Rust bluing a rifle

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by 94Winchester, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. 94Winchester

    94Winchester Well-Known Member

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    I am interested in rust bluing a rifle. Should I have a gunsmith blue the rifle, or is rust bluing something that I should do my self?
     
  2. dud

    dud Well-Known Member

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    it is time consuming but not that hard to do
     

  3. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    "SO easy, a caveman could do it". You'll need a tank for gently boiling H2O (mine is stainless), and a heat source to get the H2O gently boiling (probably a tank stand so you're not working on the floor), a carding brush or wheel (a motor to turn the wheel if you go that way), 0000 steel wool, degreaser, the rust bluing solution, wire to hang your parts from and, I like to suspend the blued parts in H2O displacing oil for 24 hours after I've achieved the desired color, so, you'll need another tank and water displacing oil. Oh,,,, you'll also need to polish all the metal and the results will depend heavily on how good you're polishing is. And, 3 to 5 hours for the bluing process (polishing time not included). (There are only half a dozen ways I can think of, right off hand, that you might screw up!) Or , you might use the "damp box method". That can take up to a couple of days (not including polishing time). Seems this thread really belongs under "Gunsmithing".
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  4. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    94 winchester, Shortgrass,

    I did a brown (blue) job on my mauser 270 win in 1966. It was the best of the browns with gold and other highlights. It really had some depth. Plenty of highlights and no/nada/none glare.

    The brown lasted for about 10 years showing wear only where the muzzle went into the scabbard.

    I got the itch to redo it and still had the chemicals hanging around. I had to convince the druggist that the chems were for bluing a rifle. I guess they were/are super poisonous!. Mixed them myself.

    For the brown job I put water in the tub, was single at the time, and hung the parts over the water with the curtains closed.

    For the final job I built a sweat box.

    The final job turned out a really nice hard "blue" very deep blue. And as hard as diamond, almost. Showed very little if any wear for the next 20 years.

    I used the same chemicals as for the brown but after the job was completed I touched it with a very soft stainless steel brush which immediately turned the deep brown to a deep blue nearly black.

    I don't know what the modern products do for color and wear but this old time recipe was quite good.

    Its easy to do. Just keep oil of any type or amount away.
     
  5. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    Roy, I'm using an old 'home brewed' mix, not comercially available. In a way, I was jabbing back at dub about "how easy" he seems to think it is. I am professionally trained and do this for a living and have done so since 1993. Any number of things can be ignored, not done properly, or jusy plain misunderstood to the point that a job that takes a long time may not turn out. Proper polishing comes first, not everyone is a metal finisher and I've seen some real disasters come thru my shop door. Lack of cleanliness will ruin the job for sure. Using the wrong applicator can and will, also, make you feel like you wasted your time (cross contamination). I've found hard water can mess it up, too, and have had better results with water from the softener. After you've got your method refined, it's strickly labor. Becoming a metal finisher (polishing, not rounding off edges, no ripples and keeping all lettering and numbers intact and as they left the factory) doesn't happen overnight. There must be a reason why I can limit my work to rifles and higher end O/U & SxS shotguns and not have to deal with the general stuff. If it was so easy everyone would do their own and slow rust wouldn't have such a mystique about it. Hell, there are so called 'experts' out there that have no idea that there is more than one way to blue a firearm. Ya' it's easy enough, as long as you know what you're doing to begin with. It's just another case where I think I should change my signature to "Gunsmithing, So easy a Caveman can do it!"
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  6. Boss Hoss

    Boss Hoss Well-Known Member

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    Not the best pic of the Rust Bluing but this is what a perfect job looks like. This is my smith who was trained in England (note the apron) and mixes up his own chemicals both dry and wet (nasty stuff btw the recipe goes back to the turn of the century and what his dad used as well). Has the time down to the minute on when to take the rifle out of the cabinet for carding...

    Polishing is also VERY KEY!! There is an art to this for sure.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. dud

    dud Well-Known Member

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    well my term easy might not be what everyone else is.i have done three of my own and my gunsmith with 30 years with thirty experience said they look good.so that is good enough for me.i was not trying to belittle anyone that does this for a living.