Bluing is the traditional protective metal treatment for the steel parts of guns. Not only does it look good, it also resists corrosion and lasts many years.
While cold blue solutions are available for touching up spots where the original blue has worn, cold blue simply is not durable enough to use for a permanent finish. Fortunately, DIY hot bluing is within the capabilities of the dedicated amateur gunsmith.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Heated bluing tanks (2)
- Degreaser solution
- Distilled water
- Bluing solution
- Rubber gloves
- Glass jar
- Steel wire
- Applicator brush
- Clean towel
- Cotton gloves
- Steel wool, 0000
Mix the degreaser solution according to the directions on the jug, and fill one of the tanks with it. Turn on the tank heat.
Fill the other tank with distilled water and turn on the heat. Pour bluing solution in the glass jar, no more than half full so the jar will float, and place it in the water to heat. Bring the water to a boil. The bluing solution does not need to boil; it will be hot enough when the water reaches boiling temperature.
Make hooks out of the steel wire and fasten the hooks to the clean, disassembled gun parts to be blued. Fasten the hooks securely in areas of the parts that will not be visible when the gun is reassembled.
Hang the gun parts by the hooks, so they are suspended in the degreaser solution. Make sure the solution fully covers the parts. Degrease your rubber gloves, while you are wearing them. Also degrease the steel wool by soaking in the solution.
Lift the gun parts out of the degreaser tank, using the hooks as handles, and hang them in the boiling water tank. Allow about five minutes for the parts to become hot.
Lift the parts out of the water one at a time and apply the bluing solution with the applicator brush, using long strokes in only one direction. As you finish each part, place it back into the boiling water bath and start on the next part. Repeat the process, applying three to five coats of solution to each part. Once the colour is as dark as you want it, boil the parts for ten minutes.
Lift the gun parts out of the tank and shake off excess water. Place the parts on a clean towel, and turn off the tank heaters. The gun parts should dry immediately, because of the residual heat in them.
Polish the parts with steel wool, then oil them inside and out to prevent rusting.
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