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Old September 26, 2008, 01:39 PM   #1
Buzzard Bait
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oily wood how to clean

I recently acquired an old pistol that metal wise is almost mint but the wood grips are very dark with oil or handling or who knows what. My question is what method do you use to degrease the wood and make it look better?

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Old September 26, 2008, 02:01 PM   #2
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In order of increasing harshness:
* Murphy's Oil Soap and a brush
* Scott's Liquid Gold on ScotchBrite
* Dawn dish soap with Arm & Hammer Laundry Soda in hot water
* Citristrip Paint & Stain Stripper finish remover
* EZ-Off oven cleaner

After the first two, no refinishing needed. After the others, you will have to refinish the grips.
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Old September 26, 2008, 03:24 PM   #3
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Try paint thinner before anything else.
It will not damage any finish but removes grime and grease very well.

Do not use anything water based.
Grips are thin and can easily absorb enough water to swell, warp, and be damaged.
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Old September 26, 2008, 05:43 PM   #4
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WD-40 is your friend for cleaning old dark wood.
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Old September 26, 2008, 08:10 PM   #5
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Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.
Give this a try:
Round up some "Whiting" Basically ground chalk- a pottery supply store will have it and it is cheap-.75 cents a pound! Get a couple of pounds.
Pick up some Denatured Alcohol.
Mix the Whiting into some of the Alcohol and make up a paste about like toothpaste.
Slather it on to a warm stock with a 1" paint brush.
Let the paste dry and brush off the powder.
If the stock is really oily it will help to dampen it with mineral spirits first.
Repeat as needed. This will leech out the majority of the oil without harming the stock.
Harsh chemicals can damage the wood and cause reactions with stains and or change the color of the wood.
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Old September 27, 2008, 05:14 PM   #6
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I did a whole Garand stock that way once. Slow but effective. Note the tip on warming the wood. After the alcohol had evaporated (that's important) but while the dust was still holding its coating shape on the wood, I actually put mine into a low oven at about 150° to drive more of the oil up into the chalk.

Agricultural lime works, too. It is also calcium carbonate (chalk), though it isn't always quite as fine. Very cheap. The most effective is fumed silica dust, because it has the most surface area, but it isn't as cheap. Unless you can get it at work, don't bother.
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