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Diamond in the rough or basket case?
July 5, 2013
12:15 pm
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Received a model 1890 rifle that I purchased with a "buy it now" option on Gunbroker for $725. It was advertised as being made in 1899-1902, but the PR records indicate it was made in 1898, making it an antique. It looks like the front sight is a Lyman patented on Aug. 31, '88 and looks like it has an ivory or bone insert and is matted along the breech side. Would this front sight be original? The rifling looks worn, but there isn't much pitting. I'm not sure how to evaluate it, but the seller said it was an 8/10. The thing that attracted me to it was its age and the fact that there was visible case coloring on both sides of the receiver. The downside was that there had been a thick coat of varnish applied to the stock and tangs. I thought maybe I could strip off the newer varnish, and leave as much of the older varnish as possible. Would this be a good idea or would it hurt the value? Would it be too risky? Can I tell my wife I got a good deal???

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July 5, 2013
12:18 pm
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Should I strip the varnish off of the metal parts? I think there may be some case coloring underneath the varnish on the butt plate.

July 5, 2013
2:49 pm
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Wyoming - Gods Country
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I think you did good at $725 for an antique second model with some visible case colors. The front sight is a nice addition to it, and would definitely add to value if it letters as such from the factory.
If you think you can remove the butt stock and plate without damaging the wood, I would try to strip the varnish off the metal parts. As for the wood, I think you be better off to leave it as is, too risky to strip it. In my opinion, extra varnish is better than refinished stocks, and it really doesn't look that bad. Some others may weigh on the best way to strip the metal parts.
As for the wife, always tell her you got a good deal...............but in this case, IMHO I think you did. If I saw it on a table at a show for that price, It would have been mine as well.

Just my two cents,
Gary

~Gary~

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July 5, 2013
2:54 pm
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Very nice! I would remove the varnish from the metal parts and work on any rust with bronze wool, brass scrapers, gun oil and Hoppe's No. 9. You can scrub the daylights out of the rust and not harm any remaining finish or natural patina. A gentle cleaning of the wood followed by some wax should finish the job. Enjoy!

GMC(SW) - USN Retired 1978 - 2001

July 5, 2013
4:05 pm
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Tried a little bit of absolute ethanol where the varnish was slopped on the metal and it wiped right off. I think it looks a little better without the overvarnish on the metal.

July 5, 2013
6:02 pm
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Still have a little bit more cleaning up to do, but this is how it looks after I stripped the varnish off of the tang. You now can see some faint case coloring just behind the hammer.

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July 5, 2013
7:34 pm
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It looks like the front sight is a Lyman patented on Aug. 31, '88 and looks like it has an ivory or bone insert and is matted along the breech side. Would this front sight be original?

I can tell you that those sights were around in 1898 and before and are very desirable in my opinion. I think they are a really nice front sight design.
http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/hurint/media/24%20hr/lyman4edited_zps2bf92065.jpg.html

[Image Can Not Be Found]

Brad

Regards

Brad Dunbar

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July 5, 2013
8:29 pm
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Kingston, WA
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Nice find & buy ❗ You can tell your wife you got a great deal on it.

Remove the stocks and then clean all of the steel surfaces with 100% pure acetone. It will dissolve the old varnish quickly.

In regards to the stocks, I would give them a bath (soak) in acetone, and use an old tee shirt to wipe them down after soaking them. Start with a 20-minute soak, then wipe them down vigorously. Repeat as necessary to get all of the varnish off of the wood.

Bert

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July 5, 2013
10:18 pm
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Wouldn't that take the original varnish off underneath, leaving bare wood?

July 6, 2013
10:34 am
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bioprofsd said
Wouldn't that take the original varnish off underneath, leaving bare wood?

No, it will not... unless you leave the stock soaking in the acetone for an extended amount of time.

The original finish was not varnish. Instead, it was an oil based finish that was hand rubbed into the wood, typically at least six separate applications.

Like I mentioned, start with a 20-minute soak, then if necessary to soak again, you can shorten the duration for the next session. The acetone will soften and eventually disolve the outer coating of the non-original varnish. The oil based finish is much tougher to remove with the acetone, and it would require a much longer soak period to begin to wick it out of the wood.

Make sure that you work in a well ventilated area and with rubber gloves.

Bert

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
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