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M1903 Stock

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by jeff4570, Jun 25, 2003.

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  1. jeff4570

    jeff4570 Member

    Jun 24, 2003
    Naugatuck ,CT
    I have one of those CMP M1903 rifles with the bad stocks ,the ones that had 75 years worth of unknown chemicals imbedded in the wood .....After messing around for 3 weeks I gave up , any reccomendations who I can send the stock for restoration ??:banghead:
  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    If by chemicals, you mean that old black grease that gets embedded in old stocks, there is a traditional stockmaker and gunsmith's method that will return the stock to near-new condition.

    From Brownell's, a local woodworker's supply, or a drug store, pick up a container of "whiting" (calcium carbonate). This is a very fine, flour-like powder.

    You will need a good solvent, NON-INFLAMMABLE if possible.
    The favorite was Trichloroethane, but this is difficult to find today. You might find it at some local oil companies.

    Mix the whiting and solvent to a pancake batter consistency. Apply a coat to about 1/3 of the stock at a time, including the butt area and the inletting. Heat the stock with a heat gun or lamp, being very careful not to over heat and burn the wood, especially around edges.

    The old grease and gunk will literally "boil" out of the stock where it's absorbed by the whiting.
    Brush the dirty whiting off, reapply and repeat. Usually 3-4 applications is sufficient to clean even the filthy-est stock and return it to it's natural color.

    If you have to use a flammable solvent, DO THE WORK OUTSIDE, away from any possible spark or flame. Coat the entire stock with the "batter" and instead of applying heat, wrap the stock in a black-plastic bag and leave out in the sun in a hot area for an hour or so.

    Why the old whiting method is so good, is it cannot harm the wood like other methods can.
    Many people are cleaning stocks with various oven cleaners and water-based liquid cleaners, even running them in dishwashers.

    All of these methods do work at least somewhat, but they can also damage the wood, remove proof marks, and worse, leach out of the wood later, damaging the finish or even rusting the metal.

    All cleaning methods work by bringing the grease to the surface of the wood. However, no matter how fast you wipe, the grease is re-absorbed because the grease is brought only TO the surface, not above the surface.
    The reason the whiting is so effective, is that the coating absorbs the grease before it can soak back into the wood, and actually draws it out of the wood.

    I've used this for years, and even a totally black soaked stock will return almost to it's natural color, without damage to the wood, or any stamps.
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