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Kiväärintukkiöljy finishing oil?


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I'm a member of a military rifle collectors forum, and one of the guys came up with a bottle of the stuff, and can't figure out what its made from. On a highly figured piece of birch, the stuff makes a beautiful finish, but little information is available about what the ingredients are.

 

The guy that posted the following quote is from Finland (no "real" name on the forum), and says his Dad makes puukko's and would like to reproduce it for them, as well as for rifle restoration. I thought some of you Finnish 'smiths might have used it on knife handles, and might know what it's made of...?

 

Good looking stuff, whatever it is.

 

"Just a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine gave me some of his original Kiväärintukkiöljy (or Rifle Stock Oil) he had picked from the SA stocks when still in the service. While this oil is rather runny it is just as black/brown/red as pure pine tar. The strange thing, however, is that it doesn't smell like tar at all! Instead, it's pretty close to smell of some traditional oil paints but I can't figure out which component is responsible for the aroma.

 

A rumor has it that the Kiväärintukkiöljy would be a simple mixture of varnish (boiled flax seed oil), Tung oil and siccatives. However, a combination of BFSO and TO wouldn't give a dark hue such as this. I know some siccatives, such as serotine, are brown/red but I'd bet correct coloring would require serious overdose.

 

If I could find out the right formula I'd be interested to make some reproduction Kiväärintukkiöljy. My father makes puukkos and this would be great finish for Birch grips. That's why any information, observations or comments would be appreciated."

 

 

Edited by Sean McGrath
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Good news and bad news (a little late night research has turned up some answers).

 

1. the finishing oil is an equal mixture of beeswax, tung oil and turpentine (edited to add, the original source I am quoting later changed his statement and said it was linseed oil, this will become important when one reads Alan Longmire's post later).

 

2. Bad news - the Finnish turpentine of those days was a by-product of pine tar manufacture or concentration or whatever, so it still had some pine tar dissolved in it (your observation about color was spot-on).

 

3. So, in order to duplicate it, you would need modern turpentine, beeswax, tung oil, and a spec of pine tar (edited: use linseed instead of tung oil).

 

Give it a shot, in reading various forums, this finish is supposed to be weather proof and age really well (meaning not change over time and last a long, long, time).

 

cool stuff. Now I want to see what it looks like in person.

kc

Edited by Kevin (The Professor)
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I have not seen "old turpentine", however, I find it a bit difficult to believe that a concentration of tar rich enough to produce the color would not produce the distinct smell also. Is it possible that they had some "secret" ingredients in the recipe, such as a turpentine soluble natural resin? Would not surprise me at all. Also, it is worth mentioning they might have used ingredients that are banned from commercial use these days. I would wear protective gloves :blink:

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Or just go to a farm store and get a tin of Venice Turpentine, which is.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

barely refined turpentine with a lot of tar still in it, rendering it reddish-brown. :lol:

 

It's used for horse hooves. Right beside it on the shelves you'll find straight pine tar if you want to play with that.

 

I suspect the oil involved in the original formulation of this stuff is linseed rather than tung oil. With Linseed and the turpentine you'd have exactly the smell of oil paint.

 

I'd also leave out the beeswax. It won't harden, and will result in a slightly gummy finish, not something you want on a rifle. My suggestion: 2 parts boiled linseed oil (BLO), 1 part Venice turpentine (or one part regular turpentine with just enough pine tar dissolved in it to turn it dark), and 1/12 part metallic drier (siccative). This can be lead acetate, lead carbonate, cobalt carbonate, or go to an art supply store and get a tiny jar of "Japan Drier" which is a cobalt-based drying agent for oils. Yes, it's poisonous, but not quite as bad as the lead-based stuff. There is a bit of it in the BLO anyway, but you need a touch more to act through the thinning action of the turpentine and the non-drying of the tar.

 

This is VERY close to some 18th and 19th century gunstock finishing formulas, and with the addition of the drying agents is technically a varnish. If you insist on some wax, add maybe 1/12 part per volume of turpentine of finely shredded pure carnauba to the turpentine and stir gently over low heat (no open flames, please! :ph34r: ) until it dissolves, then quickly strain it through cheesecloth to get rid of the extra flakes before mixing with the BLO.

