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  #1  
Old 10-12-2017, 8:13 PM
sf_1911 sf_1911 is offline
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Default Cleaning Guns after a fire

My father lost his house in the Tubbs fire this week. We got the safe open and the guns are covered in soot. Surprising that they aren't more damaged. Two questions

1. How should we clean them?
2. Is there a gunsmith in the North bay that can tell us if they are damaged?Update:

Update:
Most of the guns have the blueing removed. How much depends on where it was in the safe and whether it was in a holster or not. Nickel plating seems to have made it thru the best.

Of the guns I have broken down, all were filled with a black curd. Some of the springs were damage but only those in shotguns with a plastic follower. About half of the grips, plastic and wood are ruined.

Process:
We soaked the guns in Simply green (field stripped), sprayed with WD-40, wiped them down and then blew them out with an air compressor. Lightly oiled then and then set aside for later.

Later, one at a time, we are completely disassembling. Hoppe's on the metal and 0000 steel wool, removed the soot and crud. The stocks are cleaning up with mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool. I used Boiled Linseed oil on one stock to bring back the shine.

Thanks for everyone's advice and ideas!

Last edited by sf_1911; 11-06-2017 at 6:41 PM.. Reason: update
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Old 10-12-2017, 8:48 PM
jericho89 jericho89 is offline
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Sorry to hear about his loss



Do not rub them down... I would use compressed air to remove the bulk of the soot, break them down to component pieces, and then wipe them down with an oiled rag. What was the condition of the safe? outside and inside. also what was the rating of the safe? if the inside had carpet and the carpet was not melted that would be an indication of the temps inside the safe.



as ol shooter said don't use oil on stock... I was only thinking steel, I forgot about wood...

Last edited by jericho89; 10-12-2017 at 9:46 PM..
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Old 10-12-2017, 9:39 PM
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As was mentioned, blow everything off that will come off. Don't use oily rags on gun stocks, bad for the wood and the finishes. See if you can find some real Mineral Spirits, can be a difficult thing in California, and wipe down with soft clean cloths until they look clean. Genuine Mineral Spirits will not harm stock finishes. DO NOT use the Green Mineral Spirits or Mineral Spirit Substitutes sold in the stores, they are not good and most contain alcohol, very bad for gun finishes.
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Old 10-13-2017, 6:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'ol shooter View Post
See if you can find some real Mineral Spirits, can be a difficult thing in California
Unless you know somebody who has mineral spirits from before their regulation in California, you will not find any on the shelve. Against the law to sell it. You'll have to go out of state to buy some. Or work in an industry that uses it, but they are regulated by the Air Resource Board and would have it under lock and key so to speak.
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Old 10-13-2017, 9:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 67Cuda View Post
Unless you know somebody who has mineral spirits from before their regulation in California, you will not find any on the shelve. Against the law to sell it. You'll have to go out of state to buy some. Or work in an industry that uses it, but they are regulated by the Air Resource Board and would have it under lock and key so to speak.
I have some coming tomorrow from Amazon, will see how good it is. A retired wood finish industry expert at Rim Fire Central says the brand is a good product. A little expensive but if it works, it works.

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Old 10-13-2017, 1:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 'ol shooter View Post
I have some coming tomorrow from Amazon, will see how good it is. A retired wood finish industry expert at Rim Fire Central says the brand is a good product. A little expensive but if it works, it works.

Interesting.

I tried to order some from McMaster-Carr a couple of years ago, I though I was sly, but I was DENIED! LOL
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Old 10-13-2017, 1:38 PM
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The safe was rated for 60 minutes. The wood is in good condition although covered in soot. Any leather was ruined and all of the papers burnt.

A watch and some jewelry was in prefect condition.

I'll try the suggestions here and let you know.

Thanks for the help
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Old 10-13-2017, 3:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sf_1911 View Post
The safe was rated for 60 minutes. The wood is in good condition although covered in soot. Any leather was ruined and all of the papers burnt.

A watch and some jewelry was in prefect condition.

I'll try the suggestions here and let you know.

Thanks for the help
Sounds like it did not get hot enough to effect the structure of the metal, but as you already know have a gunsmith verify for safety. Good luck with the cleaning up and please let us know how it goes.
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Old 10-13-2017, 4:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 67Cuda View Post
Interesting.

