Best conditioning method for wood grips on a collectible Colt
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Thread: Best conditioning method for wood grips on a collectible Colt

  1. #1
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    Best conditioning method for wood grips on a collectible Colt

    Hi All: I've got a couple of Detective Specials (1928 & 1956) and a 1st gen Cobra (1967). The wood grips seem dirty/dry and could use a cleaning and oiling. I've found that a light mix of Murphy's Oil soap/water and gentle work with a soft toothbrush work great for cleaning. My question is, what oil do collectors recommend for conditioning the wood? I'm sure linseed oil will work, but I don't want to darken the grips excessively.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated (including whether Murphy's is a bad idea for cleaning).

    Many thanks, Mike
    Jackson and victorio1sw like this.

  2. #2
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    Desert Southwest
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    I've used diluted Murphys and a toothbrush, it works well on checkering. I try not to scrub too much finish/patina off unless they are bad. Then I just wax them with Johnson's Paste Wax.

    Usually I don't put any more finish on them (no oils or varnishes) unless they really look muted, then a light coat of Tung Oil, buffed when cured with 0000 steel wool to take the sheen off. Most pre-war Colts didn't have super shiny finish on their stocks, until the Python era.

  3. #3
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    As noted, Colt's made before about 1961 had some sort of oil finish on the wood that didn't have a shiny look.
    After about 1961 Colt began using a semi-gloss surface finish, probably some sort of varnish.
    Later, was the walnut quality began falling Colt began using a stain-finish that gave a surface finish with a slight tint to improve the color.

    For the oil finished grips azshot's method of Tung oil for really dry looking wood would be great.
    For the later grips with a surface finish, I'd stick with a coat of buffed wax.
    Johnson's Paste Wax or the excellent Renaissance Museum Wax would be best.
    I'd recommend applying a coat with a toothbrush to get it down into the checkering, letting it dry a few minutes, then "buffing" with a clean toothbrush to remove the excess.

    You can let Johnson's dry 20 minutes or so as recommended for use on wood floors, but the hardened wax is a little harder to buff, so it may need more work with clean toothbrushes.

    As always, less is more. Do the minimum you need to protect and preserve the wood.
    Jim Martin and victorio1sw like this.


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