old gun fixing

Discussion in 'Curio & Relic Zone' started by duster066, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. duster066

    duster066 Supporting Member

    I've never seen us do this here, although I'm sure it's been done. Let's discuss fixing old guns that have value, guns you don't want to look fixed.

    I'm starting at the only place a have experience, restoring an original finish on an old stock. Restoring is the wrong word, let's call it cleaning.

    In the last two days I've used techniques I've learned online to clean up two old stocks I wanted kept original. The results are really nice. I wanted to be careful and therefore disregarded some aggressive suggested methods. And I used my Garand stock as a test piece because it's not original.

    My stocks were not soaked with cosmolene so I didn't have to deal with that. Getting it all out looks pretty simple, but is time consuming. So all I had to do was clean the decades of grime, raise the dents, and apply a protective finish.

    I started by cleaning with an organic surface cleaner. I used Clorox green works. I didn't worry about getting the wood wet since I'd be streaming it any way. So I used lots of cleaner and scrubbed with the grain aggressively. Constantly turning the rag and using fresh cleaner. It worked very well removing lots of dirt, grime, and foreign oils. When I was satisfied I had it as clean as it would get I steamed it.

    I used a steam iron on its highest setting. I took a clean rag and got it wet, not dripping, but not rung out either. I folded the rag in half, layed it on the wood, and ironed it for about one minute, until the rag started to dry out and burn some. Rewet the rag and move around the stock until done. That to worked very well at raising the dents, raising the gouges so they are not as deep, and raising the grain of the wood over all. I then set it aside to dry.

    Next step was to mechanically polish the wood to smooth the raised grain. I used 000 steel wool being aggressive and always with the grain. However I was careful on the edges so I wouldn't rub through the stained finish. This worked real good to. It created a super smooth feel, and a semi gloss just as you would expect with wood worked this way.

    Last step was to wax it. I read at a Garand site bees wax was used by the Army. But most folks don't used bees wax because it reacts with linseed oil and will yellow with age. I used the same car I've always used, not sure what's in it, but it makes my guns look good. So here is my 116 year old Win 94 stock. It worked. The stocks are clean, smooth, and have a pleasing gloss. Yet all of the character of the original finish wear and all is still there.

    I'd love to hear stories about how you guys clean up your old guns while maintaining the original finish. Metal techniques would be very interesting. I'd like to do everything I can to clean up the metal on this old Winchester without ruining the originality.
     

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  2. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

    25,834
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    I expect m00nz will be in here shortly :D
     

  3. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    I worked on a 1894 Winchester 22short for a friend it was his dads and was in a barn for years it was missing a lot of parts and had no wood. You could not see down the barrel. I went through a few bore brushes and found that it still had the rifling and not to bad. I did u put a little blueing not much as the aged look was pretty good. New sights added and replacement wood with a walnut stain and satin finish. Looked great and shot great. When I shot it the first time I had to take it apart as it was so quite I thought the bullet jammed in the barrel it didn't. Man that was a nice gun. Wish I had taken a pic of it finished. Here is what I had to work with. More than a little clean up but it was fun :-D
     

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  4. rickm

    rickm Member

    I use several coats of TruOil on my wood to add a nice shine to them the more coats you put the shiner they get.
     
  5. duster066

    duster066 Supporting Member

    My 94 is pretty bad. And because of that it's a candidate for full restoration. But it's not worth that, so that gives me the option to...I don't know, have at it. I've been reading all night on how to fix badly pitted barrels. Because I don't want to paint the gun fillers are out. I'm concluding I should draw file it to rid it of the light stuff, then rust blue it and live with the pits. That would give it an old appearance yet improve it's looks. It's to cool to leave in it's current state if it has no value as a collector.
     

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  6. very cool... that is something my dad and I want to do.. is "freshening up" old guns but keeping them OEM.
     
  7. Hdonly

    Hdonly Member

    Here is my 1894 Winchester. It was made in 1964, so it doesn't have the real collector value. I still think I will not do anything though. I am on the fence there. What do you all think? Should I clean it up or not?
     

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  8. Grant

    Grant Member

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    I did a couple of old family guns in the not too distant past. I cleaned up and got functioning an old circa 1890 single shot 12 Guage that was owned by my great great uncle. In the stock I found his hunting license from 1920. It went back in after being cleaned up, blued and oiled.

    I also got my grandfathers Winchester model 34. It was badly rusting and not functioning when I got it. It was even missing a couple of parts. Try finding parts for an 80 year old 22 that was only made for 2 years. After much hunting and work it now works great and shoots better than any 22 I own. I actually shoot it regularly at the range.

    Neither has any $ value, but bringing a couple of family heirlooms back to life was priceless to me.

    Now if I can just pry that bring back Luger from my parents...
     
  9. Grant

    Grant Member

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    Wood finish looks decent from the pics. Lemon oil should protect that. The blueing is thin, but you have 2 options, keep it oiled heavy to protect it or have it reblued. I would blue it, but that's me. This isn't a historical weapon that repairs would devalue.
     
