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I wonder if this topic inspires any passion?

My last debatable contribution is to apply a different standard to a wall hanging collector piece than one that is in regular use, both leather and wood.
 

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Observations:

My roof beams are 300 years old and have never been treated. They are strong and hard but you would not want your stock to be so split and gnarled.

I recently made a carved house sign from a slab of pear wood. I gave it several coats of linseed oil as it will be outside. The slab was thick so a friend sliced the back half off. The linseed oil had penetrated in by 2cm so yes it does soak in. British Lee Enfields had a few hours sitting in a bath of hot linseed oil followed by a monthly rub with a level teaspoon or so to preserve them in very very unstable environments from deserts to jungles to Canadian winters.

Wood is a composite like glass reinforced plastic. Chemical (e.g. strong caustic oven cleaners) cleaners attack the lignin which is the ''plastic part' and leave the 'glass' wood fibres weakened. This will damage the wood over time and handling. People think that they are getting away with it but it will show in time. If they use an oil finish it will cosmetically replace some lost lignin but will not provide the structure. Look at old kitchen tables which have been vigorously scrubbed with boiling hot soapy water for a generation. The wood is visibly scoured away. Not just by your granny's elbow grease but by the action of the soap on the wood lignin. However, it made the table sterile enough to be used for operations and births back in the old days (often assisted by newspaper).

The Colombian Mannlichers appeared to have been stored in an oily cellar as cobbles for the floor and danced over regularly with ammunition boots. They really do need to be thoroughly cleaned and the worst of the deep dents dealt with. This is not patina from generations of users. This is plain damage and not history of previous use but of neglect and damage.
 

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"Academic theory"

You mean science? Many professionals have done tests. People who actually care about the stuff they have and want people to see it 300 years from now . And their findings are easily replicated. Sand the top layer off wood off of a stock and it's not the same color as the top layer. Leather conditioners do make the leather more usable, but they oxidize and harden over time, causing the leather to become even stiffer and brittle. Ignoramuses also include those that think they know what they are doing, but don't.
Of course the underneath wood is a different colour than the outermost layer! Handle it once without CLEAN hands or gloves,
and you ARE changing the colour of the outermost layer of a brand new stock!

But if you are claiming that the oil does not soak INTO the stock, you must be out of touch with reality.

I have seel stocks with oil soaked at least 2/3 of the way through, from ALL sides: We sectioned it to see what damage was
done, and there was no way that particular stock could have been salvaged.

And you might want to look at some double shorguns which were stored muzzle up: I have seen dozens where the gun oil has
flowed through the action and seeped into the butt stock, soaking it and softening the wood enough that the ONLY fix was to
replace the butt stock.


Leather conditioners... WHAT? Whisky Tango Foxtrot?!

Have you never heard of Ballistol, or Pecards? Yes, THAT Pecards, used by Museums and refinishers to revitalise OLD leather,
and make it pliable anduseable.

Neither of those two products have ever been known to damage any leather, they do NOT make it stiff and brittle, lack of proper
care and drying of the leather does!

If your answer is to do nothing to the leather, allowing it to dry and fall apart so that it must be thrown away, PLEASE send me
ALL of your old leather and I will revitalise them and take care of them and USE them, as they were intended to be used!
 

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Of course the underneath wood is a different colour than the outermost layer! Handle it once without CLEAN hands or gloves,
and you ARE changing the colour of the outermost layer of a brand new stock!

But if you are claiming that the oil does not soak INTO the stock, you must be out of touch with reality.

I have seel stocks with oil soaked at least 2/3 of the way through, from ALL sides: We sectioned it to see what damage was
done, and there was no way that particular stock could have been salvaged.


And you might want to look at some double shorguns which were stored muzzle up: I have seen dozens where the gun oil has
flowed through the action and seeped into the butt stock, soaking it and softening the wood enough that the ONLY fix was to
replace the butt stock.


Leather conditioners... WHAT? Whisky Tango Foxtrot?!

Have you never heard of Ballistol, or Pecards? Yes, THAT Pecards, used by Museums and refinishers to revitalise OLD leather,
and make it pliable anduseable.

Neither of those two products have ever been known to damage any leather, they do NOT make it stiff and brittle, lack of proper
care and drying of the leather does!

