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  #1  
Old 03-09-2011, 10:19 AM
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Re- Bluing products


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I have a rifle that I bought that needs some work, I was reading all the reviews on re-bluing kits, seems they all have there pros and cons. Has anyone tried it? What do you recommended?
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  #2  
Old 03-09-2011, 10:50 AM
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Cold blues are OK for hiding scratches, but for overall finishing, I've yet to find one that is satisfactorily uniform in color or durable enough. If you want to do home refinishing of bluing, rust bluing and boiling in distilled or deionized water is the way to go. Brownells sells Pilkington's rust bluing solution and maybe Mark Lee's solution. There was another brand awhile back I've forgotten the name of. I can attest positively to the results for the Pilkington solution used with de-oiled steel wool for carding. Not high gloss, but slight sheen. The traditional custom shotgun bluing.

Will move your post to the Gunsmithing forum for more apropos answers to your questions.
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:24 PM
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It depends what you prefer

I have used G96 brand cold blue for years. It does a fine job on small parts or entire firearms. I have some rifles that were blued years ago and still look great. All the best...
Gil
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:29 PM
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I used some cheap birchwood casey perma blue and it works fine i didn't get a fantastic finish but i think i could if i had spent a little more time one it. I think it was only like 5 dollars so if ya don't like it your not out much just got to polish of barrel and try again.

I heated my barrel up in oven then just rubbed bluing on with qutip and then used fine steel wool to clean up between coats. I don't think hold up as good as some but you can make it look pretty good.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:33 AM
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Gil,

Have you seen any after-rust issues with the G96? I did some testing with about a dozen different cold blues on some soft steel wire a few years ago, rinsing but not oiling the result. After a couple of months, only the phosphoric acid-based blues (Oxpho-blue and Van's) had not rusted, but they also have the least satisfactory color (more like dark charcoal gray to my eye), and don't color hard and soft steel quite the same. I did not have G96, specifically, so I thought I'd ask about your experience with it in those regards.

The rust blue is real oxide blue, and not a selenium coloring like the cold blues. It is tougher and always uniform in color and can be done at home, which is why I recommended it. But it is a lot more effort, what with boiling tanks and carding.

A few years back I had occasion to use an aluminum black on some heat sinks. The aluminum is attacked so strongly that you tend to wind up with loose flakes coming off, so an even coating was very hard to achieve. I discovered that if I put on nitrile gloves, diluted the blue about 1:3 with distilled water, then used a toothbrush to scrub the work constantly, the problem was solved and an even coating went on.

I'd also seen that kind of spotty performance using 44-40 brand cold blue on steel (which achieved the best color of any cold blue I tried on the wire). Attempts to use a second coat often result in bare spots from the fresh solution removing some of the first coloring layer. So, I tried the dilution and brushing and it seems to help, though the dilute solution is slower and wears out fast. Just something to play with.
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  #6  
Old 03-10-2011, 10:07 AM
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For "touch-up" bluing I like Formula 44-40.
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:54 PM
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Use Brownells Oxpho PASTE and you will be happy. Like painting a car, the prep is the whole deal. When you think you are ready to blue-polish some more, a couple times.

Then google Oxpho blue application and read. It is best applied with steel wool..
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:36 AM
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unclenick

I have not had any after rust issues with G96 when I blued a gun or parts, then flushed thoroughly with water and oiled the dry blued metal. I did have some rusting on some .45 ACP magazines where I touched up with G96 and then oiled the metal without flushing it with water. It was easy to redo the magazines and flush then with water then dry and oil them.

My U.S. Model of 1917 sporter had a half-baked cold blue job on the barrel and receiver when I bought it cheap. G96 did a terrific job on the exterior metal and it still looks great after ten years. The same results have been achieved on shotgun barrels and receivers where polishing and prepping the metal is critical. I use a hair dryer to warm the metal just before applying the G96. It turns the metal blue/black and it stays that way.

All the best...
Gil
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  #9  
Old 03-13-2011, 07:49 AM
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Have had mixed results working with Birchwood Casey touchup bluing products. IME, touchup bluing is more for working with small areas whereas for large areas e.g. barreled actions, etc. I would just "bite the bullet" and go to a professional. I'm sure there are those who can touchup blue with excellent results but alas, I am not one of them.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:42 AM
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Gil,

If you don't mind, could you look on the bottle and tell me what acid(s), other than selenic acid, is listed? Thanks. I used to have all the little flag wires that corroded after bluing and rinsing, but that was a long time ago and I can't find what I did with them. I just know G96's product wasn't in the mix.
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  #11  
Old 03-15-2011, 07:31 PM
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If you really want to give it a nice blue job, Lye and Ammonium Nitrate makes some of the best bluing there is. Gives a deep blue black blue. You just have to have a something that will hold the parts and a way to heat it to 295 degrees. I got this formula with a kit gun I bought almost 50 years ago and have been using it ever since, and have done a bunch of guns and parts since then.

