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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its amazing all of the problems one finds with a stock after all of the cosmoline, grease, and dirt comes off. I am refinishing (and eventually glass bedding) a sporterized Mauser stock, and it is PAINFULLY obvious that this stock lived a very hard life before I got ahold of it. A crack in the fore end, and a crush mark around the grip. I started up with it last night by stripping off all of the gunk. I applied generic brand oven cleaner and let sit for one minute and then scrubbed it off under hot water using a green cleaning pad. For the rest of the process I boiled the stock in a large pot. I have a 16qt stock pot that I use for canning and was only able to fit the front 1/3 and the rear 1/3 of the rifle in intercahgeably. I used a turkey baster and a green scrubbing pad to get the inbetween 1/3. That stock finished up with NO trace of oil or cosmoline on it anywhere. Sanded with 120/220/340 sand paper, applied a pre-stain, and then four coats of stain over the course of the morning. Later tonight, the first application of Boiled Linseed Oil will be applied. The stock wasn't much to start with, but its a good place for me to start having never re-finished a stock before. More pics will come after the stain and oil have been applied.

-thomas


Here is the stripped stock... Sorry about not taking any before-before photos for comparison of all the crap that was removed....

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, after five or six coats of BLO, I think this is about as good as I can expect for this 50+ year old piece of wood. "Mad props" to IraqVeteran8888 on YouTube for having a really nice walk-through for refinishing stocks.



 

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Don't be in such a rush with the BLO. It's not applied as "coats", as you would paint, but as hand-rubbed applications, where you allow it to soak into the wood, and then hand rub in as much remaining as you can before buffing off the excess with a clean rag. Anything more than one application in 24 hours is rushing it - the BLO worked down into the wood needs time and interaction with oxygen inorder to properly 'varnish' or oxidize.

As for the oven cleaner - don't ever do that again - sodium hydroxide (lye) will break down wood fibers, especially fragile lignin in old oil soaked wood, and often results in a latent appearance of a greenish cast. This makes it worthless to collectors or future generations. Just a heads up that lye is bad stuff for wood.
 

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The BLO, Tung, or whatever oil finish works for you has to be rubbed off BEFORE it gets too tacky to rub easily, then hung to dry somewhere not too humid for 24 hours or more. Then repeat about 8 times, or more, and then once a year, for the next century.

This is after getting a perfectly smooth filled wood, which can be no more than coats of oil finish, with ever finer sanding between each coat while its still a bit wet, then wiping, and so on until very smooth. Once again, the more sanding and the finer, the better, and going from 400 to 1000 grit in steps is good. Follow with the oil finish coats.

Another filler is eggwhite. squeeze a lemon all over the wood of the stock (this is supposed to help it absorb the oil used towards the end). After this dries, you squeeze a towel full of rubbing alcohol onto the wood and allow to dry. Don’t take long to dry. This is supposed to solidify any albumin in the wood. Next, wipe in the white of an egg all over the stock and allow to dry. Sand the stock down to a 400 grit finish. Give it another wet wipe of alcohol to solidify this new albumin from the egg. Do the eggwhite again. Continue by resanding down to bare wood with the 400 grit wet or dry again. After about three treatments of this, the wood feels smooth and the pores are pretty well sealed. Then sand with 600, 800 and 1000 grit. Then the oil finish coatingand rubbing for the next couple weeks.

Obviously these aren't finishes for military rifles, but look great on Sporters. Some like to finish it off with beeswax or a beeswax/varnish compound, but although it looks great beeswax is soft and wont survive handling.
 
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