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Old January 21, 2013, 12:48 PM   #1
sharpenit
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Refinished stock of Mosin M44

I don't hold with the purists who say you never alter a mil-surp, especially not when you're talking about the Mosin, of which there are upwards of 17 million in the world. We're not going to run out of them anytime soon, and even if we alter millions of them, millions will remain in their unaltered state.

These rifles can be made much more attractive with refinishing. I have two Mosins -- a full-length 91/30, and an M44. I just refinished the stock on the M44. I used some furniture stripper from Home Depot and it took the Soviet shellac right off. This left the naked birch, with very nice graining and some antique-looking blemishes and dings. I very lightly sanded the stock (there were no arsenal stamps on it), then applied one coat of Minwax "natural" stain, so as to give the birch a honey glow. Then I coated with five thin coats of clear satin Minwax Polycrylic. I wasn't going for cosmetic perfection at all. I just wanted the honesty of the wood to show through, with its graining and its blemishes, the very things that couldn't be seen under the original slathered-on Soviet shellac.



Above, the refinished M44 on the left used to have the same heavy red-brown shellac as the 91/30 on the right.











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Old January 21, 2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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Looks nice.

I'm a fan of Tom's 1/3 Military mix myself.
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Old January 21, 2013, 01:47 PM   #3
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I tend to like the darker amber on my 91/30 that I left stock but the other one that I sporterized had a tone much like your m44 but with the shellac that obscured the wood tone so it just looked horrible. I am a pseudo purist. I see a springfield or enfield sporterized and I shed a tear but if I see a chinese SKS or mosin nagant wearing a cheap ATI stock and have the bolts mangled for a drill and tap scope rail I don't even worry about it... my grandkids might think I'm a monster for destroying a 'priceless piece of history' but in the mean time I think I'll be ok.
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Old January 21, 2013, 02:08 PM   #4
sharpenit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tahunua
I tend to like the darker amber on my 91/30 that I left stock but the other one that I sporterized had a tone much like your m44 but with the shellac that obscured the wood tone so it just looked horrible. I am a pseudo purist. I see a springfield or enfield sporterized and I shed a tear but if I see a chinese SKS or mosin nagant wearing a cheap ATI stock and have the bolts mangled for a drill and tap scope rail I don't even worry about it... my grandkids might think I'm a monster for destroying a 'priceless piece of history' but in the mean time I think I'll be ok.
As you say, it depends on the rifle.

As I was removing the Soviet lacquer, I said to my wife, the last person to see the natural beauty of this stock was a Soviet factory worker nearly 70 years ago. Now, it is revealed again. I find value in that, even if the purists don't.
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Old January 22, 2013, 09:30 AM   #5
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I refinished a 91/30 using denatured alcohol to remove the shellac (I believe in using the mildest solvent necessary to remove the finish) and used Minwax Maple to make it more blond or honey-colored. This stock didn't have a lot of grain to begin with, so it tends to look a bit like a table leg.

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Old January 22, 2013, 10:47 AM   #6
deerslayer303
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Looks VERY nice Sharpenit. I plan to refinish the stock on my Type53. Needless to say it has ALOT of "character". I don't know what the wood will look like when I take it down. I have no idea what kind of wood the chinese used on them. But we will find out. Thank you for the writeup! I'll bet that furniture stripper will take the left over cosmoline out of the stock too. If there is one thing I hate, is when I put my rifles up to my shoulder I STILL smell cosmoline. The only one that I don't is the Laminated 91/30 maybe because that one has a finish on it that cosmo can't penetrate. But the other 91/30, the Type 53, and the 91/59 still have cosmo soaked into the stocks. I let them sit in the sun on hot days and it seems it never stops coming out.
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Old January 22, 2013, 12:39 PM   #7
sharpenit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmaye
I refinished a 91/30 using denatured alcohol to remove the shellac (I believe in using the mildest solvent necessary to remove the finish) and used Minwax Maple to make it more blond or honey-colored. This stock didn't have a lot of grain to begin with, so it tends to look a bit like a table leg.
That is sweet, jsmaye!
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Old January 22, 2013, 12:44 PM   #8
sharpenit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deerslayer303
Looks VERY nice Sharpenit. I plan to refinish the stock on my Type53. Needless to say it has ALOT of "character". I don't know what the wood will look like when I take it down. I have no idea what kind of wood the chinese used on them. But we will find out. Thank you for the writeup! I'll bet that furniture stripper will take the left over cosmoline out of the stock too. If there is one thing I hate, is when I put my rifles up to my shoulder I STILL smell cosmoline. The only one that I don't is the Laminated 91/30 maybe because that one has a finish on it that cosmo can't penetrate. But the other 91/30, the Type 53, and the 91/59 still have cosmo soaked into the stocks. I let them sit in the sun on hot days and it seems it never stops coming out.
Thanks! The photos don't do it justice.

Regarding the wood used on your M53, I got this from a mosin nagant website:

Quote:
the wood on the Type 53 is quite solid and competent. The Chinese utilized a local wood that is known as CHU-wood. The CHU-wood was put to use as it was quite effective in standing up to so called "Jungle Rot." The wood was quite proficient in resisting moisture, so was a perfect choice for the environment of Asia. The finish of the Chinese stocks are similar to the M44 clones made in Romania and Hungary, which is a heavy varnish or shellac in most cases.
This sounds interesting. Be sure to post photos and a report when you finish the project.
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Old January 22, 2013, 04:33 PM   #9
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+2 Jsmaye! That is one sweet looking rifle. I would hang that sucker on the wall. And people say the Mosin is ugly PPPPPFFFFFTTT You guys have given me the inspiration I need to GIT ER DONE!!
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Old January 23, 2013, 11:55 AM   #10
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Thanks for the compliments.

I have a friend who owns a machine shop and was looking to get into hot bluing. I bead-blasted the metal pieces and he rigged up a heated hot-bluing tray long enough for the barrel/receiver. The deep black of the newly-blued metal really contrasts with the maple of the wood. And it shoots as well as any run-of-the-mill not-shot-out 91/30.

For those who like to "keep it original", I have another 91/30 and a 91/38 that are and will forever remain stock.
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Old January 23, 2013, 12:09 PM   #11
TomADC
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Looks good I did my first one like that, started out with some mineral spirits to degunk it but ended up with a real nice blonde stock.
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Old January 23, 2013, 12:27 PM   #12
TheDoubleDeuce
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Interesting. It looks like you did a great job. I've thought about refinishing the stock on my 91/30, but I tend to like the dark reddish colors. My stock is already dark as it is, but I wonder how much of that is the natural wood color. Does anyone know a stain or oil I could use that would give me a nice reddish color and enhance the grain?

I've seen some m44's with almost a "Tiger stripe" look, and i think it's awesome.

Edit: Sirsloop's refinish looks very nice. I wonder if I could get something similar with a dark red stain vs ebony. http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...5&postcount=15

Last edited by TheDoubleDeuce; January 23, 2013 at 01:00 PM.
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Old January 23, 2013, 03:38 PM   #13
Gunnutfn49
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you should be proud of the refinish work. looks sharp
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Old January 25, 2013, 09:49 AM   #14
jsmaye
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Quote:
... I wonder how much of that is the natural wood color....
You won't know for sure until you start exposing the wood, but IIRC the Russians used a pigmented shellac, so the finished rifle tended to be darker and redder than the wood.

Quote:
Does anyone know a stain or oil I could use that would give me a nice reddish color and enhance the grain?
I've had good luck with the Minwax poly finishes, and like any pigmented finish, the more you apply the darker the result (to a point). Just keep applying until it's the finish you want.
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