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Slow rust bluing

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Mauser lover, May 3, 2012.

  1. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    That should be in the instructions. IIRC, the Brownell's Classic says 20 minutes.
     
  2. JimfromTrafalgar

    JimfromTrafalgar Member

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    The recommended boil time is 5 min. I always boil for 10,[to be sure, to be sure], in DISTILLED water. Hard water can sometimes cause color problems. Also, your idea on using the stove for humidity may very well cause uneven rusting. The underside may rust much more than the top. You may prevent this by turning the barrel once in a while during the rusting process. I just don't know on that. I'm an HVAC/ REF guy by trade, so I built an electronically controlled box and have always used that.
    A couple of other things... In my opinion, don't bother with the wooded plugs. If you don't build vents into them, the pressure increase in the barrel as the air heats will cause leaks anyway. Use some baling wire attached to the barrel wherever convenient to get it in and out of the boil. Blow down the bore after you bet it out, and the combination of moving air and the great amount of residual heat will evaporate any water left in there quite quickly.
    Use latex gloves when handling the barrel during carding and reapplication of rusting agent. This will keep from adding any fingerprints to the finish and keep your hands from staining black. I use heavy nitrile gloves for handling things when hot.
    Don't card and reapply solution when the barrel are anything much above room temp. This causes a completely different action to the rusting agent which may give you unsatisfactory results.
    Be as aggressive as you like with the 0000 steel wool. Any actual finish will not come off with steel wool, but the stuff that's needs to be removed will, and it tends to give you a nicer final finish.
    If you're wondering about my experience and/or credentials. In other words, am I just blowing smoke up your rear end. I refinish higher grade English, Euro, and American SxS's and custom rifles/ pistols for some gunshops and collectors in the Indianapolis area. While there is always room to learn and for improvement, I've seen a good many of the potential issues in successfully refinishing barrels of both fluid and damascus steels. I feel that this type of art is in danger of dying off completely and am more than happy to help and encourage anyone interested in this delightful form of alchemy.
    Luck,
    Jim
     
  3. Lucifer_Sam

    Lucifer_Sam Member

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    When I rust blued during the winter and there was lower humidity here I would sometimes boil water with the parts in the kitchen. But putting them over the pot isnt a good idea. If the ambient humidity in you area is over 60% you should be fine. If not, boil some water in the kitchen, put the parts in the bathroom, or make the cabinet if you wish.

    Thinking on it, there are probably several way to make a serviceable one shot rust cabinet. Barrel suspended inside a length of heating duct, using a cardboard box, garbage bag with some wire supports, ect.
     
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    When I've left things to rust in the oven, I set it on "proof" setting which is around 100 degrees on ours (IIRC) and left big pans in there just to keep things moist. Boiling water under them would be a bad idea.
     
  5. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    JimfromTrafalgar, okay, no plugs. What if I put a cleaning rod through the bore, and hung it from that?

    I don't see why it would be dying off, it seems so easy...but a lot of people that I talk to haven't even heard of slow rust bluing. (LGS employees included, not all of them, but some of them)


    Sams, okay, no putting the barrel over the water, just in the same room as the pots of water being boiled.
     
  6. danwdooley

    danwdooley Member

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    Hi all,

    I just completed a rust bluing project on my CZ82. It was my first time to do that and like others, I spent some time asking a lot of questions and reading everything I could find on the subject.

    Mention has been made of Brownells and I went with the Laurel Mountain product. It's listed as a browning rust chemical but it will blue if the boiling step is added.

    A few comments on the process. The info with the chemical suggests to let the metal rust for three hours. It's a bit misleading. It should hang in the humid area until it rusts and three hours aren't going to be enough. A second coat should be applied after about three hours. I'm not yet convinced that the three hour time set for the second application should be three hours after the first application, or three hours after the rusting starts to be visible. Or maybe it doesn't matter.

    As to the environment for rusting, I hung the parts under my covered patio so it was outdoors. I had also considered using one of the bathrooms and run a hot shower beforehand to build a humidity chamber affect.

    The instructions also state to boil for five minutes. I found this to not always be enough. I watched for the reddish coloring to actually turn black before stopping the boiling. How quickly this occurs may actually be related to the condition of the rust when the part is put into the boiling water.

    I had one fright when after putting the parts into the boiling water and two of the parts which had hung longer (overnight) did not turn black but became more red even after a longer boiling. All was ok though as after carding off the layer, the metal had indeed darkened and matched the other parts which did not react the same way.

