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· Platinum Bullet Member
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160 Posts
Concerning the 1/3 stock mix that Saifa mentioned - I had a question as to whether you goop it on and leave it as a thick paste over the stock for a day or so (so it soaks in) - and then buff it in? Or, do you buff it in immediately upon applying it to the stock? Thanks
 

· Mr. Flashy Pants
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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.
 

· Silver Bullet Member
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2,097 Posts
Shellac finish

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.
 

· Registered
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541 Posts
My '43 dated 91/30 didn't have a trace of shellac on it out of the box (neither did the half-dozen or so I made the guy at the counter drag out that day). The '39 dated 91/30 and '44 dated M-44(refurbs) I picked up this year were covered with shellac. The coating on the M-44 was coming off in several places, so I stripped it and gave it a coat of linseed oil.
 

· Diamond w/Oak Clusters and Swords Bullet Member
None of your business.
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17,534 Posts
Application
When applying as an undercoater prior to other finishes use a dewaxed shellac. Shellac should be applied in long strokes with the grain. Dip a good natural bristle brush about half way into the shellac and gently clear excess shellac against the side of the container, this gives a reasonably filled brush for full strokes without incorporating air in the shellac. Shellac should be sanded between coats. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly.
If the shellac is dry, sanding will produce a fine powder on the surface. If the shellac is not dry it will be somewhat tacky to sand and the paper will clog. After sanding, :)mad: NEVER SAND! 0000 STEEL WOOL) wipe the piece thoroughly with a tack cloth and recoat. Depending upon temperature and humidity conditions, allow from two to four hours drying for each coat. Some craftsmen prefer to do their finish sanding of the raw wood after first giving it a coat of shellac since this stiffens the wood fibers and allows any rough portions to be fully sanded off.

When the finish level "looks good" apply one more coat for long term durability, abrassion resistance, and to provide enough thickness to allow for 'rubbing out',
When thoroughly cured (three to five days) the finish can be rubbed out with LIBERON oil free & long stranded #0000 Steel Wool or fine pumice with paraffin oil. Rubbing should always be done with the grain. 24 hours after the final rubbing, to protect your shellac finish, apply a thin coat of paste wax. Allow the wax to dry completely and buff with a soft cotton cloth.
•••••


Picked this stock up from Poland. No finish, bare wood. Check out the sharp angle at the comb. :)

The M44 had nothing but cosmoline on the stock when I bought it. Same finish as the 91/30 now, both rubbed with 0000steel wool and gun oil to finish it off.

Gary

 

· 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.
 

· Silver Bullet Member
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1,843 Posts
I doubt they used garnet shellac.
I have an Finn (non-refurbed) 1939 Tula 91/30 in it's original Tula marked stock and it does NOT have shellac on it.
It also does not seem to have the Finn pinetar mix, but it does look to have had oil rubbed into the wood (but not to the extent that it created a "build" finish).
Chasdev,

What you describe for your rifle is the exact same condition as a 1937 Tula m91/30 I recently acquired. This rifle too has a Tula 1937 stamped stock and although it has Spanish Civil war provenance (as demonstrated by a Made in USSR stamp and thick wire sling hangers) it is otherwise unaltered from its final day at the Tula arsenal. It does not have red shellac, but instead has an oiled finish.

Tim
 

· Banned
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Shellac was NOT collected as flakes, it is made from harvesting millions of tiny female Lac beetles and the dark red very hard protective "egg huts" that the female beetles extrude which (along with bits of twigs to which the beetles are fused) are crushed and boiled.
The resulting paste is poured out and allowed to dry.
When chipped into small portions the flakes are formed.
There are (and were) several methods of converting harvested Lac beetle material into shellac, some of which produce a VERY hard almost polyurathane material.
Fact is modern polyurathane was invented as a synthetic relpacement for shellac, but some methods of shellac "extraction" result in a product that most would have difficulty telling was not a polyurathane type coating.
 

· Silver Bullet Member
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1,843 Posts
It has been said here many times that the original finish for a Russian made rifle was shellac.
Just because something has "been said here many times" does not necessarily make it fact. What I have failed to see is official documentation/records indicating that ALL or even the vast majority of Russian pre-war and wartime rifle stocks were finished with shellac.

I also have not read a convincing explanation of why rifles sent to Spain (pre-war), captured by the Finnish, or sent to Yugoslavia (the latter two examples being wartime) would have had their shellac finish removed simply to be replaced by oil or pine tar. To my way of think there was no necessity nor time for such "cosmetic" changes to be made.

JMHO.

Tim
 

· Silver Bullet Member
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1,843 Posts
If you're so certain it was something else then provide documentation showing that.
Please don't misunderstand, I am not certain it was something else. I would just like to see definitive documentation (if it exists) describing the process of rifle manufacture and stock finishing at the principle Russian arsenals.

As a scientist, if it cannot be documented it is nothing more than speculation; well-educated perhaps, but speculation nonetheless.

Tim
 
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