Purists: how far do I “clean”

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So I want to try my hand with some extreme disassembly and cleaning a couple of less valuable rifles I have to better prepare me to care for the expensive stuff in the safe. An Enfield and a Turk Mauser are my guinea pigs but still want to stay true to form and respect them. As I set here with a rem oil rag and bolt in hand, I think how clean can I get this bolt, or how clean SHOULD I get it? Surely some 0000 steel wool and flitz would work better but then am I erasing character at the same time?
I know any additional oil on a stock is a no no but what about a coat of wax just to protect it? I have dealt with a couple of you over the past year or two so there’s a reason I’m looking to you and your experience as opposed to the Google machine to learn how to be a proper custodian of historical items and be able to pass on the knowledge.
thank you in advance.
 

PATRON

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Lets Take the Turk Mauser,now you have a rifle that has been there done that all over it.So the first thing you want to do is strip it down.YouTube
is great for that,the most important part of taking the rifle apart is taking your time not to F^*k up any screws a good penetrating oil ahead of time
on all the parts would be a good idea.Now most gun cleaner,like gun scrub will do a good job in cleaning the metal parts.Remember you want to clean the parts not take the finish off
or polish the metal,so stay away from the flitz,Some 0000 steel wool with oil will help on the lightly rusted metal.After you have cleaned all the parts inspect them to make sure they are
in good order,and then oil them.As for cleaning the stock I use Murphy's oil soap to clean the stock,but some people use other methods to clean the wood,that you might like using a lot
better. The goal here is to clean the rifle not to make it look bran new. Good luck
 
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Thank you for the input. I definitely have plenty of Kroil and only use hollow ground screwdrivers so disassembly should be fine. The polishing of the bare metal parts is where I would need to refrain. Is wax generally acceptable to go over an oil stock finish? I’ve seen stocks that are extremely dry and have been told to leave it alone. Ultimately I guess resale doesn’t matter to me but I don’t want to wash off the history either. I just want to preserve it as best I can. Thanks again,
 

jpm

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Sure, I use Tom's on a few oil finished stocks. Its not like a polished wood look, unless you want it to be, just protected. Unless the dry stocks are some highly collectible item, I would at least get some lemon oil on them so they aren't so dry.
 

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Power sander, Dremel, and a stiff wire wheel; you're all set.

No. I'm kidding. I've never gotten hung up on overcleaning. I clean until it can shoot safely. I've never minded adding "correct" oil to the stocks, especially if they're dried out; research what went on there, identify a modern version, and go at it. Oiling stocks was something soldiers of yesteryear were expected to do as maintenance.
 

40 caliber

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people have been known to take $1000 of value off a German K98 with Howards or other stuff. I know the turkish mauser you speak of... :) have a ball..

when it comes to higher cost mausers,,, take a ride over to the K98 forum for advice.

the value of a dry , untouched k98 mauser stock is 75% of the value,,,, tread lightly
 

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If you want to conserve it and fire it then clean and oil the metal bits. The wood can be cleaned and treated with boiled linseed oil or, if in decent shape a wipe down with Ballistol will do. Actually, Ballistol on everything works well.
If you don't intend to fire it then waxing everything will preserve it.
If you intend to sell it then see what the collectors are looking for, be it untouched (neglected in my book), cleaned but not 'refreshed' or tossed in a mortar mixer with 3/4" trap rock.
 
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mac1911

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If its a item you plan on using , detail strip and clean the heay crud off. Theres really no reason to go all chemical deep cleaning.
If you have rust , light cleaning and oil .

Stocks, if your intentions are to retain collector value sometimes its best to leave those rifles alone. Clean lightly and oil for rust prevention.
 
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people have been known to take $1000 of value off a German K98 with Howards or other stuff. I know the turkish mauser you speak of... :) have a ball..

when it comes to higher cost mausers,,, take a ride over to the K98 forum for advice.

the value of a dry , untouched k98 mauser stock is 75% of the value,,,, tread lightly
The Turk is turning out good. Bolt is very smooth considering none of them matched. Appears it started life as a 1903 then was converted to a 1938 like they all were. As a shooter Ill clean protect the stock lightly. Last thing to do is find enough sections of cleaning rods to clean the bore. The higher end stuff isn't getting shot yet so still have time to learn and they will stay inside and dry for now.
 

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Power sander, Dremel, and a stiff wire wheel; you're all set.

