Finn M39 stock finish question


September 9, 2007, 11:27 PM
I may be coming into an M39 , '44 Sako in a Post war replacement stock. The stock appears to be sanded, but dry, with no finish on the wood. Anyone know what the original finish used (shellac?)? I'm not hell bent on it being an original finish, I really just would like the rifle to appear good to me, as I plan to make this one of my more used shooters (I love the MN's, but the Ivans are pretty hit or miss with the accuracy). So I'm considering a BLO or Tung oil finish as well. Any suggestions.

P.S. Sorry, but I'm unable to post pics ,but the wood is very nice.

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Mr White
September 9, 2007, 11:51 PM
I'm not sure what the original finish (or is it finnish? :)) on them is, but I know the Finns didn't shellac them like the Russians did, When I got mine, I stripped it with zip strip and scotchbrite pads and refinished it with BLO and it came out to my liking. I've known guys who've stained them before oiling them to get the color to what they want.

Finish it so that it looks how you want it to look. As long as you don't decide to paint the stock yellow or something like that, it'll look fine.

September 10, 2007, 09:51 AM
I'ved used "Finn mix" with good results before. It's basically equal proportions of BLO, Turpentine and beeswax melted together. You can make your own, or I have seen some for sale. Some say this is the "correct" finish for a Finnish Mosin-Nagant, while some say it's not. I've heard theories of pine tar and potassium permanganate also being used to stain the wood.

September 10, 2007, 10:06 AM
Finns used oil on their stocks. They are very dull looking and every one I've seen was dry enough to make me thirsty.

I've always rubbed Pure Tung ( into mine just to keep them from drying out. Don't use Formsby's or Minwax Tung/Varnish stuff!

english kanigit
September 10, 2007, 11:29 AM
I do recall finding something about this a couple of years ago on gunboards (I think it was that forum at least.

The finish was supposedly a type of pine tar and a similar type can be readily found today. The guy who wrote it refinished a whole bunch of rifles with it and posted instruction.

Sadly, the link I had saved for just this occasion is now dead. :(

Best of luck.


September 10, 2007, 02:35 PM
There's a rather intense debate about eactly what the Finns used. We can say with some certainty that it wasn't a simple mix of BLO, wax and turp. There's something *ELSE* in there that gives the stocks a unique dark to black appearance and makes them instantly recognizable to the trained eye. Potassium permanganate stain is the chemical treatment cited by Lapin many years back, but I've found no evidence that Finnish wood has taken on a dark tone from some chemical bath and then covered by a BLO mix. Instead, I've found that the darkness--whatever its source--is IN THE FINISH. This leads me to believe the theory of a Scandinavian pine tar base. Pine tar had been a traditional base for outdoor finish for outdoor woods for ages in the region. Those who have used the real stuff to refinish Mosin stocks end up with very dark wood that looks identical to wartime Finnish stocks. Given the availability of pine tar and the tradition of using it as a weather sealant, I find that theory to hold the most water. Everything about the way the Finns approached the war emphasized frugality and simplicity. Putting a traditional scandic wood preservative on their rifles makes total sense. OTOH, the idea that impoverished, war-torn Finland would use a rather esoteric and explosive chemical compound that is most famous for being used as part of Nazi jet plane fuels for their rifle stocks always seemed odd. Maybe they did, but why? Pine tar is a great weatherproofing for wood. But potassium permanganate? Maybe you could use it as some kind of cleaner, but it's nasty stuff.

I've found some of the "whatever it is" still damp inside the sealed forend of an M-28. I should have taken a sample for chemical analysis ;-) But it sure looked and smelled like pine tar to me.

But for postwar stocks, they generally didn't use bupkus. As a result these tend to have cosmoline infestations. Once you get the grease out of the grain, any BLO type finish would be fine. Real dark black pine tar isn't all that easy to get ahold of stateside. The "old down east" finish used for wood boats or the "Scandinavian finish" you can sometimes find would be about the closest you could find without making your own mix.

Genuine Pine Tar is produced from resinous pinewood. It is used for wood preservation of cottages, splint roofs, boats, bridges etc. Recommended also for treatment of wooden church roofs and other cultural buildings made of wood. An old recipe is equal parts Genuine Pine Tar, gum turpentine and linseed oil, raw or boiled.

September 11, 2007, 01:01 PM
Yeah, kinda thinking about using a darker wood stain first then a couple of coats of Blo, but still undecided.

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