View Full Version : Mauser furniture, linseed oil?

December 19, 2008, 11:12 AM
heya fellas. quick question. in this manual I got (see other thread if interested), it recommends linseed oil for treatment of the furniture on the Mauser. sounds reasonable. :)

I bought some at the local hardware store. upon reading the instructions there, it says that it should only be used on untreated wood (except for re-applications, of course). that too, sounds reasonable.

herein lies the dilemma; I have a 1941 Mauser that appears to be a russian capture. the furniture, however, has seen alot of love and is in great shape. it's a perfect shade (color), and has a pleasant smell, alot like the neatsfoot oil I put on my baseball mitt as a kid. not a whiff of cosmoline in sight. ;)

the linseed oil, once opened, has a nice smell but it is not anything like the "neatsfoot"-like smell on the Mauser's furniture. thus the dilemma; my Mauser's furniture is clearly not untreated, and further appears to have a nice neatsfoot-like oil treatment....

thoughts? suggestions. I though about huffing the linseed oil fumes and forgetting about the whole thing, but, then I thought I would just ask you guys ijnstead. :D

Smokey Joe
December 19, 2008, 11:27 AM
Vergeltung--you saidthe furniture, however, has seen alot of love and is in great shape.In that case, what is the need to apply any additional finish to the wood? Sounds like you lucked out on the quality of treatment yr stock received over the years.

Now, as to using the linseed oil, I can tell you it works great on bare walnut--I refinished my first stock with it (100 yrs ago--well, OK, 40 yrs) and applied several coats, lovingly steel-wooling between coats. Rubbed the last coat with a rag. Stock still looks good.

And as you stated, linseed is good for refinishing over linseed.

Were I you, before messing up the stock of a nice rifle (if you just MUST put on more finish) I'd get hold of a junk stock with similar treatment, and try refinishing that. I might sand the stock first, then apply linseed, and rub it in THOROUGHLY, then let it dry for, say, several days--since yr stock already has lots of some kind of oil in the pores.

But my prediction is that the linseed will work just fine in combination with whatever organic oil was used on the stock previous. I also predict that you will need a LOT of rubbing on the stock to get the oil to penetrate. Warming the stock gently might be helpful too.

However, if the stock is really "in great shape," the question remains: Why add anything at all to the finish? Were the rifle mine, I'd leave it in the general shape in which the Russians released it. But that's me, and this is YOUR rifle. So, good luck in yr project.

December 19, 2008, 11:31 AM
thanks for the quick reply smokey! :) you ask a good question with the "why treat it at all". the manual I have says it should be treated every three months, so, it's more of a future-need type question.

I am such a nOOb though, that I don't know if/when/why/where it would ever need treatment at all. I mean, at my continued use rate (range every other weekend, and probably 2 hunting trips a year), there may come a time when it would need some more love.

so I guess I can modify the question to: how do you know when you need to re-treat with something, be it linseed, neatsfoot, or motor oil? ;)

December 19, 2008, 11:42 AM
Linseed oil has pretty much been used on firearms for many many years. Personally, I prefer pure Tung oil over Linseed. It dries much faster and looks the same as Linseed. The other thing I would say is if you want to use Linseed oil, I would get it from an Artist supply store. They carry a much purer form of linsed that dries much faster than the Home Depot/ Hardware Store types of oil. Good luck on the gun.

December 19, 2008, 11:44 AM
actually my harware store kicks ass, as they DID have the faster drying stuff, and it was called "boiled linseed oil". the directions on the back were clear in saying it's got way better drying time that pure linseed oil, etc. :)

thanks for the quick reply! :D

Smokey Joe
December 19, 2008, 11:59 AM
Vergeltung--Re-treat linseed oil-finished wood every 3 months? Boy, am I doing something wrong!

That stock I mentioned having linseed-oiled 40 years ago has received no further treatment except being shot pretty regularly, and carried deer hunting I couldn't say how many times, in all weathers. (BTW, it was the boiled variety of linseed oil that I used, back then, now that I think about it.)

Hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but I have better things to do than re-linseed-oil my gun stocks 4 times a year. (I do make sure they get dried nicely if they get wet, but that's about it for care.)

While I'm on the subject, the Russians linseed-oiled your stock exactly ONCE, if ever, in the years since Stalingrad. Back when it was arsenalled and warehoused. The rest of the time that rifle just sat. It wasn't misused, but they sure-as-heck-didn't give the finish any special attention.

:D Who said every 3 months--a linseed oil salesman? :D

ETA--The rifle I mentioned, the stock of which I finished in 1963 for deer season that year, still looks just fine except for a couple of honorable dents and scratches, which I wouldn't dream of removing. I just went and checked.

December 19, 2008, 12:01 PM
yeah, Smokes, good points. Maybe I can get a refund at the hardware store!! :D

December 19, 2008, 12:45 PM
If it ain't broke don't fix it ... Raw Linseed Oil ( RLO ) was the traditional finish used on Lee Enfield rifles and many Military rifles during both World Wars and after - it's not totally waterproof and is still permeable but you need to finish the stock with a wax polish to seal it. You can mix 50/50 Tung oil and BLO if you like also.

