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Remembered Today:

Cleaning of gew rifle and Bertheir


Hanniballector
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After reading s.s posts on bayonets, cleaning and care, I decided to give two of my darkest and dirtiest rifles a clean. The gew98 and the recently bought Bertheir. It's incredible how much difference a bit of elbow greese can make ! 280F2F11-24FA-4784-ADED-F69EBE4C295E_zps5E7CBFC1-7C92-4971-A7F0-AEFF539564C1_zps68DF73AA-3321-41CA-8991-AA256D52C7A1_zps

Edited by Hanniballector
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After reading s.s posts on bayonets, cleaning and care, I decided to give two of my darkest and dirtiest rifles a clean. The gew98 and the recently bought Bertheir. It's incredible how much difference a bit of elbow greese can make !

Hang on, I was giving advice on cleaning bayonets NOT rifles.! Never mind, the same principles apply to any metalwork ... just try to keep the gun oil away from your rifle's timber furniture. :thumbsup:

Any of the M1886 bayonets would suit your rifle, however one of the long variants without the quillon would be the most accurate for your 1916 dated Berthier (ie. an Mle 1886/15 epee-baionette)

And BTW just in case you didn't get the memo (on the other thread) ... you were on the right track initially with your search for a bayonet. You certainly do need an epee-baionette.! :rolleyes:

Cheers, S>S

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Oh dear god...what did you do to the wood ?. You must have chemically cleaned the wood and in doing so you destroyed a fair bit of collector value..oi !.

I turn down matching rifles when the wood has been bubba cleaned. Have seen what paint hinners , colvents , mean green etc etc do to once gorgeous aged patinated original finishes. Had a buddy find a gorgeous mause standard modell.... the most beautifully orignal glossy orange sheen and offered him a good bit more than he paid for it. He said he'd give it some thought. A couple months later he rang me up and took my offer. I met him at a local show and to my horror the dunderhead had wiped the stock down with acetone "cleaning it you know". Well that once gorgeous original awesome orangey red mauser stock finish was now a no orignal sheen bleached look. I wanted no part in that rifle and he eventually wound up selling it for less than he paid due to his well intentioned but bobbleheaded handiwork.

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No I clean them with nothing more than very fine 0000 wire wool absolutely no detergent and no gun oil apart from a bit wiped over the metal work at the end. They where coverd in the first place with oil and grime and from what I read a lot of people make the mistake of lacquering them. I no expert but Rifles of this ere would not have been lacquerd and I'm pretty sure solders taking them into trenches would have only cleaned and maintained them using rags, oil and brushes of sorts.

Thank you s.s for clarification on the bayonet subject, I just asked that same question about whether or not the types found were the same as shown on Trajan link .

Regards

Nick

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Morning,

This will probably horrify you BUT when I owned a 1903 Springfield and an M1 Garrand I was advised to soak the woodwork in the bath in the hottest water possible

that a hand could stand in which there was ordinary washing machine detergent. Leave for as long as possible.

I did this and I must say it worked incredibly well. All the old oil etc came out over time.

I must stress I AM NOT advising this, merely joining in the debate.

Regards,

Graeme

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Hmmmm difficult from photos but I agree they were better before. I too have seen beauties ruined. Yours are not in that league but if they had been mine I would have left well alone.

I have a Gew 98 that was a bring back and the soldier lacquered it but I think better to leave well alone rather than remove the laquered layer and risk removing the layer of patination on the wood

TT

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A couple of weeks ago I bought a k98AZ from the same place, had bayonet, sling ,etc. I could but notice it had the same serial number as one he had for sale for well over a year ago, but it looked completely different. When I phoned him I asked "is this the same rifle that I saw before" (a dirty old looking k98AZ) reluctantly he said yes, it was over £100 more than the price he originaly posted. I asked him a bit more about it and he replied "I've cleaned it and added a few extras! So I would like to show you a pic and tell me what the difference is from what I've done?!

Regards

Nick

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I am afraid the the OP has caused damage and lowered the collector value of the rifles. Collectors prefer some patina, partly because excessive cleaning is sometimes used to cover jiggery pokery.

