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Margaritaville Native
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a detailed process on how I chemically strip wood. I like to remove all the finish and most if not all of the original stain from my stock sets. This process will show you how to get them back to bare wood and ready for stain and finish of your choice.
There may be easier ways and different methods but this is how I do it.

When your done you can go from this....


To this.....



You'll need.
BIX paint stripper.

This is a potent chemical paint stripper and will remove paint and grease. and Read the directions on the can. Use good rubber gloves and a wear a long sleeve shirt. This stuff burns skin but is easily diluted with water if you splash some on you accidentally. Use safety glasses. Try to use it outdoors in a well ventilated area. Dispose the used stripper in a safe place and try not to breath the fumes too long, you will get dizzy if you do. A respirator is a good thing.


Rubber gloves, various nylon brushes & scotch-brite pads & disposable aluminum roasting pans. There are lots of pan sizes. Just make sure they are deep enough.


Gather up your stock sets and remove all the metal from them. Remove the butt plate and remember to pull out the big spring from inside the rear stock under the butt plate and all the sling mounts and screws.
Put the parts in the pan. I don't pre-clean much other than wipe off the really heavy grease. BIX will dissolve most everything. Pour the stripper direct from the can. Pour slowly. Don't brush it on. It works better if you just coat the pieces uniformly.


Once you have all the pieces coated.
Cover the pan with some tin foil (it helps to stop evaporation and fumes). Let the coated pieces soak for about an hour.




After about 1/2 hour check the pieces. I will sometimes re-coat the parts with the run off at the bottom of the pan with a old brush. Don't paint them just pick up the run off and spread it on the pieces.


Just before the hour is up I use a nylon brush to break up the stripper a little.


Now the really messy part of the process starts.
Use old newspapers and wipe down the parts to get a lot of the stripper off the pieces. Then put them in a clean pan and using running water start scrubbing with the nylon brushes and scotch-brite to remove the stripper. BIX turns milky colored when in contact with water. So you will see if any stripper remains. Use lots of water. Keep using the brushes and get all the stripper off. I don't use scrapers. They have a tendency to gouge and scratch the wood.


After all the BIX is off rinse the parts with clean running water. When your done the pieces should look like this.


Rinse the wash pan out and mix a 1 part bleach 2 parts water solution. Put the pieces in the pan and weight them down. I'm using some brick veneer to hold the pieces under the solution.


I leave the pieces in the bleach solution for 2 to 3 hrs. After the time is up rinse the pieces real good again with clean running water and then blot them dry with clean rags or paper towels. Let the pieces air dry for a couple of days and they should be ready to sand, stain and finish.

(As you can see the Romanian butt stock still has a shadow of the black band showing....at this point you can either re-strip using BIX or just sand it off.)
These parts had only had 12 hrs to dry. They will lighten even more after a few days drying time and the yellow cast will disappear.

I hope I explained the stripping process clearly enough....
 

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Margaritaville Native
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
pirate56 said:
Trade secrets from the wizard of wood!!
My pleasure......

Oh Great Master Manipulator of Metal ! :rofl:
 

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Something I've found out the hard way, photochemically active paint strippers are corrosive and given time will eat their way through the metal cans they come in. Buy the small cans, use them up and throw them away. Otherwise you'll end up with a hell of a mess once they start leaking.
 

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Quite informative! I might try the do it yourself method. Youv'e got it do pat.
 

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Thanks for the info. I have a Russian RPK stock set on order and want to put them on a Yugo M72. I didn't figure my past efforts at stripping oil-soaked mauser stocks would work, so your info was great.
 

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Margaritaville Native
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
jsc said:
Thanks for the info. I have a Russian RPK stock set on order and want to put them on a Yugo M72. I didn't figure my past efforts at stripping oil-soaked mauser stocks would work, so your info was great.
Your welcome.....
Some oil soaked wood never gets really clean...it just adds to the character when you refinish them, You can try rubbing them down with acetone or mineral spirits first before you strip them.
 

