I really need to clean up a few older guns I have, plus I'm getting something for Christmas(either a Yugo Mauser 24/47 or a Yugo 59/66) that I'm thinking will be soaked. I've also got a few Mosins(why I posted it in here) and a .308 Enfield that needs cleaned up. I know how to get it off the metal, no big deal. But what about the stocks? My oven is not big enough to put them in, plus it starts at 170 degrees. I know at a certain temp(like mid 300's isen't it?) that cosmo will ignite, so I'm wanting to be careful LOL. I was thinking either a small steamer or maybe a heat gun. I've also heard people say to get one of those metal trashcans and put a few bulbs in the top of it with the gun stood up. I live in an apartment right now so space is an issue, it will have to be done outside. What do you all suggest? One more quick question. Is it safe to use mineral spirits to clean the cosmo from the bore?
I have tried several different methods for removing cosmo from wooden stocks. The slowest way is to use a heat gun and use a rag to wipe off the cosmo that seeps out of the wood. It took me a good 2-3 hours but it worked well and I didn't have to do any sanding. I have also used oven cleaner on 2 of my stocks with good results, the only downside is there is some sanding involved which can ( if you aren't careful ) remove the cartouches from the stock.
I read on one forum where on a hot day someone wrapped their stock in black trash bags, and rested the stock over a couple of bins of kitty litter in the bag to catch the cosmo. ( took a couple of days to get most of it ) I think I'm going to try the garbage can oven next time and see how it works.
Since it sounds like you've heard all the suggestions I was going to give you and you already know how to clean the metal (with mineral spirits), I'll try to address the last question.
Yes, mineral spirits are safe to use on your bore. Mineral spirits is just a bunch of organic solvents, like acetone or isopropal alcohol (rubbing alcohol/isopropanol/2-propanol), which will not harm the metal of your gun. It will dissolve greasy things like cosmoline and other organics, such as laquer, varnish, carbon/gunpowder residue and paint, depending on how tough the paint is. Mineral spirits are designed to be a less-odiferous alternative to paint-thinner, but is slightly less effective as the nasal-passage-burning stuff, not by much though. As I'm unaware of what 'bluing' is made of, I can't comment on the effect, but when I cleaned my 91/30 with mineral spirits, I drenched it and had no noticable removal of bluing. Also, I took a paper towel dampened with mineral spirits and wiped down the stock; made that thing look all pretty and shiney! The spirits-dampened rag helped with getting the surface cosmoline off the stock, like in areas that it had worked down under the barrel and butt-plate.
Here's a great tutorial on cosmo removal, but he doesn't really go into much with the stock: The Box O' Truth - Educational Zone #23 - Cosmoline Removal
I realize he used "greenie" pads to clean the stock of his SKS, but being that my stock had a lot of cartouches, I didn't want to have anything more abrasive than a paper towel or dish towel to clean it off. Also, I can't recommend that site enough; so much good info!
Yeah, but how do I get the cosmoline from deep down in the wood?
It really doesn't go that deep. If you are planning to strip the current varnish, then use a good paintstripper I have had real good results with Jasco Antique Stripper. It rinses with water (I use a scrub brush and lots of water in a medium plastic pail). Follow directions and let the stripped and rinsed stock dry overnight. Lightly sand, Varnish, steel wool, varnish, steel wool, wax (optional).
The SKS & the M44 below were both refinished using this method:
This is a great method. I've used it with 100% percent success.
Originally Posted by Stock Doc
Put the Go-Jo on and let it set about 20 minutes then take a old tooth brush and rub it in a bit. Now rinse with warm water while tooth brushing it but make sure you are not to rough and be carefull around any markings. Let it dry and repeat if needed until you have gotten all of the old finish out. Now after it has set a day or two steel wool or sand burs away and use Acetone to wipe it clean. Alcohol will raise the grain but Acetone will clean it out and leave it this way. Stain to color then oil, let set about 30 minutes and rub oil off real good. DO NOT leave the rags laying around as they will self combust if balled up. I put mine in a water can full of water but sometimes hang them to dry over night then toss them once hard. Repeat oiling after at least 24 hours and repeat until you are happy with the look. Hope this helps Rick B
Once again, Thanks Rick!
Last edited by Thrawn; 12-04-2006 at 10:17 PM.
Reason: I dunno
So let me see if I got this right. I'm gonna have 4 guns total that I want to clean up. Two Mosins(a M38 and a M44), a .308 Enfield, and whatever gun I'm getting for Christmas(either a 24/47 Mauser, or a 59/66 SKS). One of the Mosins I just want to clean up and leave the finish on, so for that one I should take Mineral Spirits and wipe the stock down really good and also use it on the metal. The other Mosin and the Enfield I want to redo the finish. The Mosin I want to stain a dark red like the Russian AK's, not for sure about the Enfield yet. So for those I need to just follow what I would do to strip any wood correct? And for the 4th gun I'll just have to wait and see what I think.
Oh! and something I totally brain-farted on and shouldn't have, being a Chem-major.
When using organic solvents of any kind (with the exception of dry ether) it is highly recommended to use Nitrile gloves (NOT Latex, as it will melt) which can be found at any hardware store; usually a light blue color, but be careful, as I've seen blue latex gloves. Many of these chemicals are carcinogenic and can seep in through your skin, as you too are made of organic material. And, of course, use in a well-ventilated area. Even though mineral spirits are low-odor, you still don't want fume buildup of any kind.
There was a post on here about sanding it off but that was several years ago. a search may find it I had no luck it was from a guy that did stocks all the time though, I can't remeber who it was sorry.
It appears that it's not recognized as a carcinogen, as many organic solvents are, but the "chemical resistant gloves" they mention need to be Nitrile, as I said before. And, as they repeat over and over, well-ventilated area with NO ignition sources. Just because you can't smell it, doesn't mean it isn't there. That's the reason they put Methyl Mercaptan in propane and natural gas; both, in their pure form, are odorless.
I knew that year of organic chemistry would come in handy...
Then, yes. If you have a guy in charge of safety and re-ordering safety supplies, ask him which gloves are nitrile, if they aren't marked already. Normally, black is rubber, green is nitrile, and red is PVC or PVA (polyvinyl alcohol), which is water-soluble, though this is not always the case; color should never be used to determine content of the glove, unless that's how they're ordered from the manufacturer.
The ones you buy at Home Depot (or where ever) that are Nitrile, will almost always be a light blue color.