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· Mr. Flashy Pants
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Well I appreciate the confidence some of y'all have in me, but stock finishes are not my strong point. I just don't have enough experience with truly original condition rifles that others do. However, I do know that the typical original Russia/Soviet stock finish was shellac. The current imports that we are seeing were refinished, with shellac, during the last rearsenal in the '70s. It is my theory that the original shellac was not the deep red that we're familiar with and that even the rearsenaled rifles were not this color when they were original done, but that the shellac has turned darker with age for some reason, possibly impurities, or just a natural process. I have a couple of rifles that I refinished years ago before I knew better :eek: and I used an amber shellac because that's all I could get readily. They came out an almost orange color, which thankfully kept me from doing any more. However, after several years they seem to have turned darker and are nearer to the currently imported rifles. Also, on the current imports many of the post war replacement stocks I have are not as dark a red as the older stocks. Maybe the dark red is due in part to a reaction with the older shellac that was already on the stocks, or even just because there is a build up of more layers.

Finns are a whole other ball game and there is more variety in the finishes.
 

· Mr. Flashy Pants
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7,372 Posts
I have several old war dogs that show no sign of shellac but probably had shellac at one time. Shellac is a poor finish and not used to last for decades.
I agree. The ones I refinished (still kicking myself) were like this. When someone says, "my Soviet Mosin never had any finish on it, was that a wartime expediency?", I just shake my head.
 

· Mr. Flashy Pants
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7,372 Posts
I've used the 1/3 mix on a Finn rifle that someone shellacked (apparently trying to recreate the recent refurb look!). I applied it with a soft cotton cloth in a relatively thin layer and let it dry for a couple of hours and then buffed it with another cloth. I repeated the process 3 or 4 times. By no means did I "goop" it on. A little bit goes a long way.
 

· Mr. Flashy Pants
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7,372 Posts
The original finish on the Russian rifles was a raw shellac called seedlac or button lac. It was garnet in color. The seedlac was a more crude form containing impurities such as bugs and treebark. It was collected in flakes that were mixed with alcohol and then filtered through several layers of cheesecloth. You can still buy it at woodworker supply houses or antique restoration suppliers. It's expensive but since it is in dry flakes, it never goes bad. The lighter color shellac you see on recent refurbs is due to using modern shellac from a can.
Recently refurbed by who? All the recent imports I've seen have varying shades of garnet shellac which was done in the '70s, and I doubt came from a can as we know it.

As I said above, I don't think they intentionally used red/garnet shellac and certainly not pre-1945. I think the red color we see on late refurbs is just a less pure, improperly prepared and applied shellac.
 

· Mr. Flashy Pants
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7,372 Posts
I certainly understand that examples can be altered, but when you have a large enough sample and are reasonably certain that enough of them are unaltered, then that should be acceptable. By your reasoning I should call Toyota to confirm that the '97 Camry in my driveway is an original dark green color because someone might have repainted it last night.
 

· Mr. Flashy Pants
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7,372 Posts
I don't know of any documentation, but I'm pretty certain it was brushed. I don't think the technology was around for spraying in 1891 and even when it was that would take equipment that was expensive and had to be maintained when there was cheap manpower as an alternative. I think low tech and simple was the order of the day. Dipping would just make a huge mess.
 
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