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Post by Froneck Sat Jul 15, 2023 3:00 pm

I often look a gun info on Youtube when looking to kill time. Some make me laugh at how bad it is! Been watching Mark Novak of Anvil videos. Seems to be quite good at what he does thought not BE standards. His machining skills seem to be a bit poor!
 However he is working on quite a bit of collector guns and will Rust Blue them. According to Mark Rust Blueing is far better than Hot dip chemical blue and Cold blueing (always new cold bluing wasn't very good).
 Since I'm building a .22 conversion using a new Caspian 1911 frame I'm quite interested in bluing since the entire gun will require it. I have purchased the needed (cheap) equipment including a Carding wheel from Brownells and the Rusting solution from Bob Veasey at rustblue.com. Brownells also has a rustblue solution (ordered but out of stock but will eventually get it). Others on Youtube have formulas for the soluition, a few simple ones I might also try. In addition Mark suggested getting a book that was written back in the 30's (I think) about the formulas in use at the time. When attempting to get a copy found it free to download so I'll be looking at some of those formulas too!
 Anyone have any experience with Rust Bluing? Is it as good as claimed?
 As soon as I get the needed stuff I'll let everyone know how it worked out. Since it's a simple operation I'll blue the Grip Safety/Main Spring housing I welded together to test the stuff from rustblue.com

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Post by Merick Sat Jul 15, 2023 3:30 pm

Rust blue is good but it is a lot of work.  Too much rust will pit the surface, not enough and it doesn't accomplish much.  Any oil contamination will wreck the process.

It is my understanding hot blue finish is chemically similar to rust blue, and cold blue is some kind of copper base and different.

If it is the Angier book, you'll need an understanding friend at a college lab to make any if the recipes, but it has good general info and instruction on the process.

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Post by WesG Sat Jul 15, 2023 5:10 pm

Cold blue is awful doing a complete gun. Touch up ok enough. Plates a thin layer of copper, and oxidizes (or whatever) it to turn black. You can copper plate ... 'flash' with a solution of copper sulfate, I think, aka 'bluestone'???

My dad did a sporterized Mauser with rust blue from Herters. A lot of work, but it's held up well for 50+ years. Not a bright glossy finish like you see on 'factory' guns, if that's what you want.

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Post by PMcfall Sat Jul 15, 2023 5:14 pm

I have rust blued many guns, mostly rifles.  I find it to be easy although it takes some time  I've tried about all the commercial rust blues and have found the product from Laurel Mountain to be head and shoulders above all the rest and will never use another.  Laurel Mountain is very forgiving and will turn out well in the end while with other products, when a problem arises starting over is the only way out.  Barrel Brown & Degreaser - 2.5 oz - $16.99 : Laurel Mountain Forge, the finishing touch   Don't let the name fool you.  To use it as a rust blue, boiling the part in RO water turns it from brown to blue.
The hardest part is the preparation of the metal.  I use a buffing wheel sparingly with most sanding done by hand and it takes a lot of time to go through all the grits necessary.  Good news is polishing past 400 grit is a waste of time.

I'll be glad to help you thru it if you want to take the plunge.
Phil
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Post by Froneck Sat Jul 15, 2023 6:40 pm

Yes I have seen that boiling the fine rust in water will turn it blue! Mark on one of his videos had a old style bayonet that had a fine rust on the section that fit over the barrel. He did nothing except clean it with brake cleaner (I think) Put it in Bob's cardboard box steamer, steam did the same as boiling water and turned the natural fine rust black. According to Mark and Bob years ago all the guns were blued with rust blueing, later when steam was used for power, steam was easier to use since they had so much of it.
 I did make the plunge, needed stuff is in the mail. I will try the Laurel Mountain stuff too!
 I'm not interested in show room luster, Matte finish is all I want! Especially if it's better than hot chemical blueing as Mark said it is.

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Post by SingleActionAndrew Sat Jul 15, 2023 10:41 pm

Are we saying I should boil my dies that are developing rust on them?
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Post by Wobbley Sat Jul 15, 2023 11:48 pm

I did a couple of rifle actions.  The basic process is to degrease, then polish, degrease again, then boil in pure water.  After boiling then apply your blueing solution to all the metal using a swab.  Then place it in a humid environment for up to overnight to rust.  Then you boil it again, card wheel off the excess rust then apply more blueing solution and place to rust again. It takes a while.  Several “passes”  the more passes, the deeper and more resistant the blue.  You can never get a shiny blue like on the Weatherby rifles of old.  The finish will look like the old rifles of Rigby and Holland’s.  There will be a sheen to the finish which is nice but it isn’t a shine.  I actually prefer the rust blue to the hot tank.  One solution I used (IIRC) was about a 10% solution of Nitric acid with all the iron (steel wool) that I could dissolve into it.
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Post by jglenn21 Sun Jul 16, 2023 3:36 am

My nephew does firearm restorations and rust blues at least 5 to 1 over hot bluing..he uses mark lee rust bluing. It does not require a rust box and is q bit faster because of that.. he averages 7 rust cycles most of the time. The interesting thing is he can match many patina shades without going all the way to a  blue..he does everything from wall hangers to some very fine and expensive shotguns. Give the mark lee stuff a shot.

