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Help cleaning up my CMP M1 carbine

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Dr_2_B, Feb 6, 2011.

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  1. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    I'm not a novice to guns, but I have generally had a utilitarian mindset about them - they are tools to me. I keep them clean enough to do their job.

    But for my CMP M1 carbine, I'd like to clean it up a little. It's in good shape, just doesn't look as pretty as I'd like. Unfortunately, I don't really know how. My search on here didn't really turn up what I was looking for... maybe I didn't use the best search terms.

    Anyone else clean up an old military gun like this? What process did you use? I've heard some people even use a dishwasher on the furniture.
     
  2. kraigwy

    kraigwy Member

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  3. Tim the student

    Tim the student Member

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    You sound like you mean to ask about cleaning it up aesthetically - right?

    Can you make your goal a bit more specific? Do you want to just get some of the grime off, or to make the stock look like it was just issued?

    I've done a couple Garands, and am in the process of a Carbine now. Here are a couple before and after pics of a couple stocks I did for the AL, so they could hopefully be used again, and not relegated to closet duty. They sure don't look great, but they look a hell of a lot better. Hopefully they are in use in some way now.

    IIRC, I used a stripper to get the varnish off, followed by a dishwasher. (I would not do that for collectible stocks.) Then, some heat and mineral spirits, followed by a couple coats of Fairtrimmers and Tom's 1/3 wax. In the past, I have done the heat thing and mineral spirits, and I have used an iron to help raise the wood on some dings. Then, some Fairtrimmers and wax. (The latter method is what I did for my Father-in-law's M1, which is the bottom pic, and a field grade, BTW.) These are not complete instructions, and are somewhat abbreviated. If you want more, let us know. Just be aware that there are a few ways to do it, and you will get a lot of opinions - and even more opinions if you go to the CMP forums! :neener:

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    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  4. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    Yes sir, you're correct. And you did some beautiful work. I have exactly zero woodworking experience... and for good reason. My interest level in woodworking is about zero. But what you're discussing sounds possible. I'll check out the forums... thanks.
     
  5. Tim the student

    Tim the student Member

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    Thank you, but I wouldn't call them beautiful myself. Just better. Beautiful would require more skill than I possess.

    It really isn't that hard to get them to look like that. It just takes some time and some patience.

    There are some guys who have some really beautiful rifles here. COL Plink, USSR, Orlando and FlyinBryan come to mind, but there are many others as well. Check out this thread for some good pics. Mostly Garands, but there are some other milsurps in there as well.
     
  6. Orlando

    Orlando Member

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    I have been refinishing stocks for years and have tried every method there is.
    I have found what I believe is the easiest, best method

    If I want to do a deep cleaning and refinish of the wood here is how I do it. Takes maybe 10 -15 minutes for a completetly bare clean stock
    I first take Purple Power degreaser and put it in a spray bottle.
    [​IMG]
    I then spray down the stock with degreaser, immediataly you will see years of grease. oil and dirt start to roll off
    [​IMG]
    I then take a soft nylon bristle brush and go over the stock.
    Rinse well with hot water while rubbing with brush .
    I will usually do procedure one more time except the last time wipe dry with cotton towel.
    It probably only takes 10-15 minutes for the whole procedure
    If stock is very oil soaked it may take another cleaning .
    I then let set to dry out of direct heat source.
    If it drys slowly you have a less chance of wood warping.

    This is what the wood looks like after drying
    [​IMG]

    I let the stock dry for a day or two before refinishing
     
  7. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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  8. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

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    That actually seems like a good way to go. I think I may have to try that one. Thanks. I usually just use the dishwasher but to be perfectly honest, I always felt that there had to be a better way.
     
