Removing Cosmoline

Questions and tips about taking care of the weapons we collect and shoot.

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Removing Cosmoline

Postby Candyman » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:27 pm

Well as some of you know, I know a little bit about stocks. (Been repair and restoring them for over 20 years) There is some good info out there and some not so good info out there on the web. What I will try, is to make things a little clearer.

First off, Heat is the best way to remove Cosmo. Just remember not to get in a rush and get the stock too hot because, you will just cook the Cosmo and that is not a good thing. Just keep your temp. under 200 and you should be OK.
There is no magic cleaner or trick to get the Cosmo out of a stock. If it is soaked in, it will take time to get it out. Any type of cleaner that you put on the stock will only remove what is on or just below the surface. If the stock is soaked with Cosmo, when it gets hot it will weep.

When it comes toWater and wood it is not always a good thing but not always a bad thing. Getting water on your stock will not hurt it but if you allow the stock to get soaked then that can be bad.
When wood gets soaked, fibers can be damaged and when it dries it can warp. When you soak a stock and add heat you are just asking for trouble.
This Brings us to the :twisted: Evil Dishwasher. The trouble with the dishwasher is that stocks tend to stay wet for too long and get soaked and if you leave the heat setting on, you could really mess things up.

When it comes to Chemical cleaners you need to be careful. You must be sure that what you use will not damage the wood. Soaps are fine but, they must be washed off or they will cause trouble when you go to apply your finish.
Cleaners that are not made for wood should be avoided, such as oven cleaner. You may use it 3 or 4 times and never have a problem but that one time when you get a chemical burn on your stock, you will be sick. The way to tell if you have burned your stock is by the color of the wood when it dries. It will be a light grayish green to a black. It all depends on the type of wood and what is on the wood. If the wood is soft or has any soft spots, or is it is dry. All these play a factor when using a chemical cleaner.
If you wish to use a chemical cleaner I would have to say that a paint stripper made to use no wood is your best choice. Strip-X by Klean Strip in the red can works very good.
I like to use Denatured Alcohol the most because it will remove the cosmo from the surface and a little just below and will dry very fast without hurting the wood.

Now when it comes to Steam you are using heat and water. As long as you don't soak the wood prior to heating it you will be ok but, it should be done in sectiond and not the whole stock at one time to avoid any chance of warping.

So if you have a Cosmo soaked stock it will take time to get it out. Don't get in a rush and remember that shortcuts will only show in the end.
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Re: Removing Cosmoline

Postby Dollar Bill » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:01 am

Great advice. I've only done one, a Springfield that had been is cosmoline, probably, from the 60's. Not being in a hurry, wrapped it in a black trash bag and hung it in the sun. Every couple of days, I'd take it out and wipe it down with denatured alcohol. Within a week, no more cosmoline weeping out and it was ready to start rubbing in some tung oil. I think the key is to not get in a hurry. Most of the time, that cosmo has been applied hot and been on the stock for years. Be patient and use the least aggresive method, the same as you would if restoring old furniture.
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Re: Removing Cosmoline

Postby oldironsights » Fri May 14, 2010 4:32 pm

Great advice Lee!

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