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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Day Forum,
I’m a new member here, although I’ve been lurking and learning for a spell now. I’m the new owner of a luger sn 1682i, and it is my very first. I won’t post images until I get everything working properly but there are some already posted attached to the post by Infanterist2 “Unknown Sneak with LUFTWAFFE acceptance LWaA9 – Low serial number without suffix??” In thread Weimar Lugers/1920-1933: DWM Lugers, Army, Navy, Police dated 01-23-2016. My question for the Forum is how do I properly care for the walnut grips, as they seem to be very dry and appear to be brittle (not found in Beginners’ FAQ). I use Ballistol on all my guns and it’s supposed to be” good” for wood and leather as well as acting as a cleaner/lubricant/rust-inhibitor when applied to metal, but I would rather apply a natural wood oil, say a teak or tung oil, liberally to the backs and let it soak and seal rather than risk oil soak from the Ballistol. In my experience Ballistol does “perk-up” wood, but it also has an effect that appears to be going down a different road than natural oil/sealant, leading cumulatively to oil soak I think. Is my proposed strategy sound in your opinion? Finally, let me say that the gun is as advertised in all respects and I am very glad I decided to pay the premium to get a good product from a reputable source in Legacy-Collectibles. My next purchase in the coming weeks will not be another luger, but will be the Gortz and Sturgess book to start with. A Very Good Day to you all, and thank you for your input.

Sincerely,
JamesPopoff
 

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Hi James, and welcome to the forum.

I'll be happy to include an article within the FAQ on grip maintenance and finishing. As John says, there are many different opinions on this. There are also at least two types of wood and the family of bakelite grips to consider.

We have members here that offer a service to clean and restore grips including sharpening the checkering and repairing the chip that often occurs near the safety lever on the left grip. I don't know that they will be interested in disclosing their specific techniques, but I'd welcome the information.

A technique I've used in the past is to strip the grips of finish and dirt using liquid finish remover and a nylon toothbrush. This is quite harsh and must be done in open air so that you can avoid inhaling the stuff. Once stripped dry, the color will bleach and shift and may need to be stained to restore the correct appearance.

I finish grip wood with boiled linseed oil that has been diluted in mineral spirits. The key is to hand apply it without damaging brittle grips, and hand rub (basically melt) the BLO into the wood. Once rubbed in properly and dried multiple coats are applied in the same process. I doubt that this was how originals were finished because it's labor intensive. Obviously you have to be careful because it's easy to break brittle wood grips.

As mentioned below, doing nothing to them may be the best choice. Conservation of these historic artifacts is different than preparing them for use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you mrerick, I'm happy to be here! These grips are bone dry, as far as I can tell, and very clean, so they may have been cleaned in some way in the past. My concerns are to replace some natural resin to give them some resiliency and hopefully avoid cracking in the future, and to protect them from gun oil that necessarily will migrate from the frame beneath and the front and back grip straps. The gun is a rework (possible early Krieghoff rework?) with a rebarrel to 9mm but no barrel serial no. There is no matching last-two digits of serial no. on the rear toggle link either, and the extractor has a mismatched "50" so both those items may have been replaced at the rework or in later service. Its only claim to fame other than being a nice shooter is the LWaA-9 final acceptance stamp, which puts it in a very restricted and so-far-tiny group of guns (see the post I quoted above). I want to take good care of it but I don't hold any (well, not many) illusions as to its collectibility, so a simple painting of the rear surface with teak oil (what I have handy) was mooted as the likely approach to take with this 'un. Your more rigorous BLO method is clearly better, though, and much appreciated.

James
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi John, Thanks for the reply. As I understand it, Murphy's still contains petroleum derivatives, as well as mineral spirits although I could be wrong. I do recall I gave up using it on stocks for that reason some years ago but now I just seem to get plastic stocks so I could be out of date. CLP I haven't tried with wood, so there's a possibility.

Best,
James
 

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Unless nasty, I pretty much leave them alone - however if really dry, it would not hurt to add something to them, I think I would go onto some wood working websites - being careful that you don't add anything to make them soft (like you hear many folks talk about adding mink oil, etc onto holsters).

When really nasty, I will use paint remover (orange solvent stuff) and rinse off then once dry, use boiled linseed oil - never cut it with any alcohol tho?
Normal dirty, i like murphys oil (cleaner) and since recently I did not have any, used dawn or some other dish soap and cleaned a stock I had, still need to add some boiled linseed or tung oil. I put on a decent coat and then blot with a paper towel, usually one or two coats does it for me.
 

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I have been a hobby woodworker for decades. When I started collecting Lugers I searched for data regarding grip care and maintenance. The more knowledgable sources seemed to say the same thing: add nothing, while storing in a moderate temperature and humidity environment.

The following is consistent with the better advice I have read. http://www.conservator.com/preservation_and_care.htm

When I acquire a pistol, if the grips seem dirty I clean them and thereafter add nothing. In about 150-200 years I should be able to report how well this practice has worked.:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have been a hobby woodworker for decades. When I started collecting Lugers I searched for data regarding grip care and maintenance. The more knowledgable sources seemed to say the same thing: add nothing, while storing in a moderate temperature and humidity environment.

The following is consistent with the better advice I have read. http://www.conservator.com/preservation_and_care.htm

When I acquire a pistol, if the grips seem dirty I clean them and thereafter add nothing. In about 150-200 years I should be able to report how well this practice has worked.:eek:
WOW! Great article 4scale. That really wipes away a lot of myth and misconceptions on my part. I guess apart from cleaning (which my stocks do not need) the main concern for good wood "health" is maintaining a reasonable level of humidity. In the event something more is still needed, it seems that microcrystalline wax such as Renaissance is appropriate as a stabilizer.

Best,
James
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Bill, I agree it must sound a bit anal, but although I have quite a few used guns, this is my first "collectible", if it is that, and I sure didn't want to get off on the wrong foot with it. This forum is Outstanding, and I've just learned a huge amount just by asking a simple question.

Best,
James
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, Edward, for your reply. We are of a similar mind I think, but now having read 4scale's link I feel much more confident leaving well enough alone and just being careful in my handling. I will put some Renaissance wax on the back, but only where the grip contacts the frame and avoid any oil soak potential that way. Another approach worth exploring is to use LPS-1 on the frame steel, which is a dry lube and corrosion-protectant, but I will still put the wax on the wood wherever there is contact. Many thanks.

Best,
James
 

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While I am also an advocate of oil for stock preservation I would never use linseed oil straight boiled or otherwise. Under the best of conditions it's slow to dry and will attract airborne grit while doing so. I have successfully used Tru Oil for many years and while it's Linseed based it's also fast drying. I would also caution a user to apply oil sparingly especially to the checkering. I've also as of late used a product called Restor a Finish(SP?) that's available at box stores like Lowes. it does an excellent job of cleaning and refreshing a problem surface and, in some instances, that's all that is required. Remember the goal in collecting is to keep your artifacts as close to original condition as possible.
Jim
 

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I've collected Winchesters for years. One of the wood finishes they offered was hand rubbed oil. Most of my Winchesters are over 100 years old. The stocks that were oiled regularly show the least damage, shrinking or cracking. It's not a piece of furniture, it's a gun. Used in war and in hunting, it's dragged thru the mud and water and held by sweaty, dirty hands. As you can see, I like oil.
Pat
 
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