September 30, 2011
By George Spafford
George Spafford is building a replica of the Yugo M70B rifle using a stub parts kit. A new installment will appear here every Friday
Refinishing the Wood — Part 1
Two Centerfire milled M70 kits were purchased and the best furniture selected from it as well as the Apex front stubs. The bottom buttstock was definitely a clear winner.
After everything is demilled, I like to start the building process with the wood so the finish has plenty of time to set up before reassembly, plus I can be doing other things while the wood is being soaking, drying, curing, etc.
With Yugos, the first step is to remove the metal ferrules — the reinforcing sheet metal — from the wood. Use a screwdriver gently to pry the sheet metal up so the formed "dimples" are no longer pressed into the wood. The ferrule can then be removed from the wood with a pair of fine needle-nose pliers, but be gentle — you will want to use these later. You want to remove the metal both so it doesn't rust during the cleaning of the wood and also so you can clean and touch it up before reinstalling it.
Now the following worked for me and there are many ways to remove cosmolene and clean up wood. You might have your own favorite method and if you do, go ahead and use it. With the ferrules off, soak the wood in gasoline for a couple of hours and whatever you do, don't smoke, have open flames, use a grinder, and so on nearby. Some bad accidents have happened where guys forget how explosive fuel-air combinations are. Again, use whatever method you are comfortable with to safely remove the cosmolene.