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Thread: Soaking old stocks in kersoene to remove years of diet, oil, grease, etc.

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  1. #11
    Legacy Member 1903Collector's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Dickicon View Post
    I've put this out there before. Here it is again. Try Dollar General or Dollar Tree clear ammonia. I learned it from a guy in Florida who specialized in restoring antique rifles when I was a kid. I have a Brownells plastic tub long enough for forends. Soak the wood, let sit a few minutes, then gently sponge and clean with a fine Scotchbrite scrub/sponge pad. Use a soft toothbrush for the inletting, nooks and crannies. Rinse with clear water and dry. Your wood will be ready for glue, patching if necessary or other repairs. Then just treat with raw linseed oilicon, or stain first if you want. Been doing it that way for 30 years. I work outdoors with it. It's cheap and easy to do and won't hurt a thing. Try it on a handguard or scrap if you don't believe me and see for yourself.
    Ammonia, Ill check it out, but that smell! Kerosene smells properly industrial to me, simple green is, at least to me, a pleasant nostalgic smell Ive never identified, mineral spirits and turpentine, meh. I know smell isnt a practical indicator, but it will just take some getting used to!

    Ive got three important projects, but a goodly number of old '03 stocks (S, Scant and C of '03 and A3 configuration) that needs work, so I may have to try a number of these methods. I refer not to apply heat, but all of these suggestions sound worth a test. It should ben noted that the stocks that need cleaning have simply been used, oiled, greased, dragged in dirt, sweat upon, etc. for decades. These are battle hardened military stocks and for the most part made of a decent grade of Walnut.

    I thank you all for your input

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  3. #12
    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    My preferred method is spray on citristrip. I can strip a stock in an evening while I watch TV, the house smells nice like oranges and it's all in the bathtub where it's simple to clean up.

    Spray on, wait 15-20 minutes, rinse off with hot water and a scrub brush. Put a second coat on, wait 15-20 minutes repeat. Really bad ones might need a third coat.

    One can will do three or four stocks.

    I've tried the brush on type but it doesn't seem to work as well.

    Stock will be dry the next morning and ready for BLOicon.

    Austrian M1888/90 from RTI, Ethiopian, This was a three-treatment rifle. Some of the metal looks different because I replaced some of it, notably the magazine/trigger well assembly and the middle barrel band.

    Before



    After

    Last edited by Aragorn243; 10-04-2022 at 10:45 PM.

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    Contributing Member Singer B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aragorn243 View Post
    My preferred method is spray on citristrip. I can strip a stock in an evening while I watch TV, the house smells nice like oranges and it's all in the bathtub where it's simple to clean up.

    Spray on, wait 15-20 minutes, rinse off with hot water and a scrub brush. Put a second coat on, wait 15-20 minutes repeat. Really bad ones might need a third coat.

    One can will do three or four stocks.

    I've tried the brush on type but it doesn't seem to work as well.

    Stock will be dry the next morning and ready for BLOicon.

    Austrian M1888/90 from RTI, Ethiopian, This was a three-treatment rifle. Some of the metal looks different because I replaced some of it, notably the magazine/trigger well assembly and the middle barrel band.

    Before

    https://www.milsurps.com/images/impo.../JI1oAaC-1.jpg

    After

    https://www.milsurps.com/images/impo.../Cgg4Ots-1.jpg
    I have always preferred using Citristrip also, but you are correct, the brush-on version doesn't always work. I didn't know there was a spray-on version but I will go out and find it for my next project. Thank you for the information.

  7. #14
    Legacy Member 1903Collector's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aragorn243 View Post
    My preferred method is spray on citristrip. I can strip a stock in an evening while I watch TV, the house smells nice like oranges and it's all in the bathtub where it's simple to clean up.

    Spray on, wait 15-20 minutes, rinse off with hot water and a scrub brush. Put a second coat on, wait 15-20 minutes repeat. Really bad ones might need a third coat.

    One can will do three or four stocks.

    I've tried the brush on type but it doesn't seem to work as well.

    Stock will be dry the next morning and ready for BLOicon.

    Austrian M1888/90 from RTI, Ethiopian, This was a three-treatment rifle. Some of the metal looks different because I replaced some of it, notably the magazine/trigger well assembly and the middle barrel band.

