View Full Version : Original Stock Finish for M96?

09-13-2007, 07:09 PM

Posted - 12/16/2006 : 5:53:17 PM
Would some one please share with me what was used to finish the original stocks of the Swede M96 long rifles. I would also appreciate anyone sharing the "special" technigues you have used to restore the original (or close to original) finish of your Swede M96 long rifle. Thanks in advance for the information.

Posted - 12/10/2006 : 8:15:49 PM
What was the original finish applied to Swedish Mauser stocks {if linseed oil, raw or with dryers added} and how was it applied in the factory?

If stained, what was it made of? Was a sealer different from the final finish used?

The British small arms authority Skennerton notes that British Lee Enfield stocks were submerged in hot/warm linseed oil for 1/2 hour. As I remember, they were then drip dried and rubbed down by hand, I suspect to merely remove excess oil. This seems like a fairly efficient method and I'm wondering how the Swedes might have done it.

The method used by many restorers; hand rubbing coat after coat, seems a highly unlikely production method given the long dry time of raw {or boiled linseed oil}.

Please cite a source for your answers if you have one. I'm always looking for new reading materials, also. Thanks!

Posted - 12/10/2006 : 9:14:21 PM
Lee Speed,
Dana Jones in Crown Jewels, p.71, notes that stocks were treated with linseed oil. He doesn't detail the actual application. We know beech stocks were stained, but I don't think we know the type of stain and application method used. More mysteries to solve

Posted - 12/10/2006 : 9:30:56 PM
From 1927 Swedish armorer's manual:
*translated by Anders*

The new stock (excl. barrel rail and action cut-out) are oiled with BLO applied by a piece of cloth and rubbed in by hand. After that leave to dry for 12 hours. Beech stocks are to be oiled twice.

Stocks are to be polished with floor wax using a polishing disc. Polish until surface is smooth and has dull finish.

Barrel channel and cut-outs are to be covered with vasoline (lots of it). Handguard is oiled, polished, etc, like the stock.
[/end of armorer's manual]

There was something else about staining with a walnut stain but I can't find it.

Maple and elm stocks were also stained a reddish walnut color sometime down the road. Originally both maple and elm were treated with linseed oil but both can be found with the reddish stain.

Posted - 12/11/2006 : 12:00:19 AM

Dutchman: Great response. Thanks very much. Interesting essentially one treatment by hand once or twice. Not particularly a very protective treatment.

Also, that expains the goop in the barrel channel!

Thanks very much for the info! Any more regarding factory production would be interesting also.

By the way, Kriggevaer, what do you think of Jone's book?

I have it and while it is interesting, it lacks a lot of technical details the inclusion of which could have taken it from a mediocre to a really good book. The issue of stock treatment is one such weakly-treated subject. I have quite a few of the Collector Grade series books and had great hopes for Crown Jewels, but I don't think it stacks up with many of the others. Or was there simply no available technical information from which to glean more juicy stuff?

Posted - 12/11/2006 : 01:02:27 AM
Dana's book is the best there is at this time and it is doubtful that someone will come up with a better one soon. I also doubt that he will have a second addition because his book seems to be compete in its balance and I am not sure what he would add given the apparent emphasis in the first edition.

Haveing said that, there is a definite need for another book that goes into more detail on various topics. The topic of the stock finishing is one that led me to chewing off my fingernails more than once when I try to get something out of crown jewels on the topic. Additionally, the evolution of stock finishing and bluing would also be very nice to the serious collector to be able to review. Another point that would be nice to have more information on is diopters--certainly more details of installation, the factories where they were made, etc would be nice to have. As I have gotten into this thing, there are also a lot of assessories that arent listed in the book that are pretty cool.

Not trying to take a question and answer when it was addressed to someone else--just commenting on your point as it is one I have thought a lot about.

I am actually interested in how the stock and stain issues related to eachother...

