May 10, 2006, 02:25 PM
Okay, I've wiped, scraped, detergented, hot watered and oven heated a stock that had cosmo 1/4" into the wood. It now merely looks oiled.

I'd like to get more out in order to refinish this (horrifically) dinged stock.

Astringent chemicals? Any ideas?

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May 10, 2006, 02:39 PM
There are chemical options, but the stronger the chemical the more it will end up damaging the wood. I've come around to the slow approach. Get what you can with heat, then just set the thing in the hot sun in a plastic bag with kitty litter and periodically clean it off.

May 10, 2006, 02:44 PM
This stock is trash. All I need is the inletted side. I figure to epoxy and reshape the entire outside, so some wood damage isn't a problem.

May 10, 2006, 03:31 PM
When I was in high school, I redid a Norinco SKS. I stripped it, and then submerged it in a tank of 87 octane..... One of the perks of living on a farm that still uses ancient massey fergusons... It worked really well.

May 10, 2006, 03:36 PM
Damn! I don't have a Massey Ferguson.

But the farmer behind me does.

Oh, wait. I have kerosene, gasoline and acetone here.

May 10, 2006, 03:40 PM
Soak that puppy in gasoline.

AJ Dual
May 10, 2006, 03:41 PM
I'm cribbing myself here, I've posted this on other forums/threads when the issue of stubborn Cosmoline comes up. The gasoline will work, however, it's dangerous unless you can do ALL the soaking and drying outside. Your stock will also smell/stink of gas for a long, long, time. Going the solvent route, I've had good results with Acetone. Acetone is insanely aggressive, it'll penetrate the wood completely, it dissolves most everything, and it drys very, very, fast, with no odor, but it's also very dangerous. from a flammability and toxic standpoint.

My favorite method is now Purple Power engine and part degreaser.

Orignaly posted by AJ Dual in various places...

One method of degreasing really nasty milsurp stocks that I found worked well was using engine/part degreaser from the Wal-Mart automotive section.

One cleaner that worked exceptionaly well for me, and was really cheap, just $2-3 for a gallon was "Purple Power". I'm sure you can find the same thing, different brand, at auto parts stores, or farm/yard supply stores as well.

It's pretty caustic, but essentialy, it's just really, really, really, strong soap. I would keep it away from any metal finishes such as bluing etc.

I just washed stocks with it in my laundry tub, using a medium-stiff nylon scrub brush. The degreaser is safe, but it will chap your hands because it removes ALL the oil from anything. I'm such a greasy bastidge that my hands are back to normal in an hour or so, but you may want to wear gloves.

When your done, rinse well. While the wood is still wet is a good time to steam out any dents or scratches in the stock. Take a hot laundry iron, or a soldering iron and a wet rag against any dings, to force steam into them. The steam can reinflate and straighten the little cellulose tubes that make up wood grain when they're crushed in a ding or scratch.

The stock will now look absolutely nasty, all grey and fuzzy, but that's OK. It will do a complete 180 when it's refinished. Let it dry naturaly in a cool, dry out of the way corner, as long as it has good airflow. DO NOT try to speed up the drying process with a hair dryer, the sun, an oven, or any other means. The stock WILL warp, or crack on you, and it'll never fit the action and barrel again.

Let it dry for at least 2-3 days, preferably a week, doing nothing more than turning it over if all the moisture has run to the downward end. If it's still greasy with cosmoline (I've never had to wash more than once with Purple Power...) Repeat the washing & drying, and you might as well take another crack at re-steaming any dents to see if they'll flatten out even further.

Once it's clean and had a week to dry, you can re-finish. Stain if you like. I like using Formby's Tung Oil, but other things will work too. Like Boiled Linseed Oil (never "raw" linseed oil, unless you hate yourself...) or Polyeurethane will work too.

