Melonite finish Q:


October 16, 2005, 10:14 AM
I was wondering what Melonite is ??

Does it wear like blued finish ??

Does it rust ??

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October 16, 2005, 11:16 AM
Melonite is the US trade name for Tenifer. It is essentially a case hardening process that imparts a very hard finish to steel through nitrogen carburizing in molten salt baths. The newest version is Melonite QPQ, which adds a smooth black finish with a final treatment that is 4-20 times more corrosion resistant than hard chrome or nickel. Current uses include hydraulic cylinders, golf club heads and automotive parts. S&W, Walther, Steyr, and Glock are using this finish.

You can find a great deal of technical info by googling Melonite QPQ. There are several US companies offering this process.

October 16, 2005, 11:23 AM
It is my understanding that it is almost like tennifer, but isn't exactly the same.

The black finish that is put on top of the melonite scratches easier than the black carbon finish that Glock uses, though.

October 16, 2005, 11:48 AM
Melonite is the US trade name for Tenifer(one n), they are the same and you can find the German company that owns the process through Google. The black coating you refer to is now part of the process, Glock formerly used black phosphate. The present final finish is an oxidized layer.

Two persistent and incorrect rumors.

1. Tenifer/ Melonite cannot be done in the US because of the EPA.
False: The original process used cyanide salts, the current one does not. Both have been available in the US for quite some time.

2. Tenifer, Melonite and Tufftride are different processes.
False: They are different trade names for the same process. Tenifer is used in Europe, Melonite in the US, and Tufftride everywhere else.

October 16, 2005, 12:23 PM
Are there any domestic shops that will do small-run Melonite QPQ processing for our firearms parts? with a finish like this I might finally be able to carry a pistol that's not stainless, alloy or polymer.... :)

October 16, 2005, 12:36 PM
IIRC Tenifer is a gas carbonitriding process not salt. This hardens the surface . The additional surface treatment makes it very corrosion resistant.

October 16, 2005, 01:48 PM
Mete, You didn't remember correctly. Tenifer uses molten salts. There are many other processes and some use nitrogen gas to accomplish the same thing, which is to impart a layer of FeN on steel.
I don't know of any companies set up to do individual firearms, but a few have had them done at Burlington, in SoCal. This process is cheaper than hard chrome but requires a big investmnet in hardware and has much higher startup costs.

October 16, 2005, 03:21 PM
Can other finishes be applied on top of Tennifer/Melonite? E.g., could one have Melon/Tenn applied, and then have it hard-chromed on top?

"We hurt the ones we love, Kestrel. Let me love you." ~Branwen, Something Positive.

October 16, 2005, 03:27 PM
Yes you can, although the melonite is more corrosion resitant than hard chrome.

October 16, 2005, 03:30 PM
Melonite is also called Kolene, and the QPQ is another variation, IIRC it's Quench, Polish,Quench. QPQ imparts a better finish. I'd occasionally send out small parts with our mold components where I used to work and have them done in the same lot, was never an issue because of the minimum lot cost. The parts come back a matte black, but the matte is soft and waers off easily, so I ususally stoned the top surface off and it leaves a dark gray/black shiny undercoat.

It's a surface nitride process, about 70 Rc hardness IIRC. Metal Treaters in Minneapolis/St. Paul was our vendor.

October 16, 2005, 04:07 PM
The nature of the metal being treated can require a variation of the process, as well.

For example, carbon steel would receive the QPQ version, while QP is more appropriate for stainless steel.

Here's a link to a company's site in CA who offers this process ...

It's an interesting subject, and one in which a lot of urban legends abound.;)

October 16, 2005, 04:39 PM
Well my main Q is: I like want to get a Walther p99 but I want to know if the Melonite finish will wear off like the blue on other pistols ??

I like the SS look, but I think its time for an all black pistol.

October 16, 2005, 05:08 PM
Walther uses the Tenifer QPQ treatment on their carbon steel slides & barrels.

My SW99 stainless steel slides, which have received the Melonite QP treatment, have proven to be very durable as far as holster wear/scratch resistance is concerned.

Ordinary bluing is generally considered to be right down there at the bottom of the scale, or right close to it, when it comes to "wear resistance" and corrosion resistance issues.

There are a lot of different proprietary finishes being offered nowadays, too, and some may offer better wear & corrosion resistance than some others. Buyer beware ...

Some folks who carry 'blued' finish SIGARMS in another agency have reportedly complained that some of them would start to oxidize by the end of their 8-hour Patrol shifts in certain weather conditions. ;)

I remember a lot of our senior guys carrying issued blued Colt Pythons when I was new, and watching some of them methodically wipe down their revolvers at the end of each shift, and take special care if they had been exposed to rain/moisture. Of course, a lot of those older leather holsters covered more of the revolvers than many of the duty holsters used with some pistols nowadays, and maybe that had something to do with the revolvers being somewhat less exposed to the elements over short periods. Dunno ...

I think nitrocarburizing treatments offer some distinct advantages over some other 'finishes', but I also think they still require some reasonable owner/user care and maintenance for optimal service life.;)

Just my thoughts ...

October 16, 2005, 05:22 PM
Fastbolt, I agree. Bluing is an oxidizing process, but provides very low or no corrosion resistance without oil. Wear resistance is very low.
RUBZERK, The Melonite can wear with use, altough it is much tougher than bluing in this regard and even if the black wears off you are still left with a highly corrosion resistant steel. It is one of the best finishes out there and I think one of the toughest. I think we will see more makers using it in the future, especially with stainless steel prices headed up.

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