Ways of getting cosmoline out of wood


August 24, 2007, 12:09 PM
How do you get cosmoline out of wood without the aid of the sun? I thought of using a hair dryer since it blows warm air. What else is there?

If you enjoyed reading about "Ways of getting cosmoline out of wood" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
August 24, 2007, 12:11 PM
Wrap it in a good amount of kitty litter, in something flame-proof. Bake it in the oven. It will continue to sweat cosmoline in the Summer, but that gets rid of most of it, at least as well as sun-baking it. Probably better. Best done when wife is out of town.:)

Stinks up the kitchen really nicely.

I've heard that turpentine works, too. Haven't tried it, though.

General Geoff
August 24, 2007, 12:11 PM
Steam cleaner.

August 24, 2007, 12:25 PM
I used *gasp* the oven cleaner method on my Yugo 24/47. Have to be careful not to overdo it as if the oils are pulled out too fast it leaves the wood brittle. But it worked for me on a very ugly black cosmo soaked stock.

I bought some stuff from Brownell's called 'Whitening'. It's purpose is to pull excess oils/grease out of wood. Basically a power that you mix with acetone, mineral spirits or something similar and then smear the paste on the wood. Haven't tried it yet though I have a walnut forearm for my 24/47 that I'll test it on.

August 24, 2007, 12:26 PM
EZ-Off oven cleaner. I have used this on at least a dozen stocks and it works well every time. Keep in mind though, it will also clean off the stocks current finish. Just spray it on and watch the crud bubble out.

August 24, 2007, 12:29 PM
Wrap in old towels and place on the dashboard of your car after closing all the windows and parking in direct sunlight - one day should do it in this weather.

August 24, 2007, 12:33 PM
Heat as suggested above

Mineral Spirits and A LOT of wiping

Murphy's Oil Soap

Any combination of the above

Float Pilot
August 24, 2007, 12:38 PM
I have a couple old steam irons. Here in the dead of winter (prime Alaskan gunsmithing season) there is no solar method available.

I put a damp towel over the stock and steam iron it. The cosmo seeps into the towel. If it is a real gooey mess, mineral spirits work as does turpintine.

I just get the wood all warm with the iron and then start wiping with mieral spirits in between heating sessions... this also raises up any shallow wood dents.

You can also use denatured alcohol to clean off any other petrolium product residue.

August 24, 2007, 03:39 PM
I usually start with mineral spirits or brake cleaner fluid. Then go to hot water and SOS pads and finally coat it with painters whiting, put in a black plastic bag and set it out in the sun. Does pretty well.

August 24, 2007, 03:49 PM
Warning - Do this when the wife is not home.

Put the stock into your oven on low. Make sure to put some tin foil on the bottom to catch the melted cosmo. You'll have to take the racks out of the oven when you do it. I used this method with my Yugo SKS and it worked great. Just make sure to not overcook it.

Mr White
August 24, 2007, 04:21 PM
if your house has an attic that gets really hot in the summer, wrapping the stock in old towels and putting it up there for a few hot days will do the trick.

Taurus 617 CCW
August 24, 2007, 04:22 PM
At school we use a 48" boil out tank. It works very well and leaves almost no oil on the stock. You can make your own out of a small horse troth and boil it outside over a fire/propane flame.

August 24, 2007, 10:09 PM
I would avoid oven cleaner and water as it is unnecessary and is not good for wood - the oven cleaner especially will damage the stock. I've read many sucess stories with oven cleaner and the dishwasher method, and these might satisfy your requirements, but technically, oven cleaner and water is not good for wood. If your stock is a beater and you don't need the best possible result, hit it with oven cleaner (and then flush with water) by all means. I would never put a surplus rifle stock in my dishwasher - that is nasty.

As mentioned, all you need is some solvent (mineral spirits or denatured alcohol) and heat. I made a little cardboard box "oven" in my garage with a long cardboard box, a ceramic space heater, and a $5 cooking thermometer jammed through the cardboard box. Get the temperature up to 170 - 180 degrees F, put the stock in for 15 minutes wrapped in paper towels, pull out and wipe with rag dampened with mineral spirits, and repeat until it stops bleeding cosmoline. Cosmoline melts around 150 degrees F I think so you wnat the temperature above that.

