The original question was "My RC laminated stock is in very good condition but has a few areas of some kind of hard finish on one side of the stock. The remainder of the stock appears to be down to bare wood but doesn't appear dry. What are the best products to remove the hard finish areas that won't harm the laminate and to clean and refinish the stock without giving it a slick or gloss look?"
Denatured alcohol: That is what I use and tee shirts; it takes some rubbing & time and it will blend the color and shellac into the wood sort of producing its own stain, the brownish red, and cuts the thick shellac. It produces a burnished original look, but not the blond, new, german stock look like a Mitchel Mauser. If done right, it will be a nice original look. RC mausers tend from a light red brownish, thin shellac coat to a thick, very dark brown flaking shellac. You want to maintain the Russian character and patina with dents and dings, but remove the thick coat or flakes. For me the best restoration is when someone comes up to the display and says that's a nice rifle, but the stock could use a refinish. =D> =D> =D> Then its restoration is done right. On the other hand, :neutral: Some just have to have the new look or pimp shine. If you sand out the dents and take it down to wood to get a light brownish look, it will have a refinished look about it, and for most I know, a collector will not want refinished garbage, at least not at fair market value. Now a shooter or hunter may not care.
You can speed up the removal with very fine 0000 steel wool & denatured alcohol, but you lose the old world, hand rubbed, burnished effect. As you rub the stock down --do not drench the wood with the denatured alcohol, it goes on the rag and you slowly rub off the shellac layer reducing the color and thickness of the shellac layer. Yet at the same time the wood takes in some shellac and color producing a hand rubbed finish, about a 4 hour job. If you do not like the look??? the stock can then be made a darker brown or red brown using Fiebings alcohol based shoe dye. See the above links; one gives a Mauser brown the other a red Mosin brown. But this is more of an aged, oil rubbed, vintage, dirty, Mauser stock brown, not the light blond color of a brand new issue mauser like you see on a Mitchel mauser. I guess it depends on what you want. I do not want my RCs to have the look Candyman's method produces. But it does give a nice German brown for maybe a mixmaster K98K for reenactments, an original, German mauser bring back should be left as is or you really destroy its value.
The goal is to let the original color stay and penetrate the wood while forcing some of the shellac into the wood so it appears like a hand rubbed finish, not like a cheep painted or sprayed finish. As stated in the previous post "Denatured alcohol will likely (may) remove the black enamel from the metal parts." It will come off the stock washer and cross bolt but that is OK. This process of slowly rubbing in while removing most of the thick coat of shellac will take time. Do not be in a hurry. It will produce the light reddish brown seen on Russian RC Mausers. But the wood will remain like an old rifle and still have a non refinished look because it will turn out like some of the lightly finished RCs. The thick nasty coat will be removed leaving a Russian red brown and a hand rubbed finish. It will not look like a pimp Mitchell Mauser stock which is no good. If you want a Mitchel Mauser then I guess you may want to buy one.
Then its time to enrich the color if needed.
Zinser makes an Amber Shellac and it can be found at Home Depot. This can be darkened with the old Indian Head gasket sealer which is dark brown thick shellac. Rub this into the stock but it drys fast. Or a brown stock can be made more red using Mini Wax Sedona red color or by using Fiebings Dark Brown alcohol leather dye. Sedona will produce a Mosin red that can be browned down with FIEBINGS shoe dye. Key is to wipe on a small amount carefully controlling the amount of color applied and slighhtly staining the wood--do not paint it on. You can also mix some RIT red/ Scarlet fabric dye with about one ounce of denatured alcohol into a mix of leather dye to make it more red
This darkens up the color some. You can also use Pine tar for a nice dark brown or yellowish light brown. Fibings “brown” dye can be used for a brownish look. Then let it sit a day or two to dry. You can leave it and just put a wax seal on the wood, or BLO, or Miniwax neutral stain, or Tru-oil. But this is just a light wipe of a sealer to enrich the color not to produce a shiny “Pimp” stock. If you want the Shellac finish then use the orange shellac and tone it down with a rub of fine steel wool.
Shoe dye, alcohol based. Only Fiebings Not water based.
Fiebing's Dark Brown produces a more lightly reddish dark brown look like a dark Mosin, Mauser or M1, or use a Fiebing's Medium Brown alcohol leather dye that produces a more brownish look lacking a red. Buy both and try them on a seperate piece of wood and see what you like. You may have to mix the two in order to obtain a match to the original color. The Key is always to wipe on a small amount with a rag carefully controlling the amount of color applied and only slighhtly staining the wood--do not paint it on.
Other ideas for brownish stocks. You can also use Pine tar for a nice dark brown or yellowish light brown. Fiebing's “Med. brown” dye can be used for a more brownish look, You may want to have a reddish aged appearence. Try both colors or a mixture of both till you find the shade you like. Then stain the stock. Then let it sit a day or two to dry. You can leave it and just put a wax seal on the wood, or BLO, or Miniwax neutral stain, or Tru-oil. But this is just a light wipe of a sealer to enrich the color not to produce a shiny “Pimp” stock.
After you got the wood condition & color you want, you may just want to use Toms wax 1/3 mix stuff; Great stuff for a vintage wax coat; I am not much for BLO
Now when doing the rub, your final color results depends on the wood used, and amount of glue in the laminate and how much heart wood is present and how much red Russian shellac is on the stock? So results vary , but my says it will produce a nice finish that is in line with the look of an RC Mauser type.
Added Candyman's blo oil scrub
will produce a less red more German brown wood look like the above link from Curio. Out of character for a true RC, it should have that Russian red brown shellac, but most like to put them back to a more beat used German look. Candymans scrub maintains the wood character and removes more of Ivans shellac. Just depends on what you are looking for. Some even remove the electro markings on the metal parts esp. the bolt for reenacting.