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Very old (over 100 years) stock finish turned black

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by 4v50 Gary, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    I'm using vegetable based soap and cotton rags to clean an old rifle. Scrubbed the white spots (mold?) off and then some of the dust and grease. Why do old stocks turn black? After scrubbing, I can see the grain again and more rubbing and the old sheen comes back.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    It's 100 years of dust & hand oil & gun oil dried on top of the original varnish or oil finish.

    I clean them with 0000 Super-Fine steel wool & Lemon Oil Furniture Polish.

    Unless the stock is oil soaked from the inside out from sewing machine oil running out of the action?

    They come out looking almost like new after you get all the black grunge scrubbed off with the super-fine steel wool & LO furniture polish.

  3. Sol

    Sol Well-Known Member

    100 years of hand grime and pollutants in the air like dust and dirt.

    Some of my old furniture is patina'ed. I leave it not for value retention but more for the protection it provides.
  4. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    I'm going to treat the stock with Renaissance Wax when I'm done. That'll provide sufficient protection.
  5. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Well-Known Member

    On old guns with an unknown finish I use a cotton rag with mineral spirits(oderless paint thinner) to disolve and wipe away old grime. It won't dissolve the finish but will remove old wax, oil, dirt, ect. Some gentle rubbing and several old rags should clean it without altering the original finish or color.. Problem with many modern furniture polish/"cleaners" are they have silicone of some sort and/or mineral oil in them. Those can get under an old finish and cause it to lift. Once that stuff is in the wood you can't get it out. Renaissance Wax is great stuff. I usually buff on a couple coats of Johnson's or Butchers past wax if it needs it. Good luck.
  6. Nappers

    Nappers Well-Known Member

  7. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Well-Known Member

  8. brickeyee

    brickeyee Well-Known Member

    May have been finished with Boiled Linseed oil (AKA 'BLO').
    After a long time it oxidizes to back as it very slowly cures while accumulating more and more filth.
    Without an added chemical drier (Japan drier) it is a horrid finish.
  9. loose noose

    loose noose Well-Known Member

    I've had good luck with Old English bringing up the dried look on older stocks, after using the 0000 steel wool trick.

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