I have treated many military rifle stocks using ( BLO ) Boiled Linseed Oil which has Japan Driers added to it to speed up the drying process. It offers an excellent finish if done correctly. As to applying Linseed Oil every three months, well that is complete overkill! A rifle stock needs reapplication of Linseed Oil every 2 years at minimum and even that is probably too much. Every rifle stock is a case by case situation ... you can over oil a rifle stock also and every three months is ridiculous.

December 19, 2008, 12:55 PM
Boiled linseed oil will work OK for refinishing a stock, but does not need to be reapplied every 3 months. Doing so will darken the wood beyond the point of deep, glowing luster. It will make it almost black. If you doubt this, take a look at all those old milsurp rifles that had the stocks treated every 3-6 months, their stocks are almost black. At the time, boiled linseed oil was one of the best solutions, but there are other finishes avalable now that work better and still look the same. As stated above, tung oil is a great finish (most of the tung oil finishes available have driers added), boiled linseed oil with Japan driers added is also great. For cleaning oil-darkened wood or periodic cleaning every 3 months or so, try Scott's Liquid Gold furniture polish, but it does have a very strong solvent smell.

December 19, 2008, 01:51 PM
I prefer Tung Oil also.

December 19, 2008, 06:11 PM
The Tung Oil I buy I get from The Real Milk Paint Co www.realmilkpaint.com I bought an 8 oz. bottle and it most likely will finish or refinish all the guns I need for a lifetime.
It has no driers or additives at all. A coat generally dries overnight.

December 20, 2008, 05:52 AM
Linseed oil is great stuff to keep a stock in shape. You do find some old guns that have the wood all ugly and black but that is due to not being treated with linseed oil. Thats dirt and really nasty abuse with dino oils as in oil the stock with the gun oil or too much cosmoline. The wood is finished with BLO cut with spar varnish and a small amount of bees wax. Tung oil is just a more moderen version of the origianl oil finish that is close to the original oil they used then is all.

December 20, 2008, 09:55 AM
thanks for all the fedback guys. I re-read of that manual's text makes it seem to imply the 3-month thing is a light maintenance going-over. However, since mine is in such great shape, I think I will shelf the "earls" until Mr. Mauser really needs it.

thanks again, this is a great arms forum.

December 20, 2008, 09:47 PM
Linseed is a classic stock treatment. But it stays tacky for a long time, depending on many factors, and never really becomes a solid like modern polymer finishes or the like. At least with Tung oil it does seem to dry faster for me and does not need re-apps. like the military wants on their guns with linseed. Frankly if the original finish is intact on your Mauser, maybe consider cleaning it to get off any surface dirt or crud with something like Formbys furniture cleaner which is fairly mild. Then maybe wax it. Good gunstock wax will work and improve the appearance of many old finishes. Otherwise get a German or Russian(?) armorers manual or something and go for perfect authenticity. Lot of the captures I have seen though, had that uckly shiny shellac type finish instead of what the Germans used. Now that would be worth stripping and redoing.

December 21, 2008, 10:14 AM
yeah, I have heard about the nasty things the ruskies did to the wood finishes. mine's cool though. gotta get pics up. range trip rained out today, so, maybe today! :)

December 21, 2008, 02:38 PM
well I finally got some pics taken. these are reduced in size for convenience sake. :)

http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/2914/1001004an3.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img510.imageshack.us/img510/743/1001005gl8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img510.imageshack.us/img510/6236/1001006tc1.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/2441/1001007fs7.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img510.imageshack.us/img510/781/1001008fs1.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

December 21, 2008, 02:50 PM
and the rest (pic limit per post :( )

http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/3645/1001011xr1.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/3194/1001012ci4.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img510.imageshack.us/img510/3701/1001013hi3.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img257.imageshack.us/img257/4310/1001014mv1.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

December 21, 2008, 02:52 PM
last 2

http://img510.imageshack.us/img510/781/1001008fs1.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/6554/1001010sj2.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

whew. anyhoo, would appreciate some feedback, and would love to know what you guys think about quality, etc. Thanks in advance!!!! :)

Smokey Joe
December 21, 2008, 03:10 PM
Vergeltung--Yeah, you lucked out on the stock. Nice. Rest of the rifle looks OK too, in the pix. Were it mine I'd keep it just as you got it--it IS an historic rifle, after all. Take it apart, clean & oil the innards, put it back together carefully, & yr done!

Well, if it's oozing cosmoline, you'll have to clean that up, but that'd be all, IMHO.

Now you've got to find a shooting match featuring WWII rifles, load up some 8mm, practice up, and find out how she--and you--do.

Thx for sharing!

And, given the time of year, Merry Christmas/Winter Solstice/Hanukka/etc!

December 21, 2008, 05:23 PM
thanks smokes!! merry christmas is good enough for me. ;)

I have had it at the range once already, and fired 55 rounds through it. I was real happy with my groupings at 50 and 100 yards. especially for my first time. thank you for your enthusiasm and comments! much appreciated!! :D

December 22, 2008, 01:07 PM
Nice Rifle!

December 22, 2008, 01:14 PM
shanks bruddah!! ;)