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1918 Lee Enfield No. 1 SMLE MkIII* Stock Finish?

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Forum topic by Sparks8286 posted 03-08-2015 05:26 AM 1714 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Sparks8286

72 posts in 956 days


03-08-2015 05:26 AM

I’m in the process of rebuilding this gun that I recently found in the back of my dad’s shed. I know there’s a TON of these guns out there and still in use so it’s not worth a huge amount of money, but it’s still a piece of history and I’d like to hold on to it and make it what it once was. Everything appears to be original on the gun (the only thing it’s missing is the bayonet) and I’d like to keep it that way. Once I get all the metal taken care of I’ll start working on the stock, but I need some help. I can’t find any information on how the stock was originially finished. Does anybody out there have this information or know where I can find it? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

And just a little extra something, I also found two other guns along with the Enfield. Those are just about finished other than having the barrels honed. The first is a Mossberg 835 UltiMag (sorry, no before pictures). No woodworking involved in this one due to the synthetic stock, but it was still a fun project and I wanted to share it. I stripped the gun down, polished the internals and put on a new finish using Brownell’s Aluma-Hyde II in coyote color.

The third gun is a Marlin Glenfield Model 60 .22 LR semi-auto. I don’t know the exact age of this one, but it’s pre ‘83 when Remington took over the model 60 from Marlin. Again, the interals were cleaned and polished, the metal was cleaned and a new finish put on using (again) Brownell’s Aluma-Hyde II in black this time. Obviously, I did some work to the stock. Turns out there was a nice piece of birch under that turd-brown original finish. I sanded the stock down, leaving the original dark finish in the low parts of the checkering. It gives it a nice look, I think. I sanded it down to 220, wiped it down with some boiled linseed oil, followed by a coat of Minwax natural stain and three wiped-on coats of Minwax semi-gloss polyurethane. I realize this isn’t a traditional gunstock finish, but it’s what I had on hand and I think it’ll do just fine.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.


18 replies so far

View Bobbal's profile

Bobbal

27 posts in 654 days


#1 posted 03-08-2015 11:46 AM

Careful with that Enfield. Some bolts produced can not handle the pressure from modern loads and may blow up. I read about it on the CMP website (civilian match program?) There is a way to identify them but I would have it checked first by a competent gunsmith.

-- Why measure twice when you can cut twice?

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Sparks8286

72 posts in 956 days


#2 posted 03-08-2015 11:54 AM

I didn’t know about that. I’ll definitely check that before I go to shooting it. Thanks for the tip!

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2148 posts in 1640 days


#3 posted 03-08-2015 12:30 PM

Your US military stock up throught he M-14 used boiled linseed oil.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3949 posts in 1960 days


#4 posted 03-08-2015 12:37 PM


Your US military stock up throught he M-14 used boiled linseed oil.

- johnstoneb


That’s my understanding as well. It was just a linseed oil finish. I have a couple of 03-A3’s and that’s what i believe the finish is on them. It won’t have that patina in your photo for a very long time.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Sparks8286

72 posts in 956 days


#5 posted 03-08-2015 08:31 PM



Your US military stock up throught he M-14 used boiled linseed oil.

- johnstoneb


I found info on the US military using a boiled linseed oil finish for their stocks and it stands to reason that the British would have done the same. I just want to make sure.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2157 days


#6 posted 03-09-2015 12:59 AM

The .22 came out just beautiful!!!

I know it may not be traditional but I really like shellac rubbed on for my grips/gunstocks.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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Sparks8286

72 posts in 956 days


#7 posted 03-09-2015 01:39 AM



The .22 came out just beautiful!!!

I know it may not be traditional but I really like shellac rubbed on for my grips/gunstocks.

- gfadvm

Thanks! My neighbor said it looks like an old west gun (that was before I put the scope back on it). I like the contrasting colors.

I like using BLO for grips and handles on tools most of the time, but I wanted something with a little more gloss for the stock on the .22. It’ll most-likely only be used for backyard shooting and occasional squirrel hunting so I think the poly finish will do just fine. I re-did the stock on an old Savage 110E .270, which is my go-to deer rifle, a couple of years ago and I put a spar varnish on that one. It came out pretty good too, but that stock didn’t have the grain I was hoping it would.

