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· Banned
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Here's mine, no shellac to be found...
 

· Silver Bullet Member
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So documentation trumps actual examples?
Of course, unless the example under review was acquired immediately after manufacture at the arsenal, essentially "taken right off the assembly line". Otherwise, there is no way of taking into consideration how the example may have been altered between the time of manufacture and present day. This is precisely the conundrum we face with the remarkable variations in Mosin Nagant rifles we currently observe.

Tim
 

· Mr. Flashy Pants
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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.
 

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Here's mine, no shellac to be found...
Wow, our rifles could be twins, or actually siblings with two years-age difference, ha, ha.

I will post pictures of mine tonight. Today is the first day in quite awhile that the sun has deigned to show itself.

Tim
 

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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.
Ted,

You do make a valid point. Perhaps the finishing process varied over time and may even have reflected "contract-specific" differences, such as those rifles destined for Spanish shores or Yugoslavia, etc.

Tim
 

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Virtually all of the Russian rifles I've handled, own, and seen have had a shellac finish. It was their finish of choice. It's cheap, easy to apply, maintain and repair.

I've seem some very early SKS rifles and their finish was original to the stock in my very humble opinion. It was also a deep red/brown. Some of that color has been picked up over the many decades of handling, debris being embedded and UV. The original shellac they used was simply a non-filtered shellac that was amply available at the time. Shellac, in it's "raw" state is a deep red for the most part. It's really just "bug spit" that is collected from trees in places like Thailand. Today it's filtered to provide colors from deep red to water clear.

You may have seen some of the Albanian stocks in the recent import of those SKS rifles. Their stocks are also shellac but it looks like they had monkeys using old camel tails to apply it. It's also a very clear version of shellac,too, which makes the stocks very blonde. It's easily fixed to be more attractive.

It's curious that the Finn Russian rifles had their stocks refinished but not surprising, I guess. They had their own stock finish process just like the Russians or the US arsenals. So, when they refurbed them, they simply stripped the stocks and applied their finish. But it is curious that all of the the SVT40 Finn captures I've seen still maintain their shellac finishes.....at least that's what's on mine. Maybe the Finns just decided they didn't have time to strip and refinish that rifle during the very tight war-time footing. When allowed more time, however, they did refinish other rifles. It's just speculation on my part.

If you want to double check as to what's on your stock, simply take a rag with a little denatured alcohol on it and wipe a small area like the bottom of the buttstock or some other inconspicuous place. You won't harm it. Give the wet spot a few seconds and then see if it will "tack up". It will if it's shellac.

Shellac finishes can be fairly easily repaired by using new shellac either purchased in the same color or dyed up a little to add the brown/red color. That allows you to retain the original finish but firm it up so it continues to protect the lumber for decades to come without harming the originality of the stock. Soldiers were required to maintain their rifles and now that we own them, it's up to us to continue to do so.

Rome
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Ted can get a little testy can't he? But thanks to everybody. I appreciate the knowledge & help on this. There are some areas where I wish old Uncle Joe had kept good records.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Believe me man, I understand. It does cut both ways. I'm the same way. Goal oriented. Period.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
And one other thing Ted, I don't know what alot of us would do without your web site. So please, keep up the good work. I's a worthy goal.
 

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Here's a related question: how was the shellac applied? Was it sprayed on (most likely, though the coating can be pretty rough on some examples)? Brushed? Dipped? Is there any documentation as to how the Russians put the shellac on the wood?
 

· Mr. Flashy Pants
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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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Of course, unless the example under review was acquired immediately after manufacture at the arsenal, essentially "taken right off the assembly line".
Tim
i remember in such a discussion on stock finishes someone claimed they had such a rifle (not some new guy either but one of the more respected members i just can't remember which) and stated the finish is shellac
 

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A while back there was a thread on original finishes and people were asked to post pictures of rifles that had not been refinished. Those rifles had shellac finishes. My contribution was this 1939 dated M38 that was a Finn capture:
 
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