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Rust Blueing (Read 9404 times)
sakoman
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Rust Blueing
May 28th, 2009 at 1:05pm
 
I have several barrels to blue and was looking for feed back from your experience with the rust blue kits available on the market.

Thanks,

SM
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sakoman sakoman  
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humboldt
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #1 - May 28th, 2009 at 2:16pm
 
I use Pilkingtons rust blue available from Brownells. It is time consuming, (you might need a damp box), but makes a superior se,-gloss finish that is very durable. A shinier blue is Mark Lee's "express blue" , also available from Brownells. It is a hot water express blue and you can do a barrel just as fast as you can apply blueing, boil for 15 minutes, card with steel wool and reapply blueing. I personally like the Mark Lee's blue much better than any of the other, in house, blues offered by Brownells. All of these blues come with excellent instructions.
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Mike_Hunter
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #2 - May 28th, 2009 at 2:31pm
 
Not sure what “Kits” you are referring to.  Rust bluing is a fairly simple process; bottom line is that you want to get parts to rust, controllably.
Here in the shop I have three different shop made formulas for rust bluing, depending on the color that I want to achieve (some are blacker than others, while others have a distinctive blue color ).  Winchester barrels have a distinctive blue tint to them.
A simple process is to take Mark Lee’s Express blue (available from Brownells),  heat the part up (warm to the touch), wipe on several thin coats  on, then let sit for a day,  you will get a nice coating of rust on the part.  Then boil in distilled water,  if you have any problem areas, reapply the express blue, boil & card.
Couple of hints:
Parts must be completely clean of oil/grease, I wash the parts with Greased Lightning , followed by a quick wipe with acetone.
The longer you let the parts rust, the more of a matt finish you will get.


Mike Hunter

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Tentman
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #3 - May 28th, 2009 at 4:55pm
 
Hello Guys

Mike - I like a brighter "blue" rust blue, but so far (using Laurel Mtn solution) all I get is a "black" blue.  Could you elaborate on solutions that get towards the blue end of the scale please ??

Cheers - Foster
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RJM
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #4 - May 29th, 2009 at 7:35am
 
SM,
Birchwood-Casey's Plum Brown can be used as a fast rust blue. After browning, just boil it in water to turn black. Then use fine steel wool to buff to a nice blue. 25 yrs ago, I used this on a muzzle loader I hunt with  & the blue is still very nice.

As with any blueing, it's all in the polish and degreasing.
Regards, Ron
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Anvils
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #5 - May 29th, 2009 at 4:15pm
 
Another vote for Pilkington's or Mark Lee's. I apply the acid solution and let set over night in the shop then boil the next day. It takes several cycles to get a good finish. Follow the instructions that come with the solutions. Our water has a lot of iron in it so I buy deionized water for the boiling water.
Works great and looks correct on older rifles.

Norm
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FLEXPOLO
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #6 - May 29th, 2009 at 9:56pm
 
I agree pilkingtons is my favorite(for rifles) and marklee for shotguns.
  Buy the pilkingtons read the direction(twice) practice on a barrel or piece of metal so you understand process.and use distilled water makes all the difference in the world, Some may disagree but my colors are consistent.use vinyl gloves not rubber (learned the hard way)apply with sponge. (buy car wash type sponge cut into 1 inch squares make a pass or two and drop it and continue with new one.(wont streak or mud up ur solution). again learned hard way. also if you are going to card with steelwool soak it in rubbing alchol.Let dry or light it on fire. get a nice carding wheel they are cheap.(and clean part with brake cleaner prior to starting rust blue) good luck. its along process but worth it
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38_Cal
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #7 - May 29th, 2009 at 10:48pm
 
I'll plug the folks down the street.  Brownells Classic Rust Blue is a pretty good slow rust process, about the equal of Pilkington's at a much lower price.

David
Montezuma, IA
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David Kaiser
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buggybuilder
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #8 - May 30th, 2009 at 12:33am
 
I blued my #5 Rem. rolling block this past weekend using LMF.
Yes, it is dark blue-black but that is what I wanted. I was pleased with the results. I did this in my garage and lacked enough humidity the first day. Then I hosed down my cement garage floor and it only took about an hour to get the proper rust.
I'd use it again!
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digitall423
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #9 - May 30th, 2009 at 7:41am
 
I'll second David's shameless plug for his ex-employer. I tried Brownells rust blue and was very pleased.
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k0wtz
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #10 - May 31st, 2009 at 8:19am
 
i dont know how far you want to go but i have had good luck with vans blueing.

as stated before you have to have the barrell spotless of oil. i use a pot of boiling water and a strong degressor simple green works the best to elimante oil and it takes several dippings to get it clean.

i use a metal brush and keep dipping if you have a small pot as i do you will have to turn it over. watch where the sight is thats a big problem to get clean.

