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Antique or Browned barrels!

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by BP Tess, Feb 17, 2007.

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  1. BP Tess

    BP Tess Member

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    Howdy y'all! I'd like to see some pics of your guns after you've antiqued or browned the barrels and how you did it. I may want to try it on my remmies. I'll bet they look real perdy! There's so much knowlege here and y'all have been so helpful...this is an awesome forum! Post those pics! Teresa:D
     
  2. BP Tess

    BP Tess Member

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    Come on guys, does anyone have some tips on this subject? Or at least some sorces for me to pry in. I've seen some pics on here before of some nice work y'all have done on your firearms. Just interested on how you went about doing it. BP Tess:)
     
  3. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    [​IMG][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    Well, here's a little homemade flintlock and a caplock rifle that are browned.
    The guy that built them is dead now.

    He used "Ye Olde Aquafortis Reagent" from Wahkon Lake Outfitters about 30 years ago. Don't know it they are still in business or not.

    It entails intensive pre cleaning, putting the rusting agent on the barrel. letting the barrel rust for a period of time, scraping off the outer rusting, and repeating the process over and over until you get the desired result..

    Found this doing a Google search.. Track shows degreaser, reagent, and instruction booklet.

    http://www.trackofthewolf.com/(S(r4...es/partList.aspx?catID=5&subID=65&styleID=221

    I don't know if I would want to try it on a revolver. I suppose you could if you were really anal about the final cleaning and deactivating of the rusting process.
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The word "browned" as used during the 18th and 19th centuries is misleading, because the resulting color could be anything from dark brown, through plum, to blue. For various chemicals and methods try these links.

    www.dixiegunworks.com (and be sure to buy their $5.00 hardcopy catalog).

    www.brownells.com (also buy a copy of their catalog)

    Another comon word is "antiqueing" and sometimes "original finish" which means to age the finish on a new gun to make it look old. Several threads on this can be found by using this forum's search feature in the B.P. sub-forum.
     
  5. BP Tess

    BP Tess Member

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    Thanks...I guess "aging" is the term I'm looking for. I want it to look used and a some type of brown color. I just don't want to ruin my gun and many of yours look so nice after this process. By the way...nice pics so far!
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The first sep is to completely disassemble the revolver and set aside the interior parts you aren't going to refinsh.

    Then you can use a chemical usually used to remove rust to completely strip the finish on the steel parts. Rinse the parts well thereafter.

    You can get the brown-colored finish by using one of several kits sold by either Brownells or Dixie Gun Works. Both present plenty of ideas and supplies in their catalogs. Instructions are included.
     
  7. frosty

    frosty Member

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    Metal finish

    If I ever get my barrel from Bigiron, I'm building a boar gun, it's barrel & lock finished highly or "brightly" , then left age or get its own patina.:scrutiny:
     
  8. oldelm

    oldelm Member

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  9. Ferret

    Ferret Member

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    Tess... thinking of something life this??

    [​IMG]
     
  10. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    I have "browned" several guns

    I have a considerable amount of experience with Birchwood Caseky's Plum Brown product and am quite satisfied with the results. Unfortunately I have no pictures of that work available.

    I did the work several (30+) years ago on two long rifles and 4 single shot pistols. They were CVA kits. I put the guns in storage in the mid-80's to go off and make my fortune, and just recently pulled them out to resume my hobbies in retirement. The finished surfaces were just as good as new, so the treatment not only looked good, it lasted and aged very well.

    BC's Plum Brown requires heating the surface. I hung each barrel with strong wire (so I would not have to touch it) and heated the surfaces with a propane torch to the point where a drop of water sizzled. I was very careful to heat the surface evenly and it took several minutes to get the entire barrel to temperature. Once it was heated I used a large cotton swab to apply the solution, in long strokes along the barrel shooting axis. As long as the solution sizzled, I continued applying it; when the barrel cooled I heated it up again. Each barrel took at least 3 applications, letting it cool and sit for several hours between each to get the dark brown color I was after. As I said, I'm very satisfied with this approach.

