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  • Gun Blue / Black Oxide Supplies

    I'm wondering if any one out there knows of any places where you can buy bluing salts in small amounts, like by the pound. All I can find is Dulite and Brownells which both sell only 5 gallon pals. I don't need that much for a one time project and don't want to store the stuff in the shop since it's so corrosive. Forget the cold blue stuff...... it's no where near the quality of hot blue.

    TNX...... JL

  • #2
    Here's a link for DIY black oxide;

    http://www.blindhogg.com/homemadesalts.html

    There are quite a few formulas for home bluing that do not require salts, the simplest is rust bluing, it is controlled rusting and carding of the parts, it is hard work and time consuming, but it is the only method acceptable to many collectors of fine guns.

    Here is one method, there are many. A search will turn up a few, and most older gunsmithing books will cover it as well.

    http://www.hobbygunsmith.com/Archives/Aug03/HowTo.htm
    Jim H.

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    • #3
      I do bluing at home and I looked at the requirements for hot salts and rejected it based on the number of tanks, the chemicals used the general disposal problems and that it should be done is a separte building or negative air pressure area away from anything you don't want to get rusty. I truly must councel against setting this operation up as a one time gig, it isn't worth it.

      I also work around this stuff for a living as I'm an engineer with a gun company.

      For the occasional bluing I do, I use Herters Express Blue. It provides a tougher, deeper finish than hot salts, but it takes longer to do. To blue a complete firearm takes about 5 hours of labor. The best part is when you're done you just screw the cap on the blueing solution and put it away till the next job and pour the water out in the yard.

      You will not get a mirror finish, its a black satin. The splotchy look is from differances in the amount of oil in oxide layer, the reflecting sun makes it look spotty, but its really a uniform finish.

      Last edited by Rusty Marlin; 08-25-2009, 01:52 PM.
      Ignorance is curable through education.

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      • #4
        Have you looked into Rust Bluing?

        http://www.hobbygunsmith.com/Archives/Aug03/HowTo.htm

        I use it all of the time. (I started practicing by rust bluing some of my hand tools and it really does wear like iron). It is extremely simple and requires a minimal investment but very tedious and time consuming however, you will not get a better, deeper, more durable finish form anything I know of. It is the premium bluing used on the worlds most expensive guns and ALL double guns.


        Edit: Sorry I didn't notice that I had posted the same link as JCHannum. Apparently great minds think alike........
        Last edited by smiller6912; 08-25-2009, 08:45 AM.
        "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not."~ Thomas Jefferson

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Rusty Marlin
          For the occasional bluing I do I use Herters Express Blue. It provides a tougher, deeper finish than hot salts, but it takes longer to do.
          Is that the same as Herter's Belgian Blue?

          http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=7...t/BELGIAN_BLUE
          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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          • #6
            Express Blue and Belgian Blue are variations of the rust bluing process, and require carding between coats.

            http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=8...PRESS_BROWN__2

            Blueing and blacking are both oxides, and several different chemicals and application techniques will produce results. It can be as simple as hanging the cleaned, degreased part in a humidity cabinet and letting it rust for a period of time, carding and repeating until the desired depth of color is achieved.

            The various commercial products hasten the process, most are derived from formulas that gunsmiths have developed over the years. Machinery's Handbook and many older books have information.
            Jim H.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JCHannum
              Express Blue and Belgian Blue are variations of the rust bluing process, and require carding between coats.

              http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=8...PRESS_BROWN__2
              That second link is cheap enough to try. I've been using Caswell Blue, which is the same stuff as Brownell's cold blue -- it's phosphoric acid plus cupric oxide (the latter is the normal cold blue solution), so it produces a matte grey/blue finish which is a lot more durable than Birchwood Casey et al, but it's still very fragile.

              I'd love to have a quick cold blue solution in the shop for toolpost holders etc, and I don't want to deal with vats of boiling lye.
              Last edited by lazlo; 08-25-2009, 02:06 PM.
              "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lazlo
                Is that the same as Herter's Belgian Blue?

                http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=7...t/BELGIAN_BLUE

                yes same stuff. And while the name says Express, that's only because it takes hours instead of days. LOL
                Ignorance is curable through education.

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                • #9
                  This thread sure had good timing for me! I intend to reblue a Marlin 1895 (45/70 made in 1976) and I would like a deep mirror like blue to accent the high quality fancy grade walnut I have for it. It is my understanding that this starts with the metal being polished to a chrome like luster before bluing and that part is no problem but what would be the best method to accomplish this high luster blue for a beginner? I know the best thing to do would be to just send it out and have it professionally done but that defeats the purpose as this is something I just want to do myself, I think almost anyone who frequents this site can understand that!

