Mosin stock refinish question (here I go again!)


July 3, 2006, 09:37 PM
Now that the K31 project is completed (please see I am planning on stripping my MN 91/30 stock and refinishing it to a non-historical, oil finish. I looked through the Minwax stains and thought that Sedona Red would be cool (can't get much "redder", should be interesting...) Anyway, my questions:

Does anyone have experience putting oil finishes, like Lin-Speed, TruOil, or the Miles Gilbert oil finish, over the Minwax® Wood Finish™ oil based stains? Their instructions suggest using Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (naturally), followed less than 2 hrs later with the stain, which they claim will seal the grain. Has anyone tried this before?

Also, with the birch wood the Mosin stock is made of, any need to do the 400 or 600 grit wet sanding with finish to "fill in" the grain, or is it fine grained to begin with? I want to create a very fine finish, as the wood actually has some interesting grain under the already mostly flaked off shellac.

To the purists, I will do my utmost to preserve the few, faint cartouches on the stock, and since the dents/scratches appear minor, probably start at 150 grit instead of 100. And some collector in the far flung future could always strip my funky reddish glossy finish and dunk it in a barrel of amber shellac, if they really wanted to. No drilling or tapping. Promise. And you can always take off the Mojo sight and put the original back on.

Thanks for any info. I will get some pictures going on this thread once I start to wipe off what is left of the shellac.

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July 3, 2006, 09:40 PM
...There's a difference between Minwax wood finish and regular stain. The wood finish is a stain-varnish all in one finish, and will seal your stock against the oil.

July 4, 2006, 09:14 AM
As mentioned you want to use ONLY the stain, not one of the products that are "combined stain and finish". I use the Minwax stains (on both furniture and guns). Then Tung oil, which I prefer over any other oil finish. Both the stain (for the first coat or 2) and the oil may raise up some grain, just "buff" it with 0000 steel wool (then make sure you remove any "steel whiskers" before next coat. If you use Tung Oil, let it dry 24 hour between coats. I apply several coats, but when done you have and incredibly nice and durable finish.

July 4, 2006, 11:45 AM
I will return the offending products and look for the water based "stain only" products.

Any favorite brand/color for the Mosin project?

July 5, 2006, 09:24 PM
I recently bought a Chinese T53 that someone had butchered. They added 1" to the stock, stripped off all the blue and varnish and covered the whole thing in polyurethane. I looked nasty!

First thing I did was remove the stock extension and then I soaked it in chemical stripper and removed all the poly. Had to wash the gel stripper off with water. I sanded with fine and very fine paper, wet the stock again quickly to allow it to "whisker" and then took down the whiskers with 0000 steel wool. I also ironed out the most of the dents in the wood with my iron on "high" and a wet towel.
I stained with MinWax Red Oak oil based stain, two coats, let dry overnight each time.
Then applied Tung Oil...let sit for 15 minutes, then buffed off and let dry overnight again.
Last, applied a mixture of 1/3rd beeswax, 1/3rd boiled linseed oil, and 1/3rd turpentine...warmed over a flameless heat until wax is melted and concoction is mixed, then left to cool and congeal...makes a great paste to rub in by hand. Warmth from rubbing by hand melts the paste right into the wood, then buff with a soft towl. Gives a great military oil-rubbed finish and is very weather-proof. The mix lasts forever and can be applied anytime.

July 8, 2006, 09:09 PM
The more I search posts here on THR and elsewhere, the more confused I get. Some people swear by BLO or Tung, others Linspeed or Tru-Oil. Not even to mention the arguments over what style of finish you want (ultra glossy vs a more authentic eggshell, etc) I guess I would like something that is attractive and shows the effort I put into it, but since it isn't a custom fancy english walnut stock or something "worth" putting 20 hand rubbed, 2 day drying in between coats of BLO on it, will Tru-Oil fit the bill?