    However, I'm about to brown the barrels of an old CVA double barrel shotgun kit that I didn't get around to finishing back in the 70's. Because the barrels are soldered to the center rib I will not use the heating method. Instead I'm going to use Laurel Mountain's full rust product, which essentially means applying the solution to a cold surface that has been thoroughly cleaned and allowing it to oxidize, then reapplying. I understand this process works better in a high humidity environment, so I'll probably set up a fixture over some water in the basement shower stall. Again, it will probably take several applications.

    The key to getting a good result in either case is cleaning and degreasing the surface. Good, careful preparation is priceless.

    Now that I own a digital camera I'll try to get some pictures of the ones I did years ago and post them.

    As to whether I prefer browning over bluing, well, I like each in the proper context; to me blued revolver is the right answer, while a wood stock flinty or caplock needs to be browned. But that's a personal thing.
     
  11. oldelm

    oldelm Member

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    Ferret....

    I like the looks of your Remingtons. :D

    What did you do to get that look?
    Thanks!
     
  12. BP Tess

    BP Tess Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. Ferrett that is the "look" I want on my remmies. I'd like to try the heating method that mykeal used on his guns. Doesn't seem too hard...just some good prep work. Nice lookin' guns! Teresa
     
  13. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Pics of browned barrels

    All these were done with Birchwood Casey Plum Brown about 30 years ago.

    CVA Colonial Pistol
    [​IMG]

    CVA Derringer
    [​IMG]

    CVA Hawken Pistol
    [​IMG]

    CVA Kentucky Rifle
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    CVA Kentucky Pistol
    [​IMG]

    CVA Mountain Rifle
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. BP Tess

    BP Tess Member

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    MYKEAL

    Those are some fine lookin' firearms. I especially like the KY rifle.;)
     
  15. tkendrick

    tkendrick Member

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    Barrel brown

    Yhe last gun I built was a 1750's era french toule fowler. Used a liquid browning solution that was the height of simple. Can't find the bottle, but if you'll call Track of the Wolf, they'll know what it is. Wipe the metal down w/alcohol, let it air dry then wipe this stuff on it, and hang it in the shop for a day. Gave me the most authentic finish I've ever seen. Understand a lot of the quality builders are now using this stuff. I'll post a foto, and the name of the stuff if I can A: figure out the camera my son bought me, and B: find the dang bottle
     
  16. Plink

    Plink Member

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    That sounds like Laurel Mountain Forge browning solution. It's the easiest to use that I know of and gives better results than the hot browns. For me anyway. It's as simple as wiping it on, letting it rust a bit and carding off the rust. Repeat a few times till you like the color. Wash it down with hot water and oil it up.
     
  17. Low Key

    Low Key Member

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    my "antiqued" 1858

    [​IMG]
     
  18. BP Tess

    BP Tess Member

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    That laurel mnt browning solution sounds like a snap. One silly queation though...what does "carding the rust off" mean?:confused: :)
     
  19. Low Key

    Low Key Member

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    a light sanding with a fine grit sandpaper, not a silly question though...you won't know if you don't ask. :)
     
  20. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Carding

    Carding means to take off the "excess" rust; that is, the layer that's simply resting on the surface as opposed to being part of the surface. Laurel Mountain's instructions say to wipe down the dried surface with a heavy, coarse cloth, like canvas or denim. I'm sure the fine grit sandpaper would do the job also.
     
  21. Plink

    Plink Member

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    There's no such thing as a silly question, only a silly answer. :)

    The rust browning process leaves a fine layer of silt-like rust on the surface of the metal. This needs removed before the next application of the solution. This is called carding.

    I would venture a guess that sandpaper would clog and might effect the finish. Commonly used items for carding are coarse cloth, degreased fine steel wool, or my favorite, a carding brush. The brush has baby soft fine stainless steel bristles. I got mine from Brownells. It's also used for cleaning files.

