Gunboards Forums banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
328 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a nice rifle. All matching, original finish yadda yadda yadda. Someone a while back put a clear coat of varnish or sealer something over the stock and the metal parts too. I was thinking of just sealing the whole rifle in epoxy and making a killer paper weight :) But seriously...What do you use to remove varnish or clear coat. I'm thinking whatever chemical or process I use should do a good job on the metal parts. But what about the stock...Whatever I use will screw the original finish right? Any suggestions? I'm thinking just clean the metal parts with something and leave the stock as is. Thoughts, comments would be appreciated.

Thanks
Dan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,576 Posts
If it still has the original color to the wood. I think I would clean the metal and leave the wood alone. If you try to clean the wood and it changes the color of the wood it would be very hard if not impossiable to get the color right again. If you can post a photo of the rifle it it would be easier to determine what you might be able to do. Does it have a lot of shine to the finish ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,103 Posts
I had one of those rustoleum red russian snipers. I used Homer Formbys it worked well and did not disturb the original finish. It also revealed a lot of proofs that were in the wood and filled in by the heavy coating that was applied.
 

·
Gold Bullet Member
Joined
·
1,358 Posts
That's a difficult question without knowing what's on it or when it was applied. It could be traditional varnish, polyurethane, schlac, acrylic clear coat, etc. And unfortunately there is no place on the rifle to perform a "test removal". I recommend starting out with the most mild substance first and progressing to harsher products as needed. Start out using a light amount, a clean rag and some elbow grease. My first step would rubbing alcohol. If that doesn't work you can progress to paint thinner, gasoline, turpinetine or maybe even accetone. Most of these products evaporate very quickly so if you use a modest amount outdoors they should evaporate before they really soak into the wood. Make sure the wood is very dry before you move on to other products.
Believe it or not, the best remover of varnish (or other similar products) is the sun. I should know as I have a wooden 1957 Lymann boat and every year I have to re-varnish the decks as the sun kills the finish in just 4-5 months. But I doubt you want to leave your rifle on your back deck all summer while sun breaks down the clear coat on it. Good luck and be patient.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,103 Posts
use gasoline? Boy your pretty brave, I hope you don't smoke while your doing it.
 

·
Gold Bullet Member
Joined
·
1,358 Posts
Gasoline is actually a pretty cheap and effective solvent. I know we think $3.40 a gallon is insane (and it is) but when you compare it to buying a quart of another solvent for $4, $5 or $6 from Home Depot it's actually a better deal. Pour a little in a coffee can and its great for cleaning brushes, engine parts, etc. Fortunately I don't smoke so I don't have to worry about torching my house.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
700 Posts
Having been a Firefighter for 34 yrs. I would not recommend using gasoline for cleaning. Kerosene or Var sol are flammable enough for me. I've seen a couple guy's that looked like Wiley Coyote that were cleaning parts with gas. Believe me you don't want to go there...
 

·
Gold Bullet Member
Joined
·
1,358 Posts
I find it ironic that on a site devoted to guns which are deadly by design that you would exclude using something that is reasonably safe when common sense is applied. Many people are seriously injured or die every year from gun accidents but that doesn't prevent us from collecting and shooting our Arisakas. I hope it goes without saying that when you use gasoline you have to take reasonable precautions. Use it outdoors or in a well ventilated area. Keep the cigs, bongs, flamethrowers and other fire producing items away. We all use gasoline everyday in our cars, lawnmowers, weedwackers, snowblowers, RC toys, boats, chainsaws etc and manage not to blow up. Pouring a little gas from your lawnmower jug onto a rag should be a relatively safe thing to do. Sorry to have gotten off track from your original tread.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
510 Posts
I have a T-99 that someone slopped a clear coat of something on everything. I used dry steel wool on the wood to kill the shine and left the wood at that. I had tried laquer thinner, Hoppes, and WD-40 and I don't remember what else. None worked on wood or metal.

On the metal, I used a propane torch and the stuff bubbled up and brushed right off. Of course you would not want to use this in combination with gasoline.

By the way, you don't have to smoke or have a flame to touch off gasoline. Dropping a metal part on concrete or striking two metal parts together may be enough spark to alter your plans for the rest of the day.

jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
328 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Here is a pic of whats going on. You can see the wood under the coat of clear. The clear was done pretty bad as you can see. You can also see some of the clear on the metal. It's actually all over the metal on other parts. But the orginal finish is actually pretty nice....just need to get the clear off. Inspection stamps are crisp and "clear" :)

Dan
 

·
Silver Bullet member
Joined
·
2,381 Posts
I had a similar appearing finish on a rifle (judging by the way its peeling off, and its color on the metal) and the correct solvent for it was mineral spirits. I would steer clear of the zipstrips and other solve all stuff as it will probably eat the original finish off too. You just need to zero in on what solvent is correct for the material on the stock, which in many cases will not remove the original finish underneath. You are going to have to test it on the metal first, to see if it will remove the stuff, then try a small part of the stock to remove the stuff and see how it affects the original finish. I wouldn't slop it on either it is a labor of love, done with a clean cotton cloth dampened in the solvent to be used. I would try mineral spirits first.
 

