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#13550556 - 02/11/19 Rust blue question  
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killerv Offline
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I rust blued my first gun this weekend, an old pawn shop find ruger standard that needed some attention.Barrel came out great, but frame had a couple spots where they seemed not to take bluing well. I used brownells classic rust blue

For prep, I sprayed with brake cleaner well, hot soapy water afterwards, 3 acetone baths and nylon brush with acetone to get any all the nook, etc. Carding wheel and 0000 steel wool were also degreased. I used gloves. Only distilled water when boiling. Removed parts form humid chamber when they turned somewhat orange after 30-45 min, boiled for 10-15 minutes til they turned black.

I'm thinking I messed up when doing the 2nd coat. 1st coat came out great, good coverage, but I decided to do a 2nd coat for good measure. After carding after the first round of bluing...should I have let the 1st coat sit longer? I went ahead and coated it again...squeezed out as much as I could and felt like they were even passes...but I noticed the cotton balls pulling a little blue off with them. Anyway, did the 2nd round, looked nice and even black after boiling...but after carding the bluing pulled up from these places. I stop using the carding wheel and used steel wool only, thinking the carding wheel may have been a little too unnecessary.

Is it normal for the cotton to pull off a little bluing when applying the 2nd, 3rd coats, etc? Did the extra coat reactivate something? Do i need to boil longer or let them get a little more orange?

I coated in mineral oil when done and let it sit overnight have seeing brownells and other folks suggest this. When wiping mineral oil off the next day. Towels definitely pull a little black off on them while buffing.

What can I try different? Thanks.


Last edited by killerv; 02/11/19.
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#13551150 - 02/11/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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RAN Offline
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I have a few observations based on my experience with rust bluing:


1. Two coats is not enough. Even soft steel takes at least 5 rusting cycles to get sufficient depth of color. Multiple coats tend to cover spots that did not blue properly under the previous coating.

2. Your cleaning procedure is backward. Spraying down with brake cleaner should be the last thing you do before applying the chemical. Acetone is not necessary and is not a particularly good oil solvent.

3. The carding wheel should run no faster than 500 RPM for a 6" wheel.

4. It is normal for the swabs to turn a little black when re-coating. The swabs should be barely damp with chemical. 5 min. of boiling is sufficient.

5. Make sure 4/0 steel wool is degreased.

6. Brownells solution has no ability to penetrate an oil film. I did many guns some years ago and I always used this: http://laurelmountainforge.com/barrel_brown.htm
It contains a detergent that allows it to work right thru an oily fingerprint. You don't need gloves to handle the parts while coating or carding. This is a huge advantage, especially when using a wheel.

7. My rusting box used to run about 90 deg F and 80-90% RH. Rusting took about 4 hrs using LMF blue. Shotgun barrels used to take about 6 cycles. Your Ruger standard should look good after 5-6 cycles.
4140 receivers took 7-8 cycles and never turned a really deep blue. Too much chrome in the steel to rust properly.

RAN

#13551293 - 02/11/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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thanks.

Did you just go ahead and put on your next coat after you carded? Would you let that dry before putting it in the box or go ahead and throw it in?

#13551785 - 02/11/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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What RAN said is true, but my experience is a little different.

I do all my degreasing with acetone only, while wearing nitrile gloves. After dozens of gun projects I have yet to have an issue with that protocol. (And that's with Brownell's, Laurel, and a couple others I can't remember the names of.) At all intermittent stages I change to fresh nitrile gloves- they're cheap and why take a chance on contamination? I do wash my hands with acetone with the fresh gloves on as another precaution against strange elements intruding.

I do all my carding with oil-free 0000 steel wool. I use Liberon brand- a little pricey but it really is oil-free. I never got around to buying a carding wheel.

Never have I gotten away with less than 4 applications. Usually more like 6 or 7.

Go ahead and do your next coat immediately after carding. The residual heat from boiling/steaming will rapidly dry any moisture.

Too bad you slathered it up with mineral oil. Now you have to go through the whole degreasing protocol again because it does sound like it needs another rusting or three. Run out of time by the end of the day? No worries, just let it sit until the next day and start up again.


"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
#13553543 - 02/12/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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During my tenure in Browning's gunsmithing shop I did a lot of hot water bluing of Superposed shotgun barrels. We always wore new heavy duty rubber gloves and never touched the metal, we used Herter's Belgian Blue which I believe is still available from Brownell's. The blue solution was suspended in a small Pyrex dish in the hot water tank so it was hot and we applied it with a pad of roll cotton. The cotton pad was kept in the dish of blue and squeezed out dry to apply to the metal in long even strokes. The fine carding wheel was run at low RPM and a Crystolon wheel dressing stick was used to gently bend the ends of the wire over ever so slightly. In my experience areas like you speak of were often the result of technique with the wheel or not waiting long enough and carding fragile "young" blue. It took me a while to get the technique with the wheel down and even then there were some parts that would have patches like you experienced and would require a re-do.

