Skip to comments.Gun re-bluing, anybody?
Posted on 10/23/2010 5:46:18 PM PDT by djf
Anybody have any XP re-bluing guns? Recommendations? Products? Techniques?
I have an Ivers-Johnson .22 revolver and used Perma-Blue on it an would describe the results as "so so..."
Am I missing something?
There are several types of bluing. I’ll give a brief overview.
Rust bluing is the oldest type of bluing around. Using a bluing solution to rust the outer surface of the metal, the technique requires hot water, bluing solution, and time. Basically, you dip the part, let it rust for a bit, brush it, repeat a few times. See Cold blue below...
Belgian bluing is similar to rust bluing but is quicker and doesn’t rust the metal as much.
Fire bluing is considered the most stunning and beautiful finish you’ll ever see on a gun. There are two techiques for fire bluing, one that involves dipping and one that does not.
Hot blue is a couple of different techniques. One “table top” version is simply a hot acid bath dip that blues the metal. Another is again, a hot acid bath dip that is part of a multi step process, you dip, then dip to get tone.
What you are doing is cold blue. Few people do cold blue correctly and most companies that make cold bluing solutions really don’t explain what has to be done well. Most of the time they promote the product as a touch up.
When you cold blue a gun, depending on the solution you are using, you’ll put 1 part solution to X part of pure, clean filtered water. Tap water will not work. You dip the gun in and let it sit for approximately 3 minutes. pull it out and let the gun hang in the air. A thin film of surface rust will appear. The time it takes is totally dependant on the solution you use. If it’s uneven or splotchy, you’ve got contaminates on the gun or in the solution. If it’s pretty even, the wipe it off with a clean dry rag. you’ll see a faint darker color under the rust. Make sure you get all the rust off and I mean all the rust. Then repeat the process. You’ll keep doing this over and over until you get the desired depth and color. Note, if you want a nice glossy reflective finish, metal preperation is a must. you need to have a nice polished piece to get that finish.
I usually farm my bluing out here. We parkerize on site as it’s an easier and more resilant finish. Parkerizing also works quite well with hard water.
If you’re using perma blue, be aware that cold blue is tedious and slow. The finish is usually as you say so-so. You can make it look REAL nice but it’ll take you a few tries. The biggest thing to do before applying the bluing solution is to rinse the gun and parts in acetone to remove all traces of oils and dirt.
Hope this helps some.
I have a quart of acetone up on a shelf, but unless I can use it outside, I don’t open it in the house... me and acetone don’t mix!
So I settled on the isopropanol and it seemed to work pretty good. I could see a little bit of dark color the first time I wiped it down, but the second and third wiping came out clean.
It’ll never be factory, and I’m not aiming to sell it, just trying things out. I mean I don’t want it to rust anymore, and it’s nice if it looks good. So that’s ok.
I concur. It's actually made by KG Industries. It's incredibly tuff stuff. I refinished my CZ 82 with it and couldn't be happier. I used the matte black color.
The work done by factories 100 years ago is incredible. We are pikers compared to them.
BTW, Washington Arms Collector show at Puyallup fairgrounds in Puyallup, Washington today and tomorrow.
Hundreds of tables. It was far and away the most packed time I have ever seen at the show.
Anyone can enter, but you must be a member to be able to purchase firearms, and to be a member, you have to either be active military, be in possession of a current CCP, or pass the NICS check.
Gun prices seem to be going up a bit, but there was quite a large selection of pretty decent weapons in the 300-700 dollar range.
Just an FYI for Washington state FReepers!
Yeah, I would do it for $125. Hot blued.
I am constantly impressed at the tolerances they held on manual machines, even in full-tilt-boogie wartime production environments.
You did a good job. That CZ looks like a factory finish. I have read that cerra-coat is even better but is more difficult to apply.
I have actually just used spray paint for older less expensive guns in which I had to remove rust before finishing. The paint scratches easily but is also easy to retouch. Krylon seems to be a good one.
Bump for Blueing reference.
Use the Iver Johnson for a “drop piece” when you have to use your principal carry weapon on some chump. Don’t waste your time or money on a reblue, just make sure your fingerprints are removed from it.
Ever seen an example of rust bluing? Pricey, but it will last a lifetime.
I fully understand, I’ve got a few toys like that too.
On the alcohol, don’t rub it down, dip it. What will happen is that the oil and stuff will come off and float to the top.
When you pull the gun out, rinse it in cold water then immediately begin the bluing process. You’ll find the results much more satisfactory.
Tried heating the gun? Multiple applications with a good wash and dry between? Some spottiness will even out after a period with a good oil coat over the finish.
I have done several. I bought a house where the guy left a few guns in the crawl space to keep the guns away from the kids. The guns were slightly rusted and somewhat pitted. Using the blue/rust remover with 0000 steel wool takes away the old bluing and rust and leaves the metal in the white. Degrease the metal and do a cold reblue. That and finishing the stock makes the guns look like new.
For the more inexpensive end of the spectrum, I’m going to put in a good word for Duplicolor 1200 Degree Auto Paint. It’s a ceramic rattle can spraypaint available at autoparts stores for about $9 a can. I finished a home AK build with it a couple years ago. It has worn very well and still looks great (for a Romanian AK).
Refinishing is all about the prep and degreasing. When you think you’ve degreased enough, do it one more time. This paint requires pre-heating the part, spraying, and then baking for an hour in an oven. Part of your refinishing cost will need to include sending your wife or SO to the mall or a long movie so you can air out the kitchen before she gets home. 8^)
Ah, practice!. Go hot bluing if you intend to do more than one gun.
Unless you are very lucky or have godlike skills, cold bluing is going to give your gun an inconsistant and unsatidfying finish. And even if you do manage to get it perfect, it will still be a thin and fragile finish that will not hold its appearance over time. Hot blue is where it is at. I have used this fellow's services many times. He is reasonably priced, doesn't overcharge for shipping and easy to work with. Incidentally/ he also does gorgeous work. ;-)
On the other hand, if your heart is set on the cold blue route...
Of the Birchwood-Casey blueing products, Perma-Blue is the worst and yeilds inconsistant results even if the directions are followed to the letter. If all you can get are B-C products, use their Super Blue instead. I use it for small parts all the time.
Several folks have mentioned Brownells. They sell superior cold blueing products. Their Oxpho-Blue is the bees knees.
I have been known to "cheat" and heat small parts (mostly boogered screws) during the bluing process. I strip, polish and degrease the part, then I heat it to 300-400 degrees (not red hot-that would be very, very bad for the steel), and then I dunk it in the blueing solution. I reheat between bluing applications. It delivers a deeper, richer blue that sort of appoximates a hot blue application, except in gloss. I suppose you could do a whole gun in this way, but I've never tried it.
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