  9. Orlando

    Orlando Member

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    In my opinion its a much better way
    You dont subject the wood to so much heat and moisture which can warp or crack a stock, not to mention you dont make your wife mad this way.
    I actually just got done striping a stock this morning. It was more stubborn than all the others I had done before. It took multiple coats and cleanings but looks good now and is drying
    I used a green Scotchbrite pad on it which I never used before and think this may be they way to go on stubborn dirty stocks
     
  10. USSR

    USSR Member

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    But, who cleans the bath tub?:uhoh:

    Don
     
  11. Orlando

    Orlando Member

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    My wife trained me better than that.:) Its a old utility wash tub
    PM left for you on the CMP forum
     
  12. carbine85

    carbine85 Member

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    You can lift some of the dents and dings out of the wood if you really want to clean it up.
    After you strip it down and sand (don't remove markings or stamps) wrap the stock in a soaking wet towel and let the water soak in, puncture the dents with a tiny needle all the way around and in the middle. Apply a very hot iron to the dents with a wet towell in between. You want to make steam and lift out the dents and let the dents swell. Do some more sanding and repeat as needed. Make sure you apply the proper stain and oil after you finish. It will really sock up the stain.
     
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I have had very good success with steaming out dents as well, but I do want to suggest that any sanding you do be extremely minimal. It is very easy to try to fix up a stock "extra good" with a thorough sanding job. DON'T do that. Keep the sanding very light, and minimal, and DON'T sand edges, joints, or anywhere where the metal meets the wood.

    I'd much rather see a stock with plenty of honest wear than a stock that's been over-sanded, had contours removed, had it's edges rounded, and the wood-to-metal fit screwed up.
     
  14. deimos256

    deimos256 Member

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    After stripping and sanding what are some recommendations for refinishing? A coworker told me linseed oil is best. Do you just apply a coat or is a more thorough process needed? I really don't know much about this stuff, I tried refinishing my Mosin with polyurethane and while it came out alright, it's nothing like some of the rifles I have held.
     
  15. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Polyurethane is not a very good choice for much. Coating the wood fibers with plastic. As a woodworker ... that's "icky." ;)

    Linseed oil is a classic. The raw stuff takes forever to cure. The boiled version will dry faster.

    There are a variety of other high-quality oil finishes which give great results. Tung oil is one. Personally, I've always gotten terrific results with WATCO "Danish oil finish." It's a blend of oils and varnish that soaks in very well and produces a terrific finish just by wiping it on, letting it soak, and wiping off the excess. (Follow the directions on the can.)

    Just don't buy anything that has a stain or pigment. Stains can come out looking blotchy, and your walnut stock will be dark enough without it. Look for a "natural" color finish.

    I let my last WATCO coat dry for a day or two and then wax the wood with dark paste wax for a final protective coat.
     
  16. deimos256

    deimos256 Member

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    Thanks for the help. It's actually for a German k98 that's fairly chewed up. I don't mind the dings because they tell a story, but half the finish is worn off, sort of the the pictures above. I'm looking to strip it, lightly sand anything too rough and then go for a satin finish.
     
  17. USSR

    USSR Member

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  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    O.k. That looks fine. I'd have to see one finished with oil and one finished with that stain side-by-side, but I'd say that the stock shown in those pictures is lighter and redder than my Garand (lightly refinished) and Carbine (original) stocks, but not too far off from my '03A3's original stock.

    I'd still prefer the lightest possible touch, and don't personally think adding color fits with that principle, but that's not to everyone's taste.
     
  19. carbine85

    carbine85 Member

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    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  20. Orlando

    Orlando Member

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    You want 100% linseed oil not linseed oil finish (that is a shiney finish) 100% Linseed oil is easily found at Home Centers, Paint stores, Lumber Companies,etc
     
  21. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    FYI BLO is not for the impatient. I've been working on one of my garands for about a month and it still needs more.
     
  22. Orlando

    Orlando Member

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    This may help get 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper( it is very, very fine and wont remove any noticeable wood). Dip the sandpaper in the BLO and rub it all over the stock. In a coat or two it should stop absorbing as much
     
  23. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Done it... still has some patches that are dull/absorbing. I'm thinking of just rubbing on some Tom's 1/3 and calling it good.
     
  24. Orlando

    Orlando Member

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    Let it dry and try it again and see what happens
    This is usually from a stock being very dry and having open grain.
     
  25. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

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