Original "As-Issued" Finish on Yugo SKS?


December 1, 2006, 09:28 PM
I recently acquired a unissued Yugo SKS 59/66. The stock is pretty rough and I'm wanting to smooth out and refinish mine. I am having a real tough time trying to decide what kind of finish I want though:banghead: . There are a lot of options, boiled linseed oil, tung oil, polyurethane, and so on. I realized that what I want is to try to mimic (only much nicer) the original finish on "as-issued" Yugo SKS's.

Can anyone please confirm the as-issued finish on the Yugo SKS?

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December 1, 2006, 10:47 PM
The link you posted isn't of a Yugo 59/66 SKS. It looks like a norinco by the finish. I've seen a number of Chinese guns and they always have had that orangish finish, almost looks like paint from a distance. It might not be though... I'm sure someone will chime in.

The pic in this thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=230764) is how my 59/66 looked when I got home with it. The close up attached is after I cleaned it up. I removed all the cosmo with a heat gun and mineral spirits, then put 8 or 9 coats of linseed oil mix on. It was too glossy for me, so I buffed it to a satin finish with 0000 steel wool. You'd probably have good luck with a low gloss tung oil if you are going for a similar finish.

The "unissued" 50/66's I've seen have had a much different finishes depending, so perhaps a pic of the finish on your gun may help.

December 2, 2006, 12:04 AM
Got this one , not quite sure of the finnish? BLO?.

December 2, 2006, 11:49 PM

Here's a pic of it decosmo'd and stripped down using mineral spirits and heat (used a space heater). I can't tell if it ever had a finish (unless you count cosmoline as a finish) but it definitely appears to have been stained. It looks like they missed staining near the butt of the stock - you can almost see the brush strokes.

You are correct that SKS in the link I provided is definitely Chinese - oops.

Thin Black Line
December 3, 2006, 08:28 AM
I have an unissued yugo with the slightly rough stock, all matching numbers,
and a friend got his unissued with smooth wood. QC must have beeb a
little different at the factory from time to time.

December 4, 2006, 12:57 PM
I bought a yugo about 3 weeks ago. Even with the cosmo on it I was suprised at how good of shape it was in. There were a few dents and dings, but so few that i figured it was worth trying to refinish the wood. I did some researching on different blogs.

The easiest and best thing is to take it all apart (http://surplusrifle.com/sks/index.asp), then soak/wipe down ALL the metal parts including screws, sling swivel, and the rubber recoil pad, with mineral spirits. Then believe it or not, take the stock and the handguard and put it in the dishwasher on the heaviest wash you have. I used plain old cascade.

That step was a little controversial in all the blogs. So i decided to talk with some friends that have woodworking as a hobby about my concern with the wood splitting or warping. They all said that in order to split or warp the wood it needed to be steamed or soaked in hot water for at least 24 hours.

So i went ahead and put it in the dishwasher, I'm glad i did, the results were unbelievable. The wood came out as if it had just been aged and cut. COMPLETELY stain free, and all but completely dry. Only the holes into the stock showed any sign of being damp. I then let it sit overnight with a fan on it just to be sure it was totally dry. The smaller dents and dings has swollen out and were almost all gone. 220 sandpaper made it smooth as silk.

I decided i wanted to make the serial number stand out a little bit. so i took a plain black ballpoint pen and colored the indentation only of the serial number on the base of the stock. Then i followed the directions for the water-based minwax finish that i used in their "rose wood" color (http://www.minwax.com/products/woodstain/waterbased-color.cfm) Finally I topped it all off with two coats of their "polycrylic". The serial number was a nice touch. And the look was complete with a braided leather sling. Could not believe how pretty this gun turned out. It looks a lot like the picture on jd46561's post, but has a rich dark amber color, and a slight bit more gloss. I know it can't be the original look but who cares, it's beautiful.:what:

December 4, 2006, 01:42 PM
Regarding the subject question:
I think it is BLO.

