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  1. #1
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    Default 91/30 wartime finish?

    I own a couple of 91/30s, including one that I have had for 30 years, long before the recent flood of refurbished rifles. That rifle has what appears now to be an oil based finish, nothing like the slick, shiny shellac on the newly imported rifles. I have read that the shellac finish is what the russian used post war to preserve the rifles for future use, and was not the factory finish used on rifles produced during the war. I have also read that the wartime time rifles were given a shellac finish, and rifles like the one I have had for 30 years have simply had that finish worn off and have been "stained" by years of handling and use.

    So what is the current consensus among those that study and collect these rifles?

    What finish did the Soviets use on a 91/30 straight from the factory in 1940?

    thanks in advance,
    runner

  2. #2
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    Shellac.

    But the recipe of the mixture was clearly different when the rifles were refurbed than it was during pre war and wartime.

  3. #3
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    One of 2 original condition wartime stocks (Izhevsk) that I own, one is without shellac finish.
    Prewar Izhevsk stock that I also own, have no shellelac finish ( I will post photo later)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Ratnik; 11-11-2013 at 04:51 AM.

  4. #4
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    I wonder if we'll ever get an definitive answer on this matter.

    The upper one looks like varnish of some kind.

    On the lower one I see remnants of shellac finish.

    Original SVT-40s that I have seen in person (Tula and Izhevsk made ones) do have shellac finish, in my opinion. But it does not look like the shellac on refurbs as the look is more like lacquer.

  5. #5
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    This was posted at russian forum, I tried to translate it as good as possible. This is quote from prewar production standarts. SVT stocks finish was the same, at least before autumn 1941.

    - Drying stocks by two-year exposure, to a moisture content of 6-8% (absolute humidity).
    - Polishing the outer surface of the stock before finishing, according to the samples.
    - Soak stock with boiled linseed oil, or roast stock superficially (I can't find equalent to this word in English, roast have close meaning).
    - Shellac 8 layers.
    - Final polishing, according to the samples.
    I can suppose that during wartime shellac finish can not be used at some stocks (as at the stock that I posted above)
    But as I mention, I own prewar Izhevsk stock without shellac finish.
    Last edited by Ratnik; 11-11-2013 at 07:59 AM.

  6. #6
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    Where is Spax when you need him?
    Looking to buy Finnish M28s, M28/30s, M24s, and M27s

    Also looking for any Finnish matching M91/30s!!!!!! PM me

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratnik View Post
    This was posted at russian forum, I tried to translate it as good as possible. This is quote from prewar production standarts. SVT stocks finish was the same, at least before autumn 1941.



    I can suppose that during wartime shellac finish can not be used at some stocks (as at the stock that I posted above)
    But as I mention, I own prewar Izhevsk stock without shellac finish.
    Thank You Ratnik. I think this is the best answer I have seen on the topic!

  8. #8
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    great post, thank you
    Quote Originally Posted by Ratnik View Post
    This was posted at russian forum, I tried to translate it as good as possible. This is quote from prewar production standarts. SVT stocks finish was the same, at least before autumn 1941.



    I can suppose that during wartime shellac finish can not be used at some stocks (as at the stock that I posted above)
    But as I mention, I own prewar Izhevsk stock without shellac finish.

  9. #9
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    I do not believe shellac was ever used before 1942, and I am increasingly of the opinion that shellac was only used as a post-war preservative. I have handled numerous original stocks and all look like mine. The finish is tough; doesn't chip, flake, craze, or peal; wears through and follows any dings and dents in the wood; and in many cases has survived considerable hard use. IMO, it is a linseed oil based varnish. Shellac is a great preservative, but it is simply a terrible finish for outdoor use. As an aside, stocks were not soaked or dipped in oil as the inside of original stocks are raw wood.