all crevacies watch for as well.  repeatedly rinse as you work.  when you have it clean then the fun begins.  make sure you have rubber gloves when working.

i take my hot barrell down stairs i have wires hanging with a piece of all thread to hang it on.  have a hair drier there also because you want to keep that barrell as hot as you can.

pour the vans into a small bowl and press the cotton almost dry a tee shirt works best small pieces please and start appling. for quite awhile it will look like its not working but stqy with it and keep applying vans.

you want to work fast because you dont want the barrell to cool down.  when it wont take anymore blueing let it dry good i keep thte hair dryer going all the time.

your first attemp will probably be a failure but no problem just take it up and start over.  you will see where you failed to clean it well its amazing how much oil will keep coming out of the metal.

i use hoppes pure gun oil and i apply lots of it and leave it on for a day then i take small pieces of steel wool to polish it up. 

this process wont take too long i have a 69a posted over on rimfire central that i did.  it was a complete mess. i redid the stock as well.

bob

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Mike_Hunter
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #11 - Jun 1st, 2009 at 11:36am
 
As I stated earlier; rust bluing is not rocket science.  You’re basically getting a steel item to rust (most of us don’t need much practice with that) in a controlled way (this is where practice helps).
Anything that promotes steel rusting will work… with varying results.
Something as simple as salt mixed with water can be used; and I have, but the finish was a bit courser than I wanted.
I’ve used Pilkington's,  geesh that stuff is expensive for what you get. About 20 years ago I quit buying it and started making my own slow rust blue; simple mixture of Nitric Acid, Distilled water and dissolved Iron. Put some degreased steel wool in a jar, add some Nitric acid and water, let it sit for a few days, filter out the big chunks and you have a good bluing solution. Think I could make a gallon of bluing solution for what Pilkington’s costs. Still have the same jug of Nitric acid I bought back in the 90’s.
 
I’ve tried the Laurel Mountain stuff, always seem to get that copper color…I know I’m not doing something right.

The processes that I use now are varied, but here’s a quick synopsis:

For doubles & intricate parts I use the  Fume Bluing, parts to be rusted are put into a  Plexiglas box, I add a couple of drops of Nitric Acid, couple of drops of muriatic acid (both Reagent grade), a damp sponge to add humidity, and a light bulb to provide heat. Let it rust for a couple to several hours, card, return parts back to box. 3-4 days I have beautifully rusted parts; I boil, and check for any issues.  I like this process for doubles & intricate parts because the fumes get everywhere; equally. So not too many problems with runs, drips, solution pooling in crevices etc.  Produces a very nice black, the coarseness of the bluing depends on how often you card.  Carding every six hours will give you a courser (Matter) finish than if you carded every two.

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Mike_Hunter
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #12 - Jun 1st, 2009 at 11:38am
 
Continued:

For simple items (barrels mag tubes etc), where I want a very dark black finish, I use Mark Lee’s Rust Browning solution, but I use it like a slow rust solution. Degrease parts, heat up with a propane torch (not too hot, just so that water will quickly evaporate on the part, wipe on the browning solution, several coats, then let sit; couple hours to several days, depending on WX and type of finish I want. Boil card, and if there are any issues wipe on a little more solution (now use it like a hot water solution).
For a slightly bluer finish I use Mark Lee’s Rust Bluing solution… just the same as above.
I use a different solution to get that iridescent Blue/Black finish found on many early Winchesters I use a different formula, which, unfortunately I’m not overly eager to share at this point. It’s somewhat of a trade secret, that took me a while to find/develop (about two years of experimenting), and it makes me money.  But it can be found in Angiers book: Bluing & Browning of Firearms, or is someone is very interested I might sell a few Oz.
Few hints that I’ve found:
Uneven areas can oftentimes be evened out using 0000 steel wool that is wet.
I also like to wet card the first couple of times, then dry card the last.
Rust bluing can be done over other bluing (hot caustic, nitre, charcoal etc) with no issues. Occasionally when I anticipate a problem child (welds, different heat treatments etc), I’ll caustic blue the parts first, then rust blue, seems to even things out a bit and hide issues. I will also do bolt action frames this way (early commercial Mausers), I just seem to have fewer issues with getting the finish correct.

Mike Hunter
Hunter Restorations
WWW.Hunterrestorations.com
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hst
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #13 - Jun 1st, 2009 at 4:13pm
 
Mr. Hunter:

Thank you for sharing this information. It is good stuff and much appreciated.

Respectfully,

Glenn Fewless
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alemonkey
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Re: Rust Blueing
Reply #14 - Jun 1st, 2009 at 10:01pm
 
Mike_Hunter wrote on Jun 1st, 2009 at 11:36am:
 
I’ve tried the Laurel Mountain stuff, always seem to get that copper color…I know I’m not doing something right.



I don't know that it's you, I tried it also and got the same results.  It just doesn't look quite right. 
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