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Posted By: Mark Larson High contrast brown and white - 02/13/21 09:12 PM
I have a set of Husqvarna damascus barrels in the white, that I'd like to have refinished in high contrast brown and white. I have rust bluing down pretty good now, but browning damascus is out of my wheelhouse. Who is doing high contrast refinishing these days? Anyone here care to take it on?

Thanks,

Mark Larson
253.241.8190

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: Joe Wood Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/13/21 09:47 PM
Mark, isn’t the process the same as black and white except the barrels are not put in boiling water? What puzzles me is I have brown and white that show absolutely no evidence of being acid etched. And I should add I have black and white that also show no sign of acid etching and are beautiful.
Posted By: Mark Larson Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/13/21 09:48 PM
I believe that's correct Joe. I've tried it myself and just can't figure it out. I can brown them to an overall brown color but I love the high contrast look.
Posted By: Joe Wood Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/13/21 10:09 PM
Mark, none of my guns with original brown and white have a high contrast but are much softer. Personally I think they are much more pleasing to the eye than the brutally bright black and white.

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]
Posted By: Mark Larson Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/13/21 10:45 PM
Yes, that's pretty close to what I'm looking for. I just don't like the overall medium brown color I've seen on some, with little contrast.
Posted By: battle Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 01:04 AM
The amount of contrast will be more up to the type of Damascus you’re working with.
Posted By: Replacement Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 02:38 AM
Keith Kearcher in Oregon used to do brown/white. He's retired (I think), but Kody Kearcher may be able to do the finish.
Posted By: susjwp Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 01:43 PM
Buck Hamlin in MO does brown Damascus. Charlie F of Hill Rod and Gun in MT has someone who does brown Damascus.

Good luck.
Posted By: Drew Hause Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 02:14 PM
Send the barrels to Paul Stevens
barrelfinishers@gmail.com
https://m.facebook.com/StevensAndJohnson/
Mobile - 07999586829
Barnstaple, North Devon

[Linked Image from pic20.picturetrail.com]

Craig Smith has done nice "browning", but I don't know if he's still at it

[Linked Image from pic20.picturetrail.com]

and I don't know if Leighton Stallones is taking work

[Linked Image from pic20.picturetrail.com]

Chain barrel by Buck Hamlin which probably doesn't have the contrast you are after

[Linked Image from pic20.picturetrail.com]

An acid etched Bernard I which was discussed here
http://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=477518&page=1

[Linked Image from pic20.picturetrail.com]
Posted By: Recoil Rob Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 02:20 PM
Kirk Merrington...

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]
Posted By: eightbore Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 08:53 PM
Keith Kearcher always did the kind of dark brown, no contrast, finish that the previous poster pictured of Kirk Merrington's work. That is not what we're looking for. Is this rocket science or something? Everyone talks a good game, but few can deliver it. Yes, I've been doing this for sixty years, and the story is the same.
Posted By: SKB Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 09:01 PM
Originally Posted by eightbore
Keith Kearcher always did the kind of dark brown, no contrast, finish that the previous poster pictured of Kirk Merrington's work. That is not what we're looking for. Is this rocket science or something?


More like art than rocket science. High contrast is not what I would call historically correct.

Here is a very high condition Lancaster sporting rifle:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Here is one I did for myself, twist barrel and a bench made sight:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: eightbore Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 09:47 PM
Steve, we're talking about semi modern Parkers, Lindners, Lefevers, which should be black and white.
Posted By: SKB Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 10:02 PM
I thought that Mark was reffering to brown and white, like his title says. I do agree that black and white on American guns should have a high degree of contrast.
Posted By: LeFusil Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 10:23 PM
Originally Posted by SKB
I thought that Mark was reffering to brown and white, like his title says. I do agree that black and white on American guns should have a high degree of contrast.


No, you’re right Steve. We were talking about brown & white and the poster specifically asked about high contrast brown & white. Eightbore is the ONLY one talking about Parker’s, Lindners, & Lefevers. Off in his own little world in regards to this post. Be careful, we keep taking about guns here he’ll be commenting in no time about whipping out his check book.

Btw.....to the original post about high contrast Brown & White, you might want to give Dan Morgan a call. He does a proper English “chocolaty plum” brown & white. Craig Smith did a set of brown & white for me years ago and they turned out really nice....I don’t think he does that finish anymore.
Buck Hamlin does a really nice finish as well.
On a side note...some W&C Scott’s I’ve seen that were intended for the American market seem to have been finished in black & white as well.
Posted By: keith Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 10:29 PM
Originally Posted by SKB
Originally Posted by eightbore
Keith Kearcher always did the kind of dark brown, no contrast, finish that the previous poster pictured of Kirk Merrington's work. That is not what we're looking for. Is this rocket science or something?


