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View Full Version : how to strip the shellac off?


savasyn
04-04-2010, 10:56 AM
Hey all,
I have an Russian captured k98 that I'd like to strip the shellac off so that I can refinish in something closer to the original. I know that there are some that prefer RC rifles to stay that way. I somewhat agree, however in this case I think this current finish is ugly and slippery, especially in the forearm area which makes the action somewhat difficult to cycle when shouldered.

What's the safest way to clean that stuff off of there? I'd read a few techniques furniture sites that suggest denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner. For those that have done it, is this a good way to go?

Any other tips or tricks that you can pass along to make this go smoothly?

Thanks!

Barabas
04-04-2010, 12:49 PM
The only solvent needed for shellac is denatured alcohol. You can soak a rag and wipe, or put the butt of the stock in a bucket and pour from the container. DA will go a long way towards taking oils out of the stock too and it doesn't raise the grain like water does. It the only solvent I use for initial cleaning on milsurps these days. Be sure to use some kind of rust preventative on any metal cleaned with DA immediately. It can flash rust if it's humid.

Milsurp Collector
04-04-2010, 1:54 PM
Both denatured alcohol and acetone will remove shellac. Someone did a test comparing the two and found that acetone was more effective http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?14791-Acetone-VS-Denatured-Alcohol-test-results...

The other alternative is to just add more shellac to the current finish if you don't hate it but it needs repair. The denatured alcohol in the new shellac mix will partially dissolve the old shellac and allow the new shellac to blend with it.

savasyn
04-04-2010, 2:14 PM
Thanks guys, much appreciated!
I'll start with DA as I have a can of it. If it doesn't work well enough, I'll go get some acetone.

timdps
04-04-2010, 5:12 PM
DA will work, but acetone is much quicker.

I apply it one section at a time with a scrubby pad and lightly scrub the wood. Before it dries rub the liquid acetone/shellac mixture with an old towel or rag. Use a toothbrush to remove the paint from the takedown disk, and possibly the crossbolt before doing the rest of the rifle. Toothbrush also works for the sling recess.

Takes no more than 10 minutes to remove the shellac from an RC stock with acetone.

Tim

Interloper
04-04-2010, 5:32 PM
Acetone smells like crap and will kill your brain cells. All the same, DA or acetone will both work great to destroy the rifle as an investment and an historical artifact.

eight8
04-05-2010, 6:53 AM
Easy Off oven cleaner strips it right down to the wood - removes grease oil and
grunge. Its fast.

eight8

AngryPossum
04-05-2010, 7:18 AM
I've often been tempted to mess around with some of my older rifles. Nothing's uglier than a worn out tired shellac finish....I just don't think I'll ever have the heart to do it. It kinda makes me think of a 80 year old with hair plugs. The "new dooo" might look ok, but overall Somethings just not right. Could you post before/after pics of your project? Depending on the "pimped out" factor I just might change my mind....:D

xrMike
04-05-2010, 7:31 AM
Anybody know FOR SURE what kind of original finish is on these Bulgarian AK-74 stock sets?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/xrMike/guns/AK_furniture_1a.jpg

I think it's shellac, but I'm not sure.

I have this set on my AK, and now there are some problems with the finish in places. If it really is shellac, I'd like to apply some more in the bad spots and see how that turns out, before doing a complete refinish job. Thanks.

timdps
04-05-2010, 10:26 AM
Acetone smells like crap and will kill your brain cells.

Follow the directions on the can and use outdoors with the wind blowing away from you with rubber gloves and you won't lose any brain cells.

All the same, DA or acetone will both work great to destroy the rifle as an investment and an historical artifact.

We are talking about an RC Mauser that does not have a huge investment potential with or without the shellac and we have all read the arguments for and against removing the shellac. Presumably the OP has also read those arguments and made his decision to strip the rifle.

Easy Off oven cleaner strips it right down to the wood - removes grease oil and
grunge. Its fast.

eight8

Yes EasyOff (and other oven cleaners) can work, but it can also turn stocks green, especially laminated stocks.

If anyone wants to do more research on RC K98s and shellac/stripping/refinishing, go the the K98 forum on gunhboards.com and do some searching. Many threads on the subject.

