Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Best Way to Remove Rust From Bluing?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Load Master, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2003
    Messages:
    11,019
    Location:
    London, Ont.
    Made a holster and dyed it with a home made, vinegar based, leather dye. My impatience, caused the still damp dye to strip whatever it is Ruger uses on the GP(regular bluing it is not, more like paint.) right to bare metal(that is totally unpolished.) while wet forming the holster.
    0000 steel wool(does not and never has scratched the rest of any firearm I've ever worked on. The idea is to lightly and gently remove the rust, not try and remove a layer of steel.) smoothed the edges and light oil removes any surface rust(and does NOT bother the rest of whatever it is Ruger put on), and regular Outer's cold bluing applied as per the bottle directions re-blued it and it's unnoticeable now.
     
    jimmyraythomason likes this.
  2. CaptTripps

    CaptTripps Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Messages:
    236
    I have used burlap with great success, although it takes a lot of elbow grease. Soak the parts in your favorite penetrating oil, apply RIG all over a burlap pad about the size of a deck of cards, and scrub away. I just cleaned up a M1897 this way.
     
  3. grampajack
    • Contributing Member

    grampajack Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Messages:
    1,106
    I hesitated to mention this for fear of ridicule, but what the heck...

    If you mix a high iodine vegetable oil (i.e. rapeseed) with oleic acid it will dissolve anything, including rust and carbon, and doesn't hurt any finish that I know of. Oleic acid is commonly found in any science lab, so if you know anyone who works for a school they might be able to get you a little. It's very cheap.

    I've left guns submerged in this concoction for months with no effect other than the rust and carbon just wipe right off after they come out. I can't say it works better than MC2500, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper that's for sure. Obviously you don't want to soak wood in it, but I used it topically on a pistol with wooden stocks once without removing them and it didn't hurt them.
     
  4. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    12,535
    Location:
    DFW Area
    Since rust (iron oxide) is harder than steel, this statement can not be true.

    I'm not saying that the bronze wool won't remove the rust particles, but that doesn't mean that it's harder than the rust, it just means that the rust particles aren't firmly attached to the surface.

    By the way, since rust particles are harder than steel and are abrasive, it is also true that regardless of what is used to remove the rust particles a blued finish can be damaged if the removed rust particles are rubbed around on the finish.

    At one point I did a lot of volunteer work for a guy in a local gunshop. One of my chores was cleaning the rust off the used guns that were set out in a rack in the middle of the store where they were handled a lot. I tried a variety of methods and this is the best one I found.

    Use very fine steel wool--I used 0000--and use it gently without any oil at all. Some steel wool is already pretty oily, and if that is the case, it might be worthwhile to hit it with a degreaser spray. Dust the steel wool out frequently to keep any rust particles from building up in it. When the rust is gone, put a light coat of oil on the surface.

    Yes, I tried the steel wool with oil, but it was harder to keep the bluing intact. I believe that is due to the fact that the oil retains the rust particles and turns the steel wool into an abrasive pad which removes the bluing if it is rubbed against it.

    As far as the steel wool damaging the surface, it's unlikely as long as the surface is free of dust and the steel wool is fine (I recommend 0000) clean (doesn't have dust or other abrasive particles in it) and as long as you don't go crazy with it. One of the final steps of the blueing process is polishing the surface with 0000 steel wool. This is even true of some cold blues which, according to consensus, are not as durable as hot blues.
     
    Mizar and red rick like this.
  5. pbearperry

    pbearperry Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Messages:
    865
    Location:
    The Peoples Republic of Massachusetts
    My method is to oil the spot and let it sit for a while.Next, lightly rub the rust spot with a copper penny.Cold blue if necessary.
     
  6. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    18,798
    Bluing is a controlled rust. Museum standards today call for conserving the object in its present condition. Removing the rust is done without disturbing the underlying patina and then the piece is treated with Renaissance Wax.

    I would shy away from steel wool. It will abrade the bluing around the rust and the patina. As Curator suggested, use bronze wool and oil. I use a brass. Both are softer than steel.
     
    grampajack likes this.
  7. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Oil, 0000 steel wool for the surface rust, go lightly. Now for any low spots or pits, I used a piece of 12 gauge copper wire, cut to a point and gently lifted up the rust from the pits that way. Don't want to go scratching or digging with it, but with a little patience, I was able to clean up an old Remington Rand that had been left I a sock drawer for 30 years.
     
