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Old 06-01-2014, 10:41 AM
The Original Youngblood The Original Youngblood is offline
 
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Location: Virginia, on the west side of my ancestral farm
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Default What to do with that dark, oily, filthy milsurp stock?

Replying to a couple of refinishing threads here recently reminded me of something to which I tumbled years ago while dealing with some old, nasty-looking USGI stocks that came on a few of my early Greek Rackers.

I remember that one of the stocks was particularly ugly ... almost black, filthy, greasy ... but not abused-looking. My first thought was to strip it and redo it with BLO & Tung Oil ... but I hesitated.

I decided to first clean it and then treat it to what I think of as a Cleaning App of BLO (thoroughly scrub the stock with a ½biscuit of de-oiled 0000 steel wool dipped in cut BLO).

So I wiped it down a couple of times with a degreasing spray (I use orange-smelling stuff in a spray bottle from the grocery store).

The I scrubbed all surfaces vigorously with the BLO-dipped steelwool, turning and redipping the pad periodically. I let the resulting YUCK sit, untouched, on the stock for ~20 minutes before wiping it off with papertowels. I then lightly buffed the stock and put it in front of a fan in a low-RH area.

Next morning, I rebuffed and discovered (actually something that I suspected the night before) that I had saved a beoooootiful oil finish that had been lurking just under the crap. To this day, I think that that rifle sports what I think is the best look & feel of any stock of its type in my collection (read: accumulation) ... silky-smooth and a deep, dark reddish brown/black.

So the moral of the story is ... before stripping that ugly duckling, first see if there is a swan underneath. If there is no swan, then go ahead and strip away ... BUT, once stripped, any original hidden beauty is gone forever.

I have since saved & refreshed (rather than refinished) quite a few different oil-finished milsurp stocks in this way.

Just thought that I would take a moment to share the approach with those who may benefit from it.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:10 PM
musketjon musketjon is offline
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I always clean with MEK and 4-0 steel wool then just BLO. I want a clean stock to start with and I add my own dirt and grime to it, but that's just me.
Jon
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:53 AM
DRAGON64 DRAGON64 is offline
 
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I clean with mineral spirits, and rejuvinate with boiled linseed oil. I used to use the locally purchased #0000 steel wool, but the wool pads always disintegrate into small steel splinters, thus making a huge mess. Most of the local wool is made in China, and thus is a terrible product. I have since swapped to 3M pads for cleaning and oil application, a hint I picked up from "noremf" from the rimfirecentral forums.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:26 PM
aka108 aka108 is offline
 
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Almost any piece of wood can be brought back to life. Within this form there are probably a thousand different ways of doing so are explained. They go from taking a piece down to bare bones wood and other methods with very little "refinishing" required. I have a Norinco SKS that came with a garish red varnished stock. It was even applied to the rubber butt pad. Once every thing was stripped some pretty nice wood was underneath. Been 20 yrs since I did it so forget exactly what I used but do think some Homer Formbys Tung Oil Finish was in the mix.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:21 PM
The Original Youngblood The Original Youngblood is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aka108
Almost any piece of wood can be brought back to life... <snip>
Your post suggests to me that you missed the point of my Thread ... which is:

Do yourself a favor and do not just automatically strip&refinish a grody oil-finished stock that you receive because [A] there may be a beautiful finish hiding under the ugly and [B] once you strip it, any such hidden beautiful finish will be forever lost.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:13 PM
Sheeple Fighter Sheeple Fighter is offline
 
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i just cleaned a gunky stock with some glass cleaner spray (ammonia free). Did a pretty good job. Just sprayed a bunch on, let it sit, wipe off and repeat. Last thing I did was Used some wet 0000 steel wool after wiping off most of the gunk. Did that light enough to leave the rack numbers etc. Not bad for five minutes time. I will probably put something like BLO on it or just leave it, still has a nice color and character to it. Youngblood inspired me to give it a try.
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Old 07-12-2014, 01:14 PM
musketjon musketjon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Original Youngblood View Post
The I scrubbed all surfaces vigorously with the BLO-dipped
Scrubbing vigorously just embeds the dirt and grime back into the wood. The object is to remove the grime, not push it deeper into the pores. It may be smooth, but steel wool can make almost anything smooth. By rubbing vigorously you're effectively sanding the stock any way. I still use MEK to get ALL of the crap out of the wood. The BLO on the clean wood always makes the grain "pop" and I get to put my own dirt and grime on the stock.
Jon
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Old 07-12-2014, 02:01 PM
The Original Youngblood The Original Youngblood is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musketjon
Scrubbing vigorously just embeds the dirt and grime back into the wood.
No, it doesn't. The BLO-mix that I use in the scrubbing becomes dark and nasty (what I refer to as YUCK) with the loosened/removed grime.
Quote:
By rubbing vigorously you're effectively sanding the stock any way.
Any "sanding" effect of the 0000 steelwool is quite minor and changes neither contours nor stampings ... and it does not remove the pre-existing oil finish.

When cleaning grime from a stock with my method, common sense should dictate (I would think) that you would not use a heavy hand, since you are only targeting the surface grime ... which is also why the action is vigorous (since I also prefer to not spend a long time slooowly scrubbing the stock).

There are many approaches to the end result that I have suggested. I (much) prefer low odor Mineral Spirits (some prefer Turpentine) for this process over straight MEK since it is much easier to use safely and also I know that it will not strip the old oil finish. BTW, I am not saying that MEK strips the finish (although it would not surprise me) but I have never tested MEK on an oil finish.

Quote:
I still use MEK to get ALL of the crap out of the wood. The BLO on the clean wood always makes the grain "pop" ...
If, by this, you are saying that the straight MEK also removes any prior oil finish, you, like aka108, have missed or ignored the point of this Thread.
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Old 07-13-2014, 12:49 AM
lapriester lapriester is offline
 
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If it has no valuable markings you take it off and run through a short cycle in the dishwasher with about half the dishwasher soap you normally use. Add bleach for a complete strip. Let it dry for a couple of days, buff the raised grain with steel wool and start the oiling process. Cleans them right up and produces pretty spectacular results because the process also "steams" out about 90% of the dents in the process. I've done about 10 that way.
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Old 07-13-2014, 06:55 AM
The Original Youngblood The Original Youngblood is offline
 
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And one more who has, apparently, either missed or ignored the point of the Thread.
Quote:
Do yourself a favor and do not just automatically strip&refinish a grody oil-finished stock that you receive because [A] there may be a beautiful finish hiding under the ugly and [B] once you strip it, any such hidden beautiful finish will be forever lost.
That is something for after your investigation has determined that there isn't a beautiful oil finish hidden (i.e., nothing to lose) under a bunch of crap.

I have cleaned a few M1 stocks with the dishwasher method and it generally works well for taking them back down to wood.

Be forewarned that with such a method (or a manual hotwater+Dawn scrub bath ... I have done more of this than dishwasher) there is always the danger of split and/or warped wood, especially with the thinner pieces.
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