They are your guns and you are free to do what you wish to them. However, the rule of thumb for ALL antiques and collectables is: "Cleaning, if in doubt - DON'T."

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I would also like to add a pic of some rifles from my collection. I've done nothing to the lee Enfield and also stuck a second world war k98 in their at the bottom. To me their is no difference in appearances. I would say it's down to a matter of opinion but further add that had you not seen the before after cleaning pic you would be none the wiser

Regards

Nick

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Theirs also the p14 still in the same condition I bought it in a couple of days ago, with what I must be laquer on it giving it its shiney appearance. Should I clean it or not ? I'm interested in your opinios please ! D6B3308A-FE51-41A9-BA5D-697FDBC8B554_zps

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As you say a matter of opinion and if you are happy then that is fine and we all respect that. I however would know the difference and I suspect others would too. If I was buying I would choose the before over the after anytime and pay more. I have passed over scrubbed / cleaned rifles for that very reason.

Bottom line though is if you are pleased then great and enjoy.

TT

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That is what a P14 (after nearly a hundred years) should look like. It is entirely up to you but if you were to change it to the (in my opinion) dreadful condition of your other rifles, you will instantly lower its collector (and monetary) value.

BTW, I assume that all these rifles are deacts?

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Beer hunter re the two mentioned yes. They were recently sold by Arundels Arms as deacs. Saw them before they sold.

TT

Beer hunter re the two mentioned yes. They were recently sold by Arundels Arms as deacs. Saw them before they sold.

TT

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Re P14 - I have looked at quite a few in the US recently and a good number of them appear to have been laquered/varnished. I think it may indicate Indian use, as it is very similar to the finish that is common on later 2A and 2A1 rifle furniture, there appears to have been a bit of an influx of Indian P14s in the past 5 years here.

Chris

Edit:

For comparison: four of my P14s

The bottom one was probably Indian used and has a partially varnished buttstock.

post-14525-0-64671400-1419195724_thumb.j

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Re P14 - I have looked at quite a few in the US recently and a good number of them appear to have been laquered/varnished. I think it may indicate Indian use, as it is very similar to the finish that is common on later 2A and 2A1 rifle furniture, there appears to have been a bit of an influx of Indian P14s in the past 5 years here.

Chris

Edit:

For comparison: four of my P14s

The bottom one was probably Indian used and has a partially varnished buttstock.

P14s.jpg

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Hi chris

As a very serious collector whats your option on the cleaning subject . I've read quite a bit on it most of it American sourced and it's hard to gauge if it's right or wrong.

Nick

Beer hunter re the two mentioned yes. They were recently sold by Arundels Arms as deacs. Saw them before they sold.

TT

Beer hunter re the two mentioned yes. They were recently sold by Arundels Arms as deacs. Saw them before they sold.

TT

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Hi TT

Just emailed Andy from Arundals and asked him what his thoughts are on it. He said from his point of view it makes little diffrence on the value side, however it dose make them more atractive for sale. Said that wax or boiled Linceed oil can be applied after cleaning. However I've done a bit of looking online and various collectors / museums do clean and draw out of the wood work the oil, greese and dirt and then apply what ever they decide is best to help preserve / protect it . That said I've also read that you should never clean them ! Lol It appears that it shouldn't ever be done so it affects the original finish on the wood work as when it left the factory. Unmm a little bit unhappy now about the whole matter ?

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I have only cleaned two of them the rest are original so beer hunter you seem to be implying that the k98 and lee Enfield ( which retains it's cutt off plate and volley sites and dated 1914 , regimentally marked ) and are completely untouched by me are both prices of junck ! Compared to the laquerd p14 not that I have any intention of cleaning it. The Bertheir was so dirty it just about stuck too your hand and is socked in oil and greese. I would also like to add that it was used as a shotgun after its service life proberly by a farmer or landowner and to me that isn't excactly taking care of it either ! But point taken ... No more cleaning I'm sure theirs away or bring it back to its dirty greese state ! It's a shame I can't seem to post the various pages from musems and dealers / collectors on the cleaning/ restoration on guns ! ?