    Another great example of original stock finish: http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...sk-M38-Carbine Note how it has worn through in places. Hard, brittle shellac finishes do not wear this way.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rifle Right.jpg   tn_Stock Right.jpg   tn_Stock  Left.jpg   tn_Stock CCCP Roundel.jpg   tn_Stock Wrist.jpg  
    Last edited by RyanE; 11-11-2013 at 11:02 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanE View Post
    I do not believe shellac was ever used before 1942, and I am increasingly of the opinion that shellac was only used as a post-war preservative. I have handled numerous original stocks and all look like mine. The finish is tough; doesn't chip, flake, craze, or peal; wears through and follows any dings and dents in the wood; and in many cases has survived considerable hard use. IMO, it is a linseed oil based varnish. Shellac is a great preservative, but it is simply a terrible finish for outdoor use. As an aside, stocks were not soaked or dipped in oil as the inside of original stocks are raw wood.

    Another great example of original stock finish: http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...sk-M38-Carbine Note how it has worn through in places. Hard, brittle shellac finishes do not wear this way.
    Do you still have the C.C.C.P. roundel stamping die? And if so, may I borrow it please?



    Seriously, that is one sharply stamped stock, and lacking any visual evidence of shellac. Much later production Soviet SKS's were originally coated with shellac, and then stamped through. There are very jagged lines cut into the hardened shellac. These finishes (the M38 above, and the Tula SkS below) can't be more different from each other.


  11. #11
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    My prewar Izhevsk stock, that I was talking about, have same finish as stock at your pictures

    Now to shellac -here is a photo of 1941 SVT stock

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanE View Post
    I do not believe shellac was ever used before 1942, and I am increasingly of the opinion that shellac was only used as a post-war preservative. I have handled numerous original stocks and all look like mine. The finish is tough; doesn't chip, flake, craze, or peal; wears through and follows any dings and dents in the wood; and in many cases has survived considerable hard use. IMO, it is a linseed oil based varnish. Shellac is a great preservative, but it is simply a terrible finish for outdoor use. As an aside, stocks were not soaked or dipped in oil as the inside of original stocks are raw wood.

    Another great example of original stock finish: http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...sk-M38-Carbine Note how it has worn through in places. Hard, brittle shellac finishes do not wear this way.

  12. #12
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    The continuing stock finish question....

    IMHO the finish/sealer that was applied AT THE TIME OF PRODUCTION of the m91/30s was dependent on WHAT year the rifle was produced.

    I'll go out on on limb here and say that the rifles that were post war reconditioned (or whatever we would like to call it) were slathered in a coating of shellac.... that covered both the wood and metal work of the rifle regardless of the year of production.

    We know its shellac as it is easly removed with alcohol. A shellac that had a orangish tint to it.

    Agreed?

    OK. The stocks of the Russian produced Mosin Nagants were manufactured from a white colored wood, birch I believe.

    Based on my very limited experiance dealing with MN stocks if we are talking bout the WWII era stocks you will find that the barrel channel and inletting are still "in the white",

    BUT on the preWWII stocks (maybe up to 1941ish) you'll find that the interior of the stocks are dark.

    so... the question begs what type of sealer/finish would have been applied to the stocks (til about 1941ish) that would of darkend the white stock wood?

    Not BLO. Not the "orange tint" shellac,

    IMHO it would have been... pine tar.

    If you remove the buttplate from the pre/early WWII "dark" colored stocks that has not been "redone, you can sometimes "smell" a smokey odor. The same odor of pine tar.

    IMHO the Russians used Pine Tar on the m91s and m91/30's as the sealer/finish on their "white" colored wooden stocks up untill 1941ish when shellac was applied. Then after the War, shellac was used during the "referb" process.

    Also... look at the Finish "captured" MN's . They are "dark".

    Thoughts?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stopsign32v View Post
    Where is Spax when you need him?
    Here i am!

    This topic has been beaten to death. Some say shellac, others say an oil based varnish.

    It is interesting that the m91s have a BLO type finish and the refurbs/wartime use shellac; so it makes me lean to them being an oil based prewar. The ended turning to shellac in the early 1940s to further streamline production and for war expediency. As well as refinish the hundreds of thousands of rifles during the post war refurb project ; because it was quick and weathered proofed the stock so it could get out to the front by the fastest means necessary.
    Last edited by Spaxspore; 11-11-2013 at 11:21 PM.


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptf18 View Post
    BUT on the preWWII stocks (maybe up to 1941ish) you'll find that the interior of the stocks are dark.
    This is incorrect. The interior of original stocks are unfinished and in the white. The finish is clearly a varnish not pine tar. They are not at all similar.

