How to remove cosmoline

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Pred, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. Pred

    Pred Suspended

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    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?
  2. MosinDave

    MosinDave G&G Newbie

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    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.
  3. just_a_car

    just_a_car G&G Newbie

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    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!
  4. Calvin

    Calvin G&G Newbie

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    Gasoline and a paint brush will do the trick, too. Used it many, many times and had no adverse affects.....:)
  5. Geo M44

    Geo M44 G&G Newbie

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    Gasoline... The last thing I would use as a solvent... for any reason.

    Just my opinion.
  6. Pred

    Pred Suspended

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    Yeah, but how do I get the cosmoline from deep down in the wood?
  7. Geo M44

    Geo M44 G&G Newbie

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    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:

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2006
  8. .22guy

    .22guy G&G Enthusiast

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    Man, Geo, those rifles are purty! Mind if I ask what type of varnish you used?
  9. Thrawn

    Thrawn G&G Newbie

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    http://www.gunandgame.com/forums/m1...d-cleaner-warning-stocks.html?highlight=GO-JO

    This is a great method. I've used it with 100% percent success.

    Once again, Thanks Rick!:kiss:
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2006
  10. 7mmag6

    7mmag6 G&G Newbie

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    brake cleaner
  11. Geo M44

    Geo M44 G&G Newbie

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    Thanks. Minwax semi-gloss. The M44 is Pecan finish, the SKS is clear finish. I have a couple more M44's in-the-wings.

    As a note: the stripper is Jasco Bix with a red label. Ace Hardware carries it. Pretty mild smell and water rinse.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2006
  12. Pred

    Pred Suspended

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    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.
  13. just_a_car

    just_a_car G&G Newbie

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    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. :09: 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. :drive:
  14. Pred

    Pred Suspended

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    Can Mineral Spirits harm you in anyway? Through the skin I mean.
  15. junkie

    junkie G&G Newbie

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    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.
  16. Geo M44

    Geo M44 G&G Newbie

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    Rule of thumb... when in doubt wear gloves... it's cheap insurance.
  17. Pred

    Pred Suspended

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  18. just_a_car

    just_a_car G&G Newbie

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    Okay, here's the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Mineral Spirits: MSDS for Mineral Spirits - Lancer Group International

    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... :dunce:
  19. Pred

    Pred Suspended

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    Some of those heavy duty green gloves would work fine wouldn't they? We got those at work.
  20. just_a_car

    just_a_car G&G Newbie

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    If you're talking about this: nitrile gloves, chemical work gloves, neoprene gloves, & flock lined latex gloves from T.A.S.C.O.
    Or This: Nitrile Unlined 12 Mil Glove 13 inch length (sold by the dozen)

    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.

    A good PDF on glove selection can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/nasd/docs/d001001-d001100/d001051/d001051.pdf (Can't get much more authoritative than the CDC. :D)
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