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 2
This is the furniture after soaking in gas. Note that one gas tube cover was cracked and broken. It was repaired with epoxy for future use but not used in the current build.
This is messy work but it needs to be done. Scrub to get all the cosmolene off that you can, and you may need to repeat this a few times to get all the "gunk" off. Once it seems in pretty good shape, let it air dry and then spray it heavily with wood stripper. I used BIX wood stripper on mine and I spray it on very thick in the shade and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. One hint — don't apply it in the sun, forget about the project, and then let the stuff bake back on. You pretty much have to start over if that happens and let the stripper sit again.
This is the wood heavily coated with spray on BIX brand stripper.
From a safety perspective, BIX and many of the fast-acting strippers are fairly toxic so don't go handling the stuff with your bare hands. In general, read and follow the safety precautions on the label of the product you use. Sorry to sound like a lawyer but I want you to have a good experience!
While wearing solvent-grade gloves, I used a flexible plastic scraper to remove all the Ã¬gooÃ® possible. From there, the wood went in a five-gallon bucket that contained 80% water and 20% bleach for an hour. I then rinsed the wood with a hose and put it in a bucket containing water and 50% vinegar to neutralize the bleach for half an hour.
I then thoroughly rinsed the wood and let it drip dry for a few hours. After that, I put it in an oven at 150 degrees to dry for at least an hour. I promise you your wife will smell the vinegar and ask questions, so plan accordingly! Some guys make a wood crate and paint it black. It can get well over 100 degrees in there and speed up drying times as well. In my case, my wife gave me a portable countertop oven from Wal-Mart to get me out of her kitchen!!
Once the wood is completely dry, I use 0000 steel wool to remove any wood fibers that have stood up along with any touchup sanding needed. I then let it sit for a couple of days to make sure it was completely dry.
Once the furniture was ready, I actually didn't use a stain and just hand rubbed in six coats of Minwax Tung Oil, following the instructions on the can. After drying, each coat was buffed with 0000 steel wool.
Upper and lower hand guards from all four kits have been cleaned, sanded and refinished with eight coats of tung oil. The cracked gas tube cover was repaired with clear epoxy first. By doing all the wood, Spafford can select the best for this rifle plus have wood ready for any future projects.