More like art than rocket science. High contrast is not what I would call historically correct.

It is absurd to think that contrast or color would remain exactly as it was when it was done a century ago.

Unless it was stored in the dark in a perfect vacuum, further oxidation of the original brown would have ocurred, and the portions that were etched would have also developed some patina.

I know it is somewhat more difficult to get a high contrast brown and white compared to black and white, but I have never mysel seen any explanation for that. I would venture an educated guess that the etching step which provides the contrast must work slightly more aggressively on different iron oxides. Brown rust is ferric oxide (hydrate) while the boiling step converts that brown rust to the black ferro-ferric oxide. A highly polished iron or carbon steel surface is more resistant to rust than a rougher finish... one reason many guys doing rust bluing or brown do not polish beyond 320 grit. The etching solution will not only remove oxide, but it will also cause micro-pitting on bare metal. And we know from all of those corrosion tests that even the best state-of-the-art gun oils will eventually permit some corrosion to ocurr.

That all adds up to the fact that is is probably impossible to know exactly what a century old brown and white finish looked like when it was new.

Trigger warning.....
Posted By: Mark Larson Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 10:38 PM
Fantastic guys, thank you for the suggestions.
Posted By: Joe Wood Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/14/21 11:33 PM
I have a W & C Scott from 1870 finished in B & W and quite attractive. But the design is not nearly as well defined as modern trends. And it shows no evidence of the damned acid etching so common today.
Posted By: SKB Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 01:12 AM
Originally Posted by Joe Wood
I have a W & C Scott from 1870 finished in B & W and quite attractive. But the design is not nearly as well defined as modern trends. And it shows no evidence of the damned acid etching so common today.
Joe,
many barrel finishers use a very strong FECL solution to etch which can attack the metal leaving it slightly pitted. I practiced quite a bit with some of the published formulas for etching and found them way too strong and unmanageable. I reduced them dramatically and neutralize after each etch and have none of the undesirable micro-pitting that you sometime see. As was pointed out to me a by a board member who does excellent damascus work, many people place far to much emphasis the etch. Hopefully Barrel Browner will chime in, his work is the gold standard.
Steve
Posted By: Dan S. W. Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 01:25 AM
I believe this to be an original finish on my fairly good condition 1908 Leech FWIW:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: eightbore Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 07:35 AM
I'm sorry I offended LeFusil, but I meant to say that I prefer a higher contrast, either brown and white or black and white, and have had a hard time getting it from vendors. Also, I am sorry I offended LeFusil when I mentioned examples of makes of guns I have had a hard time getting a proper high contrast finish on. I would not object to brown as opposed to black, just looking for more contrast, as some posters also seem to want. I didn't mean to offend anyone, just clarifying what I am looking for. I don't understand LeFusil's snarky comment about checkbooks. Maybe he will clarify.
Posted By: LeFusil Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 02:15 PM
Oh my man, you didn’t offend me in the slightest. Now, How was anybody supposed to discern or decipher what you were trying to say with your two post? About as vague and off topic as could be. You could help the rest of us out by being a bit more specific in what you’re trying to get across. Rambling post about guns were not talking about doesn’t help.
The checkbook thing....it’s an inside joke I suppose. A lot of guys who’ve been on here awhile, know how you like to tell everyone how close you are to writing a check for various this and that’s. We’ll see how long you go before you post something about writing a check again.
Posted By: topgun Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 03:07 PM
As one who is not and never will be a gunsmith; and also as someone who's personal appeal is only towards the better makes of American guns (not disparaging English and European, just not my area of interest), I judge Damascus barrels by what my eyes tell me. Several years ago at the Southern Side x Side, a dealer had on display an O Grade Damascus barreled LC Smith that had survived in what appeared to be new condition. The gun was displayed near the outside wall of the tent and the barrels were so stunning they caught my attention from the center isle. The finish was black and white and the figure/pattern in those barrels jumped out at the viewer in amazingly wonderful detail. It was at that point I understood why a customer purchasing what would be considered a maker's "budget priced" gun would pay an additional $5-10 for a set of Damascus barrels; those barrels were absolutely beautiful, and it was the beauty of those barrels that called out "buy me" to the customer. According to "my eyes" I haven't seen a set of refurbed Damascus barrels finished/browned in the brown and white format that came remotely close to the look of that barrel set, nor have I seen a set of black and white finish refurbed barrels approaching the manner in which the pattern was revealed to the extent seen on the tubes on this Smith. Most refurbed Damascus barrels are finished to varying shades of brown; and some even have a coppery color closer to the shade of a penny, but neither high-light the iron/steel contrasts intended to be seen within the intricate Damascus patterns (and those with the coppery appearance look totally out of place to the rest of the gun finishes; and the appearance of many are hideous in my opinion). In most examples I've seen the refurbed brown and white modern finishes seem to have a good tone in that the color looks appropriate to the balance of the gun, but one has to look very close see and appreciate the Damascus pattern itself. I know my opinions are virtually worthless to all the "I've forgotten more than you'll ever know" kind of gunsmiths who dominate this forum; but why would a purchaser pay big bucks for a high-dollar set of intricately figured Damascus barrels unless he could actually see and appreciate the pattern? I understand that barrel finishes are prone to darken, or fade, and wear after a hundred plus years of being exposed to who know what, but I'm not convinced anyone today has discovered the correct formula or process necessary to duplicate what it was these old timers used to reveal and high-light the amazing Damascus patterns from decades ago.
Posted By: SKB Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 03:12 PM
look up the work of Stevens and Johnson, third generation barrel browners who had the techniques passed down through the family. I do not think they had to discover the formula or the process as it was never lost to them.
Posted By: eightbore Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 03:19 PM
LeFusil, before you accuse me of rambling on about guns we are "not talking about", you should reread the entire first page of this thread. I think what I'm talking about is what the other posters are talking about. Have a nice day.
Posted By: Tamid Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 05:05 PM
Originally Posted by Replacement
Keith Kearcher in Oregon used to do brown/white. He's retired (I think), but Kody Kearcher may be able to do the finish.

