Thanks for posting this, I'm always interested in finding out ways to
accomplish things using substances other than black-box "wonder cures". I
did a bit more research and found the following:
This discussion on a machinist's forum<http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/archive/index.php/t-47279.html>has a response from the author:
"The original homemade penetrating oil mixture called for using
trichloroethelyne as the solvent. I cannot recommend trichlor for home shop
use and definitely not for anything slightly resembling a business. Both
PSF and ATF will form emulsions with acetone under mild agitation
sufficient to thin the oil enough to penetrate. Upon standing, these will
separate. Acetone performs better than the other commonly available organic
solvents, such as methanol, but not as well as trichlor." Others in the
thread suggest replacing the acetone with "mineral spirits of turpentine"
(or aliphatic mineral spirits or stoddard solvent).
After some more research into these, I found this excellent thread that
goes into a similar home mix called "Ed's Red"<http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=2506029>,
often used by gun cleaners. It very helpfully goes into the function of
each of the ingredients (turpentine, ATF, and aliphatic mineral spirits,
lanolin is optional), the history, and the developments of modern
substitutes. It's based on an older formula, but for example, a
substitution for sperm whale oil had to be found after the 70s.
There's a lot of other formulas available on the Homemade firearm Cleaners