    One thing that LMF solution requires to brown properly is humidity. I use a spare closet with a small humidifier and heater. Many folks just hang the parts in their bathroom and run a hot shower for a few minutes to generate humidity. It's not a complicated process and doesn't require specific temperatures or humidity levels. Each coat takes about 2-4 hours to rust properly, depending on the humidity. 4-5 repetitions is usually enough.

    There's a couple tricks I've learned. Even if the first coat doesn't look like it's rusting well, take it out in 2-4 hours, don't card it, apply another coat and let it go another 2 hours. That sets a good foundation for the next coats and lets them get a "bite" on the metal.

    I'd advise not sanding the metal any finer than about 220 grit. Any finer and the solution has a hard time biting into the metal. The rust browning process hides sanding scratches well anyway, so sanding to absolute perfection isn't really needed.

    Always gently wipe on the solution and never rub. Rubbing causes a copper plating color to show up and you'll need to steel wool it off or that spot won't rust. I just make one pass with the solution and don't worry too much about eveness. It always looks uneven early in the process anyway. The color evens out and darkens as you continue, and the hot/boiling water at the end beautifully darkens it to a rich, chocolate brown.

    One of my favorite tricks is to let the first couple coats really rust the metal. Sometimes for 18-20 hours or more, keeping a close eye on it. This causes pitting on the metal and makes the gun look very authentic and old. You can control the pitting by the amount of time you leave it rusting. It will begin as fine frosted pitting and progress to slightly rough pitting. That's a good place to stop unless you want the barrel to look very aged. If so, allowing it to progress to deeper pitting is fine. It's very easy to control the pitting and stop it exactly when you want. You do need to do the pitting in the first coat or two though, as you will actually remove the browning if you attempt it later in the process.

    To finish the process, you use baking soda in water to neutralize any solution remaining on the metal, and rinse in boiling water.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  22. Low Key

    Low Key Member

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    carding with fine grit sandpaper is something I was told by a local a while back. Apparently he didn't go into enough detail with me about what he was actually talking about. Thanks for the additional info...I'm always learning something new about these guns.

    :)
     
  23. BP Tess

    BP Tess Member

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    Thanks so much for clearing things up for me. At first, I thought the aging process was just adding some color to the gun and rubbing some of it off where it may be worn from holster use, etc. I didn't realize you were actually rusting the gun. I always thought when rust started on something it wouldn't stop. Now I know that you can nuturalize it and use it to your advantage on these beautiful guns. You all are a joy to learn from! Thanks again.:D
     
  24. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Rusting your barrels...

    I learned about "rusting" the hard way. At least, it was a hard lesson at the time, funny now.

    Once upon a time Branson, MO was just a little burg in the hills of southern Missouri. It had an amusement park built on a hillbilly theme called Silver Dollar City; many of the attractions were authentic craftspeople making dulcimers, weaving, blacksmithing, etc. One of them was a guy who made black powder weapons. From scratch, as it were. Me and few buddies had discovered black powder shooting and had put together some kit guns.

    We made a number of trips to visit this guy, admire his work (no way could we afford to actually buy anything from him) and just talk about techniques and shooting bp. He asked me to bring one of the kit guns I'd made to help answer some question I'd asked, and on the next trip I did so.

    The barrel was browned with the Birchwood Casey product, and was a deep, dark brown color, something I was quite proud of. He looked at it for a second, looked me in the eye and said loudly, for everyone to hear, "How come this barrel is all covered with rust?" I panicked, opened my mouth to respond but nothing came out; I just stood there flapping my lower jaw and stuttering, "But, but, but...". He then laughed, complimented me on the finish and explained the rust browning process, which he also used with a homemade solution.

    It's just our little secret now. I can't wait to pull that same trick on some young know it all someday.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  25. DixieTexian

    DixieTexian Member

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    Anybody got a homemade solution to browning barrels like Mykeal mentioned above? I just stripped all the blueing off of mine.
     
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