    Spax, the horse may be dead, but I am beating it until everyone admits that I am correct. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanE View Post

    Spax, the horse may be dead, but I am beating it until everyone admits that I am correct. :-)
    i don't blame you. It is a interesting topic no doubt.


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  16. #16
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    Just to kick the stirred pot on the dead horse but heres pics of a bringback numbers matching (everything from floor plate to scope) mosin snipers stock finish in bright sunlight. It isn't my rifle but a good friend of mines so i wont show pics of serial numbers ( not that it really matters but not my gun either). felt smooth but also wood like when handiling it.







    so yea not much shiney at all.

  17. #17
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    where be the cartouches?


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  18. #18
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    wouldnt they be on the side of the butt you dont see in the pics? im not sure if i have one of the other side...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CactuS View Post
    wouldnt they be on the side of the butt you dont see in the pics? im not sure if i have one of the other side...
    yea it would be on the other side- important to see


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  20. #20
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    interesting for sure, I dont' believe my probably vet bring back 41 M38 has ever been messed with and had anything stripped off of it so I believe it is in the same finish as it was issued.

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  21. #21
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    1945 m44 non-import Izhevsk which has whats left of its shellac Finnish.







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  22. #22

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    From Ratnik

    This was posted at russian forum, I tried to translate it as good as possible. This is quote from prewar production standarts. SVT stocks finish was the same, at least before autumn 1941.

    - Drying stocks by two-year exposure, to a moisture content of 6-8% (absolute humidity).
    - Polishing the outer surface of the stock before finishing, according to the samples.
    - Soak stock with boiled linseed oil, or roast stock superficially (I can't find equalent to this word in English, roast have close meaning).
    - Shellac 8 layers.
    - Final polishing, according to the samples.


    I can suppose that during wartime shellac finish can not be used at some stocks (as at the stock that I posted above)
    But as I mention, I own prewar Izhevsk stock without shellac finish.
    This was Russian referenced, right? It makes sense. Google roasted wood, it is real, done to maple and birch. Leaves a brown toned durable finish similar to what has been presented here in the non shellac state. Wood is heated to 360-400F in the absence of oxygen. BLO finishing would appear as a varnish product. Pictures above even with flaking shellac show something similar underneath, not just white wood. A roasted stock would have color in the barrel channel. So, roasted or BLO, maybe both, maybe topped with shellac, in some instances not. Refurbs appear not to have been roasted.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliM1940 View Post
    From Ratnik



    This was Russian referenced, right? It makes sense. Google roasted wood, it is real, done to maple and birch. Leaves a brown toned durable finish similar to what has been presented here in the non shellac state. Wood is heated to 360-400F in the absence of oxygen. BLO finishing would appear as a varnish product. Pictures above even with flaking shellac show something similar underneath, not just white wood. A roasted stock would have color in the barrel channel. So, roasted or BLO, maybe both, maybe topped with shellac, in some instances not. Refurbs appear not to have been roasted.
    Interesting; i agree.. on my 1945 example above; the wood under the shellac looks to be still sealed by another type of finish; a roasted BLO would account for its look and feel.


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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliM1940 View Post
    From Ratnik



    This was Russian referenced, right? It makes sense. Google roasted wood, it is real, done to maple and birch. Leaves a brown toned durable finish similar to what has been presented here in the non shellac state. Wood is heated to 360-400F in the absence of oxygen. BLO finishing would appear as a varnish product. Pictures above even with flaking shellac show something similar underneath, not just white wood. A roasted stock would have color in the barrel channel. So, roasted or BLO, maybe both, maybe topped with shellac, in some instances not. Refurbs appear not to have been roasted.
    Color me skeptical that the Russians had the ability or the inclination to vacuum heat rifle stocks. I think there are some translation issues.

    The inside of original stocks are raw white wood, i.e., not roasted. The finish is pretty typical of European finishes of the period except for its reddish brown color, and when worn through shows raw birch underneath. I had a stripped original 1945 arctic birch tock and it wasn't roasted either. The brown color of Spax's stock is dirt/grime/patina.

  25. #25
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    lol i don't know what to believe anymore!


