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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an extremely pic heavy instructional thread that I have written on this website. I thought I'd share it here as well.

Andy's Rust Blue thread WIP

Keep checking back, as I will post more finished pics of different items, including my 5 screw 1905 S&W.

Here's what it looks like so far:

rev.jpg

There are still some pits in the metal that I haven't eliminated yet, and it's at about 350 grit finish.

You have to take your time in preparing the metal, as all your work will show in the final finish.

Here is a pic of an AR-15 Barrel that I blued with this same method:
ar barrel.jpg

Here's an M-9 bayonet finished the same way:
bayonet.jpg

Andy
 

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Rust bluing is a great method. It's much more durable than the hot salts bluing. All the older Lugers, etc. were rust blued. It was cheaper and faster to use the hot tank method so gun makers went that route. It is labor intensive. I had very good results with Brownells' rust blue solution.
 

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All of the fine double barrel shotguns are cold blued... need I say more?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Rust bluing is a great method. It's much more durable than the hot salts bluing. All the older Lugers, etc. were rust blued. It was cheaper and faster to use the hot tank method so gun makers went that route. It is labor intensive. I had very good results with Brownells' rust blue solution.
I like the fact that I don't have to wear a rubber apron, gloves, and full face shield to protect myself from hot caustic blue which spits and is very sensitive to temperature. You have to control the temperature with hot blue by adding more water or ice as it evaporates or gets too hot, and if you don't pay attention to it you can ruin a lot of parts.

I still wear the protective equipment. (Including a respirator) when MAKING my rust blue, but it's done outdoors, and when it's finished "brewing" and diluted, it's very safe to handle.

Then there's the special investment in tanks for hot bluing, thermometer, burners and you pretty much have to dedicate an entire shop and isolate it from the rest of your shop for hot blue, so unless you have a lot of money and space, it's not for everybody.

Being that it's humid down here in AL all year round, it's only natural to select something that works with the climate here.

If you live in a arid climate, you can always build a "sweat box" too, or use your bathroom after a shower. That's the beauty of rust blue to me. Simplicity and a minimum of supplies.

Andy
 

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Looking forward to the ongoing thread, welcome to the forums! :wlogo: -Mike
 

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Cool thread! I have done some cold blueing. Didn't Colt use this method on their SA's and Pythons, et al? The more coats you put on the deeper the blue? I'l be waiting to see more pics on this thread. Thanks :bluelogo:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Cool thread! I have done some cold blueing. Didn't Colt use this method on their SA's and Pythons, et al? The more coats you put on the deeper the blue? I'l be waiting to see more pics on this thread. Thanks :bluelogo:
From from 1836-1940 I believe that cold did rust bluing.
They prepped/cleaned the parts in hot gasoline, which was recirculated in the steam system.


Colt later on switched to the hot caustic blue process, and that is what is used today.


There was a proprietary process later used with oil/charcoal blackening process that is referred to as a "Carbonia" blue. Carbonia was used until the late 50s. or early 60s. (Not sure)

Carbonia Blue/Charcoal Blue: This finish is produced in a gas furnace which is exactly how it was done by the manufacturers like Colt, Winchester, Smith & Wesson, and almost all other arms makers before WW II. Carbonia blue is the Cadillac of finishes. It's glossy black in appearance which has a mirror depth to it (when the metal is polished to a high luster), and hard wearing. There are some different methods other shops may try to use and duplicate this finish, but for it to be a true Carbonia finish, it must be processed in a gas furnace retort.

excerpt taken from Ron?s Gun Shop. Gun bluing and gun metal finishes for antique and custom guns.

Rust bluing, at least with my recipe gets a gunmetal grey color, which deepens to a charcoal color, then a black as the microscopic pits get larger and reflect less of the light spectrum.

I was able to get small items like screws a blue black color by repeatedly heating and dunking a polished screw 20 or 30 times in a row in a small amount of rust blue, but I'm not sure how you would be able to reproduce it with an entire gun unless you used an oven or such to pre-heat the part, and dunk it in an entire tank of rust blue.

(This wasn't heat coloring, just in case you were wondering because I used a hair dryer to heat the part, and handled it with my fingers, dunking it when it got hot to the touch.)

Tell you what, next time I make a batch, I'll fill a tupperware container with it, and try the heating, dunking method on an entire gun.

I'm boiling some rainwater to convert the rust on a machete for someone I know at the moment.

Here is a pic after coating once and rusting for 24 hours, then another pic after boiling:
machete 001.jpg machete 002.jpg

He wanted a tapered back edge ground on it, like a sword blade. It's very sharp right now.