 

I love this sort of thing... :D For that matter, I need some new 'hawk handle finish and this sounds really nifty for that, perhaps I'll give it a go.

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I have not seen "old turpentine", however, I find it a bit difficult to believe that a concentration of tar rich enough to produce the color would not produce the distinct smell also.

Some of the fellows over on that Gun forum think it has Birch Tar in it. I didn't know Birch produced Tar, but then, there aren't very many Birch trees in my area.

 

One of them contacted the company that originally made it, and while they said they would reproduce it in small quantities, they still wouldn't tell him what's in it.

Edited by Sean McGrath
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(your observation about color was spot-on).

Thanks for the info Kevin. Wasn't my observation though; that was a quote from the guy in Finland that had the stuff.

 

They have gotten in touch with the company that makes it, and the company produced a special run of it several years ago. The smallest container of the stuff they can get is 10L though, and the Americans that are interested in it aren't too sure they can get it at all over here.

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I would just like to add that the original source where I read "tung oil" later corrected himself, apologized, and said it was in fact Linseed oil.

 

So, as usual, Alan was correct. This is a history-type question, and close to his favorite areas.

 

Just to be clear, even the source I was quoting decided that linseed oil is best!

 

(on a side note - again, go with Alan, I tried to mix a small amount of bees wax with linseed oil years ago because of something I read and it was gummy and eventually began to stink and rot. Not good finishing material!).

 

kc

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As Kevin prodded me, yes, Tung oil was unknown or at least unavailable in Europe and the greater west until the mid-19th century at the earliest. It's a Chinese and southeast Asian product, whereas linseed oil (Boiled, water-refined, and otherwise) was known in Europe since before written history as far as we can tell, and is THE oil of oil paints.

 

I do not know anything about Finnish preferences for stock oils, I hasten to point out! I'm just going on historical precedent. Birch tar would work fine, but might smell a bit like root beer instead of turpentine. :lol:

 

If I'm correct, it's only through years of idly looking up stuff (pre-internet!) and reading every old technical book I can find. You'd be amazed what you could learn about mixing paints and varnishes from a ca. 1900 U.S. Navy manual for builders, for instance. My wife just rolls her eyes and asks how such things could possibly be of any interest, but I've learned a huge amount about all kinds of things from just reading old instruction manuals and so on.

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Very similar looking finish to old Norwegian boats that have been treated with "boat soup", which as far as I know is traditionally turpentine, pine tar, and linseed oil (with modern variations altering slightly). I suspect the recipes for boat soup and this finish are very similar. Here's some info from another forum about different recipes.

 

By the way, Tractor Supply also carries pine tar if you have one nearby.

Edited by Myles Mulkey
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Thanks for the info guys. I may try this on knife wood sometime in the future. As for the guys on the collectors page that started this hunt, apparently they won't use anything other than the "real" thing. Oh well, if they want to pay a fortune to buy and ship something they could make on their own, that's their business. Collectors are an odd bunch...

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I contacted a local gunsmith who knows a person who still makes this stuff with the original recipe. According to the gunsmith the oil does not contain turpentine, and the exact formulae is, unsurprisingly, a secret. A small bottle (50ml) costs about 9 euros... pretty expensive stuff.

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Oh, and forgot to mention. You can get a very nice finish with pure beeswax, but it is a time consuming process. You need to apply numerous layers and "massage" the wax in. Use as little wax as you possibly can. If you apply a thick layer and leave it to dry the result is a "gummy" finish, as mentioned above.

 

I have used this method on knife handles with good results, but, considering that it takes many hours of work...

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Yep, that's what they were saying over on that collectors forum too. But the main concern with the Americans that want the stuff is whether or not it can be shipped by air.

 

*sigh* the times we live in... Yes, I can see why kiväärintukkiöljy might be considered a terrible weapon of mass destruction, similarly to toothpaste... or nail clippers.

 

I could get the manufacturers contact information for you, or even approach him myself to find out if there is any 'reasonable' solution to this dilemma.

