How to clean a shellac finish and others with oil. -Images Missing-

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How to clean a shellac finish and others with oil. -Images Missing-

Post by Zeliard »

Original authors in bold.

Note:Missing image placeholders in italics.

Note: Edited to remove superfluous comments.


Well if you have one of those dirty Mosin stock, You know the one that gets you dirty whenever you touch it, you don't need to change the finish, just clean off the Crud.

Here is an easy way to clean up a Mosin with a Shellac finish.

It's called a Light Oil Cleaning.

First off, Our Victim will be this dirty little Romanian M44 stock.



Wet a rag or paper towel with mineral spirits.

Wipe the stock down and let it dry. This will remove any cosmoline from the surface of the finish. Once it is dry you will see what looks like a chalky dirt on the stock.

Here are the things that you will need to finish up the cleanup.

0000 steel wool
A small cup or container
Rubber gloves
Clean paper towels or soft rag


Put some BLO in a small cup or container. Dip the steel wool into the BLO and wipe it on to the stock.


Use 0000 steel wool to wipe the BLO on to the stock.
You want to keep the steel wool very wet. Wipe the stock down but, do not scrub.


Then allow the stock to sit for 30 min. or so then wipe it down with a clean rag. The BLO will remove dirt and not harm the finish.


You want to wipe the stock dry and let it sit for 24 hours. Buff the stock again with a clean rag and if you like, apply a wax top coat, which will protect the Shellac finish. Tom's 1/3 mix works great.

Here is the stock all cleaned up. I did not apply wax to this stock.

You have to look very close to see the difference in the before and after pic,'s. The only thing is that now I don't get dirty when I touch the stock.



As always I hope that this will help some of you and if you have any questions please ask.

patrad wrote:
Howdy Candyman. Great info here. My question relates to my newly acquired K31, my 1st milsurp bolt gun. It's a '56 vintage with '55 wood, all #'s matching including the wood. Beech stock, with the typical dings and so forth. It also has the soldiers tag, with his initials and "fus inf" (soldier of infantry) carved in the right side finger groove. What I'd like to know is whether this method will work on my rifle. The stock appears to be rather dry. You can see the pics in the Swiss rifle forum under '1st K31' with my username. I don't want to refinish it, just preserve it and make it look better. I can **ATTEMPT** to get some better pics if that'll help - no photographer am I :roll: Your wisdom will be appreciated :mrgreen:

Y'all take care,

I'm sure candyman will be along soon enough, but maybe I can answer your question. the oil cleaning method is really for just removing crud from the stock, it will leave a little oil behind but not really much because your not rubbing it into the stock just wiping it on. for preserving a stock that you don't wish to refinish it is good to use some Tom's 1/3 wax, it is some good stuff and easy to work with. you can either purchase it already made or you can mix it up your self if you already have all the ingredients. hope this helps.


An Oil Cleaning can be used on just about any finish. I did this post using a Shellac finish because you have to be careful when cleaning Shellac. If you use anything that has Alcohol in it, you will mess up the finish.
This cleaning will work great on a K31 stock.


Guys, I just got in a sweet Russian M44 that has a really nice Shellac finish. Covered in cosmo though.

I just want to make sure that a light wiping with mineral spirits and then this blo wipe won't hurt the finish?

I know I want to stay far away from alcohol!


Mineral spirits will not hurt the Shellac.


candyman i in what was said about the k31 here. i have some 1896/11's and IG1911's that i was want to try and clean up the wood and apply tom's 1/3 mix, i use tom's on all my rifles. these older rifles are very black which i think is due to the age and that they have never been cleaned. do you think by cleaning off this old black stuff that it will hurt the history or value of them?

also have some finn's, m39, m91's would you do the BLO scrub and than pine tar finish, followed by tom's 1/3 or this type of cleaning? my m39 has a lot of black stuff on the stock, cosmoline or pine tar don't know. there is also a lot of black stuff order the wood that i have to clean off, it's a m39 vkt barrel in a sako stock. doesn't look as it ever ben apart or not in a long time anyway. all these rifles have great looking wood underneath want to make sure i'm not messing up the history.
thank you for your time and teachings that we may all keep our mil-surps as true to history as we can for future generations.

sorry for so much yack'n
thank you


You have to remember that you are not scrubbing the stock with the steel wool. You are just lightly wiping it down. The key is to allow the BLO to loosen the dirt.

I was chastised and ridiculed on another forum for posting this info. I was told that I did not know what I was doing and that I was destroying history.
One said that BLO should never be put on a surplus stock, because it was never issued. The same person said that Howard's Feed-N-Wax was the only stock cleaner approved by Collectors. I have wet to see the Collectors seal of approval on a bottle of Howard's Feed-N-Wax.
I tried to explain what BLO really is, just raw linseed oil with a solvent added, and that Howards is Orange oil, Bee's wax, Cordoba Wax, and a solvent. And that it was never issued to any troops.
I was just told that they were right and I was wrong.

Howards is good stuff but if you plan to use Tom's the Bee's wax and Cordoba Wax would have to be removed first.


I'm sorry having hard time getting your meaning. so on both the Swiss and Finn rifles i can lightly clean with the BLO and apply tom' 1/3 mix? if you don't mind can you tell me what to apply to each of these types of wood after BLO scrub. sorry I'm slow i was with you till the sentence about Tom's.
thank you much for your help.


Shellac and other finishes that harden on the surface do not soak up oil. The only way oil will soak in to the stock is if the finish is damaged. This is why oil makes a good cleaner for these types of finishes. So keep in mind that you are nor applying BLO as a finish, but as a cleaner.
After you have let the BLO sit on the stock to loosen the dirt and grime, you need to remove it. To remove it just simply wipe the stock down with clean dry rags or paper towels. Once you have it wiped dry, you then apply the Tom's Mix.
Last edited by Zeliard on Sun May 10, 2020 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to clean a shellac finish and others with oil. -Images Missing-

Post by 72 usmc »

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