Looks like the Enfield is going to be getting the BLO treatment. I sanded the stock on that today, wiped it down to clean up all the dust and set it outside in the sun for a little while. The dust from sanding it was real thick and heavy. I assume I sanded off a layer of crap before I even got to any wood. Anyway, after sitting in the sun for about an hour I noticed that oil seemed to be oozing out of the stock in some places. Has anybody seen this before? Is that just old linseed oil coming out? Is it possible that the wood was so saturated that sanding it opened up the pores of the wood again and allowed some of it to come out?

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2157 days


#8 posted 03-09-2015 02:39 AM

Yep, I have seen oil oozing out in the sun like that. Shellac will seal it in and stop the oozing.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Gentile's profile

Gentile

262 posts in 1285 days


#9 posted 03-09-2015 03:55 AM

I’ve used BLO with paint thinner on old military rifles. After several coats, over a week to 10 days, it will get a gloss finish. I would rub it on daily. The seepage might be from cosmoline used for storage…

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

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Sparks8286

72 posts in 956 days


#10 posted 03-09-2015 02:08 PM

gfad,

I’d like to use BLO to finish the stock as that is what was originally used. I’d prefer to keep it all original if I can. I’m hoping that it will stop oozing in a couple of days, but hey, sometimes you gotta change your plan, right?

Gentile,

What ratio do you use to mix the BLO and thinner? Can you adjust the mix to get a duller finish?

Admittedly, I don’t know much of anything about finishes. I have to read a lot to find out what a particular product does (I spend a LOT of time reading lol). I found this website:

http://www.doityourself.com/stry/lacquer-finish-vs-shellac

which makes me think shellac would be my second option to seal the wood because it was primarily used during the time this gun was made as a furniture finish. But it says shellac gives a high-gloss finish which I know I don’t want. Is there a way to dull the gloss using shellac or should I consider using a matte finish lacquer instead?

And I want to say thanks to all of you for your input. I really appreciate it.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2157 days


#11 posted 03-09-2015 06:08 PM

You can use steel wool and wax (or fine Scotch pad/ 600 grit sandpaper) to knock the shine down on shellac after it has cured.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 697 days


#12 posted 03-09-2015 06:55 PM

I have that exact .22.
A friend just refinished his stock and took the old finish off with aeronautic industrial degreaser. His dad works for American Air. Man it works better than anything from the big box stores.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Sparks8286's profile

Sparks8286

72 posts in 956 days


#13 posted 03-09-2015 07:22 PM



I have that exact .22.
A friend just refinished his stock and took the old finish off with aeronautic industrial degreaser. His dad works for American Air. Man it works better than anything from the big box stores.

- SirIrb

haha, I just used a sander. I don’t have access to that stuff….....anymore. :p

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

View Shadowrider's profile

Shadowrider

183 posts in 676 days


#14 posted 03-09-2015 10:25 PM

Yes BLO was the finish used on most, but it could also be tung. I’d bet that at some point it got raw linseed oil used on it with the leeching. There is a lot of good info on the CMP forums including refinishing, but really about everything you can imagine is covered there in detail. That gun could have some value too, depending on specifically what it is and it’s maintenance history.

I’d just scrub it gently with green scotch brite and mineral spirits and proceed to naphtha or even lacquer thinner or acetone to get it cleaned off. Be careful not to mess up the cartouches on the stock! Then go with several coats of BLO or my preference pure tung. Tung takes even longer but gives you water repellency that you won’t get with BLO. Use pure tung too, not the “tung oil finish” from the big box stores. Those old stocks will blow your mind in how good they can be cleaned up.

If you go to the CMP forum look up CoolHandLuke’s posts. He’s a guru on refinishing milsurps and there are others there too.

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Shadowrider

183 posts in 676 days


#15 posted 03-09-2015 10:29 PM

Here’s my Garand that I refinished. It had a new birch stock with a horrid orange stain. I got some it out but need to strip it down and give it another go. I’ve learned of transtint dyes from this forum and want to get it to a more walnut looking color and pop the tiger in this stock more.

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