Alpha

#13553548 - 02/12/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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killerv Offline
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I've got thursday and friday off so I'll get it degreased and add a few more coats. I got most all the oil off last night and its still sort of "blah" but the couple of problem areas held more of the bluing.

I had watched those c&r arsenal videos sort of as a guide, which mentioned acetone along with the brownells booklet. Both mentioned dipping in mineral oil when done.

I got mine to rust pretty quick... 30-45 minutes. Is it better to go with lower heat and less steam or higher heat and more steam from the humidifier?

Thanks guys.

#13553680 - 02/12/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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Lower heat and less steam, for me anyway. Fast rusting may be ok but I live in fear of getting distracted or simply forgetting and opening the sweat box way late to find a horribly over-rusted piece that has actually transitioned to etched/pitted. I reckon on around a 1 1/2-2 hour cycle to achieve an even (or mostly even) orange-yellow, kind of more a discoloration of the steel than an actual coat of rust. Hard to verbalize. I've never bothered with a thermometer or humidity gauge in my sweat box- I use a laboratory hot plate on its lowest setting to heat a stainless steel pan of distilled water. The rig is in the bottom of the box and segregated from the work by a wooden shelf that serves to disperse the warm moist air a bit as it rises.

The first gun barrel I browned was 25 years ago, and I rusted it in the steamy bathroom of the hotel we were staying in. The (now ex-) wife was hell bent on hitting all the boutiques and phrew-phrew shops and I was hell bent on finishing my project. Made for a rather funky hotel room (tempered by cold beer from the courtesy bar), but the barrel turned out ok.


"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
#13557076 - 02/13/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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killerv Offline
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When done, after the last carding, what do y'all usually do? I read where kerosene or mineral oil will help pull out remaining moisture, dip it in after last carding while metal still warm...so I used mineral oil and did just that. Then buff it out with a rough paper towel the next day. Thoughts on what I should or shouldn't do? Got everything degreased last night, I'll do it again this evening for good measure and get started again tomorrow. thanks

#13557088 - 02/13/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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Sounds as good as anything else. Like stock finishing, everybody has their own ideas as to what's right (but some are righter than others). I just use whatever oil is handy as long as it's not an aerosol. I hate pesky molecules floating in the air when I might be doing wood finishing close by soon.


"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
#13565014 - 02/15/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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When we completed Belgian hot water bluing in the Browning Arms gunsmithing shop we dipped the still warm metal into a dipping oil that had a parafin content. The metal was left to drain over the dipping oil tank overnight, next day it was wiped down with a paper towel.

Bravo

#13565383 - 02/15/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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I didn't use this, I used Brownell's Oxpho Blue. It's trouble free and it does the same thing. It oxidizes the surface turning it a deep dark blue. High Carbon Forged Steel really loves Oxpho Blue. 1. All I did was rub the surfaces with 400 grit paper to polish it a little. 2. Then sprayed it with Brownell's TCE (They say brake cleaner will do as well) and wipe it down with a clean rag. 3.Then I repeated the TCE, just for good measure. 4. When it was good and clean I just put the Oxpho Blue Creme on with a cotton ball. I let it sit for 60 seconds or there abouts. 5. Then I sprayed it down good with TCE and cleaned that off with a clean rag. Then I repeated steps 4 and 5 four times. I made sure to get all the Oxpho Blue off when I finished. Then I sprayed it down good with Rem-Oil and called it good. The directions recommended burnishing with 000 or 0000 steel wool but I didn't. I liked the finish as it was. Everybody I know that's used Oxpho Blue says it's about as durable as any of these cold blues or rust blues.
it
One thing I was worried about was streaks and an uneven finish. But this looks smooth as silk like I did a hot blue in a bluing tank. I'm very satisfied with the results and I can't believe you can have such a great finish so easily.

Last edited by Filaman; 02/15/19.

What goes up must come down, what goes around comes around, there's no free lunch. Trump won get over it!
#13565545 - 02/15/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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On a dare I blued an entire gun with Oxpho Blue. I polished to 400x like I always do, degreased with acetone, heated the thing with a heat gun, and swabbed on the OB. Burnished with 0000 oil-free steel wool and re-heated between coats, 4 or 5 applications, then rubbed out with Breakfree (it was handy). That little Winchester M67 turned out pretty decent. The kid I gave it to has used it hard and it's holding up pretty well.

