View Full Version : Colt WWI Commemorative 1911's - Another dilemma...

February 29, 2008, 09:19 PM
We're ready to begin work, however I forgot one other problem. These guns were stored in some sort of foam that has adhered to the grips. My first thought was to take some oil, like the linseed oil I would use on a musical instrument fretboard.

I'm interested to see what you guys would use.

Thanks again,

February 29, 2008, 10:10 PM
I'm assuming the grips are wood...what type of foam does it look like (without sounding like a [email protected])?

You could try a light wipe with methylene chloride...that dissolves polystyrene. Go real easy with it...protect lungs and skin. Bad for your health.

March 1, 2008, 11:39 AM
Don't need to go to methylene chloride (paint stripper main ingredient) to get rid of styrofoam. Lots of things attack it, including JB Blaster penetrating oil. I would go at it with that stuff and a brush before using a solvent that will certainly soften the finish underneath (though I can't guarantee the JB blaster won't do that, too; it depends on that finish). Acetone would be the fastest evaporating thing to remove the styrene.

The question will be whether it has bonded with the grip panel finish, in which case you are going to be faced with removing the original finish? If this is a collector's item for you, you may not want to do that, as collecting value is often higher leaving the defect (the foam in this case) in place, and the finish original. If you are going to shoot it, rather than collect it, then refinishing isn't a bad option. If you are going to collect it, but it has been shot already and you just want to try it out, put a different pair of grip panels on it to preserve the collector's value of the originals.

March 4, 2008, 12:23 AM
Some answers:

Grips are wood. The foam is soft foam like in a storage box from 40 years back. I don't know how to determine if it has bonded with the wood finish, but I do understand how that would determine how to attack the problem. I'm thinking I will start with Linseed oil and see what happens.

I wonder if the wood has been stabilised? Probably not from 40 years ago.


Bill DeShivs
March 4, 2008, 02:31 AM
Goo Gone, Goof Off, or even WD 40.

James K
March 4, 2008, 03:45 PM
I think I would first try just rubbing it off with the fingers. That often removes old gluey substances with no damage to the material underneath.

FWIW, styrofoam dissolves in gasoline (yep, I once tried carrying gasoline in a styrofoam cup so that is how I know) but the gasoline might harm the finish on the grips.


March 4, 2008, 04:34 PM
Doesn't anyone but me use 100% mineral spirits as a solvent? (NOT turpentine or "varsol" thinner).

March 4, 2008, 05:12 PM
No. You're the only one. ;)

Actually, I've not tried mineral spirits on styrofoam, though I've got a parts washer full of it, so I suppose I could try? Might or might not do it? Since gasoline does it, I would expect kerosene to do it, too, if you soaked it long enough. I know PB Blaster will; it has an illustration of melting a styrofoam cup right on the side of the can. It is a great penetrator for releasing rusted bolts. It was available at Lowe's and at Advanced Auto Parts, last time I looked.

My car dealer once told me the rear adjusters on my car were completely frozen and could not be moved at all for a wheel alignment he tried to do. Ohio road salt is hard on steel. He said they would cost several hundred dollars to replace, but that since the rear was only out half a degree, he recommended just leaving them alone and hoping they didn't get worse.

When I had the tires replaced at another shop a year later, I knew they were going to try to do the alignment again, so three days beforehand I crawled under the trunk and squirted the adjusters with PB Blaster. I repeated the next day. When I picked the car up after getting the tires and alignment done, I asked if they'd been able to break the sticky rear adjusters free OK? They asked, "what sticky adjusters?"

So, I've got pretty good faith in PB Blaster these days. I find Kroil is faster but not as good on really deep stuff if you have a day or so to wait.