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                  • #10
                    Robert-- I did a google search on Herter's Express Blue and got a link to this product (also sold by Brownell's) The good news is that if it's the right stuff, it's also cheaper than what was listed as Herter's Belgian Blue:

                    http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=8...PRESS_BROWN__2

                    I am interested in this as a viable alternative for firearms, but am still likely going to make up one of the DIY black oxide recipies and use it at least for tooling. You keep it in a 5gallon bucket and do all the work outside, so I am not so worried about using lye in that regard. One of the newer guys here who's screen name escapes me (I sure remember his work however) used just this on several pieces he made and the results were impressive.

                    I just wish that the melonite process (salt bath nitriding) was something that was doable at home....the surface finish it leaves is a soft satin and *very* black...and hard as rock. Sig Sauer is now using a process they call Nitron and Glock has long had Tennifer which are based on this method. One of the (three?) varieties of the process is being used as a firearm finish by a few custom finishers and the results are very sharp. The first link is to details on the process. The second is a finished custom 1911:

                    http://www.burlingtoneng.com/melonite.html
                    http://www.millercustom.com/S1030394.JPG

                    Paul
                    Paul Carpenter
                    Mapleton, IL

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                    • #11
                      RE: Gun Bluing

                      I appreciate all the replies and links. I've tried some different cold blue stuff in the past and it's all about the same. None of them come close to the results of hot blue. I was just wondering if anyone know of a place that sold small amounts. I need enough for about 1 gallon of water. I think that is about 6 Lbs. of salts. I have a few small parts to do.

                      JL.......................

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        bluing salts

                        Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
                        I'm wondering if any one out there knows of any places where you can buy bluing salts in small amounts, like by the pound. All I can find is Dulite and Brownells which both sell only 5 gallon pals. I don't need that much for a one time project and don't want to store the stuff in the shop since it's so corrosive. Forget the cold blue stuff...... it's no where near the quality of hot blue.

                        TNX...... JL
                        First odd Brownells does not sale 5 lb cans of oxynate 7. 40Lbs. is the least you can get from them and by the time you pay the hazmat charge it almost $200.00 for a 40 lb can. I don't know about the Dulite I have never used it, I use oxynate #7 You have to have a tank that can reach 290 degrees F. I bought a Iron tank from brownells and put a Regular High Density Water heater element in it without a thermostat. If you need you can put one on each end..
                        I'm going to check out the Dulite and see what it's about. But The Oxynate is the best I have found even with the expense. By the way, invest in a breathing mask.Now Brownells has Belgium blue but thats not bluing salts.
                        If you find a place where you can buy 5 and 10 pound cans let me know.Plus with the Dulite, You cannot blue in a stainless steel tank. The chemicals and the stainless steel will not mix.
                        And by the way cold bluing with Casey Birchwood or something like that IS NOT BLUING.
                        Last edited by rylayne50; 09-12-2013, 03:12 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Just a quick dummy question. How bad would it be to blue your whole milling table ?
                          John Titor, when are you.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mikeamick View Post
                            Just a quick dummy question. How bad would it be to blue your whole milling table ?
                            It would be ridiculous. Period.

                            JL......................

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
                              I appreciate all the replies and links. I've tried some different cold blue stuff in the past and it's all about the same. None of them come close to the results of hot blue. I was just wondering if anyone know of a place that sold small amounts. I need enough for about 1 gallon of water. I think that is about 6 Lbs. of salts. I have a few small parts to do.

                              JL.......................
                              Had to comment here.......... especially since rylayne50 pulled up one of my old posts when I was going through the same thing you are going through now.

                              Bottom line, I've tried several cold blue brands in the past, basically the stuff has not changed sine it was first developed and they all yield the same results.
                              No one sells hot blue salts in any thing smaller than 5 gallon pales that I've been able to find. Besides you have to pay a haz mat fee of like $20 no matter what the quantity is. It takes about 8 Lbs of salts per gallon of water to reach the proper boiling temp. You'll find out that after a few jobs your going to have to add more salts due to loss from drag out and splashing. You'll wish you bought the 5 gal. pal.
                              I put together a simple setup with a 4" deep stainless steel pan, and a burner from an old hot water tank fueled by propane. It work out really well for me, I got very professional results. You don't need all the fancy tanks for the occasional jobs. I clean my parts off with laquer thinner and my rinse tank is a plastic dish washing tub with the garden hose running. I did buy the Dulite Quick Seal water displacing oil, it's the best stuff around. Like you I asked a lot of questions as I wasn't sure I would be able to do this, it's really an easy process. Just make sure you have a good thermometer and calibrate it.

                              Note: The salts I have are from Heat Bath Corp. I can't tell the diff. from the stuff I do as compared to something factory done.
                              Brownells claims the stuff they sell yields a deeper black but I think all that depends on the finish of the part.
                              Also you can't mix different brands, so I was told. They all do the same thing with the same finish but chemically are not compatible.

                              JL.......................
                              Last edited by JoeLee; 09-12-2013, 10:57 PM.

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