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Cosmo removal

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by hexum77, Oct 15, 2012.

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  1. hexum77

    hexum77 Member

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    I've seen plenty o' threads about cosmoline removal but my question is this: Could you remove cosmoline from a stock with nothing but denatured alcohol? I had Gunny do that with my top hand guard and I was just curious if it would work for the entire stock as well. It's getting cold up here so I think putting the stock in a black plastic bag to sweat out the cosmo is out of the question :(
     
  2. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Member

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    If you take that route then Mineral Spirits would be my first choice over denatured alcohol. Your choice. I have used mineral spirits on stocks with good success, I haven't a clue if denatured alcohol might dry the lumber out a little more depending on how much cosmoline you have.

    Ron
     
  3. hexum77

    hexum77 Member

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    Well would mineral spirits soak all the way through to the core or just the surface? See, my stock is Elm and it soaks... I mean SOAKS up cosmo so it's buried in there deep :/ I'm just not sure if denatured alcohol would work on such a soaked stock
     
  4. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Member

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    One method I use with wood stocks that are oil soaked or cosmoline soaked is filling a deep sink with hot water (as hot as you can get it). Then I add a few small 16 ounce boxes of TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate). I add the stocks and let them soak as can be seen below. Yes, that is a rock weighing down the lumber. :)

    Stocks%20Sink%201.png

    I use some scotch bright green pads to scrub the wood down every now and then.

    Next I allow the wood to dry.

    Stocks%202.png

    Finally I gently sand and steel wool down the wood and start applying an oil finish.

    Stocks%203.png

    Eventually I get a good finish which looks however I choose to stain it or in some cases like this birch leave it natural.

    Stocks%204.png

    Just a matter of what you are looking to do. If the cosmoline has soaked deep into the wood it will continue to surface after several cleanings. I would start with just mineral spirits and scotch bright and see what you get. Just know if you use TSP as I did in the pictures you will be looking at refinishing the stock. It just becomes a matter of how much cosmoline or oil needs removed to give you the finish you want.Brownells also sells a Whiting Compound which like TSP will draw oils out of the wood.

    Denatured Alcohol may work fine but I can't say as I have always used mineral oil and other methods. The idea is not how well mineral oil or denatured alcohol will penetrate the wood but how well it will draw out the unwanted oils or cosmoline.

    Ron
     
  5. finnfan

    finnfan Member

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    I can't argue with your results Reloadron, that Garand stock looks really good. No way I could soak a wood stock in water though, I would be scared it would warp or something.
     
  6. hexum77

    hexum77 Member

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    Woah thanks for the great response! I might start with the mineral spirits like you said but I'd imagine that it would only grab the surface cosmo, which I guess is why you soaked the stocks in the water with that TSP stuff. I'll have to give this a shot! I would have figured that soaking a stock in water would be a bad idea.. but I guess not! Thanks for the wonderful info! :)
     
  7. hexum77

    hexum77 Member

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    he has a good point; how would I know if my wood would warp? Does it depend on the type of wood?
     
  8. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Member

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    I should have pointed out as to soaking the wood that you do not keep it in the bath overnight, more like a few hours while using the scotch bright as needed to remove oils that surface. When the wood dries out it will have a dark look, when you first remove it sometimes blackish in color. Then you gently sand it, gently being the key work followed by steel wool.

    For those who fear the bath method there is always Brownell's Whiting Compound as well as other whiting compounds which will draw the old oils out of a stock. A Google should bring up a few great suggestions and videos on using whiting compounds. Remember the idea is to "draw" the oils out of the lumber.

    For the curious I suggest starting with an old military surplus stock. Also remember the methods I have shown and talked about are aimed at older C&R military surplus stocks.

    Once a stock is cleaned dings and dents can be raised (to a point) using a steam iron. My wife made me buy my own. :)

    I have never had wood warp. However, I have only left my wood in the bath long enough to remove the oils. I am far from a wood worker but the tighter the grain the less the solution will penetrate. Good hard wood like walnut or birch have a tight grain.

    One really needs to look at what they have on a case by case basis as well as where they want to go with it.

    Ron
     
  9. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I remember reading on one of the forums that a Marine talked of activating and after taking them out of storage they boiled the complete rifles for a while then moved the rifle to cleaner water and boiled it again etc. They did this 4 times then dipped the rifles in an oil bath after they had cooled/dried which was not a long period with them so hot. No harm to the rifles and all the cosmoline was gone for practicle purposes of use.
     
  10. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Member

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    Going to need a big tank with big heaters. Hey wait, we have big tanks with big heaters at work.... :)

    Ron
     
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