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Old 09-25-2019, 10:18 PM
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Removing smoke residue from house fire?



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Hey y'all, long time no post

My buddy's house burned down and a few long guns seem to have survived in his safe. But they are very sticky with residue from the fire. One is wood-stocked and I'll have no trouble stripping and refinishing that, but I am wondering what solvent/technique/scrubbers to use on the plastic stocks and blued metal surfaces to remove the sticky gunk without harming the bluing or plastic. I have some ideas, but figured that before I started experimenting, I'd ask y'all

Not sure what the constituency of the reside is. Carbon, wood smoke, but maybe also some kind of vaporized synthetics from all the stuff in the house..?

And note: there is essentially no budget to refinish these guns. He's been ruined (no insurance), and I've given him what cash I could. So, I'm looking for affordable ideas, although I already possess some of the usual suspects. These aren't high-value guns, but there're about all he has left besides his family. If I can get them into better shape, I know it'd cheer him up. Or, he can get more money for them. I dunno
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Old 09-26-2019, 02:06 AM
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Start by wiping down with Mineral Spirits, the real stuff not the substitute. Do it several times. Let it flash off, then use Dawn and water, mix in a container of some kind and wet the cloth, then wring and wipe down several times, then dry.

The textbook name for that stuff on the guns is Byproducts of Combustion.

In the Fire Service we just called it Methyl Ethyl Bad S***.
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:40 AM
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I have never had to remove house fire residue from a gun before but anytime I need to do some residue removal I start with Hoppe's #9 and some OOOO steel wool. That's 4 ought steel wool. I get a bag of it for a bargain at Home Depot. I will not mar the finish on blued guns but is aggressive enough to get light rust and other impurities off bluing. Hope that helps.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:25 AM
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If the plastic/poly guns stocks are sticky good luck with that. Where's NOREMF when you need him.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:17 AM
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Noremf didn't deal in plastic stocks.. BUT, I would do what Ol' Shooter advises but in the reverse order. Try the dawn and water cleaning with a soft brush and then the mineral spirits for stubborn stains. As to the metal, the only thing I'll use on blued steel is Frontier Big 45 pad dipped in mineral spirits.
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Old 09-26-2019, 11:58 AM
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The procedure I posted is directly from a P.M. from George several years back. Here is the text in it's entirety, it may be useful to you all.

I miss people like George every day, the world is a bit dimmer without them.

For getting off just about any "stuff" from wood, including a rifle stock, the procedure is pretty simple.

First, you want to get off any wax that might be on there. Minerals Spirits on a damp rag will do that and also take off any other surface goop that might be on there.

Wipe down with a damp rag a couple of times then let set 48 hrs to let the MS bleed and flash off.

Once you go the wax off you now want to get any of the contaminants such as Mineral Oil or Silicone and to do that what you do is take some Dishwashing Gel and squirt a couple or three shots into a 16 or 20 oz bottle of bottled water. Mix it up good and wait for the bubbles to settle down and then wipe the stock a couple of times with that mix. Dishwasing soaps are specifically designed to take particles at the microscopic level, lift em off wherever they are and surround them with a coating so they don't stick to anything anymore and can be rinsed off.

Neither chemical will harm any topcoats that I know of other than maybe Mineral Oil.

In both cases you might get a slight haze and if so just wipe off with a damp cloth with clean water. I would use bottled water for cleaning cause if you have city water it will have chlorine in it and well water will have minerals in it. Normally not an issue by I don't like to add anything to the wood or the topcoat.

MS is a good non caustic degreaser/cleaner. Milder then a lot of stuff but won't hurt either wood or metal or bluing etc. Also good for cleaning gun parts prior to reoiling. I have been using it on guns for like forever.

Hope that helps.

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Old 09-26-2019, 12:42 PM
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Thank you all very much
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