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Old January 3, 2013, 03:26 PM   #1
Tuzo
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Salt water stock saturation

My brother's collection of firearms was damaged by salt water during hurricane Sandy. We sprayed WD40 on the metal parts as soon as possible upon returning to his home so extensive rust damage was stopped.

Wood stocks are another story. Is there a method for removing salt from wood stocks? A few stocks have minor swelling while others have no swelling. Swelling is diminishing as the wood dries but I know salt remains. Considering soaking the stocks in fresh water with a drop or two of liquid detergent added.

Suggestions are appreciated.
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Old January 3, 2013, 03:53 PM   #2
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Other than resoaking in distilled water, then drying and sanding, I can't think of anything. Maybe someone else can help.

Jim
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Old January 3, 2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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In the late '60s and early '70s there was a shortage of wood for stocks. Browning attempted to reduce the problem by speeding up the drying on some wood by treating them with salt !! Some owners found years later that the salt doesn't come out when they took apart the gun.
I suggest that you soak the stocks in fresh water for a few day though I don't think detergent will help. Dry them slowly without getting them above about 100 F .When thoroughly dry see how they fit the stock .If necessary scrape the barrel and receiver channel for necessary clearance . thoroughly coat the channel with a waterproof finish like polyurethane.
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Old January 3, 2013, 08:49 PM   #4
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distilled or DE-mineralized water is the only way to remove salt. The stock needs to remain submerged long enough to saturate the wood. one the wood is saturated, wrap the stock in a layer of linen or muslin, then but it in a bag with a large quantity of descant to dry out the stock. after a few days, inspect the stock, it should be dry. If the stock has a salt film on the outside, card the salt off and repeat the procedure. If it is clean, refinish the stock.
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Old January 4, 2013, 09:44 AM   #5
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Interesting question and sounds like good advice so far.
This is the sort of thing that can make forums like this valuable.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:13 PM   #6
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http://artsgunshop.com/Salt/Salt_Article-Page-1.htm

I know his experience, and the article, is on Browning salt cured stocks (Winchester, Weatherby, etc), but here is what he has to say on the subject.

"In my shop the first thing we do is remove the salt cured stock and put in on the woodpile next to the fireplace. These stocks really get a fire going in the fireplace and if you leave the recoil pad on the stock, it smokes a little, but it gets the fire going even better. This is the only appropriate use for a salt gunstock."

One thing I found particularly interesting, on page 3, was that refinishing somehow tends to activate whatever small amount of salt is left in the wood even after you think it's fixed.



Does anyone have a copy of the pic of the Browning stocks curing after they bought the process from Morton Salt? The process had been used successfully in the furniture industry, but didn't work out for guns. I saw the pic years ago; it shows pallets of stock blanks stacked high and packed with salt. The one I'm looking for has a front end loader in use. Maybe I saw it in a book on the Superposed.

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Old January 4, 2013, 05:10 PM   #7
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He also needs a better oil than WD40, ( I wouldn't use that on nuthin but drains) If he'd find G96, in the spray can and just literally spray the metal completely, it'll fix that rust. I swear by it, I had a rifle I traded for that was pretty badly covered with rust, and I sprayed it down for two days,( maybe three coats) and let it soak in, then wiped the rust away, it looks a heck of a lot better now.
As far as the wood goes good luck, usually it's warped and swollen beyond it's bedding, and it'll be hard to get those dudes back to original fit.
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Old January 4, 2013, 08:31 PM   #8
Tuzo
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Thanks for the useful information

Thank goodness only a portion of the stocks are salt contaminated - from the comb backward. I shall try a distilled water soak mentioned by smoakingun. Interestingly, two stocks that were swollen are slowly contracting without any treatment but corrosive salt remains.

Agree that this is the forum for such topics; although, Gecko 45 and zombie threads have been "informative."
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Old January 4, 2013, 08:32 PM   #9
Tuzo
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Thanks for the useful information

Thank goodness only a portion of the stocks are salt contaminated - from the comb backward. I shall try a distilled water soak mentioned by smoakingun. Interestingly, two stocks that were swollen are slowly contracting without any treatment but corrosive salt remains.

Agree that this is the forum for such topics; although, Gecko 45 and zombie threads have been "informative." By the way, WD40 is never my choice for firearm application but it was the only water displacement agent on hand at the time.
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Old January 4, 2013, 09:27 PM   #10
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I would keep searching for any way other than soaking in water again.

