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JNW #617938 08/10/22 05:33 PM
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and for some of us, acid is a rust bluing solution.

Hope you have been well Bill.

All my best,
Steve


http://www.bertramandco.com/

ACGG Professional metalsmith, firearms import services.
SKB #617947 08/10/22 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SKB
and for some of us, acid is a rust bluing solution.

Hope you have been well Bill.

All my best,
Steve

I have been well Stevie... thank you for your most sincere good wishes.

I'd be even better if you could share with us what acid you use for a rust bluing solution. I am aware that most rust bluing solutions contain one or more acids, in addition to several other ingredients. But none I know of is straight undiluted acid; not those in Angier's book, or anywhere else I've seen a formula. And I've researched and tried a lot of rust bluing and browning formulas until our friend Doug Woodin (PA24) shared his formula with me.

The very first rust bluing formula I ever used was a mixture of 60 cc of concentrated Nitric acid, and 40 cc of concentrated Hydrochloric acid. In this, I dissolved all the degreased wire nails it would consume in a ceramic crucible. After all of the violent bubbling and fuming subsided, I decanted the liquid, and diluted it with 1000 cc of distilled water. The resulting solution rusted my highly polished parts very quickly, and took around 8 or 10 rusting, boiling, and carding cycles. By the time they were a nice deep blue-black, I was also left with a matte finish because it was too aggressive. Even though my acids had consumed all those iron nails, and then was diluted over 10:1 with water, I should have diluted it quite a bit more, and kept my rusting cycles shorter. It looked nice, and was very durable, but it was not as glossy as I had hoped for.

Even when I use acid to remove rust or old blue, I find it needs to be a rather dilute solution, or it will etch the steel. Common white vinegar removes blue quite well, and it is only about 4 to 8% acetic acid. That's why I am curious about what acid would make a good rust bluing solution, and not remove the finish as fast as it was formed???


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JNW #617961 08/11/22 07:19 AM
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Hi Bill,
Try Pilkington's solution for rust blue, it works very well. You are correct, shorter cycles lead to a higher luster blue. You can try skipping the rusting cabinet as well. I finds this really helps when going for a high luster blue.

I make my own browning solutions out of Angier's and I find many of his solutions to be too strong for my liking. I end up reducing them by at least 50%, often much more as I get closer to finishing up.

I do not chemically remove bluing myself but hand polish everything.

All my best,
Steve

Last edited by SKB; 08/11/22 07:46 AM.

http://www.bertramandco.com/

ACGG Professional metalsmith, firearms import services.
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JNW #617965 08/11/22 08:17 AM
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I have a pretty sophisticated bluing cabinet it controls heat and humidity by using a boiler/heated water tank I have used Pilkington brownells and laurel MT. I do cut the laurel in half with water .and I use small hard nylon plastic hammer for dent removal I have a hydrolic dent raiser but I have also turned slugs of various diamiter to remove dents.Mark Cooper

JNW #618007 08/12/22 06:06 AM
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Just curious, Keith and Mark, when you use a hard nylon hammer (instead of brass) do you still need to use something like the HVAC tape over it to protect the barrel finish?


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JNW #618015 08/12/22 08:56 AM
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I don't but most of the barrels I was repairing were going to get reblued anyway I used the 12 ga hydrolic dent raiser with the nylon plastic hammer I have had some dents come out pretty easy dome not so much

keith #618016 08/12/22 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by keith
Originally Posted by SKB
and for some of us, acid is a rust bluing solution.

Hope you have been well Bill.

All my best,
Steve

I have been well Stevie... thank you for your most sincere good wishes.

I'd be even better if you could share with us what acid you use for a rust bluing solution. I am aware that most rust bluing solutions contain one or more acids, in addition to several other ingredients. But none I know of is straight undiluted acid; not those in Angier's book, or anywhere else I've seen a formula. And I've researched and tried a lot of rust bluing and browning formulas until our friend Doug Woodin (PA24) shared his formula with me.

The very first rust bluing formula I ever used was a mixture of 60 cc of concentrated Nitric acid, and 40 cc of concentrated Hydrochloric acid. In this, I dissolved all the degreased wire nails it would consume in a ceramic crucible. After all of the violent bubbling and fuming subsided, I decanted the liquid, and diluted it with 1000 cc of distilled water. The resulting solution rusted my highly polished parts very quickly, and took around 8 or 10 rusting, boiling, and carding cycles. By the time they were a nice deep blue-black, I was also left with a matte finish because it was too aggressive. Even though my acids had consumed all those iron nails, and then was diluted over 10:1 with water, I should have diluted it quite a bit more, and kept my rusting cycles shorter. It looked nice, and was very durable, but it was not as glossy as I had hoped for.

Even when I use acid to remove rust or old blue, I find it needs to be a rather dilute solution, or it will etch the steel. Common white vinegar removes blue quite well, and it is only about 4 to 8% acetic acid. That's why I am curious about what acid would make a good rust bluing solution, and not remove the finish as fast as it was formed???

I have used that formula, or a similar version of it anyway. The “Zischang” formula. I use it full strength, and absolutely LOVE the results, especially when doing Damascus browning.
I personally have had pretty good results using formulas with either nitric or hydrochloric in them and haven’t experienced the “over etching” effect that some others do.
I think my solutions containing acids in them produce a pretty glossy, shiny, sheeny finish or whatever word is appropriate. That’s probably the result of some other tricks of the trade I’ve picked up, but I digress.
I have experienced a side effect while testing a couple of different formulas containing higher amounts of acids….the blacking will sometimes will take on a dark grayish appearance. It’s not unattractive…. Especially if used on some older antique military type guns…It just doesn’t look quite right on a double gun.

JNW #618027 08/12/22 12:57 PM
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I use a formula that I slightly modified out of Angier's and it has Nitric acid as well as Ferric Chloride for Browning. A deeper bite than I like when used straight but I have no issues with it all when reduced. I love the color it gives, a deep rich brown with slight reddish overtones. I tend to reduce the strength of the solution as I get closer to finishing up with damascus tubes. On steel tubes I use Pilkington's straight but short cycles and I am extra careful if the room temperature is over about 65 degrees, which is not too often in my bluing room, only in the summer really.

Last edited by SKB; 08/12/22 01:16 PM.

http://www.bertramandco.com/

ACGG Professional metalsmith, firearms import services.
JNW #618030 08/12/22 04:48 PM
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How many passes at 65 degrees? And how long between cycles?

JNW #618033 08/12/22 05:43 PM
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I tend to run 10-12 passes and let them rust no more than 2 hrs, a bit less time at 65 degrees, maybe an hour or a little more. I like that greenish color before the oxide begins to turn orange.

Last edited by SKB; 08/12/22 05:44 PM.

http://www.bertramandco.com/

ACGG Professional metalsmith, firearms import services.
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