I think this is a critical time for collectors of the swedish mauser. It is almost 110 years since the first 96 was made. Things had slowed a lot by the 20-40s in terms of CGs--there is probably noone alive who can give real first hand experience who worked in the cg factory. However, The generation they were in contact with as well as workers who worked at husky and cg are still probably alive in some cases and in a conditon in which they could relay first hand experiences with the production of various swedish mauser related guns. I think it would be wise for any of us who ascribe to this point of view to contact persons in sweden who may be able to share this information with us--will important to do over the next few years as I am sure that at this time there probably ever decreasing numbers of persons who might have worked at husky in the 40s-- Maybe there aren't any--either way, obtaining, cataloging and sharing information will be very important to our chosen area of collection and I think we owe it to upcoming collectors to get information in this possible unique window that may exist.

Lengthy, but I think pretty improtant.

Posted - 12/11/2006 : 08:51:56 AM
Good points Mauserdoc.

I am always interested in the original manufacturing methods used to make various guns. The engineering, reasons for such etc are quite fascinating. I had assumed before buying the Jones book that there would be more of that. Indeed, the sections on the common 96 and 38 are quite thin compared to the various target models IMHO.

Backin 1988 I was allowed to take a tour of the Musgrave Mauser factory in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and a fascinating experience it was. I and my wife were given more-or-less free range to wander around to the various production stations and watch and ask questions; from stock fitting and finishing to rifling, even to the engraving room where an Austrian graver worked his art. This experience made me particularly interested in how guns are made in factories.

When I read of the many who seek to bring their rifles back to original or arsenal-overhauled condition, this issue of stock finishing seems to be a big obstacle. Many military guns, and many Swedes I've seen, appear to be scraped with a piece of glass or sharp metal and a coat of oil {exact type unknown} applied leaving a basically rough texture to the stock. Depth of finish is commonly thin which accounts for the common depth of gun oil and grease penetration. Beech and birch are two stock woods that defy easy penetration by linseed oil, boiled or otherwise.

Thus, many "restorers" frequently lean hard on the sandpaper and take a lot of time with multiple coats of BLO, both activities that have appeared to me to be quite dubious as far as originality is concerned. And where many collectors would give the thumbs down to multiple coats of polyurethane, many of same would OK the use of multiple coats of BLO when both processes are probably just as incorrect as far as originality is concerned, neither one exceeding the other in obliterating the "original" finish.

Posted - 12/11/2006 : 4:36:35 PM
I agree that " Crown Jewels " lacks detailed info on a number of subjects . On the other hand , the North Cape Swede book is so full of errors that it is worthless in comparison . Dana Jones has traveled extensively back & forth to Sweden researching his book . If there was anyone living with detailed info that you are refering to , I am sure he would have added it to the book . These old rifles are of no interest to most Swedes , as they want new modern updated rifles . So , there has been no reason to retain info on the old mausers . As with any book , new info becomes avaiable after printing . Whether there will be an updated version in the future is unknown at this time . There may be more info in the Swede archives , but no one in Sweden is interested enough to do any research .

As for info on finishes for example , I doubt there is any way we will find out when a certain stain or finish was used in what years , etc. With so many of these rifles going back & forth between civilian hands & the government arsenals , it is hard to say what is correct & what is not correct . I do not think we will ever get an answer to these types of questions ??????

Posted - 12/11/2006 : 6:08:59 PM
Those who have handled and examined scores of Swedish Mausers are left with ~impressions~ of what was done within the military establishment and within the FSR community. The FSR m/96 rifles can be found with a multitude of stock finishes, some of which defy definition. The military rifles seem to possess a much narrower stock treatment, which makes sense in a military establishment. I trust my first impressions when it comes to seeing a rifle stock. In fact, having seen so many I can sometimes nail down the year the stock material was used pretty close. Fact I can recall Anders sending me a photo once of a very pretty m/96 and I commented that the stock looks like it belonged circa 1910 whereas the rifle was dated differently. Anders removed the barreled action and the stock was indeed circa 1910 as I surmised. It had a particular black streaked walnut that shows up only in certain years and never in others. Same goes for stock finishes. With experience you'll get this *feel* for finishes and without all encompassing information out of Sweden we must learn to trust those impressions.

