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Yucky Stock Finish


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#1 Gunner

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 06:50 PM

I recently received a 1928 IMA parts kit, and as everybody said, it was really nice. Came with some well-used wood. It had plenty of dings and scratches, and was a rich cherry red color. The surface texture was flat and almost sticky -- remains of cosmoline?

I decided to refinish the rear grip because it has some beautiful wood that was marred by some pretty good dings and scratches. I followed the FAQ procedures on cleaning with Easy Off. After it had dried, the wood had turned to a sort of pale tan-gray color. However, it had some black discoloration on the right side that wasn't visible before. Thought maybe it was oil or something that had soaked deep inside the wood, so I cleaned it with Easy Off and Muprhy's two more times. The black stuff seemed to be greatley reduced.

I put on a light coat of Pilkington's Pre64, and it turned the right side a dirty, muddy brown. The left side was beautiful. I added a very thin coat of boiled linseed oil and wiped off the excess. It made it worse. I then polished it with 0000 steel wool, which lightened it a little -- but again the right side has a bunch of black streaks in it and the over all effect is that of dog poop. I may be wrong, but it seems like the Easy Off has leeched something from inside the wood. Don't know if I need to keep repeating the Easy Off applications? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
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#2 gijive

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 08:29 PM

Gunner,

The remains of the sticky stuff on the wood are old dried grease or cosmoline when the guns were packed for storage.

The black streaks you see on one side of the wood grip may be bruises in the grain from storage dings and dents. Short of sanding the wood down, which will destroy the original contour if you sand to hard, you can try soaking the wood for a day or so in water and Murphy's Oil Soap. Then try steaming the dings with a a damp towel and a steam iron. After it dries use medium to fine steel wool and clean the wood again with denatured alcohol.

By this time the wood will be a pale tan or gray when it dries. You will probably have to restain it bring back the color. I usually like to use use one half red oak and one half dark walnut. This seems to approximate the original military reddish stain. You have to experiment to get the color you want.

When using the boiled linseed oil finish, I use several coats, gently wiping with #000 steel wool between coats. Let the boiled linseed oil dry at least twenty-four hours between coats. It takes a littel patience, but you will be pleased with the results.

Don,

Here is a picture of a refinished IMA parts kit grip. This was refinished as I described. The finish is slightly darker and more red than the picture shows. The flash tends to lighten it and wash out the darker tones.

user posted image
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#3 LIONHART

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 01:54 PM

Gijive, nice pic!

Edited by LIONHART, 30 January 2004 - 01:54 PM.

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#4 Hawkeye_Joe

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 04:23 PM

GI , Very nicely done. Gunner if you can't get the black streaks out to your own satisfaction think about getting one of the NOS stocks/grips that pop up on Ebay all the time. They aren't that expensive. Since this is an IMA parts kit it's not like you "have to" stick with this yucky stock....is it??
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#5 SecondAmend

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 05:18 PM

A related question, if I may intrude, the wood on the IMA parts kit I received has most but not all of a varnish finish still on it. Most of what is gone is where it was scraped and dented off. Further, the (horizontal) foregrip has vice jaw indents which I presume was from the vise used to hold the gun when the receiver was sawed leaving the nosepiece with barrel and foregrip. By the way the frame has a 401,XXX (I don't remember what the X's are) serial number and the metal parts appear virtually unused. The dented up stock is a non-cross bolt version.

The questions are: do I strip the varnish, try to get out the dings, dents, and scraps, and refinsh in oil (or varnish), do I just leave well enough alone, or do I buy replacement wood?

I know nothing of wood restoration.

Thanks for your insights and opinions.
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#6 john

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 06:05 PM

Lacquer thinner can also be used to remove an old oil finish. It is slower (alot!!) than EZ-Off but will do a more thorough job of removing oil that has really soaked in. Also, sometimes EZ-Off will tint the wood a "greenish" color. Lacquer thinner won't do this.
I usually apply it with a stiff brush in a pan. Scrub firmly and the finish will melt away. Change the thinner when it gets brown. I put small pieces ina jar and fill it up full, letting the part soak completely covered for several days. It takes several scrub downs to totally clean up a piece of wood, but it will look brand new afterward!

I don't use stains unless the wood is significantly different colors (heartwood, etc.) then I try to blend several colors of oil stain to match colors. I use new boiled linseed oil as the old stuff can take weeks to properly dry out. Also, if it is allowed to freeze it takes longer to dry. I put a bit(1/4 inch) in a dixiecup and add a couple squirts of lighter fluid (energine cleaning fluid and "Japan" type drying agents are the same thing.....naptha) to act as a drying agent. this makes the oil set up hard in a few hours. This trick was given to me by an English stockmaker who apprenticed at Holland and Holland....it works great!!
No naptha in the final coat and it'll dry up a bit glossier.

If I desire a custom gun finish I rub down the stock after it is dry with a bit of oil and a pinch of rottenstone until the surface smooths out. On military stuff I just give it a total of three coats with a light rubdown with 0000 steelwool inbetween coats....looks great and not overdone.

Hope this helps!

john
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#7 gijive

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 06:25 PM

SecondAmend,

John's previous post has some good ideas. Similar to my techniques with some added processes. He has some good advice for you.

I don't think the finish on your wood parts is varnish, just old dried grease and oil. Military finishes didn't call for varnish, just boiled linseed oil. Thinner or denatured alcohhol can be used to remove the old finish with fine steel wool. If the color isn't too bad, I agree with John, there is no need to stain. If you really have to soak the wood and steam out dents, you may want to consider staining. John is correct, a blend of various wood stains is usually best to try and match the original miltary color.

The boiled linseed oil finish with light wipings with fine steel wool will give it the best military type finish, without leaving it too smooth and looking like a custom made stock.
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