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Thread: masking tape - removing it from walnut stock

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    Member whaler's Avatar
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    masking tape - removing it from walnut stock

    I'm looking at buying a Swissicon rifle on-line. Unfortunately, it has a piece of masking tape on the stock, maybe 3x2 inches. The rifle is from 1922. No telling how old the masking tape is. I can only imagine it's hard as a rock, and literally welded to the walnut.



    I suppose worst think is I have to refinish the entire stock. But does anyone have advice on what I might try in removing it?

    I'm thinking I'd try gentle use of a hair dryer to soften it up first. But guessing the glue will have worked it's way into the grain, and anything like Goof Off will remove the finish.

    Thanks for any advice....

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    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    Masking tape gets dry and flakey and looses its adhesion when very old, in my experience. Perhaps the linseed oilicon is keeping it from drying out and falling off? A heat gun is probably best. Might be a good idea to cut out a cover-piece in heavy paper or thin card stock and cover the surrounding area. Steam would be another option.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

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    Contributing Member Singer B's Avatar
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    I would just try some Hoppes cleaning solvent to hydrate it and soften it up overnight. Depending on what the stock was originally finished with, you could also try raw linseed oilicon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Singer B View Post
    try some Hoppes cleaning solvent to hydrate it and soften it up overnight.
    That would be worth a try.
    Regards, Jim

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    Mineral Spirits or turpentine will probably soften the tape and dissolve the adhesive.
    Hand-Rubbing a 50/50 mixture of linseed oilicon & Turpentine should freshen the wood finish and give a uniform appearance.

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    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    acetone and a scrubby or steel wool will lift all dirt, grime and residue out of the top layer of wood grain, without harming the original color of the oxidized linseed oilicon or damaging the deeper original sanding. Simply wipe it down with linseed oilicon when you are done to restore the color and finish. I just did this on a Kragicon that used to hang on a wall at a VFW for decades...imagine decades of cigarette smoke from the vfw bar (it reaked of smoke as soon as I wiped it down the first time with mineral spirits), combined with decades of sweat and dirt from parades etc. I posted the results, with before and after pics, in the Krag forum.
    https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=71678&page=6

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    I have not tried this but it's cheap enough. Maybe test it on an inconspicuous place or on another sacrificial stock.

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    Last edited by MasterChief; 12-18-2020 at 02:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssgross View Post
    acetone and a scrubby or steel wool will lift all dirt, grime and residue out of the top layer of wood grain, without harming the original color of the oxidized linseed oilicon or damaging the deeper original sanding. Simply wipe it down with linseed oilicon when you are done to restore the color and finish. I just did this on a Kragicon that used to hang on a wall at a VFW for decades...imagine decades of cigarette smoke from the vfw bar (it reaked of smoke as soon as I wiped it down the first time with mineral spirits), combined with decades of sweat and dirt from parades etc. I posted the results, with before and after pics, in the Krag forum.
    https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=71678&page=6
    Like a good many others, I bit my tongue on the subject of your Krag, but since this is involving others I'll go on record here as saying "do not use acetone to to strip your stock of all finish and patina", as you did on that Krag. You might as well get the cold blue out and finish the job on that rifle, it's ruined as a collector piece. Sorry, but that's not just my opinion and that of many others; it's a fact with antiques of all kinds.

    One or two likely contrarians might drop in here to say different for the sake of being so, but there's really no argument about it.
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    Use Vegetable oil or WD-40,
    Soak the tape with a small rag. Then lay the soaked rag on the old tape and cover it with a piece of cellophane to keep it moist. This should pull the top off, repeat to get the glue residue off. When removing the glue residue a stiff toothbrush should remove it from the grain and pores.

    Either of these won't pull your original finish, but you'll probably have some dis-coloration from the tape being on so long.
    I've used this method on old antique dressers and document boxes multiple times with great results.

    A Heat Gun can cause the Tape's adhesive to become tacky again... Depending on the grade of tape. Some were Low Tack- Others High Tack. If it Tacks up again it's possible you'll pull wood fiber. You don't need heat, you need to break down adhesion.

    It'll work

    Nearly 50 years of taping stuff !

    Merry Christmas
    Charlie-Painter777

    A Country Has No Greater Responsibility Than To Care For Those Who Served...

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    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surpmil View Post
    it's ruined as a collector piece
    Many others share your opinion about removing the patina - and you certainly are correct about "most antiques". But people buy and collect antiques for many different reasons.
    I spent quite a long while reading posts, likely some of yours, on the matter giving it due consideration. Two fortunate things considered 1) this krag, like all my rifles, is not a collector piece - very far from it. 2) Patinas can return, with time and use, and the way I did it will allow it to return. Certainly some may disagree as to the definition of "collector's piece". Perhaps that's what is so great about it, we each can create our own definition - analogously some would never consider regularly taking their "antique" rifles hunting, some think differently.
    There are plenty of definitions of "patina" as well. Would you say that degreasing all the metal parts of old, inferior, lubricant and re-applying to better preserve the firearm is removing the patina - that patina has a different look and feel on the metal. Is sticky old cosmolineicon part of the patina? on wood or metal? On the wood, all these chemicals are known to attack and degrade the fibers - that soft mushy feeling on top of the wood could be considered patina as well. If the patina of the wood is it's color, character, and feel over time then I did no harm. It's all still there, which was the benefit I clearly stated here and elsewhere. If it includes all the oils, sweat, smoke residue, and other damaging chemicals accumulated with years of neglect, then yes, no apologies, I removed those.
    To your other point...I don't think it needs to be reblued to be preserved for centuries to come. The barrel had already been refinished at some point - doubtful it was original considering where it came from. I may refinish the replacement magazine cutoff that is currently a shiny baby-blue. By the dictionary, one may call bluing a patina as well. Is a bowl of cheerios a soup? Is a hot dog a sandwich?
    I very much appreciate your thoughts here and elsewhere. The OP now has many good options of varying degrees to consider - none of which include a dishwasher, bleach, or oven cleaner. I don't like goo-gone as it leaves a residue only removed with something else like mineral spirits or other. Likely spot treatment will always show something, as the tape embedded its own patina over time.
    Last edited by ssgross; 12-23-2020 at 02:34 PM.

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