  8. grampajack
    • Contributing Member

    grampajack Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Messages:
    1,106
    I wouldn't use steel wool on anything that could conceivably end up in a showroom or museum somewhere. There's definitely a big difference between the conservation of a valuable collectible, as opposed to taking some rust off the old pea shooter.
     
  9. Odd Job
    • Contributing Member

    Odd Job Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Messages:
    5,951
    Location:
    London (ex SA)
    I advise not using steel wool. I had light rust on an R55 barrel and used oil and 0000 steel wool to get rid of it successfully. However it also lightened the bluing.
     
  10. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Messages:
    818
    Location:
    Central NY, not the rotten apple
    Forget steel wool, especially the Chinese crap that around today. It will scratch and remove blueing. Get a Big 45 pad. Thats all I use now. I pick up a lot of old .22 rifles and many have some rust spots. several were completely covered with surface rust. The Big 45 removes it and won't hurt the blue. They last a very long time so one probably will be all you'll ever need. It IS NOT a stainless steel pot scrubber Get some Vans cold blue. It blends beautifully. Good luck.
    http://www.big45.com/
    https://vansgunblue.com/
     
  11. stoky

    stoky Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    Location:
    Wyomin!
    My bad :oops:
    good catch
    I assumed the OP intended to follow up with cold blue.
     
  12. boom boom

    boom boom Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    918
    Location:
    GA
    Blue Wonder (try Brownells), Bronze wool on collectibles, and Kroil. Use the Blue Wonder first, scrub, then use mineral spirits to clean. Then use the Kroil. Works for rusty barrels too but of course will not fix pitting.
     
  13. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Messages:
    3,459
    Location:
    Central Fla
    As noted by others,0000 steel wool with a little oil will get the job done . Surface rust of course.
     
    jimmyraythomason likes this.
  14. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    7,408
    Location:
    Alabama
    I use 0000 steel wool and WD-40. I buff the rusted area vigorously and have never scratched the existing bluing. I flush the area with WD-40 to remove the residue. It's worked great for me since the late 1970s-early 1980s.I use this same method on newly blued firearms straight out of the bluing tanks.
     
  15. Jim K

    Jim K Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    17,706
    Since rust is bluing and bluing is rust, how does a "magic mixture" remove one and not the other?

    Jim
     
    jimmyraythomason likes this.
  16. M100C

    M100C Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    Southwest MI
    Jim K is right. I wish I had as much gun knowledge as most here, but ... I am a chemist! I can suggest a good method!

    First, bluing is a form of rust (oxidation state of iron) that forms a lattice. In short, it lays down on the steel. Common rust is also an oxidation state, and it is the preferred state due to available oxygen and water in the air. Unfortunately, the bond angles create a three dimensional molecule with more volume, and it does not lay down. Further, it is subject to catalytic reaction: it forms a hydrate, which hastens oxidation and new oxide formation, which forms a hydrate, etc. So, the only safe way to remove rust from bluing is physically, not chemically.

    As opposed to starting with 0000 steel wool (depending on the amount of rust), it is best to derust with simply nylon bristles. The bristles knock off the rust as opposed to trapping in the steel wool. For small amounts of rust, this will probably be too little.

    When I use steel wool, I try to use one-pass only. Next is to dehydrate the steel before treatment (assuming one is not rebluing). I start with a hairdryer and heat the gunmetal to hot to touch. I have removed the barreled action, and actually orient the hairdryer to blow down along the barrel and action, and walk away for 30 min or so. I prepare two pads: one with WD40 and one with Breakfree CLP. The WD40 will displace any remaining water, and is miscible with CLP.
     
  17. loose noose

    loose noose Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,793
    Location:
    Southern Nevada
    0000 steel wool, it is much softer than gun steel, along with a little WD-40, been using it for ages and have never had any visible scratches, for just surface rust mind you.
     
  18. broken

    broken Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    393
    Location:
    arkansas
    Learned from a oldtimer on greybeard years back,to use a Nickle and w atever oil I had around. Usually sewing machine oil..havent used steel wool since..put plenty towels or paper down..cleaned a few real rusty mausers..if not pitted..works..
     
  19. entropy

    entropy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    3,989
    Location:
    G_d's Country, WI
    I use whatever light oil is handy, and fingernails. Absolutely will not harm the bluing, and it keeps my fingernails down.
     
    Malamute likes this.
  20. crackshot258

    crackshot258 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Any US penny dated before 1983 is copper. After that, they are copper plated zinc.
     
    Malamute likes this.
  21. entropy

    entropy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    3,989
    Location:
    G_d's Country, WI
    Except 1943. Those are steel.
     
    crackshot258 likes this.

Share This Page