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  • Best Cold Blue?

    Looking for opinons and or experiences any are willing to share.
    What's the best chemical solution out there for cold blueing? Do you find there to be any special tricks to making it work better? How many coats do you think, before you have gotten about all the effect your going to get.


    I'm just curious, because I took some plain bar stock, some Birchwoods Super Blue, and some Brownell's formula 44/40 and tried a variety of things I had heard. I'm just curious to see what some other people have found or heard.

    A brief summery of what I found. First, I found the 44/40 gave what I thought to be a better finish. (I now what to see if there is something better yet) I had been told by some people that boiling the part after putting on the chemical, but before steel wooling it would help get better penetration and a more durable and darker finish. This did not prove out in my tests. It seemed to make no differance with these particular chemicals what so ever. I was also told that heating the parts up in the oven to around 175 F. before putting the chemicals on would also help get all the same things as boiling. Once again, with these particular chemicals, this didn't prove out. As a matter of fact, from what I could tell it actually gave a finished product that wasn't as dark as doing it on room temp metal.

    The best result I had with my tests of these two chemicals and tricks was gotten in the following way.

    I used the Brownells formula 44/40 and did four coats. I degreased the metal with 409 cleaner. I then final washed it with isopropal alcohol. I used a clean patch each time to apply the 44/40 and immediatly wiped it off per the directions. I let it finish drying for a minute then polished it with steel wool. I then repeated all these steps. I did that four times. I then polished the bar with a cloth wheel in a drill using some red jewelers rouge to even out the finish. I then went back and did the same thing I had before and applied four more coats of 44/40.

    What I ended up with, was definitly not a factory or proffesional hot blue job or finish. However, it was a fairly dark "BLUE" not black or silvery gray but blue, and had a nice even finish with an excellent shine to it.

    So please let me know, what have you found? What works best for you?


  • #2
    AIFOOL >>>> Welcome to Assault Web.

    I have found that when I use Formula 44/40 is does not produce consistant results. I have very good luck using Brownells OXPHO-BLUE.

    If you follow the Directions on the Bottle and make sure you have Prepped the areas to be blued properly. You will have a good "Home" blueing job. It works well on touching up worn areas also.

    I have considered trying some of the New bake on finishes myself. You can get those from Brownells also.

    Good SHOOTin,

    Death Merchant

    ------------------
    "Respect, Honor, Discipline" Values for Life!
    \"Respect, Honor, Discipline\" ....My Values for Life!

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    • #3
      Another vote here for the Brownell's Oxpho-Blue.

      I've had really good results with it, particularly when touching up bare spots. It blends with the existing bluing extremely well.

      Once you're done, you'll have difficulty figuring out where the bare spots were.

      Personally I prefer the cream type. It's thick enough to stay where you put it, and you don't have to keep adding more to bring the color up.
      Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzet (All skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket.) Old German Folk Wisdom.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the welcome and the tips folks. You hit exactly on one of the nails I was wondering about. I had read the stuff in the Brownell's cataloge about the Oxpho-Blue and was considering ordering some and trying it. I just hadn't made that move yet. With the info you have provided though, I think that is probably going to be my next experiment.

        BTW: A respected friend and fellow member of a RKBA group answer with the following
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        I have tried Perma Blue and 4440 liked neither.
        www.novumsolutions.com/GunBlue.html

        This gun blue was introduced this year at the SHOT show and was supposed to be the best new product introduced. It is not a cold blue, parts must be heated in the oven before bluing and it is not inexpensive around $50.00 for the kit. NO personal knowledge on this product, just what I read about it.
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        So has anyone here tried this stuff or know someone who has and was it any good?

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        • #5
          AIFOOL - HEY - FOUND YOU ON ANOTHER POST? WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU BY E-MAIL SO I CAN TELL YOU ABOUT BLUE WONDER GUN BLUE - THE ONE THAT WON BEST OF SHOW AT SHOT SHOW 2002 IN LAS VEGAS. IT'S UNIQUE AND WORTH YOUR LOOKING INTO. IN ABOUT 2-3 WEEKS YOU'LL BE ABLE TO GET IT AT MIDWAY USA AND BROWNELL'S, AMONG OTHER PLACES AND IF YOU PICK UP THE JLY ISSUE OF HANDGUNS, YOU'LL SEE A REVIEW OF THE PRODUCT.

          WE CAN ALSO GIVE YOU SOME OTHER ADVISE ON RE-FINISHING YOUR "OLD" GUNS...

          KG

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          • #6
            Well, I just thought I should report back on some of what has happened in this vain.

            I just in the last week got done doing an old stevens single shot shotgun for a friend. It had sentimental value. He had striped it and done the whole steel wool rub down back about 12 years ago but never did blue it our even give it a good coat of oil. As you would expect, when I got it it was one large hunk of brown rust. Fortunatly it hadn't pitted to badly.

            Well I went after it with scotch bright pads and G96 CLP, and after a week or so of soak and scrub it cleaned up "reasonably" well. I then gave a call to brownell's and spent some time talking with a really nice and very helpful smith in their tech support dept. I then went with some of his tips on this shotgun, as well as some I have pick up in the brownells gunsmithing kinks books. It came out great! At least as far as anyone who has seen it is concerned. That is baring in mind that it is a cold blue job.

