Blueing question


December 5, 2006, 02:04 PM
I was always told to never reblue ANYTHING, cause it would absolutely kill the value.

Well, I have a fondness for rough guns. The ones that no one else cares about. Ones with no collector value, no great functionality....AKA "truck guns". That being said, they tend to show wear in the finish awful quick. Since I'd rather not reblue, only to see I did it wrong, is it possible to "test" the technique on scrap at hand? I'm assuming the alloy used will impact the final product, but could I use old pieces of iron to see if I'm doing it right?


If you enjoyed reading about "Blueing question" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
December 5, 2006, 02:35 PM
I wouldn't reblue a collectible but your run of the mill SW Model 10, commercial 1911, or anything else like that wouldn't bother me. The sheen from a blue job is dependent on the degree of polishing. I don't see any reason why you couldn't practice on plain steel (yes the alloy make have some effect on the color) if for no other reason to gauge the degree of polish you want.

Old Fuff
December 5, 2006, 03:19 PM
Brownells ( sells the equipment and supplies for doing bluing - and offer several different ways too do it. The kind of blue you see on most new guns is done by a process called "hot salt bluing" and requires a considerable outlay for the equipment too do it. It also involves the use of hot caustic chemicals.

For what you have in mind, Parkerizing might be a better way to go, because it avoids most of the expense and risks associated with the hot blue process.

You can request a copy of the instructions for any of the Brownells refinishing products/methods and they will send you a copy for free. If you decide to go ahead they'll sell you everything you need.

The "don't ever refinish it" rule only applies to certain modern collectables and most antiques. It doesn't look like this would affect you.

December 5, 2006, 03:53 PM
If you're looking into hot bluing, be prepared for sticker shock. If you only have a few pieces to do, cold bluing is something to consider, but there aren't many good ones out there.

I've had good luck with Brownells Oxphoblue as it's very durable. On the other hand, I've tried several techniques and never did get it dark and even enough for my liking. There's a relatively new product called Blue Wonder that does very good looking bluing that is quite durable also.

Then there's a step in between cold blues and professional hot bluing. That's Brownells Dicropan IM. It's a hot water blue that offers some of the benefits of hot salt bluing. It's more involved than the cold blues, but the results are better. It looks like hot blue and is very durable. I think that's what I'd choose for just a few guns.

Another labor intensive alternative is rust bluing. It's the most durable blued finish of any. It's also the most expensive if you paid to have it done to your guns. It's easy to do, but takes a lot of work. You need to heat the metal and apply the solution, then wait till a thin layer of rust forms. You then boil the metal to darken the oxide. Then you dust off the rust and repeat the steps several times. A hard, satin layer of bluing builds up after each repetition. It's a high class finish found on many fine old guns and high end doubles. If you decide to do it, Brownells sells "Express Blue" and of the many hot blue solutions, it's my favorite because it never lets me down and it's faster than many. You'll need access to deionized water for this. Some of you are lucky enough to have it for sale in grocery stores. I had to buy a deionizer and make my own.

December 5, 2006, 04:12 PM
I can second the idea of rust blueing. I have done several guns, using "PILKINGTON CLASSIC AMERICAN RUST BLUE" from Brownell's. It is a slow process, (4 to 10 applications with three hours of rusting time between each), but gives a great finish, that is very durable. I recommend very careful degreasing and following the instructions exactly. For equipment you need a tank large enough to boil the parts in and a means of heating the water to a rolling boil. You also need rubber gloves, cotton balls, and several pads of 4-0 steel wool (must be degreased before use). There are other methods and solutions, but this one does not require a humidity box to help the rusting. The solution is about $30 a bottle, but will last a long time. It sure beats cold blue.


December 7, 2006, 04:37 PM
I've used Pilkington's also. It gave a very nice looking blue. The big hassle was getting boiling water going every few hours. The Express Blue is much quicker as you just take it out of the boiling water, apply it and let it rust for 10 minutes or so, then boil it again and keep repeating till you're done. You can finish the entire process in a couple hours on the same batch of boiling water.

With a handgun, it wouldn't be a big deal since it fits in a pot and you can boil a pot of water easy enough. With a rifle or shotgun, it's a hassle though, since it takes a lot of work to get a full length tank back up to boiling temperature each time, hence my preference for Express Blue.

If you enjoyed reading about "Blueing question" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!