I had C. Kearcher do 2 barrels and they came out an extreme mess. They have a purple hue and the damascus etching is barely visible. They were polished on a wheel and the engraving and name on the ribs have been worn down. Greatly disappointed when I specifically asked for an American black and white finish.
Posted By: SKB Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 08:06 PM
I am posting this picture for Paul Stevens(barrel Browner), one set done by Paul, the other years earlier by his Grandfather.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: LeFusil Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 08:20 PM
Originally Posted by SKB
I am posting this picture for Paul Stevens(barrel Browner), one set done by Paul, the other years earlier by his Grandfather.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Paul’s work is impeccable. If it wasn’t so expensive to send barrels over to have finished....I and many others would’ve sent him barrels years ago. I’ve thought about asking my friend who frequently flies back to England about taking a few sets over and dropping them off for Paul to finish up, but just haven’t gone over the logistics. Btw...Paul’s about as nice a guy as you’d ever want to meet or talk with. Had a few email chats with him over the years, always very polite and informative.
Posted By: topgun Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 08:29 PM
They look OK Brother SKB; you can see the pattern in the pic if you look close, but all you'll see from 5' away is a brown blur. The black and white contrast of the Damascus pattern on the above referenced LC Smith was vivid and stunning at 20'. My comment is certainly not intended to disparage the Stephens family; their work is brilliant, and that may be the finish preferred by the English. But when I see a beautiful set of Damascus barrels I want to see enough contrast to reveal the pattern. I certainly don't see that here.
Posted By: barrel browner Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 08:47 PM
Thanks for posting the picture Steve. These two barrels were done many years apart the one on the right is the older set and when you look at them in the flesh it has a plum tint to it, there is not much of a difference in the formulas used but my belief is the chemicals have changed a lot over the years especially in the last eight to ten years and this is part of the problem, formulas I used for blacking and browning for years no longer worked as well so I have had to experiment and adjust things, finishing barrels is a lot harder now than it was ten years ago, perhaps chemicals are too pure these days, some chemicals are no longer available, I have a recipe for black and white that I have never tried because I cannot get all the ingredients. Samuel Johnson my grandads father was working in Birmingham before moving to London, in 1925 his advertising leaflet offered etching, black, blue black, Brown and white, chocolate brown, and black and white. As for contrast you can play around with them to improve it but you can only pull up what is there, some barrels have a great pattern but poor contrast others the opposite sometimes a cheap old Belgium gun would have stunning Damascus with a cracking contrast. the metal also plays a part in the final colour, Dickson barrels come up one shade some Greener barrels another, I once saw some Damascus pistols my grandad had finished with the brown and white pattern, the lighter strip had a blue shimmer they were stunning sadly I have no idea how he did this. Sorry I don't think I have really answered any questions other than its getting harder to do this work. pictures of different shades can be seen here. https://www.facebook.com/StevensAndJohnson
Posted By: SKB Re: High contrast brown and white - 02/15/21 09:11 PM
More pictures for Paul:

A single that will have very good contrast

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

A double with good contrast

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

A double with one barrel having good contrast and the other with poor contrast.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
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