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View Full Version : Can I Use Lacquer Thinner to Get Cosmoline Off of My SKS?


dandingo13
03-21-2010, 10:55 AM
I've read that kerosene is the best thing to soak the metal components in but I don't have any and do have a huge can of lacquer thinner. The previous owner fully disassembled it and cleaned the majority of the cosmoline off but I took it shooting for the first time yesterday and the heat started to bring out some more so I just wanted to make sure all is removed. Will this work or am I in danger of ruining some of the components? Thanks in advance!

By the way, this is my first SKS and yesterday was my first time shooting it. I'm THOROUGHLY impressed, as are the rest of the people that went with me yesterday. This is the absolute best bang for your buck rifle-wise in my opinion...pun entirely intended ;)

Milsurp Collector
03-21-2010, 10:58 AM
Most solvents including lacquer thinner, denatured alcohol, and auto parts dip or brake cleaner will work. So will boiling water or just plain heat.

PolishMike
03-21-2010, 10:59 AM
Add a lighter and your done REAL quick

dandingo13
03-21-2010, 11:11 AM
Thanks guys, that's all I needed to know!

Garand1911
03-21-2010, 1:25 PM
place small parts in oven at 200degrees and the cosmo will melt right off.

take the parts out, i use wd40 solvent and paper towels to wipe it clean.

heat guns and hand held steam cleaners work too.

99
03-21-2010, 3:40 PM
well, if you do use the chemicals, are you cleaning the inside or outside? If you do the outside your going to strip the wood of w.e. is protecting it. If you plan on refinishing it, just throw the stock in a dish washer to strip it.

Navyguy0023
03-21-2010, 3:44 PM
I recently used the dishwasher method to clean cosmoline off, and it was AMAZING.

Here is a link!

http://www.cromwell-intl.com/garand/m1-garand-assembly/wood.html

It took almost ALL of the dents and dings out of the stock, and there isn't a bit of Cosmoline to be found. Just be standing by when the metal parts come out to wipe them down instantly with oil, or you will start to flash rust.

0321jarhead
03-21-2010, 4:14 PM
The dishwasher method of okay. But, it can have a tendency to make a mess. Also, the water will raise the wood and the if it is in the DRY mode it can possibly CRACK the wood. Heat will bring most if not all cosmo out. To long for me to explain so look at www.surplusrifles.com for the "Garbage Can Easy Bake Oven." IT WORKS!! I made one even better. Tim Allen on Tool Time was my idle. Seriously it really works. I do gunsmithing and restoations to make money. Kerosene and other chemicals on wood is Taboo. Brake cleaner on metal okay. The wood will absoarb and with some chems have a negative reaction making the wood brittle. Avoid them for removing cosmo.

campperrykid
03-21-2010, 4:16 PM
FWIW:

When water cleaning works it can be spectacular. The bad news is sometimes the wood cracks and/or warps very badly & becomes a total loss. It's a calculated risk. I have used the dishwasher and prolly will again -- but I check on replacement cost for the wood before I decide.
YMMV.

gunboat
03-21-2010, 4:41 PM
Wood and water do not mix -- Lacquer thinner is a rather poor solvent as it evaporates too quickly. It will also likely remove any finish on the wood. A quart of inexpensive paint thinner from home depot is probably the easiest and cheapest solvent. Kerosene and diesel are a bit better as they do evaporate slowest, though diesel is rather odorous.
my ha-penny

dandingo13
03-21-2010, 6:55 PM
Just to clarify, I wasn't planning on using laqcuer thinner on the stock or any wood components, only on the metal ones. I soaked them for about about an hour and it did work great. I then semi-wrapped the stock in a plastic bag and sat it by the wall heater, leaving the bag open on the side that the heater was on. This actually worked pretty well. It started to sweat somewhat but nothing like the dishwasher method. I may do that down the road if I ever want to refinish it. Right now, I'm happy with the rough finish so I don't have to worry about it when going to the range.

hk91666
03-21-2010, 8:48 PM
Place your stock on a piece of plywood or in a garbage bag cover your stock (less the metal pieces) with kitty litter and let the california heat take out the cosmoline. It is slower but more controllable. afterwards I used wood bleach to lighten my 98/22 stock.

My two cents....

mls343
03-21-2010, 8:51 PM
When using the dishwasher on metal parts, make sure Wifeee is running errands an dwill be gone fo 2+ hours. FOr the stock, I use a hair dryer (when Wife is gone) as Milsurp Collector recommends - Heat and paper towels.

If have dents, use steam - again like Milsurp collector advises...

It works. Really.

Eat Dirt
03-21-2010, 9:07 PM
Kerosene and other chemicals on wood is Taboo. Brake cleaner on metal okay. The wood will absoarb and with some chems have a negative reaction making the wood brittle. Avoid them for removing cosmo.

The Man is 100 % right

Vlad 11
03-21-2010, 10:41 PM
place small parts in oven at 200degrees and the cosmo will melt right off.

take the parts out, i use wd40 solvent and paper towels to wipe it clean.

heat guns and hand held steam cleaners work too.

i second that .... my go to solvent is good ol WD-40, it cuts right through cosmo , doesn't evaporate too quickly, and doesnt harm the wood. The spray tube is handy for blasting cosmo out of the tight spaces. Ditto on the heat gun and some Shoptowels (which doesn't leave lint like a paper towel)

Omega13device
03-21-2010, 10:55 PM
CLP dissolves cosmo too. I use it for the small parts.