Posted - 12/11/2006 : 9:29:42 PM
My two M41b Beech stocks appear to have been factory new when fitted to my snipers, and I believe the finish on them has not been altered. It seems to fit the description described in the Swedish Armorers Manual as posted by Dutchman. The finish on them is very thin, and it is more than just BLO. Also they have a very light stain on them.

Posted - 12/12/2006 : 5:55:46 PM
Hi All:

When the book project started, very little was generally known about the subject and history of the Swedish Mauser. I, Anders and others spent a million hours digging up little bits of information, translating things from Swedish and German (and other languages)and putting together the backbone of knowledge. Much of the information now generally available (and used routinely) was completely unknown when the project started (a lot is taken for granted now from a knowledge standpoint).

Take for instance - stocks - while the finishing method may be interesting now, there was conjecture "back then" as to even what woods were really used. Birch was one commonly assumed to have been used - turns out it wasn't used at all. A fair amount of money and a lot of time/research went into the identification of stock woods alone.

The inspector's initials that are found on all the rifles were unknown (people weren't even sure what they were).

It was thought that serial numbers started over with each year rather than a continuous string (probably because of the some of the replacement, lower-numbered receivers that skewed things a bit).

The "B" designation for the threaded barrel was unknown.

Kind of like when "the earth was flat".

Axel Ekfeldt, the former CG Colonel, supplied information and filled in informational gaps. He told me once he was also working on a book and had a lot of information on a computer (not sure what became of it).

Most everything learned was by hard work and careful digging - very much like detective work (and quite fun).

As some point in time, when putting together a book, you have to "pull the plug" somewhere. I chose to include all the early history available (all the German stuff courtesy the Mauser Museum in Oberndorf) - very painstakingly translated from old script, handwritten text - very difficult for "young" Germans to even read, much less translate (an elderly woman in her late 80s helped a lot). This was my first "big break" as it was offered to me by Jon Speed in Germany. Walter Schmid, the curator of the Oberndorf Museum, had intended for 20 or so years to translate the publish the material himself, but was always busy helping others (me included) to get it done.

I have other information available that I have been accumulating, but to date, there is nothing "earthshaking" in its revelation. After 3-1/2 years, 6,000 photographs and 950 computer files it was time to call it finished.

The book could have been twice as long with all the other available information, but ......

I have considered putting together what other information there is floating about and putting together a more informal presentation. I don't seem to have as much time as I used to (I am sure most of you can relate to that).

Dutchman probably has a slew of stuff as well. Maybe some day, we'll get it together. Hope I haven't rambled to much.

Posted - 12/12/2006 : 6:36:50 PM
HiYa Dana

We all owe a lot to Anders for his willingness to share information and his willingness to find answers when we had questions. It gets very tiring sometimes to go over the same material with newbies but this forum has a great wealth of regulars who contribute all of what they know. In fact there is no other Swedish Mauser forum that has as much activity as this one. Unfortuneatly both ParallexBill's and Bear8mm's forums are barely active while this forum sometimes smokes from the activity. And we're very fortunate in this forum to have our co-moderator "Swede" as he has great capacity to remember things and I appreciate his presence here daily.

As for Crown Jewels... You're right, you have to close the book and go to bed sometime. No book can keep up with increasing knowledge that gets uncovered as time goes by. Something I noted to Doug Bowswer after reading his book on Swedish Mausers, which really drove my desire to learn more but until you took up the gauntlet nobody else, except Carsten Schinke, had offered us anything and that was in German, which is where Doug Bowser got his information.

I think we've been spoiled by the amount of information that's flowed freely out of Sweden. Very few other firearms have that kind of informational support that's so current.