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Been there, done that

Back when I was fooling with old, cheap mausers, I made a 5"wX4"dX36'l tray out of valley tin. Most of the mausers came with 1/4" of filthy causmoline coating. Strip them down completely, lay them in the tray, cover with gas. (I know, I know!........) After an hour or so, scrub down with brass brush. Stock, too, since they were greased up also. Wipe off, then set in the sun. Stinking oil and black bore cleaner in stock weep out. Wipe off, then wipe with acetone (I know, I know!.....) Repeat many, many times. Never in any sort of enclosure, so the amblulance could get to the body easily. When it looks like it is as good as it will get, a very light coat of boiled linseed oil, and rub with a clean cloth until happy. If the stock was roughly machine sanded, as many were, linseed oil in with an ultrafine scothbrite-type pad with very light pressure, watching any marks or cartouches. Not too bad, but not for collector-type rifles.
 

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stripping old rommy finnish

I use painters grade alcohol, paper towels,tooth brush's and the old tried and true OLD T-SHIRTS! I wrap the wood with paper towels and soak with alcohol for about 15 to 20 min. to soften old finnish and then start rubbing down the finnish with alcohol soaked rag's and tooth brush in crevice's till all the finnish is removed. This way you do not remove the original pigment's in the lamenate's! Works great and when you re-finnish it look's original and new again!
This is just a way to remove the finnish and keep it looking millitary when you are done.
Paint stripper use as above gives you a way to start with fresh wood and get creative with your stain's ( very cool!):thumbup1:
 

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Firearms Junkie
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Here's a question for you guys..... I am a gunsmith and have refinished many old military stocks and new factory (Bishop - Fajen, etc.) wood ones and have used the same ideas posted here. But, here's a project I am currently working on that raises a new question for me. I am building a Romy G kit, but don't want to strip the finish as I am attempting to keep it "as issued and used". The buttstock is very nice and has cool markings as does the forearm. The forearm has a very shiny finish while all other parts are rather dull. What would be the best way to easily clean the dull finished parts well enough to hold a shiny finish? And would 1 coat of spray True-oil or perhaps polyurethane be the best way to go? Thanks
 

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Agree with tanvil. One of the great things about shellac is that each coat merges with previous coats. There's no layering, so you can freshen up a shellac finish without sanding.

Make sure to degrease/dewax before applying the shellac. Mineral spirits or TSP will do that job and won't touch the shellac.
 

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Firearms Junkie
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The only problem I have in this project about the degrease/dewax using Mineral spirits or TSP is that this stock has a really nice marking that I want to keep intact and it looks like its painted on with perhaps latex paint. Maybe I could carefully put a coat of shellac over the marking first to make sure it is "safe" then after this dries, do the entire stock degrease work. Thanks, Glenn
 

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Use soap & water if mineral spirits or Trisodium Phosphate worries you. But neither will affect shellac, shellac dissolves in alcohol.
 

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My concern about using Mineral spirits or TSP is that it may remove the latex painted marking on the stock. Perhaps I can gently test the latex area and see what happens. Then take it from there.......thanks to all of you for great help, Glenn
 

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If it's the black stripe on the back of the stock you're referring to, it's under the shellac. At least it has been on all mine. Cleaning should have no effect on it. I have a non matching romy kit I can experiment with I don't have any mineral spirits but I'll dump laquer thinner on it and let ya know what happens.
 

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Cleaning: The laquer thinner took the top layer of dead finish off and completely restored the shine. I applied a small amount to a paper towel and worked it quickly, then dried it with a clean towel. You can see by the paper towel how quick and effective it worked. The brake parts cleaner did not restore the shine and only removed some of the crud and none of the dead finish, as you can see by the paper towel and the gloss level of the wood. I had to resize the pics to post them so I apoligize if they are not clear.
 

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Lacquer thinner might attack shellac, but I doubt it. Be interesting to hear back from tanvil. I'm certain that mineral spirits don't.

I just did a test. All I have here is alcohol, turpentine and acetone. The shellac on a Romy lower HG here just shrugs off turp and acetone, even with brisk, forceful rubbing. The alcohol attacks it immediately.
 

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Always sore, always tired
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sjohnson said:
Use soap & water if mineral spirits or Trisodium Phosphate worries you. But neither will affect shellac, shellac dissolves in alcohol.

Yep; Furniture guys repair scratches in shellac finishes with a lint free cloth or 0000 steel wool damped with alcohol. You often don't need any more shellac.
 
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