Sunday, June 17, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

Boom boom boom boom


Another thing I've slipped up on in the last few years has been shooting and repairing/restoring old weapons. When I got my orders to Okinawa a couple of years back I sold the handful of old military-surplus rifles (a German K98, a couple of Russian Mosin-Nagants, a British No. 4 Mk. 1 Enfield, and (sob!) an M1 Garand) I had on hand before I shipped overseas. The proceeds from selling them went to long-term storage for my car, because the DoD's long-term vehicle storage facility in Dallas wouldn't store my car while I was in Japan. Dicks.

Since I returned to the States I've begun picking up weapons again, starting with a Springfield Armory .45 to deal with home-invaders or carjackers, and another old M1891 Mosin-Nagant to work on. After months of letting it collect dust, I took the Mosin out and stripped it down the other day.

This one has a beautiful laminate beechwood stock; it was covered in thick, nasty, dark-red, Soviet-issue shellac. To strip this ghastly finish off and actually see the grain in the wood, I used a scotch-brite pad and a can of oven cleaner. The plastic scouring pad doesn't mar the wood, and the sodium hydroxide in the oven cleaner does yeoman's work removing old finishes and leaching oil and other contaminants out of the wood without damaging it either. Here's how it's progressed over the last three days:
Stripped of the old shellac. This is beautiful, luminous beech laminate. The veneer grains are set at 90-degree angles, so changes in lighting have a fascinating visual effect. Stained to taste and oiled to a nice sheen, it's going to be a beauty.

First coat of stain. Looking better and better. After two more coats, I began applying tung oil as a protectant. I prefer tung oil over synthetic finishes (polyurethane) or boiled linseed oil because tung oil actually penetrates the wood, sealing it up for superb weather resistance without drying and cracking it underneath. 10 thin coats will do nicely. To keep the coats even, I rub it down with paint thinner and sand it with #0000 steel wool between coats.

Two coats down. Right where I want it for both color and sheen.

This is a work in progress. I hope to have it finished, re-assembled, and test-fired next weekend. I've had this rifle for ten months and haven't shot a single round yet.

Update: Finished, reassembled, and ready to rock!

This is going to be one spectacular rifle. It's always great to bring a 70+ year-old rifle roaring back to life (this one was made at the Tula ordnance works in 1935,) especially when that roar is the manly 7.62X54R round. Imagine a .30-30 on PCP.


Mrs. Who said...

Gorgeous workmanship! And let me guess, you made the railing in the background, too.

Citizen H said...

No, the rail is the same worm-eaten piece of shit it was when I moved in. Kiss my ass.

Anonymous said...

You got that old battle rifle looking real nice. Can't believe you haven't taken her to the range yet. Hope you don't mind a little recoil,because Mosins have plenty to give.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see someone else knows what Tung Oil is for.


Anonymous said...

Uh, Russ?

I think Mrs Who was paying you a compliment.

(I happen to know her personally)

Tom said...

I sold my Colt Detective Special for $150 before going to Kadena AB in Okinawa so I can feel your pain. I recently bought a Swiss K-31 and a M 1891/30. I'm rebuilding the arsenal. Nice job on the stock. You're right, the railing sucks. :-)