Page Index Toggle Pages: [1] 2  Send TopicPrint
Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) slow rust blueing (Read 25957 times)
hms50
Junior Forum Member
**
Offline



Posts: 24
Location: New Hampshire
Joined: Oct 11th, 2006
slow rust blueing
Oct 19th, 2006 at 12:13pm
Print Post  
Has anyone made up their own slow rust bluing solutions?  In reading Angier's book, many of the chemicals/acids he recomends are not easy to find.  Any suggestions?
Thanks,
hms50
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
harry_eales
Frequent Elocutionist
*****
Offline


Aw heck, vegetable stew,
AGAIN.

Posts: 2144
Location: County Durham
Joined: Mar 25th, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #1 - Oct 19th, 2006 at 3:55pm
Print Post  
One way of doing it is to expose the barrel to the fumes of Nitric and Hydrochloric acids. Apparently this is best done in an old glass aquarium of suitable size. The acids are placed in small glass jars inside the tank not mixed but separate. a sheet of glass covers the top and the parts left exposed to the fumes, when a rust has developed the part is removed, boiled, carded and when cool replaced for further treatment. Depending on the steels used a very good BLUE colour can be obtained rather then a blue black.

Exposure time would depend on temperture and the concentration of the acids. It can be done in a couple of days I believe. Barrels have of course to be plugged during the fuming process.

There was a full article on this process in one of the Guns Digest Annuals during the 1970's.

Needless to say, don't breath the fumes and do it out of doors in an animal free area. The usual protective clothing is recommended when handling these corrosive materials. You don't need a lot of acid, just a few drops in each of about half a dozen glass containers, spaced about the tank interior.

If you can find out more information before trying it. It may prove more useful than 'tinctures' of this and 'scruples' of that and chemicals that are now known by other names.

Harry
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Green_Frog
Frequent Elocutionist
*****
Offline


"It ain't easy being green"

Posts: 3447
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Joined: Apr 18th, 2004
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #2 - Oct 19th, 2006 at 6:19pm
Print Post  
The appendix of Dixie Gun Works catalogs each year used to have a listing of current and "obsolete" names for various of the chemicals used in these old formulae.  Perhaps if you could find one of them, it would help you.  Were there any chemicals in particular you wondered about?   Undecided

Froggie
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
hms50
Junior Forum Member
**
Offline



Posts: 24
Location: New Hampshire
Joined: Oct 11th, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #3 - Oct 20th, 2006 at 12:46pm
Print Post  
Thanks gentlemen,  Angier identifies the chemicals and I do have Dixie catalogs withe the old and modern names listed.  It looked like buying commercialy produced slow bluing fluids might be worth it just because of the hassle of buying chemicals and the small quantities needed.  The fuming method sound good.  The acids needed we have in the chem lab so I'll start looking for a good container to fume in.

Thanks again,
hms50
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Bent_Ramrod
Frequent Elocutionist
*****
Offline



Posts: 1142
Location: Southern Arizona
Joined: Feb 8th, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #4 - Oct 20th, 2006 at 3:19pm
Print Post  
HMS50,

I've made up slow-rust solutions on my own from laboratory chemicals.  They were closest to Zischang's bluing solution in Angier's book, as I recall, but I experimented some.  Here you (mostly) neutralize the acids with iron nails or filings before use.  Copper sulfate is added in order to show where you applied the solution to the metal, as a slight copper wash is precipitated out.  This helps to assure a light, even, yet thorough coating with no drops of excess solution collecting on surfaces.  Some kind of surfactant or organic solvent is added in small quantity (I forget what I used in place of "sweet oil" or whatever it was called) so that if there is a trace of oil left on the metal parts, it will be dissolved in the bluing solution and not leave a non-wetted spot on the metal.

I kept the solutions in brown bottles and out of the air, but they seem to precipitate out and lose their reliable activity after a year or so's storage.  It may be that the commercial preparations are longer lived; don't know for sure as I haven't tried any.

I would be extremely leery of putting parts in the fumes of acids and using that as your rusting medium.  Unless the temperature and humidity are very well controlled and the concentration of fumes is even throughout your container, I would think there would be a danger of uneven rusting on the part, with pitting in some areas.  Not to mention the snootful the operator is liable to get while taking the part out for boiling and carding.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
hms50
Junior Forum Member
**
Offline



Posts: 24
Location: New Hampshire
Joined: Oct 11th, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #5 - Oct 23rd, 2006 at 9:12am
Print Post  
Bent-Ramrod,

Thanks for the information and explanation of the role of the various chemicals in the formula.  I think that I have come to the conclusion that buying ready made solutions will be worth the cost to me.

Thats a very interesting point you make about fume blueing.  A friend of mine once cleaned his fireplace with muriatic acid which is (I think) hydrochloric acid diluted with water.  Three days later he placed his Winchester shotgun back on the mantle where it had sat for years.  The next morning he had rusting on the bottom surface of the action and barrels but none on the top.  This inspite of the fact he had oiled the shotgun before re-hanging it.  Maybe with experimentation the process could be worked out but other methods seem safer.
Thanks again,
hms50
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Bent_Ramrod
Frequent Elocutionist
*****
Offline



Posts: 1142
Location: Southern Arizona
Joined: Feb 8th, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #6 - Oct 23rd, 2006 at 10:37pm
Print Post  
HMS50,

Always glad to help, and to return favor to a site that has given me much valuable information.  More important than any solution is how you polish your surfaces and degrease them and how you control the rusting.  Also how many passes until the metal is "done."  Most of this is simply experience, but Angier's book gives good descriptions of the process.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Russell
Junior Forum Member
**
Offline



Posts: 44
Location: Thumb of Michigan
Joined: Mar 8th, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #7 - Oct 26th, 2006 at 1:12am
Print Post  
[size=12][/size]This may be a bid of a side track but I feel it's worth mentioning.  I labored with the slow rust bluing, humidity boxes, and fume bluing with unsatisfactory results.  Apparently I don't have the touch. I switched to the Mark Lee Express Blue which is a rusting method, just not slow and have had great success.  I don't think one can tell the difference on the finished product between the slow rust and the express and the good news is start to finish after polishing is only a couple of hours.  One side note I catch all the rain water I can and save it as that seems to give me the best results.
  

