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View Full Version : To refinish a RC K98 or not?


Airman Skitters
02-07-2012, 8:02 PM
So, we've had this Big 5 Russian Capture K98 for nearly a year now, and I had the opportunity to clean all of the cosmoline off of it and take it out to the range over Christmas Exodus and it cleaned up decently. However, it's got that red-orange Russian shellac coating the stock and, worse yet, it's badly worn and chipped off in places and gobbed on in others, leading me to consider stripping it and refinishing it in an attempt to return in to a state at least somewhat closer to the original German finish.

Ours is marked duv, manufactured in 1942, most parts are electropenciled to match, though the barrel bands and sight aren't matching and appear to be lined-through. Metal's not in bad shape, though, it looks like the entire barreled action was reblued - the bore included - I've heard the Russians often did that.

Here are a few images:

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/K982.jpg

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/K984.jpg

A few shots of the worst worn sections:

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/K981.jpg

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/K983.jpg

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/K98.jpg

So, at this point, I'm just wondering what I ought to do. Should I leave the gun as is? Or strip the shellac and go for a boiled linseed oil refinish, which, from what I've read, appears to be what was actually used, or something similar.

Normally I'm more than happy to leave things as-is, save for restoration situations (such as the Century Bedliner stock coating on my VZ52), but in this case, I feel refinishing it would be a step towards returning the rifle to it's original German configuration, thus, I'm torn.

Opinions?

freonr22
02-07-2012, 8:03 PM
Refinish it. Be proud of it. Make it pretty.

rodngun762
02-07-2012, 8:22 PM
Oh for sure... refinish it.

Just strip the shellac off with some denatured alcohol and then apply whatever oil is to your liking. I put Tung Oil on mine and it turned out nice. I wouldn't stain the stock but let the wood's natural qualities show.

Okami
02-07-2012, 8:28 PM
I would. :)

McNally M.
02-07-2012, 8:40 PM
Go right ahead my friend. That Russian finish doesn't do that beautiful laminated German stock any justice. I like that the Yugoslavians didn't slather their captures in shellac.

rojocorsa
02-07-2012, 9:50 PM
Wipe off the shellac with denatured alcohol.

And when you're ready to go back, use coats of BLO. They turn out nice. I witnessed my friend do the same thing to his Mauser, and it looks so kewl now!

SKSer45
02-07-2012, 9:51 PM
Yes! gawd that think looks atrocious. Der Furher and Herr Mauser would not be pleased! Damn I need a 98k! grrr

McNally M.
02-07-2012, 10:19 PM
Yes! gawd that think looks atrocious. Der Furher and Herr Mauser would not be pleased! Damn I need a 98k! grrr

Not that we're in it to impress a dead atrocity committing fascist dictator or anything... But for Paul (Mauser)'s sake, wipe off that gunky shellac and make her a proud Mauser once again!

SideWinder11
02-07-2012, 10:58 PM
Wipe off the shellac with denatured alcohol.

And when you're ready to go back, use coats of BLO. They turn out nice. I witnessed my friend do the same thing to his Mauser, and it looks so kewl now!

^^^^This

I would refinish it

Dr.Mauser
02-07-2012, 11:20 PM
I would refinish it if I were you take it back to it original German glory

emcon5
02-08-2012, 6:28 AM
This one used to look like yours.

http://shedracing.net/imgmisc/chabot/30jan2011/bolt1.jpg

So did this one:

http://www.shedracing.net/imgmisc/brian_k98_detail.jpg

I did the same thing to them I did to the Mosins in The I-Hate-shellac project (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=531679)

caldude
02-08-2012, 6:54 AM
Yours NEEDS to be refinished, if nothing else, to protect the wood.

Paulie Lugnuts
02-08-2012, 8:24 AM
Sounds unanimous Dave. Looks like you'll be out in the garage today.

mauser98k
02-08-2012, 8:39 AM
This one used to look like yours.

http://shedracing.net/imgmisc/chabot/30jan2011/bolt1.jpg

So did this one:

http://www.shedracing.net/imgmisc/brian_k98_detail.jpg

I did the same thing to them I did to the Mosins in The I-Hate-shellac project (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=531679)

so did this one.

do it to it!

C&Rtrader
02-08-2012, 8:56 AM
+1 on the denatured alcohol... works wonders.

think of it this way.... you are undoing that god awful shellac some Russian Bubba put on it.

big103
02-08-2012, 11:58 AM
If you just wanted to take off the shellac without chemicals you could just use some steel wool. The original finish would be right under the shellac.

WW2Buff
02-08-2012, 12:01 PM
Naval Jelly, denatured alcohol and BLO are your friend. Have fun!

emcon5
02-08-2012, 12:14 PM
If you just wanted to take off the shellac without chemicals you could just use some steel wool. The original finish would be right under the shellac.

Alcohol is a primary component of shellac, so essentially using Denatured Alcohol (or any sort of alcohol) is the same as using paint thinner to remove paint. Using the steel wool like a sponge just helps things along. It literally rubs right off.

I left the metal finish alone, except the black paint that was on the recoil lug and bolt takedown hole. That wasn't on very good, and came off while removing the shellac.

Airman Skitters
02-08-2012, 4:42 PM
Alrighty, I just finished stripping the old finish off and now it's just down to the bare wood. I'll get some pictures up later on this evening showing the progress. All in all, it's looking MUCH better. Might need to do some light sanding in place and there are a few dents and dings I think I'll try to steam out. I've heard some folks will find old German markings on the stock after the shellac is removed, though, I didn't find any on ours, heh.

