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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I've got a number of grip caps and other pieces of stock hardware for some projects I'm working on that will need to be blued in the near future, so for simplicity's sake I did a little studying and put a bottle of Oxpho-blue in my last order to Brownell's.

Any good tips for working with this stuff? I just started practicing with a piece of scrap steel tonight and, well, I've figured out how to make it look case colored (but not blued!).
 

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Also, pour a small amount into a cap or plastiac cup that is disposible. Use that to dip the applicator of your choice in and throw the remaining solution away - do not use applicator directly to the bluing bottle or pour remaining solution back into original bottle. Doing so contaminates the bottle contents.
 

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I have yet figgered out how to use this stuff. I've had a bottle for 10 yrs and I get some jobs great and some splotchey,some don't match the original color in a touchup job,some if you look at the barrel for example one way it looks like a factory blue job and look at the same barrel another way it looks splotchey,patchey, grey,black,and boogered up. I done grip caps and they turned out like factory,steel butt plate edges look great,trigger guards-great.Seems barrels are my nemesis. Your milage may vary. I guess it's just the different types of metals that makes the difference.No rusting though! I prepare them all the same. Maybe it's not designed for total bluing a barrel or large patch up jobs on a barrel? I thought the ads implied it was a do all product.
 

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Won't usually do larger areas without some changes in color, but if you have to try that, then get the past form of Oxpho. For a barrel, some on a strip of rag, and a shoe-shine type buff at least minimalizes the uneven color.

Really have become more of a fan of the creme type, it's just easier to apply .
 

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Make sure your metal is clean, that could be part of the splotchy problems. Someone told me one time about using cleaned steel wool to apply it.
 

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I doo use some cold blue, and did some nice work, but is never the rich finish as the smith doo in a hot bath, and certenly not as durable. I sand the metal if required and mirror polish with the cotton weel and the compound, then degrease all parts and finally whearing latex gloves I cleaned once more with scotttowel and rubbing alcool. I warm up the metal over the ceramic top of the stove and using clean steel wool I apply the blue. rubbing few time the metal I found it make a more uniform finish, I neutralize with warm water, dry with scottie and alcool and repeat the operation 3 or 4 time till the color is to my satisfaction. I poor the solution directly on the steel wool and change the wool after each pass.
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roberto
 

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There are different kinds of cold blue. Oxpho-Blue and Van's Gun Blue are both phosphoric acid based. They actually do a sort of thin-film Parkerizing with coloring. To my eye they are closer to deep charcoal gray in most instances than truly blue. They are the least deep colored of the various cold blue chemistries I've tried, but they do the best job of corrosion resistance.

The deepest color cold blues, among which 44-40 seems to be best, are nitric acid based. It can cause after-rust, so you have to follow it up with a thorough spray-down in Formula 409 or Greased Lightening or Fantastik, which are highly alkaline and penetrating de-greasing cleaners that will positively neutralize the acid.

Follow that with a soak in a water displacing oil. WD-40 will work, but it dries tacky, so you want to replace it with gun oil later.

Metal hardness and alloy affect the surface reaction in cold bluing, and some alloys don't seem to react evenly. If there is any trace of a bonding type lubricant or Teflon in the surface, that can cause it to fail to take. The earlier suggestion to use degreased steel wool can help by exposing fresh surface as it goes.

Steel wool is coated in oil to prevent rust, as it comes from the factory. We used to soak it in trichlorethane to degrease it, but that option's long gone. The same degreasing detergents I mention above for acid neutralizing will get it off with some patience and thorough rinsing. Use 0000 grade so it tends to polish the surface. Realize that the steel wool itself will react with the blue and consume some of the chemicals, but it does clear a path on the surface.

Another application method I've used with cold blues on small parts is submersion in a 3:1 dilution with distilled water and constantly working its surface with an old toothbrush. That seems to give a tougher and more even coating. This is the only method I've found will give an even coloring with aluminum blacking solutions.

Finally, if you want a high quality and durable bluing job, I wouldn't use cold bluing at all. Rust bluing can be done at home and provides a very good looking and durable result. Brownells sells a couple of rust bluing solutions. The only drawback is it is slow and labor intensive, taking about a week to do. Degreased steel wool still works for carding the boiled rust. You need distilled water for the half dozen rusting and boiling cycles needed for thorough coverage to get a water spot-free result. But it is beautiful and even and wears better than some hot blues.
 

