Very old (over 100 years) stock finish turned black - THR

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Old August 14, 2014, 07:32 PM   #1
4v50 Gary
Join Date: December 19, 2002
Posts: 16,470
Very old (over 100 years) stock finish turned black

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.
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Old August 14, 2014, 08:10 PM   #2
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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.

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Old August 14, 2014, 09:00 PM   #3
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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.
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Old August 15, 2014, 03:43 PM   #4
4v50 Gary
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I'm going to treat the stock with Renaissance Wax when I'm done. That'll provide sufficient protection.
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Old August 15, 2014, 04:58 PM   #5
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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.
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Old August 16, 2014, 06:58 PM   #6
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I saw a video on Midway USA where Larry cleans an old Remington Rolling Block 50-70.

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Old August 18, 2014, 03:46 PM   #7
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Kramer Antique Restorer is very popular and gets high marks from the British Military Weapons crowd.


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Old August 18, 2014, 09:50 PM   #8
Join Date: February 25, 2005
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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.
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Old August 20, 2014, 10:29 AM   #9
loose noose
Join Date: February 22, 2012
Location: Southern Nevada
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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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