When I use Tung Oil, I sand lightly to de-fuzz the raw stock, then apply a good soaker coat. With a good soaker coat to the inside parts of the stock to keep it stable from moisture or weather changes. Then once a day, I apply another coat to the outside parts, and sand lightly once it's dried. I usualy do about 3-5 coats, and I rub down the final coat with 000 steel wool to give it a more realistic worn appearance. I don't like super-glossy "new" finishes on milsurps, but to each thier own.

BTW, I only do this to "shooters" that I plan to use, or rifles that are insanely sticky with cosmoline. If it's a collector's item I don't touch it AT ALL other than a gentle wipe down, and oil to the metal.

May 10, 2006, 03:49 PM
THanks. They must have boiled this thing in cosmo.

Still, it's durable.

May 10, 2006, 03:55 PM
I've also heard good things about acetone. Gasoline scares the bejesus out of me, both because I've had a shirt blown off my back from it and because of the benzene. Putting gas-soaked wood next to your face and lips seems like an extremely bad idea. Not to mention having a deep soaked stock right next to a red hot barrel!

May 10, 2006, 03:59 PM
Dear God man, do you honestly believe you would pull the thing out of a tank of petrol and start shooting? Acetone has a much lower flash/combustion temp as well....... alot scarier....

I stand corrected, Petrol is -40 degrees.....still, I'd prefer it to acetone.

May 10, 2006, 04:04 PM
I wouldn't want to use either one, but if the stock still stinks of gasoline weeks afterwards that means you still have gasoline in the stock. And that's not a good thing. AFAIK the acetone all turns to gas and leaves in short order. Salons use it to take nail polish off. It's also not nearly as nasty on the system as gasoline. Of course, you don't want to be smoking around it!

May 10, 2006, 04:11 PM
Perhaps we should have some big THR wide contest to find a *SAFE* cosmoline remover. I'd be willing to ante up for a prize...... Hell, it worked for space travel....IE. the X-prize and Burt Rutan....

May 10, 2006, 04:59 PM
The end result of this project is going to make 10% go :scrutiny:, 10% go:D and the rest go some combination of :eek: :what: :barf: and :rolleyes:.

May 10, 2006, 05:17 PM
I think we can safely say that if you put the stock in a bath of gasoline or acetone, then shot a flare into it from behind a bunker, the cosmoline problem would be resolved forever :D

May 10, 2006, 05:34 PM
So would the stock problem;)

I'm sanding enough off in a lot of places, I think a good wipe with acetone will do most of what I need. And acetone will vaporize a LOT faster than gasoline.

Then it's on to the fiberglass, epoxy and paint.

I'm thinking paisley.

Brown, tan, black, sage and green paisley.

Live Free Or Die
May 10, 2006, 06:13 PM
I used heat on my SKS stock...that worked pretty well. I burnt it in the oven a bit (!!!), then switched to suspending it above a space heater for a few hours. Almost all the cosmo came out this way. Since I was refinishing, I went directly from the heat/wipedown regimen to sanding. That first go-round of 60 grit paper got rid of all the visible cosmo, dirt, etc. A few iterations with increasingly fine sandpaper, and a couple coats of minwax later, and I had this:

I finished it off with some 0000 steel wool to remove the obnoxious gloss (even though the minwax was a "satin" finish). Now it's a, insofar as an SKS can be considered a beauty. :)

May 10, 2006, 06:23 PM

This stock won't clean up like that. Apart from being at least 60 years older.

But the shape is coming along. I'll acetone it when I'm done cutting.

May 10, 2006, 06:55 PM
when my grandfather had his gun shop i cleaned untold numbers of milsurp in gasoline. i remember one day seeing my grandpa smokin a cigarette while doin it. :what: the secret to cleaning the stock is oven cleaner, no joke. just spray it on, set it out in the open fer a while, rub it down with a soft bristle brush and then rinse. continue till finished and then lightly sand and spray with some semi gloss. looks like so.....

May 10, 2006, 07:09 PM
What about steaming the stock?

