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Posted: 2/9/2006 1:07:31 PM EDT
Here's my problem: I buy a typical milsurp rifle with plenty of dings and dents. They usually have dirt or grease, or something black in 'em. I spray the stock down with engine degreaser, then I scrub the stock with dish detergent to wash the degreaser out, then I steam out the dents with an iron (now I bought and use a real hand steamer), then I scrub the stock with wood bleach (twice). ok, so now I have a very white looking stock which looks great. I let it dry a couple days. Then I put BLO on it and MF'er, the dings (even though they have been brought out) turn black again. Man! So now I have a light colored stock with black marks all over which is very unsightly, so I have to go and stain it something dark.
What am I doing wrong????
How do you guys get the dirt out of those dings?
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 5:21:31 PM EDT
Aside from damaging an historical firearm...

You are trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. However, I have had good success on commerical firearms with 2 part wood bleach/oxidizer. Look for wood bleach at Home Depot or Lowe's. Warning....the stuff is very caustic. However, I have removed some bad dark stains from walnut.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 6:31:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By kingfish:
What am I doing wrong????


IMHO, you are messing with it too much. Yeah, you have to degrease it if it has cosmo. Good idea to give it a cleaning, but go easy on it. Clean - evaluate - clean - evaluate again. Plan your next step. Don't rush. I would probably not have used wood bleach, though I can't say that I would never consider it. It depends on the wood. The more you mess with an old milsurp rifle, the more character you strip away from it. You only realize that you've done too much when you start considering how to put that character back into the rifle.

I have a M1903 Mark 1 that I am slowly cleaning up. I wanted to keep some of the "patina of age." I started with a mild furniture stripper and a scrubbie pad to wash off the cosmo and strip off the old oil finish. Then I washed it with dishwashing soap, but didn't soak the wood. I tried steaming a few dents out, but left a bunch of small dings and dents. I was left with a dry-looking version of what I started with. A few hand rubbed coats of BLO and 0000 steel wool, and I ended up with a cleaner version of what I started with - an old rifle that shows its age but doesn't look beat up. I must've overdid it because I do have a weird "light spot" on one side of the forend. I haven't figured out how to blend back in to the rest of the stock. Maybe it was there to begin with under the dirt and cosmo. No hurry.

I have a K31 that has the usual dinged-up buttstock. I hand-picked it out of a pile of them, and got one that wasn't badly dented. I can't bring myself to refinish it. It looks good as is - black spots, wear marks, and that beautiful orange glow.

I have an Enfield that my father bought 40+ years ago and hardly ever shot it. When I washed the wood with dishwashing soap and hot water, the finish ran down the drain and I was left with raw wood blocks. I saw those black spots in the dents too. I didn't try steaming out all the small dents, because I thought they were cool-looking. I did try reducing the glare of the black spots with a toothbrush and a paste of some sort of powdered "oxy-cleaner" (Oxy-10?) that we were using to do laundry. It didn't eliminate them, but it did mute them. I used two coats of tung oil and steel wool, and the wood looks pretty good. Doesn't look like someone tried refinishing it - it just looks like an old milsurp rifle that's in great shape.

Take it easy, and good luck...
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 5:05:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/11/2006 5:06:11 AM EDT by Zaitev]
You are removing patina from the surface but not the dings, so it clashes. Patina takes decades to form, so preserve it as much as possible. A pristine stock would need dings removed. I like to think of where those dings came from... :)
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 7:46:12 AM EDT
I have another suggestion - practice on some old guns. I was given two old guns - a .22 and a 16-gauge. Both are single-shot "hardware store guns" from 50+ or so years ago. They are very worn from use, but still serviceable. I started with the shotgun, and plan on giving it the works. I already have a dozen hand-rubbed coats on the shotgun stock. I practiced steaming dents, the use of chemicals, hand-rubbing finishing oils, etc. If I made a mistake, so what.... I plan on learning to phosphate the metal (i.e. parkerize) and top it off with Gunkote. When I'm done I hope to have a "$1000 finish" on a $50 shotgun. The .22 will be a simulated K-31 restoration project - steaming, touch-up-the-bluing, shellac, etc. Doesn't matter what I do because the experience I'll gain on working on a "no worries" gun will pay off.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 9:45:19 AM EDT
I just finished a Turk and my approch was prety simple. 1. used mineral spirits to get it clean enpough to handle. 2. disasemble completely and use carb cleaner on all metal and reoil. 3. more mineral spirits, use toothbrush, Q-Tips and dental pick to clean. 4. bath in hot water w/ Murphy's oil soap,rinse and apply as many coats of BLO as you feel necessary. I don't sand or steam dents. What I have in the ended up with was a very clean 61 year-old battle rifle that just looks right.........Essex
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 9:47:32 AM EDT
I just finished a Turk and my approch was prety simple. 1. used mineral spirits to get it clean enpough to handle. 2. disasemble completely and use carb cleaner on all metal and reoil. 3. more mineral spirits, use toothbrush, Q-Tips and dental pick to clean. 4. bath in hot water w/ Murphy's oil soap,rinse and apply as many coats of BLO as you feel necessary. I don't sand or steam dents. What I have in the ended up with was a very clean 61 year-old battle rifle that just looks right.........Essex
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 12:45:10 PM EDT
Patina...when dirt and rust just aren't the right terms to use.


A toothbrush, some TSP paste and a little elbow grease will get the dirt out. If you have powdered laundry detergent you can use that in the place of the TSP. Also, if you overclean a stock, you'll take the original stain out. TSP does this. So after you do all the cleaning, some stain would probably be in order to even out the color of the wood.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 12:48:56 PM EDT
i am in the process of refinishing my RC k98 and i used denatured alch. to remove the shellac but it still was very dark looking so i gave it a scrub down with purple power/ simple green and that took all of the grung/dirt out. i could see my scrubbie pads really loading up with the grime. now its pretty much down to bare wood and ready for some linseed oil.
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