How do I clean and maintain an old timber stock?

Hey all,

I’m wondering how I should go about looking after timber stocks on old milsurps.
I’m not talking about refinishing where I would sand it back and start from scratch with an oil finish. I just mean cleaning and maintaining.
I’ve seen a lot of videos using gunny wax, made of bees wax, turps and boiled linseed oil. When would it be appropriate to use this?
What about cleaning off old grease and oil etc?



Its a matter of how far you want to go, or sometimes once you start when do you stop. You could start with just some furniture oil like marteko which will just re oil and clean away any grubiness on the wood in the old oil.

The next step is doing something that will bring out the old oils then replace them with new oil and this requires a little wet and dry as when you remove the old oil the timber pores open up and need re sealing and smoothing.

Depends what you want to clean. If you’re referring to your Type 53, there is no collector value there. I’d go all the way.

Just to clean, take it out of the stock. Warm soapy water and a sponge. Off you go. When the wood dries, you may see ‘whiskers’ - little fibres, from washing. 000 (or is it 0000) steel wool to smooth it out, wax (Burchwood Casey gun stock wax is good here) and you are done…

You need to research the finish on your Mosin. Oil, you are good. Shellac will start coming off and you may want to go all the way and replace it with oil, if that’s the case, here are some videos for you. Solid process, tried, works well.

One thing to keep in mind, if you’re going the video route…

  • don’t worry about stripper - use Acetone for shellac (but be ready to do all cleaning steps and oil in one day, to avoid wood drying)
  • Krud Kutter - replace with whatever is organic and citric, but careful with any strippers, they will damage the wood
  • Steaming - meh, seems like an over kill
  • Tru Oil, it will feel like you are getting it all off when buffing with steel wool. That’s the idea, first coat should be just the pours. And yes, you will need 6+ coats.

Stock Refinishing Part 1- Removing the old finish (there are a few parts)

That should cover it.

Nah, I’m aware that I’ll almost certainly have to completely refinish the T53. In fact, one of the reasons I bought it was to have a go at all that stuff before I have to do it on a gun I really care about.

Cleaning I’m more thinking of my M96. It’s in good condition and I want to keep it that way.

Thanks for the advice.

I have used the paint removal gel and brake cleaner to get the grub and grime out. The paint remover also removes the oil. So believe it or not it is a gentle process for the wood. It really draws the oils out the good wash with hot soapy water I am sure also helps.

Once you have a dry clean smooth stock, Well its decisions times again. I am not a fan of the tru oil it contains a lot of laquar. I prefer a goo oil finish. depending on the wood you may need to use a tint in the first couple of coats. I have used Tung oil for this. You can start putting tru oil on at any time but once you do you can not really re oil it is now sealed with a Laquar. There are other polyurethane finishes that could be used to harder it up and seal it, If you want to go that way like Watsons poly wipe.

I like just applying Tung oil, then a furniture oil and finally a silicon oil.It can be touched up at any time.

Watch “Gunstock Sanding and Finishing - THE RIGHT WAY!” on YouTube

I refurbished a shot gun last year using this blokes method. Came up a treat, but takes a bit of time. The old fashioned way. Four or five videos

Depends if you want to restore or refurbish.
Restoring , use a bucket of hot water with dish soap, remove as much metal work as practical. Give it a good scrub with a green scourer pad. Keep the water hot and don’t soak the timber. Wash it a bit then wipe it a bit. Dry it in the sun.
Apply your first coat of oil very liberally and use another scourer pad. This will continue cleaning as well as knock any burrs lot loose fibres off. It will also help fill the pores. Wipe the excess straight away. Then do again then wipe down thoroughly. After that let it dry and oil it once a day for a week or so. You can then apply various wax polishes etc if you choose too.
Full refurb, I highly recommend Mr Muscle oven cleaner in a can. Draws out the oil very well and won’t hurt the wood. Some people cringe at oven cleaner. I have used it several times, cleans stocks beautifully and doesn’t hurt the wood. You will have to restain your stock though cause it draws that out too.
Steaming dents works well with a wet rag and iron.
Depends how far you want to go.