Okay so I got my mitts on the AK clone and it's after Christmas and all that... won't get to fire it until next year but I am considering doing something about the furniture.
It's actually not at all bad. The quality of the wood seems to be okay, which actually surprises me somewhat, and it seems to be free of cosmo-goop. The only thing I am slightly concerned with is that the "sealer", if you will, is not exactly great.
I do not aspire to be name myself a man of the building trades, but having worked for some time in the building materials and maintenance trades, I realize that at some point the furniture on this thing needs to be (lightly) sanded down and resealed. Realistically, it is good enough that it will probably be just fine in the relatively mild Texas climate, but where's the fun in that?
What I am looking for input on is some tips or tricks for getting the furniture off of the gun without ruining it. It is well fitted, I have to admit. The rear stock seems simple enough to remove. It's the handguards that seem like a challenge.
The lower guard seems to be held in place by a pin which looks like it would be very difficult to punch out, and quite frankly I'm not sure how to get the guard off of the gas tube assembly without breaking it. The last time I did this (on an SKS), I was replacing it anyway so I just snapped the rotted wood in two and it came right out.
I may just have to settle for carefully sanding the guards down entirely by hand and then refinishing them with them still on their assemblies. I can mask off the metal no problem if it came to that. But even that seems like half assing it and I'd rather not anything than half ass it. Yet if won't come off readily, that's all I know to do.
I'm actually considering, if I can resolve the how am I going to sand and strip issue, getting a can of paint mixed and painting the furniture a color... but then I am getting ahead of myself. As I said if I can't strip it to my satisfaction I will simply not do anything.
I figure if I completely ruin it I can always get synthetic furniture but I want to give the wood a chance.