USFA Rodeo shine-up experiment

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Float Pilot, Apr 8, 2016.

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  1. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    After looking at another thread here I wondered how hard it would be to shine up the matte finish on a USFA Rodeo. After a couple of glasses of wine it seemed like a better idea than it really was.... So I wandered out to the shop.

    Step One: Tried buffing with Flitz. Nothing much happened.

    Step Two: Tried buffing on my bench buffing wheels with super fine grit. I looked a little better, BUT the USFA matte finish is very hard and seemed to be resisting.

    Step Three: Tried medium buffing compound. This was too much and went down to white metal. Now I was in trouble.

    Step Four: buffed all the old blue off with medium and polished with fine on my other buffing wheel. Now it looked like it was nickel plated.

    Step Five: Degreased with MEK, the fumes made me see Elvis.

    Step Six: Heated to around 200 degree with my big heat gun and applied MARK LEE Express Blue with cotton patches. It is now rusty red.

    Step Seven: Place cylinder in boiling water for a few minutes. The red rust is now black.

    Step Eight: Card off rust with fine steel wool. ( degreased steel wool with denatured alcohol)

    Kept repeating steps 5, 6, 7 and 8....

    Step Nine: The next day the sunlight showed that the base color of the blue was red. Probably from using my well water.

    Started all over again but used rain water.

    Soaked with oil. It is OK and much more glossy than the matte finish. But it will never be as tough as the matte finish.

    [​IMG]
     

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  2. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    Applying the blue and boiling. This was the third application. The shop lights and $80 camera do not show the underlying red tint in the base blue. The MARK LEE blue is great stuff and very tough, BUT you need to use good water and boil it longer than the instructions direct.
     

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  3. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    Finished re-blue. I could have gine longer and done a couple more coats today, but me wife came home and said she wanted to start cleaning my shop since I was out there. SO..... I had to quit and four blue applications. I used rain water the second time around.
    The photos are not so swell. But you can tell that the cylinder is now much more glossy than the matte blue original finish on the rest of the gun. Now I need to do the rest of it.
    I was thinking about trying color case hardening on the upper frame.
     

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  4. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    Are you going to keep blueing it until you are not seeing the red undercoat
     
  5. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    I rebuffed the whole thing,. That Mark Lee stuff is pretty tough ... And then started all over with rain water. Plus I boiled it for 10 minutes at a rolling boil. No red undercoat now.
    I might add more layers latter. It actually looks ok right now. Too many things to do and not enough time.
     
  6. yugorpk

    yugorpk member

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    I wouldnt jack around. Just pick up a bucket of real bluing salts.
     
  7. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    You have very effectively (and very decisively) reaffirmed my decision to leave the finish entirely alone on my Rodeo. :)
    Denis
     
  8. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    Yeap, there is no good reason to mess with the factory finish. I let curiosity get the better of me.

    yugorpk:
    Having things shipped here tends to get complicated. I only happened to have a couple jugs of the Mark Lee Blue because a friend drove it up through Canada with him. Nobody else up here had seen any. I just wanted it to experiment. It is OK, bu since it requires pre-heating and boiling afterwards, I might as well go with the warm damp box method. IF I can get the chemicals required.
     
  9. yugorpk

    yugorpk member

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    I don't know. That factory finish is horrid. One the reason I never did like my USFA Rodeo all that much. Mine just went off for a full nickel job and some ivories and its on the wy back to me now. . I can see why you'd want to redo it.

    Does UPS not ship up there?
     
  10. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Rodeos look great when antiqued.
     
  11. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Have you tried distilled water?

    As an alternative to the rain water - rain water is still tough to keep contaminants from.



    Todd.
     
  12. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    Only UPS air. So no haz-mat or anything they think is haz-mat. I recently wrote an article for Fly-Low magazine where I describe trying to obtain an aircraft ELT battery. The battery is made for aircraft use and is required aircraft equipment. BUT, the USPS, FED-EX and UPS would not send it via aircraft to Alaska. Obtaining real Black Powder is a pain in the butt.


    I was not sure how much water I would need, so I skipped driving into town and buying $5 a gallon distilled water. It was raining pretty hard ( Why I was not flying, or working on the plane) so I just dipped water out of one of our rain barrels.

    Our well water looks pretty good compared to most wells around our area, but it did not agree with the chemical process. Plus I think that I over-buffed and the Mark Lee stuff does not do so swell on a mirror surface.

    I will try distilled water next time. I need to drive or fly up north to Los Anchorage sometime in the next month or so, it should be a lot less expensive up there.
     
  13. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    Very interesting thread. Thanks for sharing

    Sent from my Z958 using Tapatalk
     
  14. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    I agree with Denis. I have two Rodeos and plan to leave them just as they are.

    Jim
     
  15. yugorpk

    yugorpk member

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    I'm going to try something crazy this week. I'm changing the barrel and cylinder out on my 2nd gen. Bob James gave me a call today and told me my cylinder is ready . It was an NOS 357 2nd gen cylinder i had him bore out to 45 Colt. Now I'm going to pull the barrel and the old cylinder and set it up for the .45.

    So.... I'm going to polish up the old ratty .357 cylinder and barrel and try heat bluing which sounds a lot like just sticking it in the gas barbecue for 5 hours at 570 degrees on the rotisserie. Maybe a little charcoal in the chamber. Not going to hurt anything. I'll try it and post some pics.
     
  16. texagun

    texagun Member

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    Don't forget to have a couple of glasses of wine before you start.:D

    Can't wait to see the photos.:neener:

    Seriously, good luck on the project. I didn't care for the finish on the Rodeos either. But I've seen some that had been antiqued that looked great.
     
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