For a decent cold blue he and I use dicropan IM from Brownells which is a rust bluing substitute. Never found it to match a good rust blue but used as a cold blue is much more permanent than the traditional cold blues(which are all basically the same formula). Of those Oxpho Blue is probably the best. Dicropan is pricey these days
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Post by Froneck Sun Jul 16, 2023 7:39 am

I guess it depends on the rust SAAndreW. I seen quite a bit of Mark Novak's videos. Only 3 or 4 are about rust blueing but others on other topics, often he rust blues the gun. In doing so there are a few spots on the gun that were pitted rust. Can't fix the pits but boiling did turn it black. Repair was done to rare or antique guns so completely refinishing would destroy the value. In the case of the bayonet the rust was what is called patina, he rubbed oil on the rust and said that is now patina. Mark simply removed the oil and put it in the steam box, it turned black. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nWVI_3Lo0Q
 In that video they use steam but in all the other videos that are not promoting Bobs product Mark uses boiling water. Other videos than Anvil show rust bluing of shop tools not guns and they boil the part in water.
 I have to say Mark was the guy that convinced me to try rust bluing.
 I'll try Bob's product it's in the mail, Brownells is on back order and I'll give Laurel Mountain a try also. In addition another online video has the formula being a mixture of Distilled water, Vinegar and Peroxide, will test that and probably Wobbley's too. I guess anything that will cause fine grain rust will work and the various solutions speed it up.
 Carding wheel is in the mail too and I have the long shafted grinder I use to buff with.
  I have the cold blue Dicropan from Brownells too as well as a few of their other cold blue products, worked great on small parts like screws. As I mentioned Brownells rust blue is on back order, supposed to get it mid August. It has similar name to Bob's product but tech guy at Brownells would not confirm it was the same or not but it's much cheaper!

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Post by BE Mike Sun Jul 16, 2023 8:05 am

For a gun that is going to be used a lot, like a bullseye pistol, I like a durable finish that withstands sweat and rain. I would have it Cerakoted or if I was to want a bright finish, I'd have it brush hard chromed.
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Post by Froneck Sun Jul 16, 2023 9:22 am

I don't like Cerakoting. Nor do I want a silver pistol. I have a few 1911s and other pistols that were hot blued 20+ years ago and still look good! I'm told rust blueing is better! No I don't want the high luster finish as found on most guns from the factory, Matte black/blue is what I like. Mark Novak has quite a few old guns from back in the late 1800s that still look good, they were rust blued back then. Locations where blue was rubbed off by use were easily refinished by simply rust bluing without having to remove old blueing.

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Post by jglenn21 Sun Jul 16, 2023 12:16 pm

in the hot Ga summer, I too suffer from rusting grip safeties if I'm not careful, so I like BE Mike, have gone to Cerakoting the grip safety.. Zero rust issues after that.. wear very well and looks fine if you  have messed with Cerakote for a while..Most of my wad guns are Parkerized..
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Post by BE Mike Sun Jul 16, 2023 1:00 pm

jglenn21 wrote:in the hot Ga summer, I too suffer from rusting grip safeties if I'm not careful, so I like BE Mike, have gone to Cerakoting the grip safety.. Zero rust issues after that.. wear very well and looks fine if you  have messed with Cerakote for a while..Most of my wad guns are Parkerized..
Years ago, I took my hardball gun to Alex Hamilton in San Antonio to have it tightened up. While it was there he Cerakoted the grip safety. Before that, I wasn't a fan, but it looks decent (most older bullseye shooters weren't too picky about the looks of their pistols and grips) and has lasted decades. Now I'm a fan. I had a blued revolver brush hard chromed and carried it in a leather holster in Florida and Southwest Texas for many years. That was before stainless steel was regularly offered in revolvers. Hard chrome is a very tough finish. I loaned a blued accurized Colt 1911 pistol to a buddy at Camp Perry one year. As usual it had rained. When I got the pistol back it had some surface rust on it under the grips. Last time I leant him a gun. To each his own, but that doesn't mean that anybody's preference is wrong!