    At least with the Laural Mountain chemical, the end result may not be as blue as it turns more black or if not run through that many cycles, it may be more of a deep but dark charcoal gray color. Close to black though.

    I plugged my barrel ends with hand made wooden dowl plugs. Someone asked about the wood for those. I bought a half inch dia. wood dowl rod from Home Depot. It's hard wood and worked ok.

    CZ82-2.jpg

    The image lighting shows it with a bit more of a blue tint than it actually has. The darkness is about right but the coloring is not so blue. This was done with four or five (I forgot exactly) cycles. I could have done more to reach a darker more black but when I looked at it at this stage I liked the way it looked so I stopped.

    Dan,
     
  7. danwdooley

    danwdooley Member

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    Jim, what do you finish the process with? What do you use to stop the acid affect and what do you do in the way of oil treatment?

    I've read a number of suggestions as to how to stop the acid process (neutralize it) and I settled on one which was to use Formula 409 which is supposed to be alkaline and be just as good as the baking soda method. As to initial oil treatment, I read (and thus tried) soaking the parts in WD40 which is supposed to be a good water displacement oil. After that, I wiped the metal dry and applied a coat of gun oil and heated up the metal with a heavy duty heat gun to "bake" the oil into the metal. I went even further (I read this somewhere but now can't find the resource) put on a coat of artist linseed oil and heated the metal again. Of course then all of that was wiped off and just normal moving parts lubrication added.

    So, always looking for good suggestions and tips. :)
     
  8. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    danwdooley, looks like you did I good job on that Makarov-thing. Got any pictures of the gun before you refinished it?
     
  9. danwdooley

    danwdooley Member

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    Thanks. Yes, I did take pictures beforehand. These guns were originally painted by the manufacturer. Even though they may not have seen a lot of physical use and thus are generally in very good mechanical condition, they were regular sidearms of the Czec. police and the holster wear eventually took its toll on the paint finish. The slide and frame were painted. The other parts such as internal mechanisms, trigger, hammer, trigger guard, etc. were all blued. My goal was to have the rebluing job result in as even a coloring as I could get. In other words, I wanted the items which had been originally painted to be of the same color after bluing as those parts which had originally been blued. The old bluing was stripped off of them as well. As there is a difference of metal, I was not sure I would be able to achieve that sameness, but it did turn out to be ok. The slide is an alloy while the frame and other parts are steel.

    cz82_4735.jpg

    gun-1.jpg

    The magazine butt plate turned out to be aluminum and did not respond to the paint stripper nor of course the bluing process so I mechanically stripped it down and polished it to leave polished shiny.

    By the way, this gun is a great shooter. I love the feel of it in the hand and it's a darned accurate gun for its size.

    Dan,
     
  10. danwdooley

    danwdooley Member

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    Here are the parts following the removal from the boiling water after one of the rusting cycles. They're ready to be carded. The receiver and barrel are masked off to keep them from any of the rusting affects and the barrel ends plugged. The plugs probably did not keep everything out but at least they isolated it somewhat. I had also run an oiled swab down the bore beforehand. I also put a piece of masking tape over the surface of the polished feed ramp. Though I had to de-gunk these areas after the job was finished to remove the sticky residue of the tape, they came out intact.

    gun-8.jpg

    Ok, one more. The metal parts to be blued have been stripped and shined.

    gun-4.jpg
     
  11. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    Did you punch out that pin and take the barrel out, or just leave it in when you blued/boiled it?
    What about the sight?
    And did the serial number need any special attention?

    What is the frame an alloy of?
    Iron, carbon, manganese, chromium, vanadium, etc....
    I just love that people that sell guns tell you that part of the gun is an alloy, but always seem to forget that steel is an alloy, and that people care what is in the special alloy....


    I like the color that the bluing turned out a whole lot more than I like the paint color, even if the "bluing" turned out a little black.
     
  12. danwdooley

    danwdooley Member

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    I left the barrel in place. I did not apply any of the rusting chemical to the barrel or receiver. In fact, note in the pictures that those parts are covered with masking tape to help avoid contact with the rusting chemical. I oiled the inside of the barrel as well (just ran a swab dampened with gun oil through it a couple of different times during the rusting process) and kept the wood plugs in place through the time the part was hanging to rust as well as during the boiling steps.

