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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently purchased three Mausers: an Oberndorf M1896 Swedish, a Yugo M24/47, and a MBsvw. All had apparently been in the same collection for years. The Swede '96 was immaculate, the nicely patterned walnut needed nothing more than a light application of pure tung oil (promptly wiped away) to look as-new/unissued. But the others had a lot of linseed oil/crud buildup over the years. Guess I grew weary of linseed oil with the Garand I used for ROTC drill in college 54 years back, a rifle that I dutifully cleaned and doused with BLO weekly.

I wanted to remove the murky stuff, not strip, bleach or refinish the nice old Mausers. In my pile of car-cleaning goodies I found a bottle of Blackfire Advanced Technology Interior Cleaner, product for cleaning auto fabric, leather and carpet (even interior wood trim). It's a water-based surfactant, not a solvent. I applied it sparingly to a few square of inches of wood at a time, rubbing with paper towels; I avoided soaking the wood and stayed away from the receiver and other metal. Besides, a little discoloration along the metal/wood junctions is expected after all these years. The wood admittedly had a "scrubbed" look as it quickly dried (second photo). But the walnut took on it's natural hue with a light application of pure tung oil (again wiped away). That's not the typical "tung oil finish" which is really more of a varnish. Next day (first photo) the slight satin sheen was pretty much gone… the way I like to see an old battle rifle. I did the same with the Yugo rifle. The walnut kept its dark tone, even the odd vertical band in the color of the stock persisted (as I intended).

It's just something to keep in mind. Some vintage stocks look fine with just the rare wipe of the oil alone, or even a just bit of rubbing with Vernax (a beeswax/turpentine product). I prefer to do the minimum needed. I should have taken "before" pictures, little late now.
 

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They look good to me as is but I use Howard's Feed-N-Wax.
Used it on many collectable Mausers for many years and it does no harm but will lift dirt/sweat/funk with no problem.
 

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Thanks, interesting alternative. Howard's describes their wax as a blend of beeswax, carnauba and orange oil. Even with the turpentine content, my Vernax beeswax product didn't do much for the oxidized linseed oil. It works beautifully on reasonably clean wood with a somewhat closed grain (guess the stock on my M38 Swedish is beech). Also fine for open grained woods which have been given some sort of added finish; I confess I rubbed a Spanish M43 stock with Watco oil finish about twenty years back… it's nicely grained (European walnut??). Something I wouldn't do today (as much a varnish as an oil), although the wax product looks fine over the sealed wood. But a test area of the beeswax on a vintage US military stock (dark-stained and only lightly oiled walnut) was awful. I should have suspected that.

By the way, the ingredients of well-known products can change a lot over the years. Ownership of brands like Watco have changed, products are drastically reformulated to meet EPA and California air quality regs. (You thought they only picked on guns?) My last application of a Watco product was disastrous. (At least it wasn't on a gun… it was only the entire front porch floor that required stripping and sanding to be rid of the stuff.) I'm just about out of my twenty-year-old can of Vernax and not entirely sure the replacement that just arrived from Amazon is quite the same.

Below are images of the M38 and the M43. The La Coruña gun was an advertised weekly special at Sears back in '65, came with a box of military ammo. I've never applied anything to the M38 stock (other than a few applications of Vernax) in past twenty years. I'm learning that no single product is ideal for every application.



They look good to me as is but I use Howard's Feed-N-Wax.
Used it on many collectable Mausers for many years and it does no harm but will lift dirt/sweat/funk with no problem.
 

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