Last edited by BE Mike on Mon Jul 17, 2023 6:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Froneck Sun Jul 16, 2023 3:59 pm

I'm familiar with Hard Chrome, I had a 1911 frame rail and slide rail hard chromed, worked great! Hard Chrome is very hard and wear resistant! I have a few frames and slides I intend to hard chrome, purchased the kit to do hard chroming (anodizing too) from Caswell. So busy the stuff is still in the box! I don't have a grip safety rusting problem, grips I use (both Printed and Pachmayr) cover most of the frame including the front, I put stair anti slip tape on grip safety/mainspring housing so very little of frame touches my hand. I think if I did want to prevent grip safety rust I would try Cerakote, those that have tried it like it!
 One thing I see is that all parts do not have to be removed from the frame to  blue it as is needed with Hot blue. Grip screw bushings and plunger tube don't have to be removed. Mark Novak uses heat gun (said hair dryer will work) to dry the items, after carding he put the parts Kerosene to remove any moisture from boiling.
 Being a Rust Blue dummy I will follow directions as seen on Mark's site, and directions that come with the rust bluing solutions I get. Might alter them after doing it a few times. However Mark seems to be quite experienced in rust blueing, has quite a few videos on gun repairs that most eventually get rust blued.

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Post by Froneck Mon Jul 17, 2023 4:18 pm

UP-Date, Brownells found a bottle of their rust blueing and it's being packaged with my carding wheel, I should get it by the end of the week or early next week. I'll be testing both I guess since the bottle from rustblue.com is also on the way.
 I have a question about boiling the parts. I see various cheap french fryers similar to what Mark used on his videos. One has just temp control and other temp control and timer. Would the timer help or shut the system down allowing the water to cool. I'm thinking an audible timer that I have is better since I can remove the parts while hot so that the residual heat will help dry the items. Maybe on an expensive fryer it may lift the basket but I see no means on the cheap home fryer. On the other hand the timer just might be audible alarm. Any suggestions?

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Post by Merick Mon Jul 17, 2023 5:28 pm

I dont know a timer/cooling cycle would help anything.  I took parts out of boiling water so they were hot and woud dry fast.  When i did a shotgun it was a lot of fuel to get the tank to boil, so i tried to keep it warm once I started.  It is possible to put the rusting parts above the idle /simmering hot water so that steam helps move things along. That way you can get 2-3 coats a day.

Alternatively I've heard you can rust things very slowly by putting your parts in an enclosed space (plastic box) with an open container of solution, letting vapor do the work instead of direct application, which can streak if you aren't careful.

Pro tip; decant a small working amount of rust solution into a seperate container,  so when you knock it over or contaminate it you don't lose everything you have.

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Post by PMcfall Mon Jul 17, 2023 5:44 pm

I use a propane burner which was a part of a turkey fryer. Two are required when using a long tank for barreled actions. If i am only doing small parts, i use a stainless bowl on top of just one burner. I take the parts out of boiling water because i want them hot so they readily dry.
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Post by r_zerr Mon Jul 17, 2023 5:58 pm

Frank,
Especially for small parts and pistols, go to a local restaurant supply and purchase a small warning tray container and use it to boil your parts in. If your wife is not really uptight it can be done on the stovetop.
Two clean, thin towels: 1 for parts needing to dry and be carded, and the second that are awaiting application of your rust blue solution.
Two sets of rubbee gloves: one to handle while carding, one to handle when applying solution.
You may find that the fine wired stainless steel brushes will work well. The toothbrush size ones are a necessity for inside th slide, corners and etc. Hand brushes are also less likely to remove what surface finish was just put on compared to a motorized wheel.

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Post by PMcfall Mon Jul 17, 2023 6:08 pm

I did the stove top once in the beginning and I quickly learned that it was more painless to wait until she wasn’t home and to hide all evidence before she got back.  
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Post by Wobbley Mon Jul 17, 2023 7:33 pm

I used a Coleman stove that had been converted to propane.  But then I only was doing an action.
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Post by Froneck Tue Jul 18, 2023 8:48 am

I don't bother with long guns any more, was quite into rifles and shotgun but it became work keeping them clean. My kids divided them up between them. Have one old double barrel shot gun and a rifle left, don't think I touched them in years! All I want to rust blue is pistols! I seen Mark Novak's video where he uses a small home size french fryer, has wire basket with a handle. Small parts he put in a small parts blueing basket (tea strainer) from Brownells, darn forgot to include it with my order! In the video with Bob from rustblue.com they use steam but in other videos that are about doing gun work Mark boils the parts. I never see him using steam in other videos. However they caution about getting the parts hot (about120° F) so steam don't condense on cold parts that supposedly will ruin the blueing process. As to the timer, I think it's probably something like a buzzer. If doing french fries I don't think they will turn out well if they are allowed to sit in cold oil! I plan to start with boiling water, will try steam later! Will be bluing sooner than expected, carding wheel and rust blue from Brownells was delivered yesterday, probably start with one piece grip safety/mainspring housing I made.

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