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Sometimes you get stalled by what you really would like and it's un-availability and have to make do with what's on the shelf at home.

 

My good friend Vikstrom will bring over a small bottle of pitch they make in his village, but I found the Big can of horse hoof pine tar in my local hardware store. I should tell you about the time we had sugar cubes with pine tar on them, but I'll spare that fine tradition for a lubricated conversation. I do admire the Finn's sense of humor. ;)

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I could get the manufacturers contact information for you, or even approach him myself to find out if there is any 'reasonable' solution to this dilemma.

 

One of the Mosin Nagant collectors from Finland was able to get in touch with the company that made/makes it, and they told him that while it had been out of production since sometime in the early 1990's, they had produced a special run of it for a wholesaler not long ago.

 

From what I understand, the smallest amount they can get from this wholesaler is a 10L jug. The Americans that want it are talking about a "group buy", then breaking it up into smaller bottles once they get it over here. The main thing they were worried about as far as air shipment, was whether it was flammable or not, and I would guess that it probably is.

 

If the American collectors get enough interest going in the stuff, the company that produces it may find it worth their while to send a couple hundred gallons of it to a wholesaler over here. Brownells would probably be the best outlet for it here.

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I contacted a local gunsmith who knows a person who still makes this stuff with the original recipe. According to the gunsmith the oil does not contain turpentine, and the exact formulae is, unsurprisingly, a secret. A small bottle (50ml) costs about 9 euros... pretty expensive stuff.

 

Considering that this gentleman has a financial interest in keeping the recipe secret, and obviously is very aware of that, I can't help wondering about his claim that it doesn't contain turpentine. Under the circumstances, why should he tell the truth?

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Considering that this gentleman has a financial interest in keeping the recipe secret, and obviously is very aware of that, I can't help wondering about his claim that it doesn't contain turpentine. Under the circumstances, why should he tell the truth?

 

If we are talking about the gunsmith I can safely say that it is not about the money for him. I think he honestly believes there is none.Then again, I don't think he knows the exact recipe.

 

I will drop by the gunsmiths shop in a week or two and ask for contact information for the man who makes the stuff. Let's see what he has to say.

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If we are talking about the gunsmith I can safely say that it is not about the money for him. I think he honestly believes there is none.Then again, I don't think he knows the exact recipe.

 

I will drop by the gunsmiths shop in a week or two and ask for contact information for the man who makes the stuff. Let's see what he has to say.

 

No, I didn't mean the gunsmith. I meant the guy who doesn't want to give up his secret recipe because he charges 9 Euros a bottle for it. :) If you get to drop by his place, keep an eye open for cans of turpentine. :D

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Sometimes you get stalled by what you really would like and it's un-availability and have to make do with what's on the shelf at home.

 

My good friend Vikstrom will bring over a small bottle of pitch they make in his village, but I found the Big can of horse hoof pine tar in my local hardware store. I should tell you about the time we had sugar cubes with pine tar on them, but I'll spare that fine tradition for a lubricated conversation. I do admire the Finn's sense of humor. ;)

 

Has he brought you a bottle of that black goo that tastes like salty licorice with ammonium chloride in it? :wacko: We had some of that at Owen's this spring. It's apparently the origin of Terry Pratchett's Troll Juice... :blink:

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No, I didn't mean the gunsmith. I meant the guy who doesn't want to give up his secret recipe because he charges 9 Euros a bottle for it. :) If you get to drop by his place, keep an eye open for cans of turpentine. :D

 

Yes, 9 euro bottles of oil and a domestic market of about hundred bottles per annum :) (a guess, but I doubt it is much more than that). That makes 900 euros. After the taxman takes his own it is about 400 euros, which is just about enough for two weeks worth of groceries (welcome to Funland). I can understand the secrecy. Well, as I said. Let's see what the man has to say, if anything. I dare not speak on his behalf.

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Has he brought you a bottle of that black goo that tastes like salty licorice with ammonium chloride in it? :wacko: We had some of that at Owen's this spring. It's apparently the origin of Terry Pratchett's Troll Juice... :blink:

 

Must have been "salmiakkikossu", or something similar

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