How to safely remove Birchwood-Casy Tru-Oil finish?


Flame Red
September 17, 2008, 03:16 PM

Made a dumb mistake :banghead: and want to make it right. I accidentally used Birchwood-Casy Tru-Oil finish on a AR-15 and it looks horrible after it dried. How can I safely remove it without removing the black finish on the metal?

I tried ethanol and paint thinner - stuff won't come off.

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September 17, 2008, 07:04 PM
I've always used varnish stripper on wood stocks. But on your plastic AR furniture I don't know.

I think no matter what you end up doing your AR's stocks black finish is in for some damage.

Good Luck,

September 17, 2008, 07:11 PM
Wow thats probably going to be quite a pickle. I'd start going at it with a scotch brite pad and some paint thinner. I think you're ultimately going to just have to accept refinishing. Brownell's Alumahyde 2 is good stuff, and there's lots of bake on coatings too.

Is there a good story behind this?

September 17, 2008, 07:22 PM
Honestly that is a strange delema . For myself i would strip the plastic off the metal , and then use something similar to zip strip on the metal . Now likely i would have to " oil rub " the metal back to color , but the " zip strip " should not actually harm the finish other than degrease it . For the plastic furniture i have no idea , maby gunbroker or ebay and just get new . The point is that the most unintrusive thing you can do is to boil the metal . The metal will stand that , but the " furnature " may not want to work with the temps involved . No matter what you choose to do ( and some here may well have better answers than I do ) let us know what you did , and how it worked out .

September 17, 2008, 07:25 PM
On STEEL? My bet is it will come off on its own from use, because it probably didn't get a good adhesion attachment to the metal

September 17, 2008, 07:31 PM
I'd try acetone

Golden Hound
September 17, 2008, 08:22 PM
If you don't mind me asking, why did you put a finish intended for wood onto metal and plastic?

September 17, 2008, 08:43 PM
You might try soaking it in Sea Foam/Marvel Mystery Oil or even motor oil for a few days. There's probably enough detergent and and additives to loosen the Birchwood up so it could be removed with laquer thinner.

September 17, 2008, 08:46 PM
If it's on the metal, definitely acetone. If it's on the plastic you're likely going to run into problems finding a solvent that will take off the finish and not degrade the plastic. For that, trial and error are your best bet on a hidden part of the stock.

September 18, 2008, 10:51 AM
I do not know what the "black" finish on aluminum parts is. I think I would try lacquer thinner on a cloth and a bit of rubbing. if on the plastic, try a dab of thinner on say inside of handgaurd and see how it affects the plastic. If test area gets soft or sticky do not use . In that case on the plastic parts I think just plain steel wool, the tru oil finish is probably softer than the plastic so if you are careful it could be removed. You might soak everything with plain old paint thinner, aka mineral spirits, that should help soften it up with causing damage. Mineral spirtis is often sold in plastic cans so it is not extemely aggressive. Acetone is probably the most aggressive, lacquer thinner next. You might try xylene or xyol, but agin a little dab on a spot that is normally not seen first and see how it affects things. Barrels , I think have some kind of blueing or parkerizing so solvents would not hurt, other metal is aluminum and is probably an anodized type finish which solvents should not hurt.

Mr White
September 18, 2008, 11:04 AM
Try Break Free Powder Blast. It's a really good solvent that cleans anything off of most surfaces. It doesn't harm the metal finish on an AR, nor does it hurt the plastic on an AR buttstock or handguards. It will discolor some plastics though, so be careful.

Flame Red
September 18, 2008, 11:06 AM
Thanks for all the replies.

I called Birchwood-Casey customer support and they were very kind. Said that they would try gentle solvents like mineral spirits or acetone first. They said it was basically Tung Oil. If that did not work, paint remover was the next step, but they were not sure how the AR finish would tolerate that.

So I tried soaking it in Ed's Red overnight since that is mostly mineral spirits and acetone, but that did not help.

I found a few place that talk about Tung oil removal and they recommended:

methyl ethyl ketone solvent (MEK)
Sutherland Welles Ltd. Di-citrusol

Some of those are pretty nasty stuff. So I'm going to see if the local hardware store has any of those and try it very cautiously in a tiny hidden area. Fortunately, it is not on any plastic parts.

I'll report back.

If you don't mind me asking, why did you put a finish intended for wood onto metal and plastic?

Well actually is looked great for many years but has recently started to look ratty and not even. In a few spots it has come off. I purchased a brand new flat top upper and just wanted to return the receiver back to original if I could.

September 18, 2008, 11:10 AM
For the plastic, NON-ACETONE fingernail polish won't melt the plastic(at least it doesn't melt most plastics...test somewhere first). Acetone or acetone based nail polish remover will melt plastic as will lacquer paint thinner. Mineral spirits or enamel paint thinner will not melt the plastic(again, see above...won't melt most plastics). Acetone will strip the black finish off the metal parts's just as strong a paint stripper.

Flame Red
September 18, 2008, 01:20 PM
Picked up some methyl ethyl ketone solvent (MEK) from Lowes and it seemed to take it right off without damaging the AR15 finish. Just a soft tooth brush was needed. I would not use it on plastic, it is some nasty stuff. Even outdoors it made me dizzy. So I advise some extreme caution.

But it did work!

September 18, 2008, 05:41 PM
You really want to be careful with MEK.. Pour some in a small container and drop in a styrofoam coffee cup and watch what happens.

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