Water, and wood, just don't go together, period.

Yes, it'll shrink back after it dries out, but might warp or otherwise change dimensionally.

Darn good question.

As a boater (but never a fan of wood boats, or wood on boats), saltwater is always-oddly enough- preferred, as it's a preservative. Wood rot spores survive/flourish in freshwater only...Wood boaters used to leave blocks of salt in the bilge so that any rainwater entering would become saltwater.
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Old January 4, 2013, 10:50 PM   #11
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The method I describe is one I have used on a storm damaged guitar body.
During hurricane Andrew the roof of my shop was partially damaged and a few guitar bodies got several hours of salt water rain, as did my milling machine. I soaked and dried the guitar several times, 3 I think, eventually the salt stopped coming to the surface, I sanded the guitar out, finished it, beautiful guitar.

If you run into stock warp-age when you finish, heat and pressure can be used to straighten it.
The grain will be raised and the inletting may be tight, but a little sandpaper will handle that
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Old January 5, 2013, 01:56 PM   #12
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I think there would be a difference between raw wood deliberately cured in salt water and finished wood that got wet from being immersed in salt water for a relatively short time. Most gun stocks have a varnish, polyurethane or oil finish that would keep water out or at least limit the amount of water that would actually soak into the wood. Almost every duck hunter has gotten salt water on his gun stock from time to time and not many remove the stock and use it for firewood.

Without knowing any more, I will stick by my original advice.

Jim
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Old January 8, 2013, 12:06 PM   #13
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You could try going to a well stocked Scuba diving shop & asking for a rinse agent divers use called Salt Ex. Divers use it to remove the salt from their dive gear. It may help.

Roger
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Old January 9, 2013, 11:37 PM   #14
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I used to pull shipping pallets out of the surf in Florida to recycle for furniture repair. The pallets were usually Mahogany, Ironwood, and often Teak. As they were in the Gulf Stream, the time in the tropical water was no more than a week or two at most. I would break them down and wash them off well then air dry in a open air shed "out of direct sunlight". A mahogany 4X4 would dry to the point I could plane them in about three weeks. Usually 1/8 to 3/16 was enough to get below any damaged wood. This was raw unfinished lumber. I have to believe that a well oiled gun stock would fare much better.
I hope this us useful.
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Old January 10, 2013, 04:52 PM   #15
Tuzo
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To all who supplied support and useful information: thank you. According to my brother, Barnegat Bay flooded his home with 15" of salt water but the water did not linger too long. This is a relief because the gun stocks were not partially submerged for a long time thereby minimizing saturation. I'll try the distilled water soak on one easily replaceable stock to see if that method is effective.
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Old January 10, 2013, 06:09 PM   #16
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The jury is still out on the Browning salt stocks-I have one on my T-bolt. Some have gotten good results by stripping them, letting them be exposed to the air, then refinishing them.
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Old January 10, 2013, 06:19 PM   #17
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I have never tried this on a stock or anything close, but I took a few foods classes back in the day and the trick to taking salt out of a stew or soup is to add a whole peeled potatoe to it. Maybe adding one to your fresh water soak will yield some results. I have used this trick many times, but as i said i have never used it for anything close to your needs. If you do try it please let me know how you make out.
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Old January 11, 2013, 06:56 PM   #18
Tuzo
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The potato method can be firearms related - sort of, maybe, perhaps - because there are such things as spud guns. My appetite just kicked in.
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Old January 11, 2013, 07:00 PM   #19
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I know your just messing around but I would be anxious to see if a whole uncooked, peeled potatoe dropped in a fresh water soak would draw the salt out faster then just fresh water itself.
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Old January 12, 2013, 04:51 PM   #20
Tuzo
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Chasing,

Could not help myself with the potato remark, it was close to suppertime when I read your post. Be assured I'll give your suggestion a try when I return home in a week or so. Will use a potato with distilled water to draw out the salt. Thanks.
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Old January 12, 2013, 08:35 PM   #21
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I thought the issue with salt residue in stocks was its effect on the metal where it is in contact with the salted wood. If that's true, then it sounds like you really only need to be concerned about the butt plate screws, or through-bolt on two-piece stocks, right?
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Old January 13, 2013, 09:49 AM   #22
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Some Brownings continued to damage until the stocks were changed out. I have one, probably lucky about the level of damage. My stock was resealed.
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