View Full Version : oil soaked stock

January 12, 2012, 04:30 PM
Has anyone ever tried to clean oil out of a stock. I was thinking that perhaps using mineral spirits and a brush to clean it, (something like basting a turkey). Another thought comes to mind is to submerge sections in a can of minerial spirits or acetone. Stop me before I destroy any thing:eek:

January 12, 2012, 04:53 PM
There are all kinds of ways to "remove" oil from a stock. Some strip all the metal and run the wood in the dishwasher. Other ways I've read about include mineral spirits, WD-40, various other solvents. Even wrap the wood in black plastic and put it on the dash of your car while it sits in the sun. I don't recomend the dishwasher-if you are married. If you use solvents please do it outside and don't throw the soaked rags in the trash.
A couple months ago a guy from another forum sent me a scrap Garand beech stock. I wanted to make ink pens from it which sort of worked. I learned just how far oil soaks into the wood. Pretty much ALL THE WAY! I don't think it's possible to remove all oil from a stock.

January 12, 2012, 05:49 PM
I had this issue with a walnut Garand stock. The basic technique Brownells recommended at the time was to make a slurry of whiting (agricultural lime works) and tri-chlor and apply it to the surface, and the vapor would penetrate and the oil was leeched out into the dust. After the solvent was evaporated, putting it in an oven (150°F) caused still more to wick out.

These days you'd have to settle for some other solvent. I suppose mineral spirits would work, too, but it would be slow. I think I would try liquid (not paste) paint stripper. It would be faster and would tend to remove the old finish with it. You'd want to use it outdoors, though. I also recommend you buy a 5 lb bag of ag lime, as it seems to me it took about 20 applications to get oil to stop coming out. I don't expect it was gone 100% at the core from mne, but it was at least gone far enough from the surface that I could put a new finish on and have it dry.

January 12, 2012, 08:31 PM
Brownells sells a Whiting agent , made for just that purpose . It's a powder that you mix into a paste with TCE , I think it is ! It actually works quite well , I've used it before .

January 14, 2012, 10:34 AM
Some years back, I was restoring a lot of SKS's and Nagants. The stocks were VERY heavily oil and cosmolene soaked on all of them. I tried soaking one in mineral spirits overnite. It worked well but now the solvent had soaked the wood. I tried heating it to get the solvent out. The solvent soaked stock reached ignition temperature and burst into flame. It got a little exciting in the shop for a few minutes because solvent soaked wood is really hard to put out!!

I finally settled on a method that worked pretty well. Soak the stock in mineral spirits for a few minutes and brush it. Dry it with rags. Put it in several garbage bags and soak it with oven cleaner. Keep it heavily soaked for a couple of days. The garbage bags are to keep the oven cleaner from evaporating away. Then wash it with soapy water. Lay it in a warm place for a day or so.

I had to do a few of those stocks twice that way to get all of the gunk out but it did work well. It was safer than "applied heat" and not labor intensive. The bad news is that it really raised the grain on the wood so it took a lot of sanding to make them presentable.Keep yer powder dry, Mac.
Tuff-Gun Finishes. The Name Says It All.
Mac's Shootin' Irons

January 14, 2012, 09:18 PM
Thanks for the replies!
As always helpful info follows any question presented here.:)

January 14, 2012, 10:14 PM
You might try simple green. It is a good solvent and not real hazardous. The Chlorinated solvents prevent some health issues.

January 16, 2012, 02:11 AM
I've cleaned up two Garand stocks by scrubbing the snot out of them with soap (laundry variety) and water.

Partially filled a 5 gal bucket, w/ warm water and soap, propped the stock in there, and went to scrubbing w/ a bristle brush. Couple of reps of that routine did wonders.

January 16, 2012, 03:29 AM
Dow oven cleaner has always worked wonders for me.

January 16, 2012, 11:23 AM
I had really good luck with Dow "Scrubbing Bubbles" and a small medium stiffness nylon scrub brush.

January 16, 2012, 11:51 AM
Keep in mind all the water-based solutions will be more prone to raising whiskers on the stock than the solvent based ones, but de-whiskering may be necessary either way to get the surface back to smooth.

One other option is to pay a commercial refinishing operation who has a solvent stripping tank that floods the wood with solvent to strip it. That approach would likely get a lot of oil, at least near the surface, at the same time.

January 19, 2012, 07:12 AM
Repeated cleaning with mineral spirits. Patience is a virtue when doing this work. Using oven cleaner, though recommended by some, is not a good idea when trying to save any stock of value. The oven cleaner contains a number of nasty chemicals. Some even contain lye. None are good for the wood's fibers. Detergents and water is ok as long as there are no cartouches you want to save or any pressed checkering. The water will raise the grain in the wood and obliterate the cartouches.

Just do repeated applications of the mineral spirits as directed above. It air dries relatively quickly. Do not apply heat and repeat as necessary until all oil, cosmo, etc. is removed. Then refinish with your agent of choice.



January 21, 2012, 10:37 AM
Saw some old oil-soaked double barrel shotgun stocks stripped by a commercial furnature refinisher using a dip-n-strip process. Kinda like a hot-tank for wood. Did a heck of a job and swelled most of the dents and dings out.

Gotta be careful ya don't take all the natural moisture out as ya don't want a dried-out piece of driftwood.

January 22, 2012, 03:11 PM
I'd also recommend using "whiting". It actually "draws" the oil from deep out of the wood as the solvent evaporates. Also won't harm even the most delicate finish, cause the wood to swell or warp and won't raise the grain.

Not expensive and has been a staple in professional shops for many, many years.

January 23, 2012, 06:13 PM
The much cheaper Ag lime will do the same thing. An even better product is fumed silica dust because of its higher surface area, but its not nearly as economical.

January 24, 2012, 09:58 PM
Lots of good advice here olddav, but please, for your health, stay away from acetone

I have had great luck with mineral spirits myself, but after reading about whiting, I wish I'd used it

January 24, 2012, 10:57 PM
I just love this site. You ask a question and people give you the benefit of their experience. I havent started cleaning the stock yet but I have a lot of info to sort through. Thanks for everyones help and suggestions