December 4, 2006, 02:36 PM
You're asking a question with a variable answer. :banghead: If you do a little research you'll find that most websites that go far enough to even mention the stock state things like, "The vast majority of Yugoslav M59 and M59/66s have elm, walnut, and beech stocks." "Production started in 1959 for the standard Simonov design, and 1966 for the grenade launching design.. It is believed production records were destroyed in the recent Yugoslavian civil war". I looked long and hard at new and old pictures of yugo's. The old pics are always in black and white. The new pics range in color from yellowish to red to brown. You probably won't get a definitive answer to your question, unless you talk to someone that actually worked in a factory they were made in. So do what you think looks authentic. I'd put it in the dishwasher though. That'll take away any color left by the cosmoline, and should fix your discoloration problem. Then decide what kinda finish you want to try and replicate.

December 4, 2006, 03:30 PM
From everything I have read and dug up, there was no finish applied to issued Yugo SKS's when they left the factory and before ending up in the hands of soldiers. That's why you'll find such a wide variation of color and stock conditions, the soldiers rubbed in various types of oils, or, nothing at all in some cases.

No offense to the previous posters, but wood/water do not mix. I would not put my Yugo stock in the dishwasher unless it was a beater and I was messing around, and if I was looking for a divorce. The best way is to heat the wood until the cosmo stops weeping out. There are various methods, but I've used the oven method and it works great.

For finish, tung oil is the best IMHO. Behr #600 is the best that I've seen. I used Formbys low gloss previously, and while the wood looked outstanding, it was a little too shiny for my taste, even after 0000 steel wool knockdown. Behr leaves it with a military oil looking finish. Others like boiled linseed oil (BLO), which is good but more time consuming and a little harder to work with. I've found a recipe for 1/3 BLO, 1/3 turpentine, and 1/3 melted beeswax, rubbed into the stock, is a supernice military finish.

This site talks about that method and a few others:


The forum below is the best I've found for cleaning/finishing milsurps, a wealth of information can be found:


Good luck.

December 4, 2006, 06:43 PM
It was up to the soldier on the finish, after I cleaned the cosmo off of mine I used BLO witha little paint thinner. It came out very nice, if applied to thick it takes a while to dry though.

cracked butt
December 4, 2006, 08:17 PM
From everything I have read and dug up, there was no finish applied to issued Yugo SKS's when they left the factory and before ending up in the hands of soldiers.

I second that. My unissued Yugo has no discernable finish on it, other than a bit of cosmoline soaked into the stock.

December 24, 2006, 10:40 PM
Linseed oil is the official Yugo stock finish (Mausers and SKS's).

The "unissued" SKS's that were immediately dipped into cosmoline and stored following fabrication may not have had their stocks treated with linseed oil.

If you want to argue otherwise feel free but my research indicates linseed oil. I think it's a shame that some people would be misled by bad information on this thread, so I wanted to try to straighten this out.

That said, finish your SKS with whatever you want. The finishing suggestions (Behr #600 and BLO/Turpentine/Beeswax) made by Lonestar 45 are excellent for a military type finish.

December 24, 2006, 11:33 PM
BLO was as stated the Yugo finish on all wood stocks, DO NOT put it in the dishwasher unless ya wanna risk warping your stock, In fact water is the absolute last thing besides steam ya want near a decent hardwood stock, I can't even count how many otherwise collectable rifles have been ruined and rendered worthless for anything but shooters by Bubba and the run away dishwasher the all time favorite for ruining a nice stock is the good ol steam cleaner followed by the use of oven cleaner, Mineral spirits and a warm day are all thats needed and this method will not destroy all the original military cartouch stamps and acceptance stamps etc... that make up the history of a military rifle, I'd suggest keeping the sand paper away also and going with 0000 steel wool, The Yugo stocks were finished with 220 grit paper anything smoother is a dead give away that its been refinished, Once its been refinished the only thing it has left going for it is that its an all matching rifle, unless ya are gonna never fire it then the "unissued" label no longer applies as this is only used to describe an unfired weapon. If the stock has been sanded / refinished then it goes into the "Bubba" catagory by any seriouse collector.

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