Be careful rejuvinating that ol' surplus stock...


June 7, 2004, 10:04 PM
Decided to tear down and detail my L1 in anticipation of a new spring set forthcoming. Also decided it was time to refinish that old wooden Aussie stock set.

Agonized for weeks on whether I'd sand it down, raise the dents and get it new-looking, or leave the dents and bruises and just put summore tung oil on it.

Finally decided I like the beat-up look of the stockset, and I'd just clean it with paint thinner and put a couple 7 or 8 coats of tung oil on it.

Glad I did. On the first coat of tung oil, hidden stampings and writing appeared. Apparently years of greezey fingerprints, dirt and gunk covered them. Didn't show up in the cleaning either, but they're plain as day with a coat of tung oil.

Now, they're not spectacular cartouches with long-dead royalty autographs or nothin, but a little piece of history was almost lost to a hastely-wielded piece of sandpaper. Makes me wonder how many stocks out there have lost their personality to a desire to "make it shine"....

For those curious, on the bottom front of the buttstock it's stamped "MA69" with a bigger "N" at the end. Then, written across it with the remnants of a white paint pen is carefully handwritten "59". The handwritten part is almost white where it wouldn't take any finish (looks original, like it's been there since new). Indeterminable if the old paint pen mark is original, but I like the looks of it, so I'm leaving it.
There's also the remnants of a stamp on the forend pieces that say "SLA" - somethin, somethin. It's near the front where there's alot of wear, so it's hard to read and understandably worn off.

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June 7, 2004, 10:47 PM
I just oil finished (Birchwood Tru-oil) the stock on my M48 Mauser, left the bruises and dark spots. I didn't want to lose the cartouches on my stock either.

June 8, 2004, 08:52 PM
I tried refinishing - degreasing a FN49 stock. I used a heat gun to bring up the oil and wiped it off - pretty safe right? Wrong!! I warped the stock and have not been able to correct it yet.

Anyone with a good used stock for the Egyptian FN49 they want to sell??

June 9, 2004, 04:02 PM
That is sad 4shoes....sorry to hear that.

To de-cosmo a stock I have heard of using EZ Off oven cleaner, but I haven't tried that myself for fear of ruining something.

June 9, 2004, 10:03 PM

June 12, 2004, 10:25 PM
FWIW, I have heard that the EasyOff can really trash a stock, but I think that warning was referring to the classic formula with lye. They make a non-lye based formula called "Non-Fuming" that I have used several times with EXCELLENT results. It requires almost no scrubbing at all and a minimal exposure to water ... just enough to thoroughly rinse the stock. YMMV and all that good stuff ...


June 12, 2004, 11:11 PM
Yanky Trash

The SLA is for Slazenger Pty. Ltd. They made stocks for SMLE`s starting in 1911 in Walnut imported from England , then usually Coachwood after `39, sometimes Maple in the between the wars Lithgow SMLE rifles. Usually seen as SLAZ on the forend and inside the hand guard. They did L1 wood as well.

MA 69 is is possibly an Ausse. Military District OR referes to the maker Lithgow. and perhaps the date of production. If it`s a Lithgow gun on the steel then those are original wood.

"59" may be the rack number.

If it is a Lithgow L1 and in good original shape you have a very nice rifle indeed.

If the FAL Forums are still alive you can learn much more about it.

Thank You for preserving a little history by not refinishing the stocks :)

June 13, 2004, 07:50 PM
I went ahead and tried the EZ off non fume formula, it took the shellac off the stock(Nagant) very well, took several times and still had to steel wool some stubborn spots but it worked and didn't ruin anything. Saved all my cartouches too.....perfect :).

June 13, 2004, 08:21 PM
Hai Karate works well too. I purchase it in the 1 gallon can. My wife drinks it with a splash of soda.

June 13, 2004, 09:22 PM
I used to use Easy Off but no longer do. Follow 444's link to parallax and read some of the Easy Off stories. It won't ruin your stock on application -- in fact it makes the stock look cleaner than most any other cleaning method. It's the long term effect and cellulose breakdown that will get you.

I'm now using only Clorox Oxygen Action, Orange Blast, a trashbag in the sun, or some combination thereof depending on how gunked up the stock is. After a thorough washing and drying, I then follow with 100% linseed oil worked into the stock with 0000 steel wool.

June 14, 2004, 06:41 AM
Dang Old&Slow, now there's a reply to my post I didn't expect!


June 16, 2004, 05:11 PM
I read and reread the thread, but I didn't leave the oven cleaner on for more than a couple of minutes..... I've read where people would leave the oven cleaner on for up to an hour, that would make me nervous as heck...

On refinishing my Nagant stock, I've got it hanging with minwax stain, red mahogany, what's the concensus on topcoats? Polyurethane or just wipe it down with tung or linseed oil?

June 16, 2004, 10:39 PM
If I was refinishing any milsrup stock, including a Nagant, I would try to make it as close to original looking as I could. I believe that Russian Nagants were finished with shellac. If you go to that llink posted by Valkman, they cover it.

June 17, 2004, 03:33 PM
If you don't mind the time, there's another good way.
Take heavy plastic, preferably black, and make a bag long enough to hold the stock. I just tape the edges together.
Strip the stock to wood only, wipe thoroughly or use degreaser to get all the surface oil/grease.
Put it in the bag, and then fill it up with either cheap kitty litter or the oil absorbant for spills on garage floors, they cost about the same.
Now lay it in the sun all day. Put in a night, the lay it back out on the other side the next day. Keep doing this for a week or so. The heat will bring the oil to the surface, and the litter will soak it up.
Did this with an SKS stock a month ago, came out very nicely. No chemical damage to the wood, no damage to any markings on the surface.

June 17, 2004, 08:05 PM
I am in the process of doing that right now with a stock, although I am not using cat litter. I just took a roll of shop towels (the heavy blue paper towels) and wraped the stock with them. Then put the stock in a black garbage bag and sat it out in the sun.
Wal-Mart has big black garbage bags that are perfect for the job.

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