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  26. #26
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    Per LAPIN PG. 14. RUSSIAN STOCKS: Prior to the 1940's, protected by a military-type of oil finish. During and after second world war were commonly treated with a heavy coating of varnish as additional protection.
    Per LAPIN PG. 20. FINNISH STOCKS: Oil finished and sometimes laquered or varnished. Some stocks made after the 1930's especially for the M39 are somewhat darker because they were stained with POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE DYE.

  27. #27

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    From RyanE

    Color me skeptical that the Russians had the ability or the inclination to vacuum heat rifle stocks. I think there are some translation issues.
    The way this is described, it is more of a heat treatment process for the wood. It seals the grain from moisture, stabilizing, strengthening and lightening the piece and makes it easier to work with tools. All of these are benefits for a gun stock. Drawing a vacuum is not required for starving the oven atmosphere of oxygen, flames providing the heat may do the same. In addition, there are descriptions of color changes, purples, blacks, deep browns for birch which could probably occur under less controlled circumstances and which some Russian stocks seem to exhibit.

    Lastly, it may be a mistake to discount the Russian reference as a problem in translation when this process does exist. I have messed with two stocks, one pre war and one post or late war. I assumed the wood type was different as it had different smells and the earlier one seemed more brittle. Maybe the difference was the alteration of the wood properties due to this process.

  28. #28
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    Here are photos of 3 original condition Izhevsk stocks. 2 are war time produce, one is prewar.
    2 of them were posted above.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  29. #29
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    I think Ratnik is correct.
    Looking for PU scope # Б05115

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlavinka View Post
    I think Ratnik is correct.
    It's not my statement. I do not have big experince with stocks.
    I just post quote from russian forum, as one of points of view. Unfortunately, that this reference is not dated

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratnik View Post
    It's not my statement. I do not have big experince with stocks.
    I just post quote from russian forum, as one of points of view. Unfortunately, that this reference is not dated
    It agrees with my observations.
    Looking for PU scope # Б05115

  32. #32
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    Some shots of the inside of an original stock. Note the leather (?) shim installed on the front tab of the handguard...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails tn_DSC_2031.jpg   tn_DSC_2042.jpg   tn_DSC_2041.jpg   tn_DSC_2039.jpg   tn_DSC_2038.jpg   tn_DSC_2033.jpg  

    tn_DSC_2032.jpg   tn_DSC_2053.jpg   tn_DSC_2043.jpg   tn_DSC_2055.jpg  

  33. #33
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    I would like to touch back on this thread. Is there a way to remove sloppy post war shellac ONLY? (Assuming there is another finish under it) And what would the original wartime finish of 1943 be?
    Looking to buy Finnish M28s, M28/30s, M24s, and M27s

    Also looking for any Finnish matching M91/30s!!!!!! PM me

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    the only one ive ever stripped off was a 43 with badly flaking shellac that would come off in your hand. a light spray of simple green and a green scotch brite pad scrubbing with the grain and it got 90% of it off. i think i used some very fine sandpaper with a light touch to get the rest off.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stopsign32v View Post
    I would like to touch back on this thread. Is there a way to remove sloppy post war shellac ONLY? (Assuming there is another finish under it) And what would the original wartime finish of 1943 be?
    IMO, at least on Izhevsk PUs, the 1943 original finish was a scruffy, thin coat of shellac. The shellac on this one sure looks stamped-through with the cartouches to me, ruling out later application of the finish:



    There doesn't seem to be anything under the shellac here-note that even shallow scrapes show light-colored raw wood.

    I think it may be a little more complicated for postwar (and maybe even late-war) stocks, though. Just about every non-refurb postwar M44 I've seen has an extremely thin coat of shellac (usually at least moderately damaged), but there always seems to be a reddish-brown finish of some sort underneath.

    Late '45 original matching, non-refurb, non-import marked M44:


    '47 original matching, non-refurb M44:

    Plastic stocks: the ricer wing of the milsurp world.








  36. #36
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    The 1944 Izhevsk 91/30 that I had, was near mint with the original serial number, not re-stamped ones. Had a really nice cartouche on the stock, too. Anyhow, the stock was a dark colour more like you would see on an M1 Garand, and it was an oil finish without a doubt. No trace of shellac on that one. I wish I still had that one, it did not have re-furb stamps.

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