    Before

    https://www.milsurps.com/images/impo.../JI1oAaC-1.jpg

    After

    https://www.milsurps.com/images/impo.../Cgg4Ots-1.jpg
    VERY nice work indeed. I too have a number of RTI rifles that have restored nicely. You just have to "see" the potential. I have yet to work on my M1888/90, also from RTI! The stacking rod was missing and Ulrich sent me a replacement, but Ive yet to re-install as it is not threaded and needs to be pressed in after the nose piece has been separated form the stock. BTW, thanks for the pic! LOVE the before and after. I so often forget to take the before pic! Ive got over 80 long arms from SAWar thru the Cold War to restore. Of course Im starting with the oldest but from conflict to conflict, so the 1893 and Kragicon rifles and carbines will be first. However, before that, Ive got more than half a dozen repairs and a couple builds Im just itching to complete. It is in preparation of this work that I started this discusion.

    The one issue that still concerns me is that a surface stripping product may only go so deep into the wood. Again, I want to stress that I started this topic to challenge my own preconceptions or find a better practice. But to date, I have found soaking in kerosene for a day or two with, in some cases, occasional stirring, scrubbing from a non-abrasive bristle, and sometimes even refreshing the tank with clean kerosene, this methods seems to clean pretty deeply into the wood.

    What color is the stock after you treated it and it has dried? I always get a dull grey, but as Im sure you know, the BLOicon just brings out the natural color and grain to a remarkable degree. Still, Id like to investigate Citristrip. I also want to try Simple Green as I really love that smell as well. Both are far more eco-friendly than kerosene, but Ive got about 20 gallons left, so I need a good reason not to use it up! :-)

  8. #15
    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    I started with putting stocks on the dashboard of my truck and that worked pretty well but was a mess and took days to weeks. Then I heard about a product called K2r I think, it's a spot remover. That worked also to a lesser degree but the problem with that was it was only pulling the surface off and it would bleed through in a few days. I tried oven cleaner once, never again (but it did work) and physically scraping.

    I'm not sure who put me onto Citristrip but I've been using the spray on for maybe 10 years now. I have never had a bleed through with it so it penetrates pretty deep. Color after using? I don't exactly remember but I'm thinking a light tan to brown depending on the wood. I don't recall it ever turning anything grey.

    The greasiest stock I ever did was my first one, an MKIII Britishicon Enfield. Most lately have been fairly dry, but the IMA rifles were "wet", did three of those with it along with two RTI's.

    I bought the brush on once because I had a big map drawer case I figured would cost a fortune with the spray cans. I was not happy with it's performance but I did use it to the end. You spray it on and it foams a little, that's about the right amount. If it drips, it's on too heavy. If you can't see it foaming, it's too light.

    The spray cans can usually be found in the paint accessory section in Walmart. Usually have an orange cap, about the size of a large Raid can so bigger than a spray paint can.
    Last edited by Aragorn243; 10-05-2022 at 09:14 PM.

  9. #16
    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    A lot of people should learn to leave well enough alone. Take a look at this Ferguson rifle

    Some ______ has taken it all apart, lock out of the stock etc. and scrubbed it all down to bright - what they suppose may have been its original finish - and probably wasn't.

    Along the way they have removed the patina and residues of two and a half centuries, and with it what might in future have told much more of its history and owners.

    Yes, many of the buyers these days being being sort of human bowery birds like everything bright and shiny, even if the shine is not original, but why spend time and money catering to their ignorance when you have an arm so rare that it will add nothing to the value by "restoring" it like a '57 Chevy? Idiocy.

    The fashion may change, and then you have your stripped and polished gee-gaw worth a lot less than it was when left alone. In the vintage machinery world, the tide has already turned in that regard.
    Last edited by Surpmil; 10-07-2022 at 12:28 AM.
    “There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.”

    Edward Bernays, 1928

    Much changes, much remains the same.

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  11. #17
    Legacy Member jamie5070's Avatar
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    For contrast, I was recently given a late 1880s Baker double barrel shotgun that an individual decided to "Brighten up", to sell. He sanded the damascus barrels so they are bright and shiny. The stock had a bad poorly filled crack that is now a rough sanded gauge. It was probably a $4-500 dollar gun before he touched it. I guess I needed another project

  12. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1903Collector View Post
    I am looking for constructive comments and informed critique to an old practice used to clean dirty, dusty, greasy, grimy, oil stained, sweat stained and just plain well "used" wood stocks to military long arms up to 150s year old.
    Here's a link with recommendations on cleaning 77-80 year old M1icon Carbine stocks - don't know how it works on stocks 150 years old, though. Scroll down to post #47 - written by a buddy who "has done a few." - Bob

    https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=64929&page=5

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