If you can use steam to "inflate" dents in the wood, perhaps you could use it to remove soaked in cosmoline as well.

Never tried this myself, I eventually gave up trying to get rid of it all.

May 10, 2006, 07:27 PM
The old stock maker and furniture maker's oil and grease removal technique is the "whiting" method.

Whiting (actually Calcium Carbonate) is a flour-like white powder sold by Brownell's.

Old woodworkers used it because it actually ABSORBS the oil from the wood without doing any damage to it.

This is mixed with a solvent to a pancake batter-like consistency and applied to the stock with a brush.
The solvent soaks into the wood, dissolves the oils and grease and brings it to the surface, where the whiting absorbs the gunk and holds it.

The whiting will turn all colors of brown and orange as it's absorbs the oils.
While solvents and cleaners will bring the oils to the surface, they can't lift it ABOVE the surface, and as soon as the solvent evaporates, the oil is pulled right back into the wood, no matter how fast you try to wipe it off..
Only the whiting can actually soak UP the oils and hold it.

The best solvent was Trichloroethane or "chloroethane", but this is difficult to get today. It was the best because although it was one of the most aggressive grease cutters ever, it was nominally non-inflammable.

With chloroethane, the wood was coated a section at a time, including the inletting and butt area, with the whiting/solvent mix and was heated with a heat gun.
The oils and greases would literally boil to the surface.
When treated this way, 2 to 4 treatments would clean even the blackest oil soaked wood back to it's natural color.

Today, without chloroethane, you can use a solvent like Acetone, or Lacquer thinner to mix with the whiting.
Mix the whiting and solvent and apply a medium coat to the wood. Quickly wrap tightly in a black plastic bag, and leave it on a hot driveway or on a roof in direct sun.

The heat will draw the oils to the surface where the whiting will absorb it.

After a hot afternoon, brush the dirty whiting off, mix up another batch, and repeat until the stock is clean.

Unlike dishwashers, liquid soap cleaners, oven cleaners, and other harsh methods, this whiting method will REMOVE the goop without damaging the wood.
In addition, unlike other methods, there are no chemicals to leech out later and corrode the metal.

May 10, 2006, 09:14 PM
Calcium carbonate = lime or chalk.

Got some:)

May 11, 2006, 08:58 AM
Not sure if any of the stocks I've cleaned were quite as bad as you describe...But I've done the acetone/mineral spirits thing...But I've also used regular paint stripper which worked well (wear gloves) and my favorite is oven cleaner (also wear gloves). I hose it down w/ oven cleaner and let it sit in the sun, then hose it off. Works good, and not quite as dangerous/nasty as other methods.

May 11, 2006, 09:53 AM
Portland Cement is about the most aggressively absorbent powdered material I can think of. It pulls oil spots out of concrete floors way better than anything else I've tried. I'd bet mixing up a paste of portland cement with acetone or another aggressive solvent and smearing that on the rifle would work about the same as whiting. And it's super cheap and available everywhere building materials are sold. Mind you now, I'm talking straight portland cement, not dry concrete mix like sakrete.

May 11, 2006, 10:15 AM
An agressive cleaner is cheap oven cleaner, get 2 or 3 cans of spray on and spray that sucker down, let it set for a couple of hours, wash, dry and do again. Use vinegar to to neutralize the oven cleaner.
I would not use this on a really good stock but I feel it is okay for a beater.
Just my experience.

May 11, 2006, 10:57 AM
I also recommend not trying ALL these methods at once. I believe the combination of fumes and chemical reactions would constitute a WMD:D

May 11, 2006, 02:00 PM
I really like that calcium carbide idea. That's worth a try. I wonder how baking soda would work in that role.

May 11, 2006, 02:05 PM

DO NOT use calcium CARBIDE. It releases acetylene gas when mixed with water.

Baking soda is potassium bicarbonate. Slightly alkali, but not the same as calcium carbonate.

