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Preparing metal for rust blue

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Klamathlake, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. Klamathlake

    Klamathlake G&G Newbie

    Wondering if anyone has previously rust blued a rifle? I am getting ready to do so and am confused by all the information that is out there. This is where I am at...I plan to remove all of the old blue on the rifle until I have bare metal all around. My confusion begins here. I understand that my finish will be only as good as my prep work. Some say to polish the metal smooth as glass, others say to stop at 320 grit in order to give the metal some "grain" to hold the new blue. I don't mind polishing at all. In fact, when working with guns my biggest problem is knowing when to stop. I could tell you a story about a destroyed Citori butt stock........
    Any feedback about rust bluing would be appreciated. I am going to use Brownells Classic Rust Blue.
    And by the way, I am restocking this rifle too (with maple). I have been searcing for certain tool shapes and other supplies to use for inletting and was having a heck of a time. I accidently found an online art supply store and the rest is history. Oil-free steel wood etc. The best find was a kit of linoleum knives that allow me to cut cut small wood shavings while inletting. This set up allows me to pull the tool towards me for better control of what I am doing. Darnedest thing. The cost of this tool set was a whopping $6.95.

  2. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk G&G Evangelist

    Doesn't the Brownell's Rust Blue come with instructions.

    I have never used Rust Blue. The closest I've come is "browning" barrels for flintlock and caplock rifles and pistols. That's a controlled rusting process.
  3. Klamathlake

    Klamathlake G&G Newbie

    The Brownells directions are wonderfully vague. They kind of dance around the issue without giving any clear directions. I have spoken to two of their gun techs and was given different answers. How did you prepare the metal on your guns for the browning process? My understanding is that the only difference between rust bluing and rust browning is that the metal is boiled between coats of the blue and the rust "carded" off with a brush or steel wool.
  4. swedesrus

    swedesrus G&G Evangelist

    When I do a reblue I use a wire wheel to remove the old blue, do not sand...........
  5. Klamathlake

    Klamathlake G&G Newbie

    Oh my! Some of the things I have read say to NEVER use a wire wheel, sand only. I watched a short YouTube video by Midway that shows the CEO sanding a barrel by hand. Why do you suggest not to sand?
  6. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk G&G Evangelist

    We sanded by hand, but it's been so long I forgot what grit we ended up with. It was nice and smooth, even after the browning.
  7. Purdy

    Purdy G&G Evangelist

    Depends on the wire wheel, I have one with soft and long "wires" that is made for carding guns between applications of the bluing solution. :D

    But you are right, to remove the blue, use chemicals and then sand with very fine wet/dry paper used wet.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  8. Klamathlake

    Klamathlake G&G Newbie

    Thanks for the input. I think I will sand the metal. A wire wheel and poor lighting were the culprits in the aforementioned Citori buttsock incident (well, ok, operator error was a huge factor). I checked Brownells Gun Tech section and found different directions than were sent with my bottle. The directions on their site say to sand to 320. I guess they know best. They say that sanding or wooling any further increases finish time in that more coats of blue are needed. I don't mind doing more coats but that would just offer more opportunity for mistakes.
  9. Steve

    Steve Master Gunsmith Staff Member

    As a working master gunsmith I can give the proper directions to accomplish your rust bluing but I will not type them out it is to long but you can call me. 580-317-5593 and I will explain the whole process to you.
  10. swedesrus

    swedesrus G&G Evangelist

    Then if you don`t want to use wire, then use white vinegar, just takes longer.............
  11. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Evangelist

    In fact, I've shipped my Model 94 Winchester to Steve to rust blue my rifle. I'm hoping to get it back in time to do some other modifications before the upcoming deer season.

    Previous to that I learned from a local gun shop that the receiver of the "94 would not take the standard bluing job.

    Apparently rust bluing is a very long process and requires heating a container of bluing oil chemicals in which to submerge the gun parts before doing several other steps. This requires a lot of heating time and expense for chemicals.

    Naturally, the gun must be cleaned throughly after this job. It is rather expensive to have someone else do the job so if you have the time, knowledge and equipment this could be a fun project.

  12. Klamathlake

    Klamathlake G&G Newbie

    Steve, thank you for offering your time! I am in Oregon, so what is a good time to call you (your time?). I assume you are on Central time...

  13. Klamathlake

    Klamathlake G&G Newbie

    Oxford...Thanks! It appears that you may be referencing a "standard" blue job as done by a gunsmith. From all that I have read and having the blue in-hand, rust bluing is different. The only chemical used is the blue solution itself. Prep the metal, apply a thin coat of blue, wait an hour, apply another coat, then wait for the the entire surface to rust (gulp!). Boil the metal in distilled water (more gulping) for 20-30 minutes then remove the rust with a carding brush or steel wool. Another coat of blue (1 only this time), rust, boil. Repeat until happy. Use water displacing oil and/or gun oil to stop rusting process. No hot chemicals, just hot water. From what I read it is a very nice finish and the main drawback is that it is time consuming. I have lots more time than money..... The local gunsmith wanted $325 to blue and can't swing that right now. Heck, I have over $500 (so far) in just restocking. I guess that I am not too afraid of the process. Just have to be careful. Geez, for years I have sloshed my 1100 around in irrigation ditches in order to remove enough mud to keep shooting at geese. The fields that I hunt turn to gumbo very easily. Makes for good camo when you look like Pigpen though.
  14. Klamathlake

    Klamathlake G&G Newbie

    Thank you Steve! I appreciate your time on the phone today. I received lots of good info and even some bonus info. Thanks again.
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