No. I'm kidding. I've never gotten hung up on overcleaning. I clean until it can shoot safely. I've never minded adding "correct" oil to the stocks, especially if they're dried out; research what went on there, identify a modern version, and go at it. Oiling stocks was something soldiers of yesteryear were expected to do as maintenance.
Oven cleaner and dishwashers work good also!!!! Just dont
 
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people have been known to take $1000 of value off a German K98 with Howards or other stuff. I know the turkish mauser you speak of... :) have a ball..

when it comes to higher cost mausers,,, take a ride over to the K98 forum for advice.

the value of a dry , untouched k98 mauser stock is 75% of the value,,,, tread lightly

Until it cracks
 

40 caliber

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Until it cracks
If you have a 75 year old rifle with dry wood that hasn’t cracked yet, the likeliness of it cracking in your ownership is quite small, especially when you compare a collectors care and handling vs the first 4-6 years of life of most world war 2 rifles

cracks occur due to stress on the wood , fluctuation in temperature ( which shouldn’t happen to a Mauser sitting in a safe in your heated home) .

Sure cracks can occur from dryness.So if you own a $2-5k Mauser and you’re ok with making it a 1-3k Mauser have at it.

if we are talking about a $500 Russian capture or just a mismatched shooter that probably already been worked over , dip it in lard if you want. There is definitely a difference of what we are talking about.

The question in the title was about purists and collector value. If the OP is really concerned about this I would suggest a trip to the k98 forum. This is where multiple authors of collectible firearms books reside as well as collectors that (pre Covid) attended and did presentations. at some of the largest WWII memorabilia shows In the USA. The amount of information documented on that site dwarfs pretty much all others in the k98 world.

They will time and again warn newbies against this fear of a need to “ protect”:a rifle. ( which usually needs to be protected from the owner )

Untouched wood is not only a rarity but a sought after feature.

I recall raising this same question on this board when I acquired ( and still own) a documented Vietnam bring back SKS. The stock is like driftwood. Martin08 ( a highly respected collector on this board and others ) not only told me not to touch it but specifically told me wood doesn’t need to drink

OP. You’ve received lots of advice on this board, go with whatever makes you comfortable
 

mac1911

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If you have a 75 year old rifle with dry wood that hasn’t cracked yet, the likeliness of it cracking in your ownership is quite small, especially when you compare a collectors care and handling vs the first 4-6 years of life of most world war 2 rifles

cracks occur due to stress on the wood , fluctuation in temperature ( which shouldn’t happen to a Mauser sitting in a safe in your heated home) .

Sure cracks can occur from dryness.So if you own a $2-5k Mauser and you’re ok with making it a 1-3k Mauser have at it.

if we are talking about a $500 Russian capture or just a mismatched shooter that probably already been worked over , dip it in lard if you want. There is definitely a difference of what we are talking about.

The question in the title was about purists and collector value. If the OP is really concerned about this I would suggest a trip to the k98 forum. This is where multiple authors of collectible firearms books reside as well as collectors that (pre Covid) attended and did presentations. at some of the largest WWII memorabilia shows In the USA. The amount of information documented on that site dwarfs pretty much all others in the k98 world.

They will time and again warn newbies against this fear of a need to “ protect”:a rifle. ( which usually needs to be protected from the owner )

Untouched wood is not only a rarity but a sought after feature.

I recall raising this same question on this board when I acquired ( and still own) a documented Vietnam bring back SKS. The stock is like driftwood. Martin08 ( a highly respected collector on this board and others ) not only told me not to touch it but specifically told me wood doesn’t need to drink

OP. You’ve received lots of advice on this board, go with whatever makes you comfortable
K98 forum will tell you to leave it alone!
The real purist would want you to leave it in its decaying state.
i will take the RC s any day so when I ask about replacing barrel and how the sights are held on i dont get banned!
i think any rifle should at least be preserved as best as possible. For that $2000+ rare rifle its time to find the museum quality preservation people.
 
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It's difficult to control humidity in the Winter even with humidifiers running.

Some put a light coat of Howard's and wipe Off. The stuff disappears pretty quickly. It's the sanders and furniture refinishers that turn stuff to junk. I agree leave it alone if you can.

I have a couple sand and vet varnished I'd like to Take off but
I don't want to make things worse A good process is. Maybe MajorSpud will enlighten us on a good process.

