Author Topic: Stock Cleaning Discussion  (Read 115 times)

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Offline Larry D.

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Stock Cleaning Discussion
« on: September 30, 2019, 02:55:52 PM »
A repost from the Classic Tracking thread for further review and discussion.....

Yeah that's nice ! That thing looks allot better then mine. Did you oil that stock ? Good job of cleaning it up. All numbers match big bonus.

I stripped the stock as close as I could to bare wood - which was not easy. Then I applied a couple coats of Boiled Linseed Oil with some stain mixed in for color. I'm going to give it a couple weeks to completely cure and then will either apply another coat or two or I will finish it with a high quality wax to seal it.

How did you strip it?
That looks like you did a pretty good job.

That's a long story. I ended up going through multiple different processes multiple times trying to strip the stock before I finally arrived at something I was satisfied with. So, here goes.

1. Initially cleaned with mineral spirits which is what I commonly use for all the parts when I first break down a milsurp rifle to get rid of cosmo.
2. Following a YT tutorial by Larry Potterfield (MidwayUSA) on how to strip a stock using an Oil based finish, I then used Lacquer Thinner. It took a "little" off at first, but then seemed to have no further effect after several hours of patiently working on it.
3. I then moved on to CitrisStrip which was recommended by IraqVeteran and on many gun boards. After doing one round for a short period to ensure there was no impact to the stock, I did a second application for about 16-20 hours and used a rough pad to clean it up. As before, it seemed to do some initial effect, but left quite a bit behind. I think I tried a 3rd time as well.
4. I then moved on to Turpentine. This was used by Potterfield in a separate tutorial where a stock was soaked with gun oil. This rifle was most problematic in the grip area behind the receiver and potentially was due to gun oil. Same as the others, took some off right away, but didn't do much after that.
5. I think I went through all three of the above again without getting close to "bare" wood.
6. I finally resigned myself that the time and effort to get anywhere near what I needed was beyond what I was willing to invest. I decided to do a final clean up using mineral spirits to get rid of any remnants from the previous chemicals followed by warm water. This did the trick! While there was still some depressions where it was not perfect, the overall stock was nearly bare.

All this was over the course of a couple months, working on it a couple times a week. That is why it took me a couple months before I ended up looking for more info and finding this thread.

Offline Larry D.

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Re: Stock Cleaning Discussion
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2019, 03:00:33 PM »
2Cav,

Do you think you would advise folks to go through all those steps to get the results you did?
Or would you shorten the procedure at all?

Online Phosphorus32

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Re: Stock Cleaning Discussion
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2019, 05:12:37 PM »
If you want to strip the majority of Chinese SKS stocks (or any SKS other than a Yugoslavian with their oil “finish”), use ethanol (an alcohol), since they have a shellac finish. Shellac flakes are dissolved in ethanol to prepare the finish in the first place. Ethanol is a fairly polar solvent (isopropanol and acetone are other polar solvents).

Mineral spirits, lacquer thinner and turpentine are all non-polar solvents, so they will have little to no effect on the shellac. Those non-polar solvents would all be fairly effective at dissolving any Cosmoline (whereas ethanol would only be minimally effective on grease or Cosmoline).

Offline 2CavTrooper

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Re: Stock Cleaning Discussion
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2019, 05:47:54 PM »
2Cav,

Do you think you would advise folks to go through all those steps to get the results you did?
Or would you shorten the procedure at all?

No, I would not. I went from one to another only because each did not produce the results needed. I think @Phosphorus32 has identified why I had such a hard time. Ironically, I was debating trying acetone as well, but was pretty frustrated by that point from all the time I had invested. To be honest, I could not tell it had a shellac finish because of how bad a shape the finish was in. After the initial scrubbing with Mineral Spirits to remove the cosmo, it certainly didn't have the sheen of shellac. So, I would recommend following @Phosphorus32 's advise or, if you are a glutton for punishment, follow the steps above :).

Offline Larry D.

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Re: Stock Cleaning Discussion
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2019, 03:13:32 AM »
Phos,
Since you brought it up, what's the scoop on the Yugo finish?

Online Phosphorus32

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Re: Stock Cleaning Discussion
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2019, 11:13:41 AM »
Phos,
Since you brought it up, what's the scoop on the Yugo finish?

I've never seen a definitive statement but I assume based on looking at dozens of them in person and hundreds online that it's a simple oil finish. I further assume that it's a natural drying oil like raw linseed oil or raw tung oil but it could be simply mineral oil (petroleum light oil) which would be even cheaper.

Since all of the Yugoslavian SKSs come to the US in Cosmoline, the original finish is difficult to determine. I've always just removed the excess Cosmoline or preservative grease from the wood with gentle heat and wiping. I'm only guessing, since without documentation from Zastava or taking a piece for analysis on a MALDI-TOF or similar mass spectrometer based instrument, we don't know for sure.

The gentle heat and wiping approach leaves some oily residue behind which is perfect in my mind. Leaching out all the preservative grease with a solvent like mineral spirits (petroleum light naphtha) "dries" them out too much for my taste. If I did the mineral spirits treatment, I'd probably just apply some Ballistol or mineral oil afterwards then wipe off the excess.

Offline Larry D.

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Re: Stock Cleaning Discussion
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2019, 01:32:43 AM »
As far as heat goes, here in Arizona, a common technique is to wrap a stock in several layers of paper towels and put it in a black trash bag. This is then left out in the sun for a day or two, changing the paper towels as needed.
I've never done it, but I'm told it works well for sweating out just about everything.

A buddy of mine actually applied a liberal coating of oven cleaner, then the trash bag in the sun. He swears it works wonders for a poorly shellacked bubba stock. I don't think I'd try that one though.