    The front sight I was able to remove easily enough. It is affixed with a small rolled pin. I rust blued the sight along with the other parts. The rear sight I could not get to come out. I was afraid to hammer too hard and did not want to use a steel hammer to avoid dinging it up. I worked hard to clean and degrease around it as much as I could so that any grease between it and the slide would at least be minimal if not entirely removed. I do think with the soaking I had done in the degreaser as well as the subsequent boiling steps, it should be clean. Carding around it on the slide was not easy but with the help of fine textured wire brushes and degreased 0000 steel wool, everything blended in ok.

    As to the serial numbers on both the frame and the slide, the initial paint stripping chemical application as well as subsequent wire brushings and the use of the steel wool left the impressions pretty clean.

    I have no idea what the ally might be that the slide is made of. I've just read that it is an ally. Mostly steel though as it took to the bluing quite well. It just seems to have a slightly different surface look and feel which does suggest that it is not exactly the same material as the other parts which are steel such as the trigger, trigger guard, hammer, etc.

    As to the coloring of the bluing, it is not quite as blue looking as the pictures suggest. That's just the result of the color of the lighting reflecting on the metal. The images were shot under tungsten lighting which is warm color and during my photo processing I may have gone a little too far toward the cooler side on the picture of the finished product. Though the "darkness" is about right, the color of the metal is a little more dark charcoal gray. Not black. Certainly not like the original paint but very close to the darkness of the original blued parts if not slightly more charcoal. I think it looks better than the picture suggests.

    Dan,
     
  13. JimfromTrafalgar

    JimfromTrafalgar Member

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    Dan,
    For rust bluing,[hand blacking], I simply use a heat gun at 500 deg.F and apply petroleum jelly. This opens the pores and adds good protection to metel that you have basically taken all of the oil out of during the process. No need in this case to neutrlize the acids and salts used to rust as the boiling did that. In the case of browning metals, such as in damascus, you will need to neutralize. I do this in a baking soda solution, then follow with a good rinse and the vaseline/heat treatment.
    Remember that you never get a true blue. It's all varying shades and depths of black. You're turning ferous oxide into ferro ferric oxide, which is black rust.
    Luck,
    Jim
     
  14. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    Thanks all of you for your help, but I still need more:neener:
    Any hints on how to do the magazine tube? Should I plug that? What about getting a dowel the diameter of the inside of the tube and putting that in there, since the tube will leak, and I don't think that the residual heat will be enough to just blow it out, because it doesn't have enough mass to retain enough heat.
     
  15. JimfromTrafalgar

    JimfromTrafalgar Member

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    Don't worry about it. You will get some very light rust, but no real pitting. When you're done, break the handle off a cheap cleaning rod, chuck it in a drill, and spin a bronze brush through a few times. Clean with a few dry patches, and oil. Good as new.
     
  16. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    Why break the handle off when I can unscrew it?

    Ok, thanks for all of the help. I will let you know how it turns out whenever I get it done.
     
  17. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    WAIT, one more question.

    It has already been mentioned that I should not use hard water, and that I should use distilled, but what would happen if I don't use distilled, but instead use some water that has been softened using a normal water softener ion exchange process. The one that the house is hooked up to.

    I don't really know what will happen if I use hard water, what exactly is the issue? Do the minerals build up on the part and cause the rust not to take? Or is it something else?
     
  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Minerals in hard water can cause spotting in the blue.

    Ion exchange softened water has just substituted sodium for magnesium. I don't think that is good enough. Buy a few jugs of distilled.
     
  19. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Member

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    The reason I had to brown the pump I mentioned earlier is because I can't find distilled water anywhere in my area. :eek:
     
  20. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    You can't find distilled water? Every grocery store I've ever been in has it in gallon jugs right next to the "spring water" for $0.89 - $1.00 a gallon.
     
  21. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    You could make your own...... Takes a (long) while, but you could... Theoretically.
     
  22. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    Alright, time for an update. I finished the magazine tube, it only took 3 coats for that, but the barrel is rusting away right now, because it needed another one or two coats.
    Anyway, the magazine tube came out beautifully, I can still see where there is some pitting (minimal), but it looks great.
    Thanks all of you for your help, and suggestions on which product to use. Hopefully, if I can figure out how to post pictures, I will put up a couple.

    Anybody know how to post pictures?
     
  23. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Member

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    You can either attach them in the "Go Advanced" menu or you can host them from a site like Photobucket. If you host them, click the little insert image icon and paste the URL of the photo (not the page) in there.
     
  24. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    Turtle phish, thanks for the help, I will see if I understand later, as I don't have any photos yet. I hope I can get it to work.
     
  25. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    Lets see if this works.
     

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