Russell
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Paul_F.
Oldtimer
*****
Offline



Posts: 887
Location: Eureka, CA
Joined: Dec 26th, 2005
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #8 - Oct 26th, 2006 at 11:31am
Print Post  
Russel;

You have me intrigued...
What is, and where can be acquired, this Mark Lee Express Blue?

Paul F.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Bent_Ramrod
Frequent Elocutionist
*****
Offline



Posts: 1142
Location: Southern Arizona
Joined: Feb 8th, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #9 - Oct 26th, 2006 at 9:51pm
Print Post  
Russell,

I've tried express blue formulas and mostly they've worked well.  When I did it I was living at an elevation of about 4000 feet and I found if I didn't take into account the lower boiling point of water at that elevation, I'd get a plum brown color instead of a blue or black.  I did a revolver too hastily one time and it came out looking like it was made of chocolate.  Over 20 years the brown has slowly turned to a blackish color.

I had to hold the part close to the boiling water and paint the solution on quickly before it started cooling.  Fortunately, express blue isn't as critical of the amount of solution that gets painted on as slow rust blue is.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
hms50
Junior Forum Member
**
Offline



Posts: 24
Location: New Hampshire
Joined: Oct 11th, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #10 - Oct 27th, 2006 at 12:42pm
Print Post  
Thanks for the tip about Mark Lee Express Blue #1.  They also make a browning solution that works much the same.  They are available from Brownells,

4 oz = $9.50
20oz = $20.00

hms50
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Russell
Junior Forum Member
**
Offline



Posts: 44
Location: Thumb of Michigan
Joined: Mar 8th, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #11 - Oct 27th, 2006 at 3:54pm
Print Post  
Yes, Brownell's is the source for the Mark Lee.  I just finished blueing a government model and tried a slightly different approach which improved the quality.  This time I had the woodburner in the shop going, so after painting on the acid which by the way is done with a foam brush I put the part on top of the woodburner for about 5 minutes before immersing it in the boiling water.  This shortened the process to 4 applications.  It also helps to have the acid warm.  This time I set a coffee cup of acid on the woodburner using a riser to protect it from the intense heat, during the summer I use a coffee cup warmer.  Also when you put the acid in the coffee cup, use just enough to cover the bottom as it goes a long way.  I also lived for a while in the mountains and found cooking to be a chore and it never occured to me that it would affect the rust process.  Thank you for that bit of info.
  

Russell
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
jfeldman
ASSRA Board Member
*****
Offline



Posts: 838
Location: Imperial Beach, Ca
Joined: Nov 5th, 2005
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #12 - Nov 4th, 2006 at 6:48pm
Print Post  
I made up a rust bluing solution from Howe's book. I  scaled it down to make just a small amount and was very pleased with the outcome.  It is NOT a shiny blue however - it's more of a matte finish.
Nitric acid   15cc
Hydrochloric acid   12cc
Distilled water   5cc
Iron filings or chips   30 gr
I swabbed it on with cotten balls, let it sit for varying amounts of time, (starting with about 6 hours) then boiled it for 30 min and carded off the rust with degreased steel wool.  Did this about 5 or 6 times (can't remember exactly...might have been 8!) It's fun to see a nice finish come from your own work!  As Bent-Ramrod says, tho, polish and degreasing are most important.
Regards, Joe
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
J.D.Steele
Frequent Elocutionist
*****
Offline


NRA Life since '76

Posts: 1167
Location: deep South
Joined: Apr 1st, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #13 - Nov 5th, 2006 at 3:51pm
Print Post  
For John Bivins' take on slow rust bluing, look in Rifle magazine #36, page 26. He discusses his experiences while attempting to rust-blue in varying humidities, and details his method of obtaining a fine job every time. He gives details of how to construct and, more importantly, operate a vertical damp box for fume bluing using the Niedner formula and method.

For some who may not know, John Bivins was one of the best if not the premier maker of muzzle-loading and other classic rifles a generation ago. He was one of the few who were both articulate enough and generous enough to share some of their superlative methods with the rest of us. His rifles are works of art and continue to be regarded as a yardstick for comparison by the finest makers of today.
Good luck, Joe
  

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a U.S. soldier!
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Bent_Ramrod
Frequent Elocutionist
*****
Offline



Posts: 1142
Location: Southern Arizona
Joined: Feb 8th, 2006
Re: slow rust blueing
Reply #14 - Nov 6th, 2006 at 9:57pm
Print Post  
JDS,

If I recall, John Bivins was the gunsmith in residence at Colonial Williamsburg for many years.  His articles on finishing and restoration were very good tutorials; his writing as well as his gun work was excellent.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Page Index Toggle Pages: [1] 2 
Send TopicPrint