Anybody use 'whiting' to get rid of black spots?


February 1, 2007, 10:32 PM
Hi all,

Have any of you tried this stuff ( to get rid of the black cosmoline soaked spots on an old milsurp stock? I have a Yugo mauser I am cleaning up and the stock is almost black in place - around the butt plate, trigger guard area, around the little reinforcement bar that goes through the stock (no idea what its called), and especially the smaller last 3 inches of the stock where the springs and rings go.

I started with mineral spirits, then acetone, then found a can of spray on paint/varnish/shelac remover. Got a lot of it, but the wood is still VERY dark in those areas.

I plan on sanding and refinishing the whole stock, but would really love to get the black off.

The 'whiting' forms a paste when mixed with acetone or similar and supposedly sucks all the oil and black out of the wood.

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February 1, 2007, 10:42 PM
I tried it a soaked '03 C-stock and I wasn't happy with the results. It did work, but it took several repeated applications to get the results I wanted.

I've found that plain 'ol heat seems to work best. Some folks use a heat gun... some folks put the stock in a sealed car and the let the sun bake it.

Check out for several good articles on how to remove cosmoline/grease/oil.

February 3, 2007, 07:41 AM
You might try using wood bleach or possibly something like oxy-clean on it. I know of a guy who used the oxy-clean soaking method with good results, but I'm not sure about soaking a rifle stock in water too long for fear of warping.

February 3, 2007, 10:45 AM
If you search in the gunsmithing forum, you'll find quite a few threads on this - and a lot of favorable reports. With a military stock soaked in cosmo, though, it is possible you'll never really get it all out with any method - depends on how thoroughly soaked the wood is. On favorable thing about whiting is that you can't damage the wood with it.

February 3, 2007, 01:19 PM
Whiting (actually Calcium Carbonate) has been used for hundreds of years by stock makers and furniture makers to remove grease from wood without damaging it.

Too many other current "do it quick" methods are risky and can damage either the wood, or corrode the gun metal after whatever is used leeches back out of the wood.

Unfortunately, the best solvent is no longer readily available.
In the old days we used Trichloroethane which is an incredibly effective grease cutting solvent that evaporates literally in seconds.
Best of all, it's nominally non-inflammable.

"Chloroethane" was mixed with whiting to a pancake batter consistency and applied to the wood.
The area was then heated with a heat gun or heat lamp.

The solvent soaked into the wood and dissolved the grease and oil.
The heat cause it to "boil" to the surface bringing the grease with it, and the whiting soaked it all up, turning all shades of orange and brown as it absorbed the gunk.
The filthy powder is brushed off, and another coat is applied.

Usually, 2 to 3 applications would remove most of the grease and return even a black stock to it's natural color, WITHOUT any risk to the wood.

Unfortunately, Trichloroethane was determined to be a carcinogenic and is hard to get these days.

A good alternative is to mix up a flammable solvent like Acetone and whiting, coat the wood including the inletting, and quickly wrap in a black plastic bag.
Put the package on a hot roof top or driveway in the Summer sun for a hot afternoon.
Open the bag, brush the dirty powder off and apply another coat.

Many other methods can bring the grease to the surface, but they can't lift it OUT of the surface.
They don't REMOVE the grease since no matter how fast you wipe, the grease is absorbed back into the wood.
The whiting actually wicks the grease out of the wood, and holds it.

Best of all, unlike using harsh chemicals like oven cleaner that damage the wood, or putting the stock in a dishwasher which soaks the wood, the old whiting method doesn't damage the wood, and there's nothing to leech out later and corrode a good gun.

February 3, 2007, 08:46 PM
I'm using it on a Turkish o/u stock set now...I'll let you know. I'm using it with Acetone.

February 4, 2007, 05:18 PM
Dfariswheel, I could use some help with the whiting. I've done about four treatments, results seem good, but...

I flushed the wood with acetone to try to get the whiting that didn't brush off out/off of the wood, but it still has a distinctly "floured" look. What is the next step with this stuff? If the whiting got the oil out, what do I use to get the whiting out? I'd prefer not to use water, since that'll mean a lot of sanding...


February 4, 2007, 10:43 PM
Try a scrub down with a brush and lots of Acetone.

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