Also, I have been eyeing my laminated mosin, and wondering how it would look without the shellac as well. I know it has slightly more collector's value as is, but it looks kind of dark and crappy, so who knows? One project at a time :)

I did some more searching and found this advice,19912,658527,00.html

Maybe this would do the trick, a Herter's French Red filler and then Tru-Oil on top. Could I rub out the Tru-Oil with the 3F and 5F rubbing compounds? I think my goal is a fancy, high gloss finish which is as opposite as the historical as possible. What the hell.

July 9, 2006, 10:19 AM
I'd say, go with the finish that YOU want. I wanted a more satin/eggshell look on mine, not into the gloss. But, if you want high gloss, then do what make you happy. I looked around for finishing products and techniques and looked at other owners pics until I found pics of guns that had finished I liked, then I (mostly) copied what the other owners did. My Mosin stock refinishing process I borrowed from a Garand site. Was al about refinishing 03A3's and Garands but I've always like that US Military finish and wanted something similar. I'm really not into red shelac. I'm doing all I can to resist stripping my Polish and Russian M44's and refinishing them as well in a color and finish I like. They haven't been molested yet like my Chines one was so I can't justify altering them....yet.

July 31, 2006, 11:11 PM
That how-to described using Formby's Tung Oil finish (not pure tung I assume) over the minwax oil stain. I think I will give this a try.

I'm a little unsure about the cartouches on the stock. Some of the box, scratched ones don't seem "worth" saving, but I know they don't grow back, so I will try to keep everything. Luckily, the mosin refurb stocks don't have much in the way of scratch and dent, nothing like my K31, which required lots of steaming and 100 grit to smooth out. I think I will be starting higher than that this time around, and going higher than 220 as well.

The sad thing is, someday I'm going to end up stripping and RE-refinishing that K31.

July 31, 2006, 11:24 PM
If you use furniture stain/oil combos, your rifle will LOOK like furniture. See what your wood looks like and what it really is. You said BIRCH, which would likely make it a Finnish stock not a USSR stock. The Soviets used Rosewood and cheaper stuff, though pre-revolution Russian M-91 stocks can be nice. If a stain is required, USE IT SPARINGLY!! Full strength will again tend to make it look like a chair leg.

Once that's done, use tung or BLO based oils!!! NO TRU OIL, DAMN YOUR EYES! It's a hideous goo that looks like plastic. Hand rubbed coats of traditional oil will, if done properly, look much better than any synthetic.

August 1, 2006, 07:04 AM
This weekend I hope to have the time to strip the shellac with alcohol, and then maybe the next day get some sanding in. I will post some pics when I can, and we can identify the wood. What type of wood did they use on a 1933 MN 91/30, which most likely was arsenal refurb (like all the rest) The 7.62x54r site said that most refurb stocks are birch?

August 19, 2006, 10:49 AM
I washed almost all the shellac off no problem with denatured etoh, some steel wool, and about an hour or so of gentle scrubbing. There are some dark patches, must be old oil/dirt under the shellac.

Should I try mineral spirits or the Brownell's whiting powder first, or should I hit it with some light 100 grit and see how we do first? Which order makes more sense in people's experience? As far as I can tell, there is no cosmoline on the stock (unless that is what the dark stained areas are). Certainly the stock was not soaked in the stuff, as most of it looks pretty good, just a haze of shellac left which will come off once the sandpaper hits it. The wood looks very nice. I will update with some pics later tonight of before and after.

August 26, 2006, 11:09 AM
Here are the post alcohol stripping and 100 grit sanding pics:

So, what do you think? Hopefully the whiting paste will get those nasty oil stains out, as well as remove the last vestiges of the shellac. Then it's on to the next step!

August 26, 2006, 03:53 PM
Any favorite brand/color for the Mosin project?

ZAR Moorish teak. I did a Carcano stock with this and tung oil and the results were quite nice for a quickie job. I'll have to dig around and scan some photos of the BRNO mausers my buddy Jeff and I did years ago. It's amazing what sanding with 1500 grit will do. :)

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