Let's hear everyone's working methods and failures for restoring your C&R rifles.
My first rifle is a Yugo SKS. I did the following:
1. Disassemble rifle and soak parts in mineral spirits.
2. Wipe down all metal parts to remove cosmoline.
3. Use steel wool(0000) to wipe down stock with more mineral spirits.
4. Set stock in sun until more cosmoline seeps out and then wipe down with mineral spirits again and let dry.
5. Apply two "spit coats" of shellac to stock, and allow to dry for a couple of hours and then sand off with 320 grit carbide sand paper.
6. Apply 5 coats Formby's tung oil finish with a rag, letting dry for 12 hours in between coats and wiping excess off after each application.
7. Let dry for 24 hours, then applied Butcher's clear paste wax with steel wool(0000), then wipe down to remove steel wool particles. Allowed to dry for 2 days.
8. Reassemble rifle.
I'll post a pic later today. It looks great with a satin finish. The spit coat should prevent any cosmoline from seeping out on hot days.
I need to find a better way to get the cosmoline off of the metal parts since some is still in the really hard to get places. And don't use "ZAP" on anything. I tried it and it removed the cosmoline perfectly, but also totally removed the finish(tested it on the gas piston extension so my mistake can't be seen.)
I kept all of the dings and wood filler in the stock since I wanted to keep it in "as issued" condition.
If you are going to do a lot of rifles, invest in a hand held steamer. I paid about $100 for a SHARK...stuck the nozzle in the chamber and the cosmo literally dripped off the barrel.
I hit all of the metal parts...between the pressure and heat the rifle cleans up a lot faster than soaking.
I can clean a broken down rifle in about 20mins to near zero cosmo, wipe it down and give it a coat of oil. The metal of the rifle gets warm enough that you can't handle it w/ bare hands...the cosmo disappears pretty darn fast!
For getting rid of cosmoline, I usually use Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) and it works very well.
I use(d) the original strength Easy Off oven cleaner (yellow can?)
that works great. hardest stock to clean by far has been the M44.
The M44 stock was fuggly lookin till stained and coated.. now she looks pretty. Sure it's not the original russian finish, but like I said, it looks very nice
see the M44 pictures here:
1.) Kerosene removes cosmoline, grease and gunk quickly. Use an automotive-type parts brush.
2.) HOT water rinse removes kerosene.
3.) Bake parts in a low temperature oven (150°F) oven for several hours while occasionally wiping the seepage from the wood surface with a paper towel. NOTE: it helps if you live alone and are the sole user of said oven during this step.
4.) Remove parts from oven. Let cool.
5.) The following day, very lightly sand the wood to remove the hairs and re-finish with tung oil or similar.
Gratuitous bragging picture
wow, that k98/M48 looks sweet!
that K31 looks just like mine
I agree with SWS. Kerosene for cosmoline, let parts soak in a bucket. It is amazing how well and how fast it works. For tight spots or detail work, a can of brake cleaner is great, but keorsene soak is #1 priority.
I am thinking about buying an old oven to put in the garage. Maybe get from a contractor doing a kitchen remodel? Even a small toaster oven for small parts and mags would be good.