Try carefully scraping with a utility blade then use a spray cleaner such as Crud Cutter to pull the old finish out of the pores. This may have to be repeated a few times. You may end up with a better job if go back to bare wood. I always use a old Steam iron and wet towel when refinishing a stock, this helps lift old stain and reduces dents and depressions in the wood surface. Hope this helps.
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Hey there JetBlack -- I too am a big fan of scrapers. Check out Garrett Wade Woodworking Tools & Supplies, Shop Tools, Hand Tools, Measuring Tools, Knives & Drills for tools. A scraper and burnishing tool would be far cheaper than hiring someone to do the work. Hope this helps. Best regards. Wind
If it as mine I would use some kind of solvent based cleaner first. Something like a enamel reducer with a thick cotton rag....
This may be a little late, but when the stocks on my 336 that were finished with hand rubbed boiled linseed started getting sticky (somewhere between Kentucky and Portland Or.). I used the 3M fine synthetic steel wool to remove the stickieness of the linseed. Then I refinished with tung oil, or Minwax antique Finish. The tung oil sealed the stocks nicely and now the finish looks nice, deep and it maintained that golden red color the linseed turns the walnut.
James, that's interesting. I have used both pure tung oil and the Minwax antique finish and like both. The Minwax builds faster than tung oil but I like the looks of the tung oil better. I have never used either directly over BOL and am glad to hear it works.
When i decided to refinish a sporterized p-14 that had, i presume a linseed oil finish on it, I just soaked a paper towel in acetone and rubbed the old finish out, down to the wood. It really seemed to draw the old finish out, with no sanding or scraping necessary, leavind all the old character of the wood. I tried to refinish it in a sort-of-traditional manner...1st coat, half and half polymerized tung oil /turpentine to seal it; next 15 coats 2/3 polymerized linseed oil/1/3 turpentine/few drops of Japanese dryer. Finished it off with Gunny Paste, 1/3 linseed oil/1/3 turpentine/1/3 beeswax. Gave a nice satin sheen. I expect that if I wanted to start over, the acetone would again strip the finish off with no problems.
The old-time method was whiting and a solvent mixed into a paste and applied, the solvent varied over the years, TCE was in vogue at one time. Sometimes combined with an electric hot plate to provide a little thinning action on the linseed oil. As I've said before, the unrefined linseed oil literally takes centuries to harden up, if you want an oil finish stock, don't use hardware store linseed oil for it. See "Gunstock Finishing And Care" by A. D. Newell for his opinion of linseed oil as a stock finish, he was a finish chemist.
I've used this method on military stocks, the coating has to be applied multiple times, scraped off as it soaks up the oil and reapplied. If you are really careful, you can boil a bunch of the oil out just with the heat, but it's easy to overdo things and scorch the wood. Whiting is just powdered chalk, Brownell's carries it for just that purpose and may have recommendations for a readily available solvent. Last time I used it, I could get TCE right off the store shelf. The big advantage is that you aren't reducing the stock thickness like scraping or sanding would. I just proceeded to give the stocks a solvent wash after getting out as much as would come out and started over with a tung oil-based stock finish. You may want to put a wash-coat of fresh thinned shellac over the stock before proceeding, it'll keep any residual oil from bubbling up and softening your new finish. Tung oil works fine over that. You can use a spirit stain to get the stock as dark as you like, too. Water-based ones will probably blotch over the top of oil.
Water-based strippers will raise the grain, may swell the inletting and warp a long, thin stock. Probably won't remove much besides a surface layer of oil, either. They're really meant for removing water-based latex paints. I wouldn't try one.