Educational Zone #60 – Stripping a Stock with Easy-Off Oven Cleaner

My buddy Tman and I recently saw an ad where they were offering 91/30 Mosins for $49.95.

How could we pass up a deal like that?

So, we both ordered two of them and waited for the Brown Truck O’ Happiness to arrive.

When they got here, they were pretty nice. One of mine was a light orange color that I liked.

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I decided to refinish them to make them look new, but to keep the original colors as much as possible.

The shellac finish on these old rifles is a terrible finish and comes off easily.

Tman has used Acetone and fine steel wool to remove his finish before, but I wanted to try something easier and faster.

I used common Easy-Off oven cleaner and a Brillo pad.

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Easy-Off is just strong caustic, and having worked with caustic at my job years ago, I know how dangerous this stuff is if used improperly.

It can be especially dangerous to your eyes. But millions of housewives used it to clean ovens, so I knew that with care, it could be used safely.

I removed the stocks and took them into the yard.

I was careful to wear eye protection and gloves if I touched the caustic.

I sprayed it on….

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…and let it work for about 15 minutes.

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Then I sprayed the stock with a water hose…

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….and used the Brillo pad to scrub off the rest of the finish.

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And scrubbed it with the Brillo pad again.

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This left the stocks clean.

I let them dry overnight to be sure they were completely dry.

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I then used a power sander to finish up a couple of places where the finish didn’t turn loose.

Remember, light touch!

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I then lightly sanded with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the “feathers” of wood that were sticking up.

If you are careful with the sanding, you don’t remove any cartouches or change the shape of the stocks at all.

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I then took them to Tman’s garage where we stained them.

We got some Orange Rit dye. 

We usually use the liquid Rit dyes for staining, but the Orange only came in the powder form.

We mixed it with 90% alcohol to dissolve it and mixed in a little Scarlet to get the desired color.

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Tman applied it with a rag and rubbed it in.

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We liked the final color.

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Meanwhile, one of Tman’s rifles had a very slight crack in the stock.

The crack extended through the center portion of the stock.

We decided to put two screws, including a center “Stalingrad Screw” similar to the Ishy Screw in our earlier post on the Enfield.

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We had seen this before and had gained some confidence in our ability to repair a crack.

We drilled a couple of pilot holes across the crack and applied a two-part epoxy in the holes.

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We then screwed in a couple of brass wood screws and let them dry.

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Tman then cut them and ground them flush with the wood.

This crack will not open up again.

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Meanwhile, back to my rifles. 

After the stain dried completely, Tman applied a rub-on poly finish. 

Here are the finished rifles.

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Conclusion:
I am very happy with them. Not bad for $50 rifles.