It's going back for another rusting session and I'll update pics tomorrow night.

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After rusting, boiling, carding and oiling this is what my reloading press handle looks like. It only took 2 treatments and rust sessions for this color change.

machete.jpg machete 001.jpg machete 003.jpg

You have to keep applying oil on the items until it won't absorb it anymore. Wait 2 minutes or so, and you'll notice the part looks dry again, keep applying thin amounts of oil until you have excess that won't soak in, and wipe it off.

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Here is a M1 garand bayonet I just finished.

The previous owner used a grinding wheel on it and it was in ROUGH shape.

I got almost all the grinding marks out and saved the blade. It's a nice charcoal black color after 2 rusting sessions.

First pic is what it looks like after it was sanded/prepped and coated with rust blue.
Second pic is what it looks like after 24 hours rusting and 2 coats of rust blue.
Third pic is what it looks like after another 24 hours, boiling in distilled water to convert the rust, carded with steel wool, oiled, and reassembled.

bayonet.jpg bayonet 001.jpg bayonet 004.jpg

Much better now.

Andy
 

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Andy and I met today and he showed me the bayonet. It looked quite functional. So, I picked up a 16 oz. bottle of Andy's product. I have several guns to use it on including a .38 Lemon Squeezer and a Model 10 with severe acne. (Oh, boy! More projects...)

rustblue.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It was nice to talking to you in person Guy, and please post some of your projects on this thread to show people how easy it is.

Always helpful to have others testimonials. :D

I just found out I have to work on the 4th of July, so no gun show for me this time.

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Finished the Smith and Wesson revolver. Only took 4 coats and rusting sessions to get where I wanted it. I did not blue the trigger or hammer, since these are case hardened parts, and they still showed a little of the original finish on them.

Overall, I'm very happy with how it turned out. It's a very tight tolerance revolver and was made when they really knew what they were doing. Endshake is maybe .001" which is truly amazing for such an old revolver. Now it looks as good as it shoots!

I'll try and take some pics in the bright sun when I get a day off work.

Andy
pre model 10.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the compliments guys. Seriously, anyone can do this. It's not hard or complicated like hot caustic bluing.

Andy
 

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This is a great post and I have an older model 10 that was a police trade in and has a ton of holster wear. I've tried a few other products that didn't work, so this post caught my eye as a perfect winter project. I think the problem is that the gun had been treated with silicone like you had mentioned earlier in your post and this is why I had the problems I had. Few questions I have for you. When doing a complete revolver putting it in and out of the water does it effect the bore causing it to rust. I'm thinking there is no major effect, but I have to ask. I would hate to ruin a perfectly good shooting weapon. Also will this work on aluminum? Lastly is the finish result glossy or more like a parkerized finish.
 

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I'm not Andy, but perhaps I can address your question. First of all, gun blue is a form of oxidation that puts a protective coat of rust on the steel. Water will cause the gun to (oxidize) rust if it is allowed to stay on the metal. However, water is essential for rust bluing to work. As long as you follow the process, you will get the blue-black oxidation you want and no orange-red rust. If you are concerned about the bore, then plug each end of the barrel with dowel rods before bluing the gun. That's the approach I took when parkerizing my Victory so I didn't get any Parking in the barrel.

The level of polish on the metal determines the gloss of the finish. If you want a matte, then bead blast the metal before bluing. If you want a high gloss, you must polish the metal to a mirror finish before bluing.

Oil, silicone, rouge or metal protectors will prevent the metal from oxidizing or parkerizing. Before you start, all coatings and oil must be completely removed or you will not get good results. You will have to strip the old bluing with Naval Jelly or by polishing it off. Make sure you are wearing rubber gloves or oil from your skin will contaminate the surfaces you touch and you will get bare spots. Use acetone to completely strip all oil or residues like polishing rouge from the surfaces. You will know when the surface is clean by running water over it. The water should not bead on the metal. Once you have that, immediately begin the bluing process before rust can form on the surfaces. If you can't start right away, coat the polished surfaces with oil or silicone to prevent rusting. You will have to strip it again with acetone before starting the bluing.

This process will not work on aluminum as it doesn't oxidize the same way as steel.

Andy provides instructions like these in his bluing kit. Just follow his instructions and you'll get the finish you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wiregrass guy said it well.

This process is for steel though, and inappropriate for aluminum. For aluminum you need to anodize.
(That involves acid, aluminum wire, a battery charger, and caswell plating sells very good dyes and sealers for home anodizing.

Andy
 
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