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Joined: Jan 2004
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Sidelock
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You can still buy ethyl alcohol at the hardware store. It is labled "denatured" alcohol and will work just fine. It has an additive to make it undrinkable but that will not affect its use in any gun-related usage.

Brent


_________
BrentD, (Professor - just for Stan)

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I mix my own using the Baker Modified formula that is in the Old
Clyde Baker Gunsmithing book. It does a great job.One of my gunshop friends has had me mix it for him for doubles for years. I will post the formula later today
Here it is:
For Steel Shotgun Barrels:

Potassium Chlorate 5 %
Sodium Nitrate 6%
Potassium Nitrate 2 %
Mercuric Chloride 5%
Water qs

For a blacker and faster solution use 2% Ammonium Chloride

Etching Solution (for Pre Etch)

Nitric Acid 1 oz
Water 240 ml ( 8 oz)

Use the boiling water process, swabbing on CLEAN and prepared barrels, boil 2 minutes at a time, steel wool and continue about 10 times until desired finish is achieved. Wash with hot clean water and oil . Burnish with Steel wool and oil to
finish proper luster.

I modified Mr. Bakers solution to bring solubilities to more scientific levels and deleted an inert ingrediant or two. I also usually add Ammonium Chloride to help the process and found the Potassium Chlorate speeds
the oxidation and quality of the job.

Last edited by Stallones; 07/31/09 06:09 PM.
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I have just added the formula in the previous box

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Hi Stallones, I have to say to you or anyone using mercuric go easy with that stuff its a deadly poison I would always suggest using something else, regards

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Mercuric chloride is still readily available and used by many of the 'trade' blackers.
Obviously because of the associated health issues it would be better to use a safer alternative.
The question is, What?

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I use.....Black brown (Sheffield formula)

ferric chloride
alchol
water
hydrochloric acid

the wife is the chemist, she mixes it up as needed. She also won't let me use mercuric chloride.

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I used enough of the merc compound stuff early on. Works great, but the trade off in health problems down the road is not worth it. You end up contaminating not only youself while doing the blueing but the area you're working in most likely.

There's just too many other formulas around that work well to use that stuff.

I use L/M now almost exclusivley. Slowing the rusting cycle down to 12 to 24 hours avoids the matted finish. It's an aggressive solution but lower temps & humidity slows it right down but it still rusts. I use it in the winter time with good but very slow results.
Mark Lee's formula for express blue works great for me. Sometimes I put a couple of coats of slow rust blue onto the surface and finish it up with express blue.

The Belgian Blue (Merc Compound) and the Brownells stuff just sit on the shelf. Pilkingtons works pretty well but I always go back to the Laurel Mtn it seems.

I use L/M for damascus finish to.

I tried the acid fume methods along time ago and that was a disaster for me. Others seem to have mastered it, but some say it doesn't produce a finish that wears very well. I'll never know!

The 'old' formula BirchWood Casey Barrel Brown used to produce a beautiful rust blue. A brilliant deep blue that was difficult to get with other available products. But it too was a merc compound formula and was taken off the market and reformulated some years ago to delete the mercury. I don't know if the new stuff works for rust blueing at all.

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Yes, I know Mercuric Chloride is poisonous,as I have a Pharmacy degree. However, using it with safeguards of no skin touching and not inhaling the dust from scratching will be safe enough

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