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Orange-Colored Finish on Mil-Surp Stocks Login/Join 
34" Scale 5-String
Picture of bronicabill
posted
Does anyone know for sure what that orange colored finish is on mil-surp rifle stocks, especially those from Soviet Eastern-Bloc countries? It looks like the old shellac that my father used to use on bare wood many years ago in lieu of paint or stain finishes, but I’d like to get confirmation on it.

If it is plain old shellac, what is the best way to strip that mess off of a rifle stock? I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to refinish the stock on my M69 or not, and the difficulty of removing the existing finish will factor into my decision. Thanks!


Bill R.
North Alabama
 
Posts: 3231 | Location: Madison, AL | Registered: December 06, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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Milsurp stock finishes vary greatly from country to country, and even rifle to rifle.

But the Soviets typically used shellac on their postwar rifles and refurbished rifles, as did many of their Eastern Bloc allies.

It can be removed with denatured alcohol.

Just understand that by removing the original finish, you'll hurt the rifle's collectors value, if you ever decide to sell it down the road.
 
Posts: 21173 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
34" Scale 5-String
Picture of bronicabill
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Don’t know that this little thing really has any collector value... that’s why I’m thinking about it! It was so cheap that I just wanted it for a “project gun”, and to stomp through the woods with and not worry about hurting it.


Bill R.
North Alabama
 
Posts: 3231 | Location: Madison, AL | Registered: December 06, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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I hear you. But there are plenty of milsurps that were once just "cheap project guns" sold for pennies on the dollar out of a barrel at the gun store a few decades ago, but which are now worth big bucks.

Some of the folks that decided to refinish or alter that "worthless old rifle" are surely kicking themselves now.

Just something to consider. Your rifle, your call.
 
Posts: 21173 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Military Arms Collector
Picture of darkest2000
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Kleen strip wood finish stripper works wonders and fast without damaging the wood.

The finish in most cases (especially less resilient finishes such as shellac) would wrinkle and peel off before your eyes within minutes. Just make sure you wear gloves and protection because that stuff is caustic and will give you a burning sensation that'll last several minutes.

After that, you can rinse it off with Acetone which does a pretty good job neutralizing it. Check for any remaining shellac residue and repeat if necessary.

If you're looking to refinish it with a new coat of Shellac, most commercially available shellac is either clear or amber colored, which may be too light depending on what look you want.

You can mix with wood stain or dye to darken it for a military look.

If you have a spray gun, I would use that instead of a brushing for a cleaner, even coating but that's up to you. On a lot of milsurps guns they were dipped or brushed/rubbed on at the factory.
 
Posts: 10552 | Location: Orange County, CA, USA | Registered: March 18, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
34" Scale 5-String
Picture of bronicabill
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IF... I decide to refinish it, and that’s still a big “if” right now, I plan to do what a number of other owners have done; base coat of a walnut stain, then seal it with semi-gloss or satin polyurethane.

The jury is still out on this, but I struggle seeing a rifle that sold for $70 or less when they entered this country back in the ‘90’s ever becoming a high-dollar collectible.... at least not in my lifetime! I think I’d rather just play with it and make my mods to my own satisfaction, but again, I’m not rushing into anything just yet! Big Grin


Bill R.
North Alabama
 
Posts: 3231 | Location: Madison, AL | Registered: December 06, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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