Oh, and you MUST do it ouside.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:06 AM
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. . . and you must do it with protective clothing on, if you value your skin. 295 molten sugar can drill holes in flesh (don't ask how I know), let alone something that is hot that can dissolve flesh chemically, like lye. This is why hot bluing is most often not done at home.

I don't know what the potential for explosion is with the molten ammonium nitrate. The ship in Texas City full of ammonium nitrate that blew up in 1947 had an oil fire that set it off, IIRC. But that ammonium nitrate wasn't diluted with lye.

Did your old instructions give a particular mix ratio? I know that molten lye by itself produces black oxide finishes. I know that molten sodium or potassium nitrate by themselves produce the bright "nitre blue" seen on some antiques, and I suppose ammonium nitrate by itself might do the same (but with that unfortunate potential to detonate). It never occurred to me a mix of some kind might make a blue/black. I think nickel salts are added to bluing salts to achieve that commercially.
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  #13  
Old 03-16-2011, 02:12 PM
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unclenick

I did not see any chemicals listed on the G96 bottle. They have a website listed below. Hope this helps. All the best...
Gil



http://www.g96.com/miva/merchant.mv?
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:09 PM
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You mix it five to one by percentage. In other words you mix 25 pounds of 100% lye with 15 pounds of 33% ammonium nitrate and five gallons of water. You start by bringing the lye to a boil, then slowly add the ammonium nitrate. It's best to have some kind of a breeze to your back because the ammonia is going to depart the mix very quickly. Then you boil it down until it starts to thicken and the temps start hitting about 300 degrees. Then you start reducing the heat and try to maintain approx 295. Too cold and it will be red, to hot and I don't remember what it does. If it starts getting too thick, you will need to add water. This is the most dangerous part about the whole process water and 295 degrees don't go together very nicely. Depending on the metal, it can take 10 - 20 minutes.

I use a weakend solution of battery acid to take the old blue off. Saves a lot of buffing.

You can use sodium nitrate, but I'm not sure what the mix is and it cost a whole lot more, that's why I use ammonium nitrate.

It's been a few years since I've done any so I would recommend doing a search on the web to make sure I've got all my stuff right. I would have to dig the formula out of one of my many black holes but could come up with it if you can't find it and are truely interested.
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:53 PM
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I don't know if the formula is still available but about 40 years ago I did a complete reblue on a friend's Colt 1911 using Herter's Belgian Blue. turned out great. It involved using a hot water bath as I remember. You applied the bluing solution to the item then after it dried, you carded the dried bluing solution off with steel wool then return it to the hot water and repeat the process until you get the desired depth of blue.

Last edited by biggun; 03-17-2011 at 04:10 PM.
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  #16  
Old 03-18-2011, 07:24 AM
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Biggun,

That's a form of what is called rust bluing. Excellent home process.


BKeith,

Thanks for the thorough description. What's happening in the water mix is the ammonium nitrate and lye are trading ions. Hydroxide from the lye (sodium hydroxide) is going to the ammonium ion to make ammonium hydroxide (aqueous ammonia) that is driven off by heat, leaving water behind, and the nitrate ion and sodium ion that reaction leaves behind then combine to form sodium nitrate. So, there is no actual ammonium nitrate left in the end. The fact you start by mixing with water to create the reaction is what prevents any explosion risk from the ammonium nitrate from occurring. I was concerned the ammonium nitrate was being melted directly.

In the end you are making a hot bluing salt bath. With all that lye in it, it probably can degrease itself. Interesting, but dangerous to work with if you don't take proper precautions. I'm thinking working outdoors with a face mask and welder's leather apron and gloves on at a minimum.
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:05 PM
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Oh yea, you have to use a little common since when using it. One other word of caution. DO NOT put anything aluminum in it or try to cook it in aluminum. Aluminum will disappear so fast you will think it evaporated. Also, thing that's soldered, put an old double barrel in it and you will have two single barrels. You can put arsenic in it to prevent that, but It's a hellava lot safer for you, your family, neighbors and pets to ignore that fact and just don't do it.
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclenick View Post
Biggun,

That's a form of what is called rust bluing. Excellent home process.
I'm aware of that. Before submitting my input to the forum, I contacted the owner of the pistol to see how it's held up over the years. His reply was that it's held up very well and though it's seen only modrate use, the blue is still nice and deep and uniform. A good testament to the Belgian bluing process.
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