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Pour a little Oxpho into a small open container like a glass or ceramic bowl. Use some 0000 steel wool. Wear gloves. Dip the steel wool and get it really wet. Work the surface of the steel keeping the area wet. Start rubbing hard but back the pressure off as you work. When you get the color you want, stop. Let it sit for a few seconds and then dry it off with some paper towel.

Oxpho is very tough but it's not very attractive. It is forgiving as you can go back and redo any spots you don't like. With some experimentation and practice you can get a reasonable finish. Note that you can run into steel that won't take Oxpho like newer model 94 receivers.

If you're willing to spend the time, a good rust blue will look better and isn't much more work.
 

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Look at our host's tech notes, here: http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/archive_tech_notes.htm/58

Nitre blueing at home, cheap, easy, and looks good. You can also set up a complete rust blueing operation for less than $30. Cold blues have their place, mostly in the trash can. Way too many easy, affordable alternatives that work to bother messing with coloring agents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well fellas it's been awhile, but I've been working hard on a few stocks with steel grip caps and they're turning out well. This was my first time fitting grip caps and polishing/bluing them. Your advice was very beneficial. So was many hours working on them.





I'm still having one heckuva time keeping the blue consistent on the flat surfaces, but eventually I'll get there.

A question... what sort of wax or oil should be used to further protect the steel?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've been using the oxpho paste. I've been doing them by heating them under a lamp, applying blue with a cotton ball (rubbing it in well), wiping off with a strip of clean cotton fabric, putting it back under the lamp (to wait in line) and then giving it a light brush with steel wool before applying more blue.
 

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At the very least, thoroughly, completely, radically, mercilessly degrease the gun, regardless of Brownell's assertion to the contrary. After that, handle the gun while wearing cotton gloves. Get the metal uniformly warm -- not hot, just toasty. Apply liberally -- rubbing hard often helps -- and apply it for a full minute, keeping the metal wet at all times. Dry off the excess, then polish with OOOO steel wool. Repeat -- about a jillion times, if needed. I have never failed to get a decent result this way, but sometimes it has taken a long, long time.

For small parts -- and even handguns up to J-frame size -- I long ago went to nitre bluing, which is a bit more involved but vastly superior, in every way.
 

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What do you use to de-grease? Between bluing sessions?
I don't degrease between bluing applications -- it do it at the outset, then wear gloves and keep it clean until I am done. And, I know -- steel wool has a trace of oil on it. Not a big deal, because it's not much and it gets evenly distributed as you buff the metal -- but if you really want the best result, go ahead and degrease again.

For degreasing a small part, I will sometims use acetone (fingernail polish remover); for may parts, or a whole gun, I'll usually just put everything in to a pot of boiling water/dishwashing detergent and let it gently percolate for while. Rinse with more clear hot water. The heat dries everything rapidly, and when it has cooled enough to handle the temp is great for the bluing solution.
 

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Ive had some outstanding results with Oxpho Blue just by rubbing off the steel with 0000 steel wool, then wiping clean with cloth and degreasing with rubbing alcohol. Then Ive applied the Oxpho to the firearm after warming the steel by running under hot water or heating it up in oven or something like this. Then apply the blue with sterile cotton pads, sometimes it takes very well, but as some have mentioned the steels vary. Your grip caps turned out nice! Congrats.

My Father has been experimenting with rust bluing..... after reading Yalls posts here about it, think Ill try one of my old rifles with this method, see how it goes. I got an old 742 woodsmaster that could use rebluing... maybe rust blue is an option for it.
 

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I use the liquid Oxpho most times for small parts. I clean the part then heat it with a propane torch and drop the part in a small cap with enough blue to cover it. Let it set a min or two, dry it off and use 0000 steel wool to burnish. It's hard to get a perfect blue match but better than nothing. discard the used liquid blue and put a coat of oil on the part.
 

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Let me add my two cents to all of you "0000 steel wool" guys - BURLAP.

Burlap patches to apply and also burlap strips to buff the finish....

My Glock 19 got shiney through much carry - used a burlap patch to apply Oxpho and now it's good as new....

I don't always get the color I want with Oxpho, but I love the durability. I'll rub light rust off with a burlap patch soaked in Oxpho and never worry about rusting again. I also love the way it "takes oil" - seems to stay wetter longer. FWIW....
 
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