I won't touch metal finish with anything steel wool. Cheese cloth with CLP if it's not patina. If it's nasty rust and needs more than cloth then bronze wool lightly with CLP.
 

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Take both rifles and make a Frankenfauser!

But seriously: the two rifles are different. The Mauser folks have had their say, but I'm an Enfield guy.

How dirty is the stock, and how is it dirty? If it has gunky tacky portions, you'll have to decide if that's ordinary handling goop, or an improperly cured previous finish. Gently wipe with a lint-free cloth and Simple Green or Ballistol.

Assuming you're talking about a British Lee-Enfield and not an M1917, the Enfield stock gets BLO. A drop in your palm, then rub your wood in small circles until it gets hot. (Seriously. Then move to the next spot. Don't try to slather it on, or it will never cure. Do it just like spit-shining those Corcoran jump boots (if you're a veteran of a certain age).)

"Once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, once a year forever!"

Obligatory warning about boiled linseed oil: it is a catalyzing polymer, meaning it gets hot as it dries. Woodworkers have known for decades that a BLO-soaked rag is a DIY arson kit. When my optometrist gave me eyedrops containing flaxseed oil (same as linseed, only food/medical grade), I asked him if my eyes would spontaneously combust. He knew the chemistry, so he laughed and assured me I wouldn't burst into flames.
 
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mac1911

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Russian Captures I think are 700ish now. What bolt and mixmasters used to go for not too long ago.
Ugh ,$700 i would have to check my post date.
I bought mine knowing the bore was a bit dark, most RCs I looked at where. This rifle came with extras. 1800 rounds ammo, reloading dies, sling , leather gear and some spare parts...bolt rebuild kit. I paid $225 the surplus ammo was .20 a round at the time. It was awful stuff. So it was a decent deal
 

mac1911

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It's difficult to control humidity in the Winter even with humidifiers running.

Some put a light coat of Howard's and wipe Off. The stuff disappears pretty quickly. It's the sanders and furniture refinishers that turn stuff to junk. I agree leave it alone if you can.

I have a couple sand and vet varnished I'd like to Take off but
I don't want to make things worse A good process is. Maybe MajorSpud will enlighten us on a good process.

I won't touch metal finish with anything steel wool. Cheese cloth with CLP if it's not patina. If it's nasty rust and needs more than cloth then bronze wool lightly with CLP.
Rust, even with bronze wool and clp your not really gettinv rid of the rust. You need to stop the rust and convert what you can back to iron.
Sadly to do this right I think you will ruin any value.
So the best you can do is help preserve it.
again if you have a true collectors piece worth thousands and its value is going up seek professional help. Im talking museum grade help.

another thing you can so to preserve your rifles is separate the frequent use items from the safe queens. Every time you open your safe you let more Oxygen flow through freely also you get the temp change. Get some VCI bags , VCI emitters and store that stuff away in its own safe
 

jpm

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"Once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, once a year forever!"

No that is WAY too much oil. 2 or 3 applications should be fine for years. Saturating wood with oil like this is not good for the wood.
 

Picton

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No that is WAY too much oil. 2 or 3 applications should be fine for years. Saturating wood with oil like this is not good for the wood.

He put it in quotes because that's LONG been "received wisdom" in the SMLE community, allegedly passed on by old-skool British armorers.
 

Picton

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Yes. And you wipe off the excess as you go.

I actually tried the once a day for a week, once a week for a month, etc technique with one of my SMLEs, a newer JJCO bitser I used to have. Worked fine.
 

mac1911

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There is no saturating. You should have quoted the rest.

It's like a spit shine. Or seasoning cast iron pans, if you're in that thread.
basically once it cures what ever you put on it after is just going to sit on top of what every is there.
Take a pane of glass and put a thin coat of BLO or 100% tung oil on it. Come back in a week or so and see what you have. Then spread another layer on top of it. It builds in layers.

Shellac is the only finish I know that will chemically "melt and rebound" to itsself

maybe for rifles in service the once a week/mounth/year thing was good. Over kill unless maybe new wood and you really want to build up the finish.
 
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Picton

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maybe for rifles in service the once a week/mounth/year thing was good. Over kill unless maybe new wood and you really want to build up the finish.

I'm sure it was also a pithy rule of thumb for Joe to follow, along with a productive way to haze new soldiers.

Didn't do my SMLE any harm, anyway.
 
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