How to Treat a New M1 Garand or M1 Carbine Stock from the CMP
Upon receiving a Service Grade M1 Garand with a brand new, untreated stock, I set off to figure out how to protect the stock.
Here are the various options that nice folks in various Collector groups on FB shared with me, with links added to make it easy to find the right products. If you see anything missing, leave a comment so it can be added:
- Do an oil scrub. Turpentine or Mineral Spirits 50/50 with Boiled Linseed Oil or Raw Linseed Oil and lightly scrubbed in with a #000 or finer buffing scratchy (or steel wool). Wipe dry about 25+/- minutes later and repeat once or twice.
- Linseed Oil, not a linseed based finish product but just plain oil. Re-apply annually. More important than boiled or unboiled is what has been added to it. Make sure it doesn’t have any synthetic sealants or polyurethane. Something like this, maybe: Winsor and Newton Oil Colour Cold Pressed Linseed Oil
- Raw linseed oil – Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) is not the same, and will not develop that reddish brown patina that old rifles get. Rub in a coat, wait 1 hour, wipe the excess off. Repeat every 24 hours until the stock stops sucking up the oil. I believe originally it was raw linseed oil, which is why the stocks change to that reddish color. Boiled Linseed Oil won’t do that. We use the Boiled Linseed Oil now for convenience as it dries MUCH quicker.
- I like teak oil. If you can separate the wood easily you can have a beautiful finish by stripping it to remove any original finish and then applying teak oil with successively finer sand paper by wet sanding with the oil. Let each coat dry thoroughly. About four coats will do it. This picture shows all the wood from my BAR as the finished product sanded to 2000 grit and then waxed and buffed with a high quality paste wax. (*Sorry, wasn’t able to upload picture)
- Or Mineral oil (also had multiple folks say NOT to use Mineral oil)
- China seed oil like they were originally done at the armory. That is what Springfield Armory used to treat the original stocks. You get it off Amazon. Do not use mineral oil. Some of these oil mentioned will smoke when heated by barrel. US Military chose China oil for its ability to stand high heat without smoking or combustion. You can read about the tests on finishes that Springfield documented. *Then I got this note: “Tung oil is China seed oil now that I read labels on my oils”
- “I’ve used Tung oil with great results. I’ve also used Boiled Linseed in the past. I think Tung oil is better as it seems to be more neutral in color. Apply lightly, when dry buff with 0000 steel wool. Wipe good after the buffing. You don’t want any dust between the coats. Also wear rubber gloves. Repeat till you are satisfied.”
- Clear shellac (2 coats max) for inside the barrel channel, action, etc to stabilize/ seal the action and stock, Oil finish the rest of the stock.
Check the CMP M1 manual. Section 5.2.7 recommends Linseed Oil. I’ve used Linseed Oil on numerous gunstock and furniture projects. Two cautions, though. Don’t overdo it (two light applications are better than one heavy application) and don’t rush it. If the oil finish you buy says wait two hours, then wait two hours and then some. You can get the stuff at any good paint store.
- Also on the CMP website, the Wood Cleaning guide has useful information on the care and feeding of you M1 Garand, M1903 or M1 Carbine stock.
- And I got this note from Thomas Hinds… “I love it when people listen and pull together resources. The only thing he left off was a reference to Tom’s 1/3 Mix 🙂 (selfless plug).” While I haven’t used Tom’s 1/3 mix, I have heard good things about it.