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Stock Finish - No4 Mk1 Maltby

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WilliamS View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 30 2020 at 6:00pm
I have a No4 Mk1 that I am bringing back from a bad sporter job.  I am have got the new forend fit and am sanding it and the old buttstock and surplus handguards now.  Is Raw Linseed Oil the correct finish for this rifle? Or should it be Boiled Linseed or Tung? I have seen all three suggested but would like to get this right.  The goal is to have a near-new condition rifle (luckily the FTR did not change the configuration and Bubba's didn't prep the metal for his green spray paint).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 30 2020 at 9:20pm
always heard the BLO was the choice - rubbed in sparingly with soft cloth vigorously till warm , once an hour for a day , once a day for a week , once a week for a year and as needed after that , a lot of hand rubbing will get you where you want to be , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2020 at 5:08am
Originally posted by WilliamS WilliamS wrote:

I have a No4 Mk1 that I am bringing back from a bad sporter job.  I am have got the new forend fit and am sanding it and the old buttstock and surplus handguards now.  Is Raw Linseed Oil the correct finish for this rifle? Or should it be Boiled Linseed or Tung? I have seen all three suggested but would like to get this right.  The goal is to have a near-new condition rifle (luckily the FTR did not change the configuration and Bubba's didn't prep the metal for his green spray paint).


If you are in the USA then look at the BLO H&S data sheet as the US version of BLO has some nasty carcinogenic compounds in it.

The answer is to visit an artists shop and buy some linseed oil from them - this is 'pure' and getting it on your hands is no problem.
You don't need 'gallons' of the stuff so a small 'artists' bottle is normally sufficient for several coats.

US Manufacturers MSDS

http://www.kleanstrip.com/uploads/documents/KS_Boiled_Linseed_Oil_MSDS.pdf


UK BLO is 'safe' to get on the skin.

When you have finished, take any soaked cloths outside and dispose of carefully.
BLO soaked cloths have been known to self-combust which can cause a bit of a mess in your gun-room.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yq6VW-c2Ts&feature=youtu.be

https://www.thesilverlining.com/westbendcares/blog/prevent-house-fires.-tips-for-storing-and-disposing-of-oily-stain-rags
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2020 at 6:32am
I also decided on using BLO, just ordered some.  I first cleaned well by wiping with a mixture of 3 parts Murphy’s oil soap and one part water, wipe off with clean cloth, let dry.  The stock is not bare wood, but already has an oil finish, I suspect BLO had been applied to it over the years, quite reddish. The butt stock is NOS appears to have not much oil on it.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2020 at 7:00am
The stocks were soaked in a warm bath of RAW linseed oil at manufacture and thereafter treated with RLO while in service.

Boiled works very well but tends to leave a shiny finish when it builds on the surface. A brisk rub with a piece of burlap will dull it down.

I use one or the other depending on the wood and what I am trying to achieve. My military stocks get RLO.

 Tung oil was not used in Brit service, I like it as a finish but for when restore antique furniture. It is wonderful stuff, easy to use and brings out the beauty of the grain. Not sure as to how weatherproof it would be, it does dry to a hard finish.
The concept of RLO was that it was easy for the soldier to maintain the woodwork with fresh oil which would soak in making a barrier to moisture.

So the use of either RLO or BLO would not be wrong. RLO is the original finish, BLO is easier to use.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2020 at 7:15am

Extract from the 'military instructions'


Approval is hereby given for the treatment with raw linseed oil, of the furniture of rifles in use in all stations at home or abroad, irrespective of climate.
The oil will be applied by the soldier once a month to the outside of the fore-end, butt and handguards of the rifle in the following manner :-
1)     Remove all dust and dirt by wiping well with a dry rag
2)     Apply a small quantity of raw linseed oil to the woodwork and rub it well into the wood, care being taken to keep the oil away from the metal parts.
3)     Allow the rifle to stand for approximately three hours and then wipe off all surplus oil with a clean dry rag.
Raw linseed oil will be demanded by the units at the scale of ten pints annually for every 100 rifles. A.C.I. 80 of 1940 is hereby cancelled

57/S.A./654 (S.D. 10)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2020 at 7:39am
There is more than one kind of "BLO" in the U.S.
One is good the other tends to be found at discount Big Box home improvement stores like "Home Despot".
This is probably what the armorer is looking at
Raw Linseed is 100% correct, but many use something called "Stand oil" which is actually heat treated Linseed without chemical additions. Its usually available from specialty stores like Brownells. They also have the chemical version for its faster drying time but under the name of "Lin Speed Oil".

