I was looking for the lye portion of the ingredients for hot caustic bluing at the local home improvement store and came across this product.
Here's the MSDS sheet on this product... http://www.summitbrands.com/retail_s...%20Crystal.pdf
According to the MSDS sheet, this stuff contains one popular formulation for hot caustic bluing in approximately the correct proportions. The "aluminum cuttings" look like something that was swept off a milling machine. Everything I have read about hot bluing says that aluminum "kills" the salts. With this in mind, I went ahead and conducted a test batch and determined that if that is the case, the aluminum present in this mixture is not in significant quantity to produce the nullifying effects.
With that in mind, I set up this contraption in the back yard. The setup consists of a Coleman camp stove, a small tank I bent and welded from 12ga mild steel, and a candy thermometer. Also present is a 5 gallon bucket of water for emergency self dunking and a charged garden hose.
Here's the little "bucket" for the small parts.
This stuf is very toxic. Extreme caution must be taken to protect the user from comming in contact with the salts both in the dry form from the original container and from the solution as used here. Personal protective equipment would include but not limited to; full face splash shield, breather mask capable of protecting against the fumes this stuf produces, full rubber apron, gloves, arm protectors, rubber boots, etc... Even the fumes from this stuff, if it comes in contact with your skin, will cause burns.
The drain cleaner is mixed with water at a ratio of 1 jug of drain cleaner per pint of water. The reaction which occurs when the drain cleaner is added to the water is both very violent and very exothermic... the stuff bubbles and splashes with great enthusiasm and gets very hot, very quickly. After the drain cleaner has gone into soulution, it is then heated to ~270 degrees Farenhiet. The parts are then suspended in the tank and "cooked" for 20 minutes. (Note... parts are completely degreased and then preheated in another tank on another Coleman camp stove prior to going into the bluing salts). After 20 minutes, the parts are returned to the preheat bath, which magically became the rinse bath! After a few minutes in the rinse bath, I took the parts to the basement washtub, and continued running clean, hot water over the parts while scrubbing them with an old tooth brush. The final step was to hose the parts down with oil.
Here's the end result... a homebuilt DeHaas Chickopee Centerfire built as a pistol in 22 Hornet.