  10. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Rust Bluing will help sort of "smooth over" shallow pits.

    If they're not too deep, you might not even be able to see them after Rust Bluing.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  11. Hdonly

    Hdonly Member

    I agree, but just still can't decide. I like the old look. It has character. A nice blued finish looks mighty fine too. See waht happens when you get old. 20 years ago, I would have reblued it in a heartbeat.
     
  12. Grant

    Grant Member

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    I've gone both ways myself. Sometimes the gun will tell you what it needs.
     
  13. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    That it does Grant ;-)
     
  14. duster066

    duster066 Supporting Member

    Well I did it, I ruined my 94. I knew it would ruin it, I knew I wouldn't like it, so without thought I just did it. I took files to the barrel, and it cleaned up about as I thought it would, not completely at all. to preserve the originality I only brushed over the stamping with the files, just enough to break the edges. I took the rest down enough to blend out the lightest pits. This reduced the material a responsible amount (safety speaking) and left the deeper pits. It smoothed up real nice and will take a finish nicely. I think I did a good job maintaining the edges of the octagonal barrel keeping the flats flat. It will look much better.

    Now how to repair it. The forward magazine ring dovetail pulled out of the barrel and needs a weld repair. I looked a Brownell's and they have files designed to recreate dovetails. I have a mig welder and I'm considering doing it myself. I only need two beads a half inch long and a tenth inch wide to do it. I'm sure I can pull that off. Then how to blue it.

    I'd like something that will look old. I'm not sure how rust blueing will deal with a satin finish or the deeper pits. Plus rust blueing is done with a perfectly smooth finish to get that deep rich finish. There is also the problem of the receiver. It's pitted to, not as bad as the barrel but there are thousands of them. I don't want to polish on it because I'll lose the edges and curves, which will ruin the gun. So I'm thinking of sand blasting the whole action for a satin finish. How will that react to rust blueing?
     
  15. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Depends on how you card it.

    Card it with 0000 Steel Wool and lots of elbow grease and you'll get a Satin finish. Card with rough paper (like paper towels) and you'll get a matte finish. I've read that if you go well on with 0000 and then pound it out with rouge then buff you can get a deep gloss finish, but I wouldn't know for sure. Makes sense to me, however.

    Your welded areas may blue differently or even not at all if you use something with high nickle.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  16. duster066

    duster066 Supporting Member

    I figure I'll use 4130 wire, it's what I have and it's good steel. The plan is to build two heat dams from wet rags on either side of the weld, and lay it on a third wet rags under the weld. The heat will be restricted to a small area hidden under the mag tube. It'll work with some fine filing and careful fitting if the new ring. And I'm committed to doing it, the barrel is clean and ready for welding.
     
  17. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    Since it is not a collectors piece and you have already brutally assaulted it, I would take the entire barrel and receiver out to the white, use DuraFil to fill the pits and then Duracoat it. You'll end up with a beautiful weapon. :)

    .
     
  18. duster066

    duster066 Supporting Member

    That's an idea flash.

    I sand blasted the whole thing. I then used cold blue on the receiver. Not sure what I think. It will probably work. It covered well, but is a charcoal black especially on the badly pitted metal. But when the wood is put on it it doesn't look bad. It looks worn and distressed. And as it wears, which cold blue will, it will take on a normal worn appearance. The barrel will take a nice rust blueing, and the mag tube. It might look just like I want it to, an abused gun that was fixed by the local armorer for cheap. It will be complete, rust free, and functional for light loads. It'll be a good 100 yard gun, maybe 200 because the bore is clean. We'll see.
     
  19. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    Here's a tip for anyone who wants to take a weapon all the way out to white for refinishing:

    To easily remove all bluing with minimal effort, use "Evapo-Rust". It can be found in most Auto Parts stores. Just soak the parts you want to take out to white in the Evapo-Rust until all the bluing is gone. ( Remember, bluing is actually rust )

    I use PVC tubes made up the same as I use for removing cosmoline from C&R rifles. I put the entire barreled action into the tube and let it soak in the Evapo-Rust for several days. It will remove the bluing without hurting the metal, and is great for getting the rust out of the inside of a barrel as well. Check on it occassionally and when all the bluing is gone, rinse it down with water and blow dry it with air.
     

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  20. duster066

    duster066 Supporting Member

    I'll keep you all posted as to the progress. The barrel is going rust blue, just cause I want to do it. I wish I hadn't started this. I'd like the gun better add it was. But the rust was serious, and I buy into the restoration argument. Would be cool to pay Turnbull type 5 grand to do it right. But that would make a gun worth 5 grand and I can't afford it anyway. So I'll end up with al bubbaed 94. But it'll be a 116 year old 94 that still works. And if it ever becomes with a restoration I haven't screwed that up.