Odorless mineral spirits is also a good option if you need a larger amount because it's less toxic than some of the other stuff out there.

gunboat
03-22-2010, 12:56 AM
"chems having a negative reaction making the wood brittle" Are you saying kerosene will do this? Which other solvents or chemicals will do this?
What is the chemical make up of cosmoline?

campperrykid
03-22-2010, 4:46 AM
Word:
Place your stock on a piece of plywood or in a garbage bag cover your stock (less the metal pieces) with kitty litter and let the california heat take out the cosmoline. It is slower but more controllable. afterwards I used wood bleach to lighten my 98/22 stock.

My two cents....
Gentle heat is a big piece of the puzzle.

sniper5
03-22-2010, 7:33 AM
Hate to go nanny, but you ARE wearing a suitable respirator (not just a mask) and gloves when you are handling that stuff, right? Besides being in medicine, I used to own a woodworking business on the side. Lacquer thinner is VERY toxic to liver and nervous system ("Lacquer shakes"). Indoors or out, be very careful with that stuff. Personally I would find a less toxic substance. My personal favorite is a heat gun with a WD40 or mineral spirits wipe down and the "black plastic bag" method for the stock. Seems to be the cheapest in the long haul and the least damaging to the firearm or me.

G-Man WC
03-22-2010, 7:40 AM
Get a can of ovan cleaner, spray and wait 10 mins. Turn on shower to hot and rinse. If you go this route, I'd wait until it warms up a bit and there is a more constant tempature day/ night. I've had good results with only 1 of 5 stock cracking while drying. Let it dry out for a few weeks and brush on a 8-10 coats of BLO and call it good.-g

gunboat
03-22-2010, 9:38 AM
"With only one in five cracking while drying" seems a rather expensive way to remove cosmo. -- wood and water do not mix --

Crusader Matt
03-22-2010, 10:02 AM
I use Purple Power for metal parts, and for the stock (if I'm not going to refinish it) i'll stick it in a black bag and let it sit outside in the summer heat, just wipe it down every 15 mins or so.

http://media.ruralking.com/image.php?sku=021850022&nsize=300

Purple Power works decently, not great, but you can buy a whole jug of it at Wal-Mart for like 5 bucks IIRC, and it'll last a long long time. Bascially I just soak the metal parts in it and it liquidifies the cosmo so all you have to do is wipe them down and off (lots of rags, save your old T-shirts). The stuff thats really caked on there you might have to give a little extra scrub and some extra elbow grease as you'll see instead of it wiping off it'll more or less just smear.

Cosmoline removal is why I've decided to buy surplus rifles few and far between in regards to gun purchases, but I love em and the reward of restoring them is great.

GOOD LUCK! And like somebody else said, respirator, gloves, and eye protection! A respirator was the greatest investment I made in regards to my gun cleaning desk. But Purple Power is practically odorless and doesnt appear to be immediately caustic.

0321jarhead
03-22-2010, 2:04 PM
Get a can of ovan cleaner, spray and wait 10 mins. Turn on shower to hot and rinse. If you go this route, I'd wait until it warms up a bit and there is a more constant tempature day/ night. I've had good results with only 1 of 5 stock cracking while drying. Let it dry out for a few weeks and brush on a 8-10 coats of BLO and call it good.-g

Easy off can work on some wood. Do not use it on Beech wood, its soft and the grain is not condensed like walnut. Oven cleaner can stain the wood in a grey like color in spots. It again can eat the wood because of chemicals. Sometimes you may need to use the oven cleaner more than one time. And when rinsing the oven cleaner off wash it at the same time using an S.O.S. pad from under the kitchen sink. All in all you will be taking a risk with oven cleaner. Using heat in a controlled environment is best. A lot of the folks here are giving you good advice. Don't rush if you want it to come out good. If you use heat like I do, then rinse and use S.O.S. Let it air dry slowly. You sometimes got to heat it up more than once. It all depends on how much cosmo is on the wood.

Omega13device
03-22-2010, 4:09 PM
The way people talk about cosmoline, you'd think it was 50 year-old lacquer that required something just short of explosives to get rid of. It's really not that bad. It can take some time and be a little goopey, especially if they really laid it on there, but it doesn't require super-strong chemicals. Lately I've just been using CLP and it cleans up the cosmo nicely. For stocks I've used a hair dryer. Works great.

So put away your dynamite and your flame throwers, you won't need them. Take your time and do it right and your rifle will come out great.

todd2968
03-25-2010, 9:55 AM
I'm a big fan of the dishwasher and have never had any splitting problems no mess ever. Do not use detergent only use wood. For metal parts I swear by a $20 clothes steamer.

rromeo
04-02-2010, 7:56 PM
The sling for my Mosin Nagant is covered. Do you suppose the dishwasher is the place to start?

coop44
04-02-2010, 8:11 PM
Dawn, 409 & WD40, heat gun available from harbor freight, use at a distance, get it too close and it will scorch the finish on the wood. Fine for the metal though.

Plenty of paper towels