wood. Will the area's with retained cosmoline bead up or the water won't soak in??

    I have read about the Feibing's dye. The medium brown is supposed to have a touch of red in it. I would like some read showing, but not overdone. There are also threads that say RIT dye can be mixed with alcohol.

    When it is done being stained, it will probably be finished with Allbach organic BLO. Pure tung oil is a consideration as well.
    Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks, Shiloh
    Je suis Charlie

    "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
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    “Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one.” – Joseph P. Martino

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Cant advise on the stain, but if you are looking to get more of the cosmoline out you can soak it under acetone for several days. Works well, just be sure to keep ie submerged to avoid a line where the oil is allowed to return to the wood at the surface of the acetone.
    Looking forward to pics of you project! Restorations respecting the history are always nice.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I cleaned up a couple of greasy 03s with nothing but mineral spirits for the wood and kerosene for the metal bits, but mineral spirits would have worked on the metal too.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I cleaned up an old N.R. Davis shotgun stock with regular alcohol. It was almost black with old oil and I simply kept wiping it down with a rag and alcohol until the rag did not stain anymore. Let it dry for a couple of days, and then used Linspeed on it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master rondog's Avatar
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    I used to strip old mil stocks with Dawn Power Dissolver, that stuff was awesome! But like all great products, it's discontinued. I currently use Purple Power cleaner from the auto parts store, it works pretty damn good too. Strips off the old finish, oils, cosmo, etc. Probably won't touch things like polyurethane though.

    Spray on, let it soak, scrub w/soft brush, wash w/warm water and dish soap, rinse w/clean cool water, towel dry, dry in sun. Bathtub is a great place to do this. Keep in mind this brings it back to raw, nekkid wood though.

    This is for a total refinish, sanding is required, but you DON'T have to remove any stampings, cartouches, dents, scratches, or other "personality" marks. I typically refinish with just BLO. BLO will darken over time to that "old military rifle" reddish tint.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Had it in the basement today with the Harbor Freight heatgun on low. Anywhere that sweated cosmoline was wiped off with a paper towel wet with mineral spirits. The areas that were sweating don't have cosmoline glossing anymore. The top of the thumb grip, around the buttplate, the top of the action and bottom trigger area was were I focused.

    The hand guard appears darker than the stock so it won't be a perfect match. I may soak that in MEK to see if it lightens. Don't really want to sand it anymore. When I put on my oil finish, the area's where the stamps and cartouches were my show up again. The wood is denser there and usually appears. The cosmoline which became the defacto finish, didn't bring them out.

    Showed up GREAT on a Krag cut-down stock. The letters BAWJ showed up on the left side of the Krag. Benicia Arsenal NE of San Francisco is the BA. I have no info on the inspector or sub-inspector whose initials are WJ and I have looked. It may show up on the avatar by Shiloh if you can zoom it in.

    Shiloh
    Je suis Charlie

    "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
    Bertrand de Jouvenel

    “Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one.” – Joseph P. Martino

    “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years there would be a shortage of sand.” – Milton Friedman

    "Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?" - J. Stalin

  7. #7
    Boolit Master BigEyeBob's Avatar
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    Acetone and a heat gun on low . I am sweating the oil out of a Martini cadet stock atm , working good 100+ years for oil and grime is coming out like nobodys business.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    There is a product Brownell's sells called Whiting, it's basically a form of calcium carbonate. Art supply stores can get a product called Frederick's Powdered Marble. Amazon carries it as well.

    The procedure is to mix turpentine with the powder while heating the wood, apply the paste, and gently chip it off when it dries. It wicks the oil out of the stock

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I used to start by wiping as much as possible, then stuff internals and wrap in a couple tight layers of paper towels and then put in black trash bag and wind up tight. Lay in back of truck bed on black liner while at work. Come out after work, put in cab for ride home and then change diapers and repeat until sweating ceased. Then paint stripper a time or two, then Acetone in spray gun holding stock vertical and spraying top to bottom. Used on the old Mil-Surps back in the day, worked for me as they would take stain and finish nicely.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Easy 0ff oven cleaner works fast and good. I used to use gasoline and a round parts brush. I'm country......

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    To All,

    I've "degreased" some really oily Mauser stocks by placing them in a black plastic garbage bag with cat litter & then leaving the bag out on the picnic table for a week. - Then mineral spirits gets the rest.
    After that I refinish with MINWAX. NO sanding of markings required.

    Fwiw, I used that "technique" on a Danish-made Garand stock & after the cat litter/mineral spirits "treatment", any number of Danish language markings appeared.

    yours, tex

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I use oven cleaner on tough ones. Turpintine and fine steel works on tough spots, tung oil can be used in a pinch, thinning it down with mineral spirits will help with wiping with a clean rag. Then a wipe with methal hydrate to see if it all looks ok.
    I have used water based stains some are better than others if you get as a powder you adjust to get the desired effect. The local hardware store has a display of minwax products and the stains are not far off from that. Gunstock and provincial are the ones I use the most, gunstocks has a bit of red and provincal is darker than walnut.
    Be well
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Finished mine.
    About 6 coats of organic BLO after the first heavy one. Tiger stopping shows up much better. From the amount I got out, it appears cosmoline was the finish of choice.

    Shiloh
    Je suis Charlie

    "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
    Bertrand de Jouvenel

    “Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one.” – Joseph P. Martino

    “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years there would be a shortage of sand.” – Milton Friedman

    "Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?" - J. Stalin

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    Last year I spent a long time working on a SMLE forestock. Initially I tried soaking in acetone but I think it tends to drive oils into the wood. Later I got some powdered chalk from the local beer making supply and painted that on with acetone. More like glopped it on as a thick coat. Then I wrapped the stock in paper towel, then aluminum foil and finally black plastic bag. I set that in my car window and the summer heat gave it a good bake. The oil wicks out into the chalk. Several treatments worked like charm.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hinnerk View Post
    Last year I spent a long time working on a SMLE forestock. Initially I tried soaking in acetone but I think it tends to drive oils into the wood. Later I got some powdered chalk from the local beer making supply and painted that on with acetone. More like glopped it on as a thick coat. Then I wrapped the stock in paper towel, then aluminum foil and finally black plastic bag. I set that in my car window and the summer heat gave it a good bake. The oil wicks out into the chalk. Several treatments worked like charm.
    Did that method, the final chalk whiting, on a Mauser. Worked well using a heat gun as it was done in November.
    Methylene Chloride stripper I used first, worked pretty good in later falls the coolness allowed it to penetrate deeper and remain liquid longer.

    Shiloh
    Je suis Charlie

    "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
    Bertrand de Jouvenel

    “Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one.” – Joseph P. Martino

    “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years there would be a shortage of sand.” – Milton Friedman

    "Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?" - J. Stalin

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