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Thread: i want to restore the finish on my PU Mosin Sniper

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    Member Mauser1947's Avatar
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    i want to restore the finish on my PU Mosin Sniper

    Basically a lot of the shellac on my Mosin chipped off about 2 years ago when I brought it out in the extreme cold. Little did I know extreme cold weather is not very good on shellac finishes so I want to repair what came off.

    the absolute LAST thing i want to do is refinish the entire rifle so I decided to buy shellac flakes, dye, and denatured alcohol and I'm planning on adding the shellac only to the areas missing the finish. Would this be a good idea?

    (I'm posting this thread here and in the restoration section as well for most responses)
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    Advisory Panel Patrick Chadwick's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert on Mosin-Nagants, but I have had some experience with shellac. It looks fine on "don't touch it, it's antique!" furniture, but is an inappropriate finish for a tool that has to stand up to less-than-kid-glove handling.

    The photos show that the finish on your rifle is flaking. No surprise. Frost FUBARs shellac.

    I also have a Mosin-Nagant sniper from 1942. It is for shooting, not for being admired, and also has a flaking finish (but not as bad as yours). It looks as if the finish was sloshed on by a Stakhanovite worker used to painting railroad ties, so, like you, I thought of touching up the bald patches...

    Basically - forget it!
    It IS possible to touch up the patches IF you have the proverbial patience of Job and a lot of practice.
    You MUST try out the dyed shellac on a test piece before using it on your rifle, otherwise the result will be a piebald finish!
    And that means you really need a test piece of wood that matches the present stockwood - best would be another Mosin stock.
    BUT after you have spent a lot of time to match in the patches, you will soon find new flaking, because the frost has ruined the bonding of the shellac to the wood. So more patches to touch up... and more... and more... and more.
    Just like paintwork, if a finish is flaking off all over, the only long-term solution is to remove it ALL before starting.

    So having got it all off, why on earth go through the tedious process of re-applying a sensitive finish to a rifle?

    After all, if you read up on this topic on the Mosin forums, you will see that there is a body of opinion that the shellac finish was NOT generally applied in wartime production, but was a late "quick and dirty" refurbishment method. I am simplifying here to save space - please read up on it yourself for all the "ifs" and "buts".

    In the end, after trying a sample patch, I left my rifle alone, thus dodging both the work and the "originality" problem. But if my stock ever gets to look as patchy as yours, then it's all going to come off and be replaced by linseed oilicon!
    Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 04-02-2018 at 02:21 PM.

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    I took the shellac off one of mine and put on about 20 coats of BLOicon. Looks almost the same but will never flake off.

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    I would concur, remove it and go with linseed oilicon, it will give a beautiful depth of finish and nourish the wood.

    The refurbished captured K98icon's have the same shellac finish to the woodwork.

    So a refurb finish for store (or sale perhaps)

    Ivan certainly wouldn't bother with a fragile finish on a rifle designed to fight through the mud, blood and snow of the great patriotic war
    Last edited by mrclark303; 04-06-2018 at 05:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrclark303 View Post
    Ivan certainly wouldn't bother with a fragile finish on a rifle designed to fight through the mud, blood and snow of the great patriotic war
    Most certainly comrade Clarkisvar

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    Last edited by mrclark303; 04-07-2018 at 05:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauser1947 View Post
    the absolute LAST thing i want to do is refinish the entire rifle so I decided to buy shellac flakes, dye, and denatured alcohol and I'm planning on adding the shellac only to the areas missing the finish. Would this be a good idea?
    The usual way to fix shellac is to add another coat or several coats. So, pretty much what you’re planning, except the entire thing is refinished.



    With each new coat the solvent in the liquid shellac (denatured alcohol in this case) dissolves part of the previous coat. Sometimes you can use this ability to dissolve the coating to remove scratches. You’re just turning it back to liquid with a solvent and letting it dry again. I don’t know if it would work for you. You have a lot of flaking. Maybe try a small area and see?

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