            Here's what I did.

            1. Cleaned and polished as I said with G96 CLP and scotch bright pads.

            2. Gave it a final polishing with 00 steel wool.

            3. I then cleaned and seriously rinsed in as hot a water as I could stand. I cleaned it using Simple Green. However, the guy @ brownells mentioned and I have used in the past 409. I washed and rinsed twice, just to make sure.

            4. Then taking the operation outdoors temperarily, I heavily swabbed the parts (each as I ws ready to blue it) with a 10% Muriatic (sp) Acid solution. This was made using common acid available at any hardware store and good clean distilled or filter purified water. I did as told, keep mopping it on until the surface takes on a "Uniformaly Frosted" look. "It will be obvious" It was! The surface took on a very uniform grayish matte look to it. This will NOT cause a matte finish in your blueing. This finish job ended up with a nice shine to it.

            5. Going back to as hot a water as you can stand, rinse all of the acid off the part. I did.

            6. I then finished drying my parts using my wifes blow gun hair dryer. It worked really well and eliminated the possibility of microscopic oil drops in my comressed air getting on the parts.

            7. I then put some of Brownells Oxpho-Blue in a small disposable plastic bowl. I was told and have read this is critical to making sure you never in advetantly start nutrilizing the solution you have in the bottle. Also I was told to use a fresh cotton ball with each time I dip into the bowl os solution. Same reason.

            8. Then per the directions on the Oxpho-
            Blue I hit the part with a heavy coat of solution, and man did it ever take hold. I mean to tell you I have never seen anything like it. I kept wiping the part with fresh cotton balls and solution for approximatly a minute to keep it wet and working.

            9. I then using disposible womens make up pads, wiped off all the excess solution and let the part finish air drying.

            10. I then polished the part using some 0000 steel wool that I had burned all the oil out of using rubbing alcohol.

            11. Following the directions on the Oxpho-
            Blue I then put five more VERY light coats on the parts. Polishing them in between each coat. Per the tips in Gunsmithing kinks, when doing this I would squeeze almost all the solution out of the cotton ball after dipping it, before wiping the part.

            12. As my final coat, I took a piece of the burned out steel wool and dipped one corner into the remaining solution in my bowl. I then using the entire pad steel wooled onto the pieces a final coat that was a very very light but even coat.

            13. Once the final coat aired dry and left a nice even haazz, I polished it one last time with a dry piece of 0000 steel wool.

            14. Final step, I gave everything a good solid coat of Break Free CLP. So that hopefully this gun won't be back to me to soon.


            I hope this will maybe help someone else who is trying to figure out how to get a good look out of cold blue. This did work for me.


            I am however going to learn more about this new Blue Wonder from the shot show. The quest never ends.

            [This message has been edited by AIFOOL (edited 03 April 2002).]

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            • #7
              My Brownells order came last week and I got another bottle of oxpho-blue. IMHO it's the best cold blue that I have used.

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              • #8
                If you have the time and a vessel that you can boil water in (big enough to acommodate your largest parts), you might want to try Pilkington's Classic American blue. It is a slow rust blue that will take a few days to apply but when you are done the finish is MUCH more durable than any of the cold blues and has a lot more "depth". It matches the finish on a lot of old rifles and shotguns like Mausers. It also does not have that gawdawful "peppery" smell that the cold blues leave on the firearm forever.

                Application is less critical than the cold blues and I find the experience and results a lot more predictable. I still use Oxpho for touch up but you cannot beat the slow rust blue for looks and durability when refinishing a whole gun.


                [This message has been edited by blackbird (edited 04 April 2002).]

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                • #9
                  I did a beautiful cold blue job on my uncle's 1911- I used boiling water and ice cold water varrying from each coat- it produced a swirled coloration much like you see on an old damascus shotgun barrel. However I did not know how to deactivate the bluing even after wiping it off and using water. A gunsmith told me to use plaine old vinegar to de-activate it. Wish I would have since I spent a whole day on the thing. It looked great at first then it just dulled out.

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                  • #10
                    AIFOOL,

                    great Post!

                    I'm getting ready to blue my tapco G! Fal. A question? Did you neutralize the Oxpho before oiling?

                    Thanks in advance.

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                    • #11
                      not exactly an answer to your question - I use 44/40 more than oxyblue - I find it rargker and eaiser to apply, but I discovered the most interesting thing the other day. Having to remove a bur for a customer who did not want any refinish, I went to my shelf and couldn't FIND THE #)(&)_(*# 44/40, so on a whim, I used birchwood casey brass-blask for brass copper and bronze on a parkerized part. the match was amazing.

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                      • #12
                        If you think Brownells Oxpho-blue is good try useing their "Dicropan-T4"! Oxpho turns out a dark shade of "Blue" BUT Dicropan turns out "BLACK" and holds up just as well. Give it a try.

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                        • #13
                          AIFOOL - Where you been hidin' out? I've been trying to locate you and get you to e-mail me. kgibbs@novumsolutions.com KG

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