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Old 02-22-2010, 10:55 AM
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Default The Acetone bath for refinishing stocks?

I'm sure the bath takes time depending on the amount of old varnish being removed, but, generally, how long should it take?
Also, do you change the "bathwater" periodically during the bath? :-)
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:00 PM
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The acetone will need several days to do it's work. Don't be in a hurry. Extended soaking will thoroughly remove all the old dirt, grime, and original finish.

If you use enough acetone, say a pint or more, it won't saturate until you do several stocks, at which time using a second bath is a good idea.
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:26 PM
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John,
Just use care when using acetone. It's not only highly flammable (including the fumes, which can be ignited by a water heater pilot light in the area or even a light switch), but the fumes are somewhat toxic. Work in an open, well ventilated area and consider using a properly rated mask and gloves that aren't permeable, as it is also absorbed through your pores. Cleans great, but potent stuff.
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:53 PM
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Thanks, guys. Great advice.
Regards,
Tom
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:48 PM
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As someone who has used various chemicals over time, stripping metal finishes, etc., my 2 cents is that it's better to let a gunsmith do it Let someone else inhale the fumes and deal with disposing of the stuff..
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:47 PM
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I have a Tupperware style plastic container that I use when stripping the finish from S&W grips. I fill it with enough acetone to cover the grips and let them soak, you may need to improvise a way to keep them submerged. I have never had to soak grips for more than 8 hrs. or so. Actetone is not as bad as some other posters make it sound, after all it is what your missus uses to remove her nail polish. I've never found the need to change while stripping grips, you can use the same acetone to strip several sets of grips before it becomes contaminated with old finish,dirt and gun oil. If there are still some remnants of finish remaining after an 8 hr. soak, I dampen a small square of brown Scotch Brite with acetone and the finish comes right off. Let your grips set for 24-48 hrs. to let all of the acetone evaporate before applying your finish of choice. Acetone will not hurt gun blue, just remove the oil film making it more succeptable to rusting.
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:24 PM
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Acetone will take finish off in a hurry. Getting old oil out of the wood that has soaked deep into the pores will take longer.
Laquer thinner works good too but doesn't evaporate nearly as quickly after it comes out of the soak.

Some people say a mix of the two together at the same time and then a separate soak of alcohol afterwards. They say it's great for oil soaked wood but I never had any better luck with it in the few trys with it than a pure acetone or L/Thinner soak.

The M16 rifle cleaning brushes ('toothbrush') makes a great scrub brush for cleaning up the gunk softened up but stuck in the checkering and crevices of the stocks or grips. *** DO NOT use a regular toothbrush-- it will disolve and melt in acetone and laquer thinner.

Pistol grips can be de-oiled pretty easily with acetone soak.

Gunstocks are another matter depending on the depth of the old stuff. I have a shotgun SxS stock I'm working on now that's gone through numerous soaks of both acetone & laquer thinner plus whiting applications and just when you think you've gotten it all,,it creeps back to the surface again after a couple of days.

I use the Zip-Lock freezer bags (heavyduty bags) to put the stock inside with the acetone. It doesn't use as much liquid that way as you can roll it up a bit and make the thing as small as needed for the stock inside.
They will not leak with acetone. They will NOT hold up with laquer thinner though and will start to leak at the seams after a few hours.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:03 PM
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Just an FYI, if you get the Acetone at a Beauty Supply it is near 100% pure compared to the stuff sold at the big box stores in the metal cans.
I always thought it would be the reverse but the acetone at the Beauty Supply shops is a much better grade.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:01 AM
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Thank you for the tips, my question is; does acetone affect the wood, I mean as to fitting size, warping etc?

One word of advice: (if needed?)
Next to good gloves; wear safety glasses!

I had my share of unexpected specks of debri and metal in mine, even WITH glasses.
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:10 AM
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The acetone soak will not effect the fit of the grips or cause them to warp. I only soak long enough to dissolve most of the finish, removing any last remnants with the acetone soaked brown Scotch Brite square.
The nice thing about using actone to remove the finish is that unlike harsh chemical strippers it does not remove the stain from the wood, nor does it require sanding which removes patina.
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:47 AM
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VM is a member here and one of the best stock guys I know try to get ahold of him he will shoot you straight
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:02 AM
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"VM is a member here and one of the best stock guys......"

Ditto on VM! I sent him a set of real dogs and I did not recognize them when I got them back. Great work. DWFAN is another talented grip guy. I just got a georgeous set of RB J Frame targets from him. Some real talent here on this forum.

Thanks for all these tips, folks. My acetone soak is now complete. It took 3 days as the set I'm experimenting with now was REALLY gunked up, but they finally gave it up. Came out really nice. Now my delimma is what kind of finish do I want-oil rubbed, satin spray lacquer etc? Decisions, decisions! Suggestions and recommendations always appreciated.
Regards,
Tom
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:19 AM
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Thank you for the answer, Marksman.
And also thank you to the other posters for all the tips, really useful!
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:29 AM
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I have used easyoff oven cleaner and then rinse with water use rubber gloves and an old tooth brush five minutes and repeat if needed.Do not leave on for to long or you will rinse the checkering off. LOL
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:49 PM
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What if I wanted to stain the grips with something darker than original? If acetone doesn't remove the stain, how would I prepare the checkering to be stained darker?

Some of my lighter factory grips I think would look better as darker walnut, or ebony colored.

JoshP
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:04 PM
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Use of Wood Bleach (oxalic acid) after the finish is stripped is an excellent way to even up and lighten up the surface for staining and finishing.
It will open up the minut pores of the wood and allow a new stain to penetrate evenly and fully.
You can purchase it in crystal form in most home improvement stores in the paint & stain dept. Just mix with water. I use it warm,,mixed in a glass jar and placed into the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Keep the extra unused portion for the next job.

DO NOT use common laundry bleach. It will lighten the wood but will cause rust to the metal it touches in the future and most probably damage the wood.

If you use oven cleaner to remove oil/grease from wood (though many will cringe at the thought), follow it up with a bath in wood bleach to neutralize it afterwards. The oven cleaner is an alkali and the wood bleach an acid.
Plus the wood bleach will nicely lighten and even up the wood color for staining and finishing. No funky after colors that many associate with the ovencleaner treatment. Be very careful when handleing the wet wood as it is very much softened and will dent at the corners easily. When dry, it will be back to full strength.

The ovencleaner will only take the oil/grease off of the surface and that immediately below it. The deeply imbedded stuff will still be there and will slowly come back to the surface in time to push your new finish off if it isn't drawn off with something like the acetone or laquer thinner soak,,or the whiting powder applications.
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checkering, gunsmith, j frame, lock, m16, model 16, walnut

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