May 11, 2006, 02:58 PM
Don't know how it works on cosmoline, but the easiest and cheapest way I know of to get powdered calcium carbonate is to go to the grocery store and buy a bag of pickling lime. Look for Mrs. Wages pickling lime. It's food grade, and won't have any contaminates.

My 'other' hobby is marine aquaria. Pickling lime is used to raise pH and maintain calcium content in seawater. You'd be suprised how little information is usefull in both hobbies... well, perhaps not :)

May 18, 2006, 11:40 PM
The oven seemed to get most of it. Surface sanding is getting the rest.

And since I'm about to start another thread on a slight tack, I'll publicly announce here that I'm bubbaizing a Commission Rifle.

Yes, the panic and running for cover may begin.:evil:

PS: I'm firing full power steel jacketed military loads in it.:what:

So far, no holes have been ripped in the Space Time Continuum.:neener:

Nor with the other two Gew 88s I have here, either.:rolleyes:

1 old 0311
May 19, 2006, 07:36 AM
Got a machine shop in your area? They will have a Jet Clean. This is a 'dishwasher type machine' that is used to clean engine bolock, heads, intakes, etc. 30 Minutes in there it will be spotless. Probably charge you less than chemicals, or gas, will cost you.


May 19, 2006, 09:23 AM
I used WD-40 on mine. not sure if it's recommended. the steam idea didn't even occur to me. but the WD-40 ate thru the cosmo like Rosie O'Donnel at the buffet table.

May 19, 2006, 10:08 PM
EZ Off oven cleaner works for me. I used it on a Garand. It removed all traces of oil in the stock. I sprayed it on and rinsed it off in the bath tub(fan running).

May 19, 2006, 10:51 PM
Soak it in low-odor mineral spirits. If you can find a wallpaper tub long enough to fit your stock, lay it in there and turn it every 15 mins for 2 hours. It turned a reddish-chocolate Greek return Garand into bare wood. Here's the after picture:

May 19, 2006, 11:07 PM
A few iterations with increasingly fine sandpaper, and a couple coats of minwax later, and I had this:
What Minwax product did you use? The Minwax products I grew up with were (and are) pentrating stain finishes that would not produce a glossy finish. Did you use one of those horrible "stain-varnish" products?

Don't take that the wrong way -- the end product looks rather nice. I'm just trying to figure out how you got there.

May 19, 2006, 11:13 PM
I went the dishwasher route. I used the "anti bacterial" setting on the "pots and pans cycle, and static from the female unit--due to smell-- notwithstanding, ended up with a clean rifle. :)

Walmart engine degreaser for all metal parts. Cheap and effective.

"Madge, does it really work?"

"You're soaking in it!"


Ad Astra
May 19, 2006, 11:39 PM
I'm doing an AIM Yugo 24/47 right now and oh, man- it has more/worse cosmo than the Yugo SKSs. And they're bad.

Boiling water is one not yet re-mentioned- used that to get it out of the inside, and am trying the oven cleaner for the first time. It's taking SOMETHING brown off; hopefully oil/finish too. Seems like a nice piece of walnut with a motor-oil finish.

What's odd is an M48A didn't have hardly any cosmo. The 24/47 is completely ooked-out. But the boiling water makes the stuff melt away into oil-on-water iredescence flowing down the driveway.

Oh. And cans of brake cleaner. Trying the non-chlorinated ($1 more) stuff; just as hard on the hands. Rolls of paper towels and at least one shirt.

There is no easy way; just all out war on the vile brown slime. :cuss:

May 20, 2006, 05:28 AM
If I could make and market a easy quick perfect cosmo remover I could make millions! I know I would have used it cleaning up all my C&R stuff!

May 20, 2006, 07:47 AM
Once you've cleaned your rifle, don't use a Minwax oil-based stain and then put coats of Tung Oil on it. The Tung Oil acts as a solvent and the stain leaks out onto your hands, clothes, etc.
ask me how I know:banghead:

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