Tim

Interloper
04-05-2010, 12:31 PM
Thanks for the sermon bro.

hifiguns
04-06-2010, 6:58 AM
DA is more selective for shellac. On the AK-74 stock start with DA on a small area and if it dissolves it immediately, then it's probably shellac. If it's varnish or laquer it won't. Laquer thinner dissolves lacquer. Only stripper removes varnish or polyurethane. Strippers can have acetone and other solvents like DA and methylene chloride.

savasyn
04-06-2010, 8:41 PM
After much hemming and hawing, I've decided not to strip this rifle. The shellac coating is really quite thin and more or less applied fairly cleanly. There are a couple of rough spots, but it's not peeling at all. My primary reason for stripping it was, as I said in my original post, because I found the forearm area to be very slippery when trying to cycle the bolt. I'll just wear a glove on my left hand and that should handle that. History, albeit a Russian re-arse'd version, will be preserved ;)

Here are some pictures of it on the day I got it:

http://www.stuff2see.net/images4/k98_06.jpg

http://www.stuff2see.net/images4/k98_03.jpg

Interloper
04-06-2010, 8:58 PM
I think you'll be happy you didn't strip it. People will say, "heck it's an RC, it isn't original anyway". I disagree. The Russian refurb process is part of it's history. It will never be more original or valuable than it is now.

very nice looking rifle, btw.

Dr. Peter Venkman
04-07-2010, 12:42 AM
I stripped one of my K98s to clear up some nasty gunk that had chosen residence underneath the shellac. I might try to restore it with an original finish but for now I used regular stain.

AngryPossum
04-07-2010, 8:53 AM
I think you'll be happy you didn't strip it. People will say, "heck it's an RC, it isn't original anyway". I disagree. The Russian refurb process is part of it's history. It will never be more original or valuable than it is now.

very nice looking rifle, btw.

+1. As far as RCs Go Yours looks great to me. I got some RC's in a bulk buy and one of them looks like it was sanded and never finished. It's just dry bare wood. I'm either going to sell it or make a project out of it. It's the only one of the 3 I haven't shot yet.

77bawls
04-13-2010, 9:49 PM
The Russian refurb process is part of it's history. It will never be more original or valuable than it is now.


Since it will never be a valuable gun I was thinking about refinishing and maybe parkerizing mine.

Interloper
04-14-2010, 7:22 PM
Since it will never be a valuable gun I was thinking about refinishing and maybe parkerizing mine.

Never be valuable? How do you figure?

mauser98k
06-17-2010, 11:05 AM
forgive me for bumping an old post, but i just wanted to add my 2 cents worth. i have 6 RC's and wanted them to look more like German issue than post war Soviet stored rifles. here was my way of doing it:

1. Use Citristrip (a mild stripper)
2. Brush Citristrip onto stock and let sit for 10 - 15 minutes, wipe off with clean cloth
3. Let air dry for a few minutes
4. Use cloth with Denatured Alcohol to remove leftover shellac and Citristrip
5. Wipe off stock
6. Denatured Alcohol again. let dry
7. Let stock sit for an hour to draw out any remaining shellac or cosmoline, if present wipe off
8. When finally ready, apply finish. Boiled Linseed Oil, Howard's Feed 'n Wax work very well (i used BLO)

here's a before and after of one of mine



http://img220.imagevenue.com/loc893/th_00872_98k2_Pic3before_122_893lo.jpg (http://img220.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=00872_98k2_Pic3before_122_893lo.jpg) http://img105.imagevenue.com/loc235/th_00876_98k2_Pic3cleaned_122_235lo.jpg (http://img105.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=00876_98k2_Pic3cleaned_122_235lo.jpg )

they look much more presentable when done properly and the stamps show up more clearly too.

AngryPossum
06-17-2010, 11:30 AM
Mauser98k, I can't make out the difference between the rifles. Pics are to big. Tried to copy and crop em, but I couldn't figure it out. I got a old K98mthat was sanded and never finished...(at least it looked that way last time I had it out)...I'm going to finish it or sell/trade it. How do you guys feel about Tung oil? I've used it with another rifle and liked it....What is correct for a K98?

mauser98k
06-17-2010, 11:47 AM
ok, how about this pic:


http://img262.imagevenue.com/loc501/th_03381_aa_122_501lo.JPG (http://img262.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=03381_aa_122_501lo.JPG)

the after picture is not the shiny yellow/red of the before and the Waffenamts on the stock are more clearly visible than they were with the shellac over them

as far as Tung Oil is concerned i'm uncertain about that. i've heard the best to use is Howard's Feed N' Wax. i used BLO because it's also acceptable and it was the only stuff available to me

AngryPossum
06-17-2010, 11:54 AM
Much better...