I tried to order some from McMaster-Carr a couple of years ago, I though I was sly, but I was DENIED! LOL
I just received it, opened it, sniffed it. It's the real deal, I ordered two gallons from them just now. I have ordered other banned items from them in the past, hope the solvent police aren't monitoring this transmission.
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Old 10-22-2017, 5:21 AM
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I don't think I'd use mineral spirits (paint thinner) on finished gun stocks. Mineral Spirits might make the finish soft or smear and remove any gloss.
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:53 AM
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I don't think I'd use mineral spirits (paint thinner) on finished gun stocks. Mineral Spirits might make the finish soft or smear and remove any gloss.
Here's a link to a good post on Rim Fire Central, by our resident finishes expert Noremf (George).

http://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums...d.php?t=493365

He was in the finishes production industry, and is a certified restoration expert. He says Mineral Spirits are fine for cleaning a topcoat. With all due respect, maybe you should make sure you know what you are talking about before you post advice. You "don't think" and "you might" are not educated statements.
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:22 AM
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OP you need to check the springs. If they are good, the rest of the metal was not heat-affected.

That being said, check headspace after firing.
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Old 10-22-2017, 7:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'ol shooter View Post
Here's a link to a good post on Rim Fire Central, by our resident finishes expert Noremf (George).

http://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums...d.php?t=493365

He was in the finishes production industry, and is a certified restoration expert. He says Mineral Spirits are fine for cleaning a topcoat. With all due respect, maybe you should make sure you know what you are talking about before you post advice. You "don't think" and "you might" are not educated statements.
Do you KNOW EXACTLY WHAT GUNS ARE TO BE CLEANED? I don't. I'm not going to suggest using a solvent on ANYTHING unless I've checked what the finish is, and what the gun's condition is or was. The safest answer is DON'T USE SOLVENT, let an EXPERT look at them first, capiche? YOU MIGHT is in reference to CERTAIN FINISHES DON'T LIKE BEING WIPED WITH SOLVENT, not ALL FINISHES DON'T.
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Old 10-22-2017, 8:08 PM
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Some revolvers have plastic parts that won't do well with solvent. Examples are H&R. That said, I was able to get replacement metal parts.

.
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGood View Post
Do you KNOW EXACTLY WHAT GUNS ARE TO BE CLEANED? I don't. I'm not going to suggest using a solvent on ANYTHING unless I've checked what the finish is, and what the gun's condition is or was. The safest answer is DON'T USE SOLVENT, let an EXPERT look at them first, capiche? YOU MIGHT is in reference to CERTAIN FINISHES DON'T LIKE BEING WIPED WITH SOLVENT, not ALL FINISHES DON'T.
Don't be a jerk, read the article in the link I posted, gain some knowledge.
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:38 AM
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You know, if you hadn't treated me as you did; there wouldn't be this discussion. How about thinking for yourself little before trying to play Mr. Asshat know it all? You simply can't make a blanket statement that paint thinner is good to go on all finishes. It isn't, yet you continue to try and say it is. Why? If I wanted to strip a waxed finish I might use thinner. If I wanted to try and remove an oiled finish that has too much tint I might wipe it with thinner. If I wanted to remove 'patina' from an old gun I might use thinner. Why would I use it to 'restore' if it can do all of the above???
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Old 10-23-2017, 6:19 AM
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I've used Kerosine, which is a very light oil, on heavy dirt and grime. Works great. I've also used Liquid 409 which has a beautyl cleaner on heavy sooted items and it works without damaging painted surfaces... In either case I suggest trying a test area first.
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Old 10-24-2017, 6:27 PM
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I am in the Restoration business and very occupied with fire claims in So. Cal. If you have an insurance policy in place for these items (a separated rider may be required) then take all the guns and parts to a qualified Smith and send the bill to your insurance company.

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Old 10-24-2017, 7:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 67Cuda View Post
Unless you know somebody who has mineral spirits from before their regulation in California, you will not find any on the shelve. Against the law to sell it. You'll have to go out of state to buy some. Or work in an industry that uses it, but they are regulated by the Air Resource Board and would have it under lock and key so to speak.
Not completely true but no help to OP. I was able to add some to the cart online at Home Depot in Bakersfield. AQMD in Socal prohibits sales here but free parts of the state don't.
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Old 10-25-2017, 8:50 PM
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Is charcoal lighter fluid less refined mineral spirits?
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:34 PM
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Charcoal Lighter and Zippo fuel are mostly Naptha, also a fairly mild solvent.
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