If you get inclined some time down the road you could always publish a ~supplimental notes~ edition to go along with Crown Jewels. And then you can go back to bed .

Posted - 12/17/2006 : 10:43:28 AM

Originally posted by Dutchman

From 1927 Swedish armorer's manual:
*translated by Anders*

Barrel channel and cut-outs are to be covered with vasoline (lots of it).

Hmmmm. Interesting.
Was this done to prevent rust/corrosion?
Would it be recommended doing this to a swede that is shot regularly today?

Posted - 12/17/2006 : 11:18:05 AM
Most, if not all, my Swedes have a coating of a light brown grease coating the metal and wood in the bbl channel and action area. This prevents the wood from absorbing moisture and the metal from corroding. I have a Swede oiler bottle that came full of this grease. If its Vaseline, its not the same color as the Vaseline we know here in the US. I have been using Vaseline on my hunting rifles to protect the areas covered by the wood for a long time.

Posted - 12/17/2006 : 11:27:10 AM
Interesting question. On my matching m/96 rifles I left the "vaseline" in the stock cut outs and cleaning rod channel and can attest to the fact that the Swedish armorers used a lot of of it in these places. On my shooter grade m/96s I cleaned the grease out because with the heating of the barrel the grease melts and soaks into the wood. I may be wrong, but I don't see that as a good thing. The preservative grease has a very low melting point. American "Cosmoline" melts at 114 degrees F. if I am not mistaken, and I suspect the Swedish version isn't much different.

Posted - 12/17/2006 : 12:54:58 PM

Originally posted by kriggevaer
On my shooter grade m/96s I cleaned the grease out because with the heating of the barrel the grease melts and soaks into the wood. I may be wrong, but I don't see that as a good thing.

Thats what I was thinking.
And why vaseline instead of a gun grease?
I use an M38 in High Power competition and the barrel gets pretty hot, especially during an 85 rd match.
I cleaned all the grease/vaseline from my rifle(s) thinking it was a preservative used while the rifle was in storage.
Nonetheless, I suspect it would be most beneficial if the rifle was being used in cold/wet conditions.

Posted - 12/17/2006 : 1:29:13 PM
Well, the Swedish Mausers were built and maintained for war. Under those conditions preservative grease helps keep the rust and crud to a minimum and extends the use life of the item. I think that as collectors/sport shooters we tend to view things from a little less urgent perspective and have a different perception about these rifles than the Swedish soldiers and armorers had. The same with linseed oil. It was cheap, plentiful, easy to work with and offered an acceptable level of protection to the wood. Vaseline is just a trade name for petroleum jelly, a byproduct of oil refining, that can be used, sometimes with chemical additives, to provide a protective coating and some lubricating qualities. By itself, petroleum jelly is virtually chemically inert, so it has no acids or bases to react with other materials. And, it tends to stay where you put it.

Posted - 01/04/2007 : 3:57:39 PM
I have learnt from a venerable Swedish armourer

"In the factories they started with a mix 50 % linseed and 50 % turpentine. Treated 3 – 4 times. Then finally with 80 % linseed and 20 % turpentine until the wood “had enough” is saturated."

Posted - 01/04/2007 : 4:15:18 PM
That is some interesting information to have and doesn't surprise me at all. Sounds kind of like the blo/ turp/ bees wax that is running around. It makes sensce that the swedes would use something to help penetrate and protect better than just BLO.

Was it linseed oil that was used for this or was it BLO? Mauserdoc

This is just the kind of information that makes this sight great--getting the stuff before all the old original guys are dead.

Posted - 04/14/2007 : 3:40:47 PM
Sorry about resurrecting this thread.
Nonetheless, I'd been treating all my military stocks with BLO however, recently picked up a tin of Tom's 1/3 Mix Gunstock Wax and very pleased with the results.
Its a conveniently packaged tin of BLO, bee's wax and turpentine.