"Modified linseed oils

Stand oil

Stand oil is generated by heating linseed oil near 300 °C for a few days in the complete absence of air. Under these conditions, the polyunsaturated fatty esters convert to conjugated dienes, which then undergo Diels-Alder reactions, leading to crosslinking. The product, which is highly viscous, gives highly uniform coatings that "dry" to more elastic coatings than linseed oil itself. Soybean oil can be treated similarly, but converts more slowly. On the other hand, tung oil converts very quickly, being complete in minutes at 260 °C. Coatings prepared from stand oils are less prone to yellowing than are coatings derived from the parent oils.[45]

Boiled linseed oil

Boiled linseed oil is a combination of raw linseed oil, stand oil (see above), and metallic dryers (catalysts to accelerate drying).[45] In the Medieval era, linseed oil was boiled with lead oxide (litharge) to give a product called boiled linseed oil.[46][page needed] The lead oxide forms lead "soaps" (lead oxide is alkaline) which promotes hardening (polymerisation) of linseed oil by reaction with atmospheric oxygen. Heating shortens its drying time.

Raw linseed oil

Raw linseed oil is the base oil, unprocessed and without driers or thinners. It is mostly used as a feedstock for making a boiled oil. It does not cure sufficiently well or quickly to be regarded as a drying oil.[47] Raw linseed is sometimes used for oiling cricket bats to increase surface friction for better ball control.[48] It was also used to treat leather flat belt drives to reduce slipping."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WilliamS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2020 at 8:52am
Thanks everyone!  Looks like I will be ordering some artists RLO for this project.  Was the same finish used on No1 MkIII rifles? I have a full stock set to do for one of those as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2020 at 10:30am
Yes the No1 was the same.
The regimen for a new stock with no oil was

Once a day for a week
Once a week for a month
Once a month for a year
Once a year for life.
All very light well rubbed in coats.
At one point you'll be convinced theres something wrong because the finish will look uneven & blotchy, don't worry when that happens its normal it just means different grain structures (end & side) are filling at different times & speeds, just keep going & it will end up fine.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2020 at 11:31am
Great advise for a great looking linseed oil finish on our Lee Enfield 's  Shamu.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stumpkiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2020 at 12:20pm
" Looks like I will be ordering some artists RLO for this project."

New to the forum but not wood or stock finishing.  I would skip the raw linseed oil entirely unless you are starting with a plank.  It adds a lot of weight and takes months to dry at room temperature.  It's like wiping olive oil on a cutting board.  Soaks in, protects, not much of a finish.  Boiled linseed oil, applied to wet the surface, sit 20 minutes, and then wipe off any still damp and allow to dry overnight between coats.

If you want a really gorgeous but not military finish use a stock filler, then Minwax to color, then 15 or so of the above oil & wipes lightly rubbed with a 0000 steel wool the next day and a cloth wipe before each coat. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stumpkiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2020 at 6:18pm
PS to the above.  On new or chemically stripped wood if you want to drive the boiled linseed oil in - thin it 50/50 with mineral spirits for the first two coats.  The mineral spirits evaporate off and leave the oil to dry.

Second secret.  If you want to protect the rifle for hunting wipe it with Bri-Wax (a carnuba oil wax) and either buff it well for matte or hardly at all for dull.  After hunting season you can buff it back to matte.  I use it on fiberglass bows this way to cut the shine.

Third secret.  Black Bri-Wax "ages" a firearm with the dark grunge in pits and shallows.  Makes relief carving stand out.  Light brown (Pine) protects without showing.  And a wax coat either way waterproofs and makes the wood easier to grasp with or without gloves.

None of these are, of course, restoration to original tips but might be useful for sporters and hunters/shooters.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote WilliamS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2020 at 9:06pm
Shamu, thanks for the tip.  My RLO should be here by Monday so I'll start the oiling then.

Stumpkiller, thanks for the tips but the idea behind these rebuilds is to make them appear as they did in service, down to the correct finish where practicable (I won't be oil-blacking receivers for example because of the heat treat issues it might cause).  So in this case even though RLO might not be the easiest to work with, or give the nicest finish, since it is the correct military finish that's what I'll be applying. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2020 at 10:29pm
Enfield No4Mk1 rifles were oil blackened. Boiled Linseed Oil  was the finish of choice. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WilliamS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2020 at 10:38pm
Originally posted by Goosic Goosic wrote:

Enfield No4Mk1 rifles were oil blackened. Boiled Linseed Oil  was the finish of choice. 

My plan was to oil blacken all small parts, and rust blue the recievers on the ones that need refinishing (this one's finish is still in decent shape). My understanding is that oil blackening was done as part of the heat treat process and redoing it could damage the temper of the receiver.  Is that not correct or is there a way to get a good finish without heating it up quite so hot?

So there are both BLO and RLO being put forth in this thread as the "original" finish.  The Armourer gave a source for his information so I'm most inclined to go that route.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stanforth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2020 at 3:13am
I use both Raw Linseed  and boiled Linseed oil. I only buy Raw Linseed Oil and boil some of it in a jar in the microwave oven. That way I know what I am getting.
I oil my rifle stocks in raw over several days (or weeks) them seal with Boiled.
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