Trench Broom
02-08-2012, 6:58 PM
Look forward to seeing the finished results. :thumbsup:

paratroop
02-08-2012, 7:13 PM
oh crap. yall just talked me into refinishing mine too. thanks

Cessnapilot89
02-08-2012, 7:46 PM
Time to re do the BLO on mine I guess as well

Airman Skitters
02-08-2012, 8:41 PM
Wellp, here are a couple of good shots of the stripped down stock:

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/K98StrippedStock1.jpg

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/K98StrippedStock.jpg

Coming along nicely, though, I may need to go over the handguard again. I think I may have been too careful with it, heh.

C&Rtrader
02-08-2012, 8:49 PM
nicely done! cant wait to see this.

emcon5
02-09-2012, 6:02 AM
Here is the process I used, from Candyman on the surplusrifle board:
http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=137&t=51760

I suspect yours is going to come out a lot better than mine did, that wood looks really good.

mauser98k
02-09-2012, 6:46 AM
Might need to do some light sanding in place and there are a few dents and dings I think I'll try to steam out. I've heard some folks will find old German markings on the stock after the shellac is removed, though, I didn't find any on ours, heh.

i'd say leave the dents and dings. i did. it will look German and combat used, the best of both worlds.

removing the shellac and finishing with oil will make the markings stand out more provided you don't sand them away.

Paulie Lugnuts
02-09-2012, 7:16 AM
Dave you should post some pics of the VZ52 aswell. Its much more of a project. You might pick up some good advice on that one too.

Airman Skitters
02-09-2012, 12:48 PM
Dave you should post some pics of the VZ52 aswell. Its much more of a project. You might pick up some good advice on that one too.

On it!

Here's our other project:

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/VZ52.jpg

Currently:

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/VZ52PreStrip1.jpg

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/VZ52PreStrip.jpg

Some damage to the stock:

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/paulruggeri/Projects/VZ52StockDamage.jpg

Century imported Czech VZ52 Semi-Auto rifle in 7.62x45. Apparently alot of these had cracked stocks so Century coated the wood in truck bedliner crap to cover up the damage. So far, Dad's stripped off the gunk from the hand guard, but the rest of the stock still needs to be stripped. Going to take a while. Hopefully there won't be any other damage to the stock, guess we'll just have to wait and see.

rojocorsa
02-09-2012, 12:58 PM
They covered it in truck bedliner? Gasp! That's appalling.


Can the crack be fixed with wood glue or putty or something like that?

Rogerbutthead
02-09-2012, 1:25 PM
There were some threads in the old G/K43 forum where guys - several years ago - refinished RC 98Ks. If I remember correctly - at least one of them like to use his dishwasher to help out.

I'd pull the thread for you, but I got kicked out of that forum for being a "mud" person.

rojocorsa
02-10-2012, 6:43 AM
What is a mud person? Were they racist or something?



I just noticed the extra hole in the OP's trigger guard on the front. What's up with that? I have seen it on other Mausers but never a 98k.

Rogerbutthead
02-10-2012, 8:06 AM
A non-white. And yes the person who banished me was not in my mind "Politically Correct."

rojocorsa
02-10-2012, 8:09 AM
Wow. **** them!

Rogerbutthead
02-10-2012, 8:23 AM
I guess I should clarify and say I was a "vocal" mud person. Husband/Wife team was running that site, wife went kinda bats**t crazy when Obama was elected. Everything regarding that purging of the board has long since been erased.

mauser98k
02-10-2012, 9:49 AM
There were some threads in the old G/K43 forum where guys - several years ago - refinished RC 98Ks. If I remember correctly - at least one of them like to use his dishwasher to help out.

I'd pull the thread for you, but I got kicked out of that forum for being a "mud" person.

i remember that forum. i was a member. long since abandoned that sh*thole of a site. a couple of the respectable members from that place (Dave & David Mills) created their own forum. it's much better.

rojocorsa
02-10-2012, 10:27 AM
What wood are these stocks from again? Was it beech?

mauser98k
02-10-2012, 12:46 PM
What wood are these stocks from again? Was it beech?

up to 1939 it was solid walnut. after that it was laminated beech. though they still had enough walnut to make the occasional stock throughout the rest of the war.

Rogerbutthead
02-10-2012, 3:06 PM
The folks on gunboards talk about Elm showing up occassionally.
http://www.k98kforum.com/showthread.php?4084-Elm-stocks&highlight=elm+stock
http://www.k98kforum.com/showthread.php?1087-quot-MINI-quot-Mauser-s-in-Elm&highlight=elm+stock

timdps
02-20-2012, 10:23 AM
I just noticed the extra hole in the OP's trigger guard on the front. What's up with that? I have seen it on other Mausers but never a 98k.

Russians rebuilt K98s out of parts from any Mauser that they captured. In this case the TG is from an earlier Gewehr 98.

OP wil also want to soak his butt plate in vinegar overnight to remove the bluing. Issue K98 butt plates were white (no finish).

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b44/timdps/K98s/11Rifles.jpg

Paulie Lugnuts
02-20-2012, 12:29 PM
David, aka Airmanskitters, left for Alaska Saturday, so I'm finishing up now. The Mauser's looking good, sould be done this weekend. The VZ52 has a way to go.