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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I had seen a fair number of examples of factory wood, but this batch of lowers is outright strange looking. Just recieved from overseas.
They are so glossy I was in disbelief that they are authentic. Most of what I have seen has very well controlled coating thickness with delicate textured brush strokes, giving it a satiny look. ( The pistol grips and uppers in the photos are that way. )
The lowers are very much on the red side, which doesn't bother me too much, but they are finished in a colored coating applied over a neutral base that is also glossy underneath the topcoat. The colored top coat chips off or scrapes off easily, revealing the wood toned base coat.
Obviously the two coating layers are not bonded together very well. Some of the missing spots of top coat can be seen here. The top outer finish is also fairly thick and there are no brushstrokes to be seen, making it look like a layer of glossy cellophane on the wood. The inner contour is not stepped, but is rounded, like some of the other Russian wood I have.
They are fairly beefy compared to some other batches of new wood I have. (Everything is a little thicker /taller/larger).
Any of you collectors out there run across this same stuff ?




 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Top picture right side lower grip - you can see a run of the beet red shellac or whatever it is. I have worked (reworked) on some of the replacement buttstocks that have been coated with some sort of clear polyurethane.
The undercoating on these lowers looks a little like that - a clear coat that was fairly shiny before they wiped or brushed the red on top of it.
I don't want to do any solvent tests on it just yet, but curiosity's bugging me. The red also covers the tongue, which is unlike most Russian wood I've seen. Most of it has the tongues uncoated.
 

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I got a few of those in a few weeks go myself.
Mine came form Rob and probably came from the same place as yours.


I just went a removed all the finish as they were not in all that good of shape.
The base color is the same green shade like on a lot of the late wood available.
The red looks to have been a tinted shellac and was sprayed on.
I could see the overspray and this would account for the extra on the "tangs".

They do seem a bit bigger than some of the others, but the shape on them is a bit different as well.

I have seen at least three different type of AKM lowers.
There are what I call an early, mid and late lower.
The early ones have an "oval" cut out on the inside and no tension spring.
Mid lowers have the oval and a tension spring.
Late ones have a tension spring and no oval. The inside is cut like on AK74 lowers.

I did have in my possesion a couple of AK74 lowers tht had the oval cut out in them.
I had only ever seen two like it, the ones I had.
I sent an e-mail with pics to Ekie and he had never seen a lower like that either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Kevin,
Which did you just receive ? The green buttstocks or the lowers like mine ?
I see the ones in your picture (lowers) look the same.
Based on your description, these would be mid lowers with the oval cutout, and no flat milled areas.
I think we exchanged some pics before on the inner contours and glad you went over that again because I lost the email.
Come to think of it, yes these do look sprayed.
Sprayed over the same storage coating that those buttstocks have on em, most likely.
The red tint is very unnatural looking. I sure hope the AKM stocks are authentic finish or I'm gonna be out $870. for a lot of stuff that needs to be redone. Those should be arriving soon.
Got an email from another collector and based on the description only, he thinks they are a modern faux finish made up just for the "eager to buy" American market.
Guess I lost the coin toss on this order (at least the lowers so far).
Did those uppers come in that color Kevin ?
Thanks.
 

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Hard to tell by photos, but if they look too glossy, they are a modern refinish.. I always wondering about those weird modern refinishes myself, until December when I was in Izhevsk, Russia.

Is the finish real thick, and not very clear? Then its a refinish....


My host (source for all this stuff) wanted to stop and see his friend to have tea.. Turns out, it was the guy that did all the refinishing! Nice guy.. Had some vodka, he showed me his video of him, his dog and meeting a bear in the woods, even woke up his 18 yr old daughter (it was late) to talk to me in English. But the mystery was solved.

ETA-

In dealing with AKM wood, its a crap shoot.. About 50% is useful, nice.. The other half is either crap color, a modern refinish, etc.. The main difference is that almost all the AKM stuff is replacment/spare parts from Army depots... Compare that to AK74 stuff, which are mostly take offs from un issued rifles.. They cost/charge more for the 74 items, so the have the extra cash to buy them this way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The camera doesn't really show how thick and glossy it is.
And the pictures make the color look ten times better than it really is.
I do think Kevin is right, I got spray painted shellac tinted with koolaid or something. The PG's and uppers in the stuff recieved so far, along with the mag pouches are all legit, so it wasn't a total crapshoot, but the good lowers was what I was after. Just wondering why I wasn't warned by the seller that it was refinished stuff. It was advertised as original Ishevsk issued, and on top of that, the seller has been pretty decent so far. Live & learn : (
I'd better order some lowers from *the guy in England* before he runs out.
His were very nice indeed.
Thanks for sharing that Rob. It confirms once and for all that there is indeed a faux finishing cottage industry there. Makes ya wonder about all of that CCCP militaria being sold too (Medals, urshankas, insignia, flags, etc).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mystery solved. :mad:
Curiosity got the better of me, so I got out of bed and did some tests on this monstrosity and it is indeed babyshit green polyurethane topcoated with not shellac, but indeed el cheapo candy apple red spray lacquer.
The sunlight temperature rated flourescent lighting really brings out the green in the BSG.
After some strong paint stripper and some degreasing and cleanup to brighten the birch, I'll have a nice chunk of lower to refinish.
Thanks for the good info Kevin and Rob.