If your answer is to do nothing to the leather, allowing it to dry and fall apart so that it must be thrown away, PLEASE send me
ALL of your old leather and I will revitalise them and take care of them and USE them, as they were intended to be used!
I used to have several series of cut-up oil soaked stocks (Turkish Mausers, Enfields, Yugo SKS's, ect), but this is the only one I have left and I don't know who to credit for it. These are examples of stocks that were immersed in hot oils (whatever flavor) for some period of time. Denny

View attachment 3343815
 

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Leather conditioners... WHAT? Whisky Tango Foxtrot?!

Have you never heard of Ballistol, or Pecards? Yes, THAT Pecards, used by Museums and refinishers to revitalise OLD leather,
and make it pliable anduseable.

Neither of those two products have ever been known to damage any leather, they do NOT make it stiff and brittle, lack of proper
care and drying of the leather does!

If your answer is to do nothing to the leather, allowing it to dry and fall apart so that it must be thrown away, PLEASE send me
ALL of your old leather and I will revitalise them and take care of them and USE them, as they were intended to be used!
Jack:

You’re sadly mistaken and uninformed. Have you done any research on the conservation and preservation of collectibles and artifacts in scientific periodicals? If you had you would realize that literally every point you raised is incorrect.

I have read dozens of articles, theses, and dissertations by professional conservators and museum curators and I can assure you that there are no recognized and commonly accepted methods to “revitalize” leather. And other than storing the leather items in archival safe conditions there is no effective treatment that will preserve the artifact in its present condition and prevent further degradation. There are simply no oils, waxes, or magic elixirs that will turn back the clock and restore “life” to old and damaged leather. The best that can be done is to maintain a safe and proper environment so the inevitable effects of time are staved off for as long as possible.

In the early ‘90s author Steven Dorsey wrote an article in the Gun Report magazine extolling the miracle effects of Pecards. For many years after he ran advertisements in gun periodicals and the Shot Gun News and by all accounts sold countless tubs of this goop. Pecards may have once been popular among those maintaining museum collections but I can assure you that its use as been discredited for many years. It darkens any leather it is applied to and converts the substrate into a gelatinous mess. It may have use to waterproof newly manufactured and used leather items but it should never be applied to any artifact or collectible.

The same can be said about Ballistol which is primarily mineral oil with a few additives. If you believe that rubbing mineral oil into antique leather items somehow revitalizes them, or even merely preserves the item in its existing condition, I simply don’t know what to say other than you are mistaken. As are the hoards of people on the internet who also recommend its use.

Pecards and Ballistol, along with all the other popular treatments, will make old and dry leather pliable but it does so at the heavy cost of hastening the item’s inevitable decline. As mentioned above these treatments also affect the treated item’s esthetics. Any collector who desires to do no harm and make no changes should eschew the use of leather treatments.
 

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Good information in this thread. So I've learned I've been doing it wrong. I have been throwing my stocks in the washer on "gentle cycle" w/ Tide pod and then quickly moving them to the dryer for approx. 15 minutes on "air fluff" so I don't get shrinkage. I still had problems after drying though.. the stocks still would have static cling even with a dryer sheet.

Seriously a lot of good info in this thread for me. I'm basically a rookie/noob been out the gun game for 25 yrs. approx.
 

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Leather problems? Try Bickmore "Bick 4". It cleans, conditions, polishes and protects. Will not darken finished leather, do not use on suede. Been around since 1882.
 

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In my experience with old leather seats (collectable cars)...with stiff/dried leather...an application of whatever magic product will make them pliable and softer....then they split at the creases due to the weakening of the leather fibers.
 

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In my experience with old leather seats (collectable cars)...with stiff/dried leather...an application of whatever magic product will make them pliable and softer....then they split at the creases due to the weakening of the leather fibers.
If you are gonna sit in the seats and use them, Lexol is what the Corvette guys use. Never had a split on 67 or 84 seats. Armor All and similar have water. Leather is not fond of water. No easy answer IMO unless you just keep your butt off them.

That stuff the Azz Monkeys had a pro used on 1930 seats, not cleaned since WW2 seemed like a possible product if you plan on putting your butt on the seats.

As usual, good storage with temp and humidity control keep them alive better than magic stuff.
 

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I'd like to hear what people are doing to clean up their guns without destroying it's value. I'd like to clean my collection. I just don't want to trash anything and I'm not familiar with any methods or safe chemicals. Also, how do you steam out the dents? Thanks.
I am now using Kramer's Best and his Clarifier for the nasty spots. I clean the entire stock with the basic product then hit the really dark spots with the clarifier. The black under the bands, the spots like on the butt where hands have left sweat and oil. Any obvious heavy grease and dirt.

Let it sit overnight then wipe the entire stock with the clarifier. Let sit overnight and do the entire stock again with the basic product.


