View Full Version : Cleaning Old Stocks

October 22, 2006, 08:09 AM
Hi Folks!

Picked up two more old guns at an auction yesterday. (Gawd, I'm an addict.)

And as per normal, the stocks were dark and soiled, but not seriously damaged. I don't want to refinish the stocks -- I _like_ the way old, used guns look -- but I do want to clean them throughly.

I've tried a number of oils, cleaners, et al. But I haven't been satisfied with any of them.

Any suggestions?


Harry Bonar
October 22, 2006, 10:14 AM
I'm of the same ilk!
The best way with old military rifles whick do not have serious stock damage is to degrease with coarse steel wool and acetone and then use a saturated solution of potassium permanganate (a violent oxidizer - careful) on the medium steel wool all over the stock. It is redish but turns a beautiful brown. Linseed oil it and let dry (You'll need a prescription from a GOOD doctor friend for it.) DO NOT get it around any acid or substance it will oxidize with! When I ordered mine I also ordered nitric acid - the druggist called me and asked me to get that "bomb" out of the store!
Harry B.
PS. It will turn your hands brown but is a good poison ivy remedy - it must wear off!

October 23, 2006, 10:32 AM
Well, do you just wanna clean off the accumulated dirt and grime, or actually remove the finish? Depending on the finish you may HAVE to remove it to get rid of all the crud, but if you just want to clean it, there are some good household cleaners that work. Stay away from things like "409" or "Fantastik", they'll usually eat into the finish, making a mess....But "Simple Green" or some of the "Orange" cleaners work pretty well.

T. O'Heir
October 24, 2006, 01:43 AM
Wood is wood. Use the same products you'd use on fine furniture. Murphy's Oil Soap comes to mind. As does mineral spirits. Drop the whole stock into a tub of mineral spirits and leave it there for 24 hours. Then use a plastic brush to clean off the sludge and apply a few coats of BLO(Boiled Linseed Oil) with a clean lint free cloth.
"...coarse steel wool..." Never coarse. Ever. No acetone or potassium permanganate required.
"...You'll need a prescription from a GOOD doctor friend for it..." For what? Linseed oil? Don't be daft. Plain linseed oil is the wrong stuff to start with and no prescription is required. Boiled linseed oil is the right product and it can be found in any hardware store. So can linseed oil.

October 24, 2006, 10:33 AM
Murphy's Oil Soap comes to mind.

Yup, I forgot that one. Usually works well.

October 25, 2006, 10:54 AM
Many thanks to all!