 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Estonian wood. Not going to be much fun to work with and won't compare to the nice Yellow Birch of the Russian wood. Pretty expensive letdown.
*sigh*
 

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Dont let it get you down.
Technically it is all Russian no matter where it came from and the Estonian thing is a rumor anyhow.

Those green pieces will finish up just as nice as the normal ones.

This set was one of the ones in the above pic.
As you can see it makes no difference in the hands of a skilled artisan :lol:



Also, these AK74 sets had green uppers and butts as well.
The lowers still have the original finish.



DC, Shoot me an e-mail and I'll let you know about how to fix the green wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Nice lookin 74 set Kevin !
I went and got some of the high dollar Jasco stripper.
Got it stripped. A quick soak in Simple green, hot water rinse, pat dry.
Then a soak in strong wood bleach brightened up and got rid of lots of the gray. A final soap wash with Clorox Cleanup (chlorine bleach based) spray cleaner, another hot water soak, and its now baking to dry and test for residual oils. So far so good. I wouldn't swear it's the good classic yellow birch just yet.
Will know more after a light sanding.
Got one of the buttstocks today and it looks to be better wood, although it's coated with the storage varnish and has an uncomfortably deep bisected window stamp. I'm ordering up some new sets from Oleg for the foregrips and those will be for show only, they will match the PG's and uppers I got. This "estonian" stuff will be for shooting.
[email protected]
 

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DC, That all sounds about right.

I did not go through as much to get mine done.
I just stripped it and then bleached it.
That was enough to get it all out.
There was no residual oil/grease.

I have found that the green pieces are pretty dry.
They did not even put any cosmo on the metal parts.

Hopefully your wood from Oleg will match you other pieces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Z_recto said:
As you can see it makes no difference in the hands of a skilled artisan :lol:
How's the view from up there ? :hail: :hail: :hail: :hail: :lol: :lol:

Will drop you a line bro.
Here's how it came out with an initial light sanding. Top one is the knucklehead refinish from Russia, middle is after stripping etc, lower one is an old beater I did in a dark finish, started out black oil soaked etc. and the wood is pretty raggedy, but looks like the same type of "estonian".
The birch on these (going out on a limb here) looks like white birch of lower quality than the nice factory yellow birch. I speculate that the factory stuff was chosen for consistent tight grain and light weight.
Will post the final results when I get the time to refinish it.

 

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Not trying to jump this thread. I have a used set of akm that are restored but keft it in battlefeild condition just wanted to get some professional opinions on it. Here are some pics.
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Pictures are so great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hard to tell anything from your pics Sasm7. The color looks good. The texture of the finish is all important, but that requires high-rez closeups to evaluate.
I don't know what you mean by "restored but left in battlefield condition".

The wood looks fairly new to me. Is that a PLO gun? The front sight looks out of place is why I ask. Looks like from a milled gun or a chinese.

And we would hate to see that nice looking gun get burned up when that mess of extension cords catches on fire. Be careful. :neutral:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Stottman said:
The baby shit green wood comes from all over...


Its often called "Estonian" because the first importer of Russian wood was "Finbbear"; He had allot of this baby shit green replacement wood, and he got it from Estonia...

Like I said, AKM wood is a crap shoot because most of it are replacement/spare parts...
Thanks Rob. I'll pass that on next time I hear that "urban myth" repeated.
Main thing I notice is a difference in the type of birch, but that may fit in with what you are saying, they may have used whatever was locally available, and both birch species are common. I would suspect differences in the way the wood milling equipment was setup also, as the finger swells are of a slightly different shape and length.
Will post my refinish results here when I get one of the lowers done.
 

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I try to take better pictures, I have been meaning to get a better digitial
camera. What I ment is that the set was used proably came off a PLO capture. I got it from Doug at Tantal. It had digs, polycoating finish was
spotty, coming off in spots. I didn't want to make it look like a new set.
I like the battlefield pickup look. I do like the new look on new ak's.
It is a chinese mak 90 223 that didn't get totally banned. All I have to do is dremel the slant brake. Has all the marking from the factory + the mak90 on it. I guess a better way to describe it is used. All send more pics soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for sharing that. You got the real wood and it doesn't look bad at all. Doug has some nice stuff. Even his old used stuff looks a hundred times better than the PLO captured "oil sponge" wood.
Of course the wood is way too nice on that rifle and therefore you should send it to me immediately and I'll send you some "really really" battlefield style wood. No need to thank me. Its the least I can do to make your rifle look more like a battlefield pickup.
 

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Oh if the Chinese only knew how to do wood. They needed my help. They do make a great ak's but the wood sucks. Doug sure does have nice stuff but expensive, all the good stuff is expensive. All my SA 85m &
Bulgarians have Russian wood.
 
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