·
Gold Bullet member
Joined
·
1,019 Posts
Denatured alcohol

I had a duffle cut G43 with a boatload of shellac on it, wiped it down with denatured alcohol and it was gone in five minutes without changing the tone of the wood, that was for shellac, dont know what would happen with laquer.
 

·
Silver Bullet member
Joined
·
2,381 Posts
If it really is laquer (which has come to be a generic term) then you would use laquer thinner. I think there is a problem then, the original urushi is a laquer of sorts and would also be affected.
 

·
Platinum Bullet Member with clusters
Joined
·
2,187 Posts
Topside, I always recommend the use of soap and water, or water alone, on the first attempt to remove the extra finish. You never know; it may be water soluble.

The reason I say this is that after many years of heavy use, my Fox Model B-ST lost all the finish on the wood. This was back in the early '70s. To make a long story short, I prepped the wood, filled the pores with a filler given to me by a friend (it was some old Brownells product), then hand rubbed about 25 coats of 100% tung oil. So, there I am deep in the woods on opening day of turkey season, and the drizzle starts. After a while, I shifted position, moved my hands on the stock, and noticed my hands felt greasy. The damned finish had come up. Apparently, the tung oil did not seal the filler, and water removed both. Years ago, I also washed 98k and 03 stocks before reoiling them for my buddies. You never know 'til you try.

Concerning the use of gasoline, like already said, it's highly toxic and inflammable. That's dangerous stuff in more ways than one. It will also work no better than mineral spirits or many of the other solvents. You could probably do a Google search on the use of gasoline and get the straight scoop. I've used it before in odd situations where something else was not readily available and then used it only in small areas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
247 Posts
Don't use any liquid solvents or gasoline on the wood. Use fine steel wool ( OOOO ). It will remove the varnish real easy. After removing the varnish rub a coat of paste wax on the stock. Then buff it with a soft cloth.
 

·
Gold Bullet Member
Joined
·
1,358 Posts
Hey Topside - I bet you're more confused now than when you posted the question. Clearly there numerous opinions that span the spectrum and often contradict each other. Personally I think people are over reacting to the use of gas (keep in mind that was not my 1st or only suggestion) but the first Amendment is alive and well and others are certainly entitled to their opinions. I also wouldn't use steel wool no matter how fine it is as it may scratch the original finish and wood. Its too close to sanding for me. Good luck - CC
 

·
Platinum Bullet Member with clusters
Joined
·
2,187 Posts
Topside, are you still around? We've talked this subject several times before on this board, and Brad/Don may want to make a sticky for future use. If you try the water or water/soap solution and that does not work, please let us know. I'll give you a proper step 2. One or two of the fellows have already hinted at it, and, very importantly, it will not affect the original urushi lacquer finish underneath the top coat. At this point, your photos do not show a major problem. Let us know what's going on.
 

·
Silver Bullet member
Joined
·
15,603 Posts
I will put a link to this thread in the stickys, "How to remove an added stock finish, or not".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
328 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I'm still here :)
So today I tried water and a little soap. Like Fred said, "it may be water soluble"....It is not water soluble. Next up was mineral spirits...per Rockhills request. Mineral spirits did absolutely nothing. That's it for my cleaning today. I'll try a few more things later. I sure hope it's not poly. I'll let you know how it continues.

Thanks for all the suggestions.
Dan
 

·
Platinum Bullet Member with clusters
Joined
·
2,187 Posts
Dan, mineral spirits will attack most finishes including the original urushi lacquer on the stock. The urushi is very durable though, and you'd have to really slosh it on to reduce the finish durability. The problem with using most solvents, including paint remover, is that it does not distinguish between the two applied finishes. You'll remove everything.

Ok, please do not use any abrasives, such as sandpaper and steel wool either. Abrasives show no prejudice and attack both coats. Neither coat is over about .003 in. thick anyway, so when do you stop when you try a stunt like that?

We've still got one other choice. It was popular after WW2 to add a coat of shellac to souvenir rifles. And I hope yours is shellac. Please pick up a small container of "completely denatured alcohol" at the paint store, hardware, H/D, or Lowe's. Using a soft cotton cloth soaked in denatured alcohol, pick a place on the metal where the new finish is and rub like hell. Then add some more alcohol to the rag and rub some more. Do you see a discoloration on the rag or removal of finish on surface being rubbed? If so, you're lucky and also have a project. Denatured alcohol will not attack the urushi finish underneath. Do not use rubbing alcohol - it's too harsh and will soften the urushi. I spent about 2 months spare time removing the shellac finish added to a rifle I used to have. But when through, you couldn’t tell the shellac was ever there!

Well, if the denatured alcohol does not work, we're out of chemicals, but I'd be willing to try one more thing. The added finish does not appear to be sticking well to the old finish underneath. That hints at improper surface prep or, if lucky, an oily surface before the new coat was applied. I've never done this before, but I'd try heating the surface with a hair dryer. Set the gun on low first and apply heat slowly on perhaps the underside of the buttstock. Then scrub with a soft bristle brush. Repeat. If you're brave and see that you're not affecting the finish underneath, turn the gun up to a high setting and repeat the scrubbing process.

Good luck on all this!
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top