Regards

Nick

Edited by Hanniballector
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Hi chris

As a very serious collector whats your option on the cleaning subject . I've read quite a bit on it most of it American sourced and it's hard to gauge if it's right or wrong.

Nick

Nick,

I have avoided commenting on this partially because they are your rifles and what you choose to do with them is up to you. Also because for the majority of them you have already cleaned them so the question is essentially moot and I don't see much point in telling someone what a "mistake they have made" or "how much they have devalued their item" after they have done it.

However, as you asked, I'll give my 2p. And the answer for me is....it depends.

Usually I would not clean them to the extent that you have. Most of my firearms are not deactivated so safety and functionality are my prime considerations but they are also the best part of 100 years old and have come from a variety of backgrounds. Usually, I will disassemble and clean the metal components thoroughly and wipe them over with high grade machine/gun oil before careful inspection and reassembly. At the same time I will wipe the furniture over with a damp rag to remove surface dirt. Then, depending upon the condition, give it a rub down with linseed oil if the wood looks like it needs it. Sometimes I will do this several times if the wood is particularly dry. I usually leave it at that.

However, having said that, some rifles I have purchased have been packed in cosmolene and the wood is almost black and sticky/soaked with oils (in which state they were unusable and almost untouchable). On several occasions I have cleaned rifle furniture in much the same way you have here but the effect upon the appearance was rather to take them from "Black and Sticky" to more like how yours started out. I did once refinish an SMLE totally but this was a "bitsa" rifle that I wanted for shooting rather than historic rifle I obtained for collectability. But get four or five 100 year old rifles together and there is going to be significant variation in the finish. It's not a great picture but you can see that here.

post-14525-0-61650900-1419201323_thumb.j

After 100 years and perhaps several non-service owners, all sorts of finish appearances / conditions can be seen on rifles. I think some of my rifles were undoubtedly refinished by previous owners, but in some cases long enough ago that they have built up a decent patina since.

There are minty original examples (look at 5thBattn's pictures) and there are battered examples and there are refinished examples and everything in-between, it's largely a matter of personal preference and what you can find. What devalues a rifle for one section of the market may make it more valuable to another.

So while many on here would prefer to preserve the patina (and I would include myself in this), I can imagine a reenactor might want a rifle looking more like an issued service weapon a year or two old rather than an antique 100 years old, so I wouldn't beat yourself up over it too much..a decade or two of rubbing linseed into the furniture and they'll darken up and look much as they did. :thumbsup:

Aside from a wipe over I would not do anything to the P14.

Chris

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Thank you very kindly chris for your council and advice.

No more cleaning then !

Would you suggest boiled linseed oil or just normal ?

Oh and very nice selection of rifles !

I know from some of your posts your hiding a lot more as well ?

Cheers

Nick

Edited by Hanniballector
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I think originally raw linseed oil was used but boiled linseed oil (BLO) seems easier to handle and absorbs better and so that is what I usually use.

Be aware that the rags etc you use with the linseed oil are extremely flammable and need careful handling afterwards if you scrunch them up and compress them you can create conditions that are very combustible, there is an exothermic reaction that takes place during the drying process and apparently it can even spontaneously combust. I have not (thankfully) seen that happen but I did once scrunch up a rag I was using and stuff it in a tin can and when I came to pick up the can several hours later it was hot to the touch. Since then I always handle with care!

Chris


How many have you got out of intrest Chris ?

My standard response to this question especially when asked by my better half is "several more than is sensible but always one fewer than I need."

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you seem to be implying that the k98 and lee Enfield ( which retains it's cutt off plate and volley sites and dated 1914 , regimentally marked ) and are completely untouched by me are both prices of junck !

I did not say that, nor would I. Additionally I am not having a go at anyone personally, just pointing out what the market thinks and , as museum curator, what I think in terms of preservation of heritage.

I too am what one might call a "serious collector" too and I would not buy guns that have been subjected to such vigorous cleaning.

My guns get cleaned all the time, because they are used for live firing, oil on the metal and BLO on the wood. I am just very careful not to go too far. These are three of my rifles cleaned as above..

post-105017-0-41422800-1419251779_thumb.

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