That's not to say I recommend the practice. After the success with the .22, against my better judgement I did the bottom metal on one of my Mausers. After filing/sculpting the trigger guard and draw filing the nicks out of the floor plate, I took it all to 400x. Oxpho Blue was then applied per the protocol outlined above. Again, it turned out very pretty. I thought I was on to something but after a couple seasons of use (my rifles stay in my hands, slings in the backpack/game pouch) and a lot of carrying, it started losing its finish on the edges. I came to the conclusion it's not as durable as I had thought. I since rust blued it and all is right with the world again.

Last edited by gnoahhh; 02/15/19.

"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
#13566816 - 02/15/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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I've done a fair number of truck guns for people with oxpho, weren't worth the cost of getting blued. Constantly amazed at how well they came out. Got to try all the tricks in the books (Kinks) articles, videos, etc. Some worked, some didn't. IMHO whether it works or not depends on the individual's exact technique - you gotta play around with it a bit. (A benefit of doing truck guns, free practice pieces that can't help but come out better and make the owners smile. Win-win.)

I sand down until it feels right which is at least knock the rust off and sort of scuff sand to knock off any kind of barrier on the surface. I don't bother to sand off all old bluing. Apply Oxpho with 0000 steel wool, degreased because it makes me feel better though it doesn't seem to matter. Give it another light coat with a patch and let sit overnight. Then rub with dry 0000 to take off the excess "bluing" and blend. If streaks, light spots, etc. apply another coat of oxpho and repeat.

Cold blue is not a conversion coating like rust blue or caustic blue that "convert" the iron in the steel to iron oxide. They are selenium dioxide based and deposit a selenium compound on the steel which looks pretty.

#13567798 - 02/15/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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But like I said, as easy as it is, you can do it once a season and it'll look good for the season. WTH!!!


What goes up must come down, what goes around comes around, there's no free lunch. Trump won get over it!
#13568323 - 02/16/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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killerv Offline
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We'll I got several more coats on it the past couple days and pretty pleased with it. One thing I did a little different was to let each coat dry for 30 min, then coat again, dry a few more before I put it in the humidity box. Used a little less humidity too. Hope to to get it put back together this week and I'll post some pics. Thanks for all the help/tips.

Last edited by killerv; 02/16/19.
#13623288 - 03/04/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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killerv Offline
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Here is the finished product, thanks for the all the help guys. Learned a lot. Would have posted quicker but of course I lost the safety detent spring in the process and I ordered new grip screws. It could certainly came out a little better but I'm pretty pleased. Plus finally learned how to disassemble/assemble this things.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by killerv; 03/04/19.
#13624650 - 03/04/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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Looks nice.

#13625395 - 03/04/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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Not anything like blued steel for a classy heater, You made it good enough for open carry.

#13643566 - 03/10/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: killerv]  
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The problem on rust bluing Rugers are the investment castings.....


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#13646012 - 03/11/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: John_Boy]  
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Originally Posted by John_Boy
The problem on rust bluing Rugers are the investment castings.....


I disagree. It is really the fact that the investment cast receivers, cylinders, bolts, etc. are made from chrome-moly alloy steel very similar to 4140. The chrome inhibits rusting enough so that rust bluing is difficult to do. The regular carbon steel parts on Rugers rust blue nicely.

RAN

#13654814 - 03/14/19 Re: Rust blue question [Re: RAN]  
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Originally Posted by RAN


It is really the fact that the investment cast receivers, cylinders, bolts, etc. are made from chrome-moly alloy steel very similar to 4140. The chrome inhibits rusting enough so that rust bluing is difficult to do.

RAN


I have a Sako L579 with a Douglas barrel (chrome moly 4140, I think) that is ready to be blued (in the white). I want to rust blue it for the classic blued look and durability. Is rust bluing not as advisable for modern alloy steels as some other bluing? I've got the Laurel Mountain Forge browning/blueing solution, a rusting box and steam tube made, but if some other bluing method will better give me the look and durability that rust blue is known for, I'll go with that.

I also wanted to put Gun Kote (the nano ceramic stuff) on it after bluing. Is there something to stop the bluing process that doesn't require oil (because you have to degrease to put the Gun Kote on).. I'd rather put oil over the Gun Kote, if possible; it really helps prevent unwanted rusting of blued steels in my experience.

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