August 24, 2007, 10:20 PM
"...oven cleaner especially will damage..." Yep. It's caustic and will burn the wood. It's made for removing carbon from enameled steel, not removing grease from wood.
A tub of mineral spirits is all you need. Heat isn't required. Drop the stock in and leave it there for 24 hours. Then wipe off the gunk(No dumping it down any drain though. It's toxic) and put on a few coats of BLO or do a complete refinishing of the wood with tung oil. Depends on whether or not you want a shiny finish or flat. BLO give the flat finish.

P5 Guy
August 24, 2007, 10:58 PM
I used one of those old trouble lamps with an incandesant bulb. Just hold it a few inches from the stock and watch the oil bubble up from the wood. It'll only be able to do small areas at a time though.

August 24, 2007, 11:13 PM
I've used a combination of methods.

1. Get a length of PVC pipe large enough (in diameter) to allow the stock to go into.
Seal ONE end of the pipe with a cap and glue in place.
Put a screw-on cap on the other. Use teflon tape on the threads, if necessary.

Carefully lower stock into the PVC pipe.

Fill pipe with mineral spirits.
Screw on lid.
Let sit for two hours, (vertically).
Every two to four hours, shake the pipe, then turn pipe so that the opposite end is up.

Repeat for 24 hours.

Pour out and save old mineral spirits and pour in fresh.
Repeat for another 24 hours.

This method will remove a LOT of cosmoline.

Last process.

Using acetone (or mineral spirits) get some "Whiting" from Brownell's.
Make a paste with the acetone (or mineral spirits). Note: Acetone evaporates QUICKLY! It MUST be used in a well-ventilated area, too. (Ask me how I know.)
Apply liberally to the stock.
The "Whiting" will turn dark from the residual oils/cosmoline.
Allow to sit 6 to 8 hours.
Brush off "Whiting" with a semi-stiff brush.


Finally, spray down stock with "Greased Lightning".
Wipe with a paper towel.

Refinish stock as you wish.

Here's my K98k that I refinished as described above:

This stock was absolutely black from oil and cosmoline. I was shocked at the way it turned out, and it's not that good of a refinish.

August 24, 2007, 11:20 PM
That gun looks good.

August 24, 2007, 11:31 PM
Steam cleaner No, no NO! Never use steam on wood that you intend to preserve, even to remove cosmoline. Water in any form is the enemy of nice wood grain, and fine wood.

all the best,
Glenn B

August 24, 2007, 11:32 PM
Heat gun, mineral spirits, kerosene...

Tully M. Pick
August 24, 2007, 11:46 PM

August 24, 2007, 11:51 PM
I just put mine in the oven at the lowest setting ~170 F and wipe every ten min. Finish up with some mineral spirits. For the metal, I use a tooth brush and a steamer. Compressed air and mineral spirits also works well.

August 25, 2007, 12:04 AM
truly, nothing beats wrapping it in paper towels, the putting it in the back seat of a hot car. in the sun. dont forget to take it out before the sun goes down and the oil goes back into the wood.

August 25, 2007, 12:09 AM
I've used a heat gun with variable temp settings. Worked well.

August 25, 2007, 12:44 AM
Cosmoline melts at about 125 degrees.


August 25, 2007, 01:03 AM
my favorite method is simply extended firing. Put 80 rds down the barrel in 20 min. or so and it'll start coming right out!:neener: Wipe the wood off, and keep firing until it doesn't sweat anymore.:D

August 25, 2007, 02:22 AM
I've always used oven cleaner and sunlight and its worked out great, it does make quite a mess and make sure you stand up-wind.

Here's a pic of my K98 that I used oven cleaner on. I don't have a before pic unfortunately but simply black would best describe what it looked like before. It took me a full day to get it to this point, my process was simple, a few cans of oven cleaner, wipe it down, leave in the sun for a few hours, repeat a few times, finish with linseed oil.


If you enjoyed reading about "Ways of getting cosmoline out of wood" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!