View Full Version : Cleaning a Garand stock

January 27, 2011, 12:18 PM
Just got my "new" HR M1 Garand delivered today and couldn't be happier. The stock is pretty sticky from cosmoline or some other storage grease. What's the best way to clean it without any damage to the wood? The stock is marked and its still very visible. Can you use Murphy's Oil Soap, etc?

January 27, 2011, 12:25 PM
If you got a nice warm spot in the house (like next to your heater) wrap the stock in paper towels and let it sit for a week. Change the paper when it gets greasy. After it stops oozing you can get the rest of with some naphta solvent (outside only) from Home Depot etc.

January 27, 2011, 12:26 PM
Paint thinner works well also, and is cheaper than naphtha.

January 27, 2011, 12:44 PM
I have a HRA CMP Garand from around 15 yrs ago and just bought a SA one recently. I disassemble the guns down to the stock as well as the metal parts. The HRA stock was rough, but had decent cartouches from SAA and RIA on it. I used oven cleaner on that one followed by steaming out any dents, etc. Then, I fine sanded it with 400 grit, avoiding any cartouche areas. Wiped it down with acetone and applied a tung oil finish. The SA Garand was also diassembled and the stock was wiped down with acetone, followed by 0000 steel wool with lacquer thinner. I also applied tung oil to this stock and am very pleased with the result. In fact, I have refinished 1903, 1903A3, 2 K98 Mausers, and an 1873 Springfield Trapdoor in this manner with outstanding results.

January 27, 2011, 04:07 PM
USE CITRISTRIP! http://citristrip.com/

It's cheap, it's safe for use on all wood, and it smells nice! If you value the stock, stay away from oven cleaner and/or hot water. Both are BAD!! On both my Garands and Carbines, I used Citristrip for Step 1. scrape it off w/ a plastic card or scraper, wipe it off thoroughly. Then use for Step 2, use Denatured Alcohol and 0000 steel wool, scrub it well. Let it dry. THEN use the heat option. What you'll be doing here is letting it leach out the cosmoline from deeper in the wood. Here in Texas, one week in the summer heat in a plastic bag suffices nicely, and it's FREE!

January 27, 2011, 04:09 PM
Thanks for the ideas. I was looking at it again and the stock has really nice grain. Should look great once its cleaned up.

January 27, 2011, 09:07 PM
Brownells sells a product, it may be called "whiting" which is made to remove grease/oil from a GI stock. I may not have the term right. But I did not use the product.

I took my CMP stock and stuck in a 5 gallon bucket filled w/ common laundry detergent, and scrubbed with a soft brush. Several evolutions of this process yielded a very blond and clean looking piece of walnut, which I lightly sanded and steel wooled, then refinished with a common wood stain I had in the shop. I then hand rubbed w/ linseed oil. After an overnight dry, I mildly steel wooled the stock. Wipe with a clean cloth and repeat. Plenty. It looks good.

January 27, 2011, 09:30 PM
EZ off oven cleaner ... spray wipe done...

January 27, 2011, 10:11 PM
EZ-Off will strips away surface oil & grime, but it can also attack the wood as well. If you want to go this route, try Simple Green. Be advised that if the stock wood has been deeply penetrated by grease and/or oil, it will take repeated sessions to remove the oil.

For a thoroughly coated and/or soaked stock, low & steady heat is your best friend.

The method recommended by mapsjanhere works best in the summer. Wrap the stock up and set it in a car parked outside.

Here's a link to creating your own cosmoline removing oven:

January 28, 2011, 02:38 PM
Heat is one of the best ways to remove the cosmoline. When I got my M1 I completely disassembled it and removed all the wood. I then turned my oven on as low as possible, 170 degrees F in my case, covered the rack in aluminum foil to catch the drippings, and placed my stock on the foil covered rack. Because of the size of my oven I had to keep it open to fit the stock which is good so the temp would not get too high. After a few minutes I could see the stock glistening with melted cosmoline and it began to drip off. I would remove it about every 15 min to wipe off the excess cosmoline and flip it over to allow the other side to drip. After about 2 hours no more cosmoline was seeping to the surface so I took it out to cool. Once it was cool I wiped it down with Old English wood furniture polish and the stock looks great, the cartouches are preserved, and the original finish is still there.