View Full Version : Cleaning the checkering on L.C Smith shotgun stock

March 4, 2009, 12:58 PM
I need some suggestions on how to clean the checkering on an LC Smith shotgun that I got from a neighbors farm sale.I know that in most cases you do not want to refinish an older firearm but in this case it is manditory,the finish is tacky and can be scraped off with your thumb nail
The problem is I don't want to damage the checkering on the pistol grip and forestock by sanding or scrapping,it is very fine maybe 18 or 20 lines to the inch.I have been told that some of the strippers on the market will discolor the wood and I don't want that either.Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.Good luck and good shooting ELMOUSMC

March 4, 2009, 02:43 PM
Paint thinner and a toothbrush.

T. O'Heir
March 4, 2009, 08:55 PM
Any wood cleaner and a toothbrush.
"...the finish is tacky..." Sounds like somebody may have put pure linseed oil on it. The toothbrush should take it off. Turpentine thins it, but I'm not sure turpentine would be a good idea on fine wood.

Ben Towe
March 6, 2009, 06:11 PM
I just stripped a stock off of a Marlin 99C with oven cleaner and the 'stripping pads' you can buy at Wal-Mart. As I found out the hard way, DO NOT use these on checkering, as it will 'soften' it. Thankfully it wasn't in the best of shape in the first place so it don't look too much worse. Then I stripped a set of grips off a Model 19 Smith with oven cleaner and a fairly stiff toothbrush and it worked wonderfully. Moral of the story: Use toothbrush on checkering and be gentle, particularly with fine checkering.

P.S. I'm not necessarily recommending over cleaner as the stripping agent, it worked but I've heard some cases made against it.

March 7, 2009, 01:41 AM
I refinish rifle stocks quite frequently, including collector pieces. I strip stocks using Citristrip, available at most hardware stores. It will clean out checkering very well. Brush it on, let it sit for an hour or so, then scrub the finish off with a fingernail brush under cold running water.

Ed K
March 7, 2009, 07:32 AM
Post your questions on LC Smith web site take expert advice only there no more of these classic old guns keeping them alive is a mission to the peopleover there they helped me out with mine

March 7, 2009, 08:14 AM
Don't use oven cleaner. I'd heard about that before and the last stock I did I was out of wood stripper and tried it. It does work but the first time around didn't remove all the finish. Second time around got what was left but everywhere it touched wood that had no finish left it turned the wood black.

March 7, 2009, 09:56 AM
Oven cleaner contains lye.

It will strip older varnish/oil type finishes, but depending on the wood it can cause color shifts.

For surface dirt paint thinner is an excellent cleaner.
It will not harm finishes unless left on a long time, but easily removes grease, grime, and dirt.
If the finish itself is not cured paint thinner can often remove it.

W. C. Quantrill
March 7, 2009, 10:16 AM
I wouldnt use oven cleaner either. It is simply lye, and it damages the wood fibers.

Black spots? You sure you wasnt chewin that baccy again and droolin on it?:D

Like the other guys said, you dont want to completely strip the stock, just clean the checkering, I'd thin some turpentine with paint thinner and then just go easy on that checkering with a tooth brush, get it clean and then wipe the excess off. If you have an oil finish the turps wont harm it. All you want to do is get the dirt and grease and dead skin out of the checkering. Even then you may find the tops of the checkering worn down. If it is important, it can be recut by someone who knows what they are doing.