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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Did the factories or even individual armourers in the French system care about matching wood colours, or staining a light piece to match a darker one?

Reason I ask is I picked up another walnut MAS36 set today. Colours match nicely - on ONE side. On the left side, the foreend changes colour - it's a franquette piece of French walnut - so it changes right down the middle from heartwood mid-brown to sapwood light brown :)

Normally, would an armourer remedy this with a stain? Or just leave as-is. It certainly doesn't bother me at all as it is attractive indeed, but just want to make it right as some cretin polyurethaned the stock (Tom, I am TRYING to read the cartouche, but it also has an M prefix to the serial, so likely 1945)

And lastly, was the finish on French stock linseed oil? Seems to be.



 

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Linseed for MAS36 stocks...most probably

Dear Vulch,
A few years ago I picked up a Mint, factory tagged MAS36/51 LG rifle. Its light coloured stock looked just like some of the light coloured (and LO soaked) Aussie Lithgow stocks.
And the wood feels like it was Linseeded as well.

What other oil could they be using? Huile de Lin is a common paint ingredient throughout France.

regards,
DocAV
AV Ballistics
 

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I do not think the individual armourers or arsenals cared one bit about matching wood colours, or staining a light piece to match a darker one ... all they cared about it was a functional weapon, passed the rigid inspection process and went to a unit where it was meant to work in combat when it was needed.
Only we collectors and/or shooters care about this ... tiger stripes, matching colors, etc., etc..
Patrick
 

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Two tone MAS 36

Vulch, I pulled one of my MAS 36, mint out of the wax wrap and the front end is chocolate colored wood and the butt stock is a light blond. I think the answer is they put wood on these rifles irrespective of color. This was the case with the M1 and M14 when we got them issued back in the day.

Of course this makes the assumption my rifle is indicative of their policy and they do things like the US Army did.

Now , my Viet Cong war trophy MAS 36 is all matching in shade of wood and metal: EYE Sore YUCK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We know for fact Germans with the Kar98k DID match colours and stain as necessary (documented). Just thought the French may have with the earlier rifles too.

I'll show this set tomorrow - really VERY pretty.



 

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Vulch:

Good question, and I believe that the answer will come from 'Lebel', or from France. The crumby picture, below, is of matching pre-War/Armistice rifles, in pairs, separated by less than one-thousand units.

I have the worst type of un-attributed take on the original finish. 'Vonmazur' has stated, in a previous thread, that it is linseed, after the fashion of U.S. stock finishes. This may well be the case. However, deep in my notes I have it that 'beeswax-boilded linseed, in equal parts, thinned with acetone, or a similar thinning/drying solvent, were the components. There is a waxy sheen evident upon even the most worn stocks, that does not quite correspond to the U.S. walnut equivalent.

A] Top pair: H74XXX & H73XXX; April 1940
B] 3rd&4th: H34XXX & H33XXX; January, 1940 (Note that the '33' is not stocked in walnut, but in poplar-grained wood? Not beech.)
C] 5th&6th: "G"s from the spring of 1939 (Not really a pair, as I grabbed the wrong rifle. These are several thousand apart.)
D] 7th&8th: G12XXX & G11XXX; June, 1938
(The "X"s are to save me from having to look-up the full S/Ns)

As above, these are matching, non-import marked rifles, that have not been refinished in any way. (Actually the 'H33' and the 'G12' have period mis-matched floor plates; and about half of the others have the wrong bayonets) So, is the apparent coordination of the wood paterns and hues, just happenstance? This is a very small sampling, but the wood matches on all of my pre-Armistice Mle 1936 rifles. Striped forearms to butt-stocks, and even handguards; or dark, or ruddy, or Celtic-mouse colored, they all match.
 

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A correction

I was refering to the US practice of copying the French Ordnance Methods, as pointed out in the 1903 Springfield book by Colonel Brophy. The US used linseed oil, raw, and Tung oil, which the US brought in from China at the time. I agree that the French used a beeswax mixture with the Linseed Oil, because that is what it looks like when I do the same thing.....

As for stains, only in two cases have I seen some sort of stain used, and it was on the Mle 49-56 series. Many of the handguards are very dark, and not shiney, I assume this was done deliberately to reduce glare. Most of the dark handguards seem to be made of some kind of beechwood selected for color, ie: very dark, I have seen some that were stained with an oil base stain, on the guns imported by Century and SOG new in wrap....

It is hard to determine on earlier guns, as we do not have a lot of Mle M 16 musketons for example, to examine that are new in the wrap, like the 49-56 and 36 series that were imported to the US....

I have seen the beeswax only on 1930 rebuilds of the Mle M 16, but not on the pre war Mle 36 rifles, but I could be wrong on the walnut vs. beechwood and the differences in texture and appearance. Much of the finish depends on the final finish of the wood before the oil is applied and this affects the sheen of the walnut quite a bit...

Dale
 

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Carcano:

Perhaps the wood is platanus, as it is too dense and hard to be poplar. However, it is completely lacking in that 'fiddle-back' display, which is associated with warm-European sycamore. The 'H34', just above the '33', is closely striped walnut, for its entire length. Bad photography does not show it well, even though it is pronounced and striking.

Such a wood-set may be the result of 'match-kitting'. It would have taken little effort to throw three pieces of wood, that looked about the same, into a bin or bag. This would not be the case amoung the reworked rifles, where damaged wood was replaced with beechwood spares. Also, with the more consistant texture, color and grain of beech, the latter production units would appear to be generally self-matching.
 
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