Page 1 of 1

RC mauser laminate and Mosin shellac finish

Posted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:14 am
by 72 usmc
4 april 2020 here is some fantastic new information on Russian stock finishes with OUTSTANDING Photos
Worth saving as a PDF file

This is how I tone down flaking shellac on RC Mauser and Mosin stocks. This is from some of my former old posts.
Use 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. Then its restoration is done right. On the other hand, 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. When messing with an intact military rifles think of your mission as conservation and preservation not total removal of the original finish. Avoid sanding or removing stock cartouches, do not round the sharp edges, do not remove too much or any of the wood or the metal to wood fit will be wrong. Most military rifle guys can tell a refinished stock a mile away and avoid them -- refinish the wood & destroy the value. These rifle have years of patina into a stock and it is almost impossible to duplicate it. Consider oneself as a historian or museum caretaker of the artifact, the rifle, maintain its integrity. A sanded surplus rifle is bad news. Please use only steel wool if you have to do aggressive restoration. No stinking oven cleaner.

You can speed up the Shellac removal with very fine 0000 steel wool & denatured alcohol, but you lose the old world, hand rubbed, burnished e ect. 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??? Well, the stock can then be made a darker brown or red brown using Fiebings alcohol based shoe dye. See the above links (Now long gone sorry), 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 o 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. When the shellac is rubbed down/in to what you want---let it dry and see the results. It may be fine as is and then just give it a wax rub. If its not as you expected, or you removed too much, or do not like the color.....

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 a dark brown thick shellac. Rub this into the stock, but note it dries real 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.
Note :
Shoe dye, use 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 Fibbing's Medium Brown alcohol leather dye to produce a more brownish look lacking a red. This is more like a brown aged mauser. You can add brown oil paint into the dye to get different brown. Use a Pine tar for a lighter brown or a yellow brown. There is also a tan shoe dye that can be used as a base and darkened to achieve a match to a lighter stock on the more brown mauser look. It is difficult to match the oil and grime patina on an original stock be it an Enfield or Mauser. You want a hand rubbed, boned finish where more color is removed from the hand contact spots on a stock. I do not want to achieve a uniform finish- I want a beat worn look, like not one messed with a stock. I never really strip a stock and refinish it. Remember filling in the scratches or dents with color is a dead give away the stock has been messed up. IN a touch up, these low spots must be cleaned up so color does not sit in these depressions. Note that Candyman recommends Chestnut Ridge Military Stock stain to give you a more redish color to a military stock. I have not used this, but others love it.

Matching color is a trick.
The Medium Brown Fiebings alcohol leather dye produces a more brownish look lacking a red. Buy both and try them on a seperate piece of wood and see what you like for color. 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. On a Mosin, you may want to maintain a thick a reddish aged appearance. You can add the thick, old timers: Permatex Indian Head Gasket shellac compound to your dye as touch up. ACE hardware stores still has this product. You also can add a red dye if you like, but generally the Indian Gasket shellac and Fiebring's dark brown shoe dye get you right on for those dark Mosin stocks. Try each color, or a mixture of both till you find the shade you like. If a lighter RC or a darker Mosin, when you find the correct color and thickness of the solution/dye by trial mixing, then stain the stock with a thin rub, a little at a time till you achieve the match or color you want. Color depends on how much of the original shellac was rubbed off--the entire stock, or just a small section, or are you just redoing a re-stain to make a hand guard match a rifle. Then let it sit a day or two to dry. See if your match is perfect or the rubbed in color is what you want. 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; it is great stuff for a vintage wax coat; I am not much for BLO. You can make your own Toms mix or get it at the stock doctor. On this web site he has links to tutorials on his stuff and methods.

A K98K more original German tone is more like a light brown. The stock color may not have to be messed with on older brown K98Ks or Mosins lacking a shellac finish. They may still have a nice patina finish. You do not need to mess with it. Just a wax rub -sure looks nice.
Now when doing the rub on shellac with denatured alcohol, your final color results depends on the wood used, the amount of glue in the laminate, how much heart wood is present, and how much red Russian shellac is on the stock? So results vary, but the above methods will produce a nice finish that is in line with the look of an RC Mauser type.

Added: Also see Candyman's blo oil scrub when this post is restored. He had like 6 pages of comments on the old SRF viewtopic.php?f=137&t=51760. His new restored link is here: ... f=61&t=101

The BLO scrub will produce a less red, more German, brown wood look found on beat original K98Ks. Out of character for a true RC, it lacks that Russian red brown shellac, but most like to put them K98Ks back to a more beat, used German look. Candyman's 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.removing the electo serial # written on the top of the bolt for reenacting. Candyman likes Chestnut Ridge Military Stock stain which gives you a more reddish color. I may get a can as a base to mix color from adding more brown or red. Candyman is a Master stock guy.

Re: RC mauser laminate and Mosin shellac finish

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:09 pm
by checkmate19
Thanks for the post, I have a Russian M44 that is as new with the flaking finish you describe. I will give it a try. I cringe to think what I destroyed many years ago when getting M1s from cmp with oily stocks that I cleaned . I know I should probably do some jail time for actions. LOL

Re: RC mauser laminate and Mosin shellac finish

Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:28 pm
by 72 usmc