The basic story is that he uses real turpentine (pine base, not petroleum) and 14 other secret herbs and spices. The stuff is expensive but it works exactly as advertised. I am happy with the results. And, you can use the basic product with bronze wool on the steel. Even blued steel. A very light touch will take the dirt, oil and rust off without scratching and without cutting ito the patina.

http://www.kramerize.com/
 

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If you are gonna sit in the seats and use them, Lexol is what the Corvette guys use. Never had a split on 67 or 84 seats. Armor All and similar have water. Leather is not fond of water. No easy answer IMO unless you just keep your butt off them.

That stuff the Azz Monkeys had a pro used on 1930 seats, not cleaned since WW2 seemed like a possible product if you plan on putting your butt on the seats.

As usual, good storage with temp and humidity control keep them alive better than magic stuff.
I was talking about dried up already abused leather seats...you cannot bring them back....if they have been taken care of then no problem....I have saddles that are over 100 years old in good condition...Lexol is a good product but most saddle makers tell you to use a simple vegetable oil to keep them supple....
 

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My final add to this post:
Well, my "You’re sadly mistaken and uninformed.", comes from serious collectors, reinactors [using original pieces], museum people, and various other hands-on users, not from articles.
 

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Depends..oil stocks...rough abrasive cloth lensed oil sparingly...
rubbing you arms sore not adding oil but using enough to clean with only...
Not correct for some ideological concepts ...
I’m concerned as any as not to change but preserve and clean..
Others think this is criminal...when I’m dead gone...next owner is responsible to persevere in his way.
Every gun we have has had the owners TOUCH on a piece...
from bear grease, boot black, To kerosene using what was at hand...
in the field or at the kitchen table ..Some buba in all us!
purest or pure stupidity bubs fubs ...not to stop rust deteriorations bubing lazyness ><> Dan
 

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My final add to this post:
Well, my "You’re sadly mistaken and uninformed.", comes from serious collectors, reinactors [using original pieces], museum people, and various other hands-on users, not from articles.
Jack:


I’m happy to redirect my criticism to those more deserving than you. The “serious collectors, reinactors [using original pieces], museum people, and various other hands-on users” who advised you how to “revitalize” old leather are sadly mistaken and uninformed.

Is that better?
 

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R in NY,

You are quite right, you Can't revitalise leather that has gone too far. Impossible!
But, leather that has been kept well and oiled often, (with the right product) appears to have an undetermined lifespan.

All the best,
R in the frozen north.
 

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See how tough the collecting community is?

I cleaned the wood with hot water, soap and nylon brush; then rubbed it with linseed oil. The metal was soaked in kerosene (camp fuel) and then brushed with a bronze brush. Then oil, of course. 140 years of yak history gone! OMG...:(

I was thinking of running these junkers through the belt sander and cold blue, but after reading the responses I may reconsider doing it... What say you?
he said belt sander,,,,,,,,,:laugh::laugh:


good thing you did not post this in the mauser section!


I start with a wet rag, wet with mineral spirits ( not sopping wet, but good and wet) and go from there,

I 've not had anything as bad as what Nick posted, but commend him for his results
 

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I had several of the South American imported Gew. 88s. Some were in worse condition than yours. I used warm water with Murphys Oil soap and a soft bristle brush on both the wood and metal (after separating) as the initial cleaning method. How water and soap are not going to hurt the metal at all, just rinse well with hot water, dry with an old towel, To clean the bores, I would fill a five gallon bucket with hot water and dishwashing soap, stick the barrel in the bucket and then using a one piece cleaning rod and a brass brush, scrub the bores. It amazed me how well some cleaned up. And hot water was the military approved means of cleaning the bores when the Gew. 88s were new rifles. When finished dry run patches through the bore, then a couple oil soaked patches for protection. After cleaning oil the metal with either balistol or good old 3 in 1 oil, wipe of the excess, and I was done with the metal sections.

I also used a soft brush and diluted Murphys oil soap on the stocks. If you intend to shoot them, you need the stocks to be clean enough to determine if they are sound and free of cracks. These stocks are so oil soaked, the water is not going to penetrate and raise the grain unless you left them submerged in the water. After cleaning, wipe well with an old towel, and leave in a well ventilated humidity controlled place to dry overnight. Usually the stocks still retained enough oil, I did not do anything else to them except rub them down with a coarse cloth.

Now would I use the same methods on a well stored example that just had surface grime, no, but you need to match the cleaning methods to the condition of the artifact being cleaned.
 
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