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  #1  
Old 11-19-2019, 04:36 PM
jeepwm69
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Rust Blue polishing



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I have a High Standard Sport King barrel I picked up as a spare. Finish was almost gone, and I've been wanting to try rust bluing, so I've decided to try it.

Have a bottle of Brownells rust blue, a stainless carding brush, and 22AGS's neat thread here to use for reference. https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forum...=290576&page=8

Luckily this barrel is small enough to be able to boil it in a pot on the stove.

Since the finish was mostly gone on this barrel when I started, I simply soaked it in vinegar for a couple of hours, which brought it back to bare metal. There aren't any dings or dents in the steel, so now I have a bare, shiny metal barrel.

Do I need to sand this thing, and if so, can I just start with 320? I understand that on a gun that needs polishing I would need to start with 60 and work my way up to 320, but since I'm starting with clean, shiny, bare metal to begin with, is further polishing necessary? I'm thinkin I need to hit it with the 320 to rough it up a bit so the rust will have something to "bite" on.

And yes, I know that I must get ALL oil off of the thing before I get started on it. Just wasn't sure about sanding/polishing before I start.
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Old 11-20-2019, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepwm69 View Post
I have a High Standard Sport King barrel I picked up as a spare. Finish was almost gone, and I've been wanting to try rust bluing, so I've decided to try it.

Have a bottle of Brownells rust blue, a stainless carding brush, and 22AGS's neat thread here to use for reference. https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forum...=290576&page=8

Luckily this barrel is small enough to be able to boil it in a pot on the stove.

Since the finish was mostly gone on this barrel when I started, I simply soaked it in vinegar for a couple of hours, which brought it back to bare metal. There aren't any dings or dents in the steel, so now I have a bare, shiny metal barrel.

Do I need to sand this thing, and if so, can I just start with 320? I understand that on a gun that needs polishing I would need to start with 60 and work my way up to 320, but since I'm starting with clean, shiny, bare metal to begin with, is further polishing necessary? I'm thinkin I need to hit it with the 320 to rough it up a bit so the rust will have something to "bite" on.

And yes, I know that I must get ALL oil off of the thing before I get started on it. Just wasn't sure about sanding/polishing before I start.
I think you would be just fine at 320 grit, based on what you wrote. i have done some Slow Rust bluing, and even with barrels that had some imperfections, you don't really need to go much lower than 220 Grit. I have used Pilkington's Rust bluing with great success.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:38 AM
jeepwm69
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Originally Posted by Flintlock28 View Post
I think you would be just fine at 320 grit, based on what you wrote. i have done some Slow Rust bluing, and even with barrels that had some imperfections, you don't really need to go much lower than 220 Grit. I have used Pilkington's Rust bluing with great success.
Thanks. On the one hand, the metal now is clean and smooth, so I hate to even sand it. On the other, as I understand it the metal needs to have something for the rust to bite on, so perhaps a little sanding will help the process.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:43 AM
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Using a decently 'worn' piece of sandpaper that has the high, sharp edges knocked off it will give a more uniform surface, and Go Lightly.
One I did decades ago I strop sanded at an oblique angle, came out with a bit of an emulated damascus twist look if you looked closely.
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Old 11-21-2019, 01:32 PM
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Factory finishes are often coarser than what they appear at first glance. Give credit to the nice, practiced factory blue job.

Take a good look at how finely finished you think the gun was when new, and try to replicate that. Some guns have different degrees of polish on different parts - I'm thinking of my Mk I Ruger I shot yesterday; the barrel is not as finely finished as the frame.

Trying for too fine a finish can cause problems when you start to encounter curves and crevices; unless the surface texture in those areas matches the rest of the gun, they will stand out.
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:07 PM
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From what I remember also..... If you use too fine of an Abrasive, you will get a shinier finish, but the Bluing won't be as deep. it will be more of a Bluish Gray, kinda like when an old rifle just starts to get a real light patina, and the bluing begins to fade.


The 320 grit will provide some "bite" for the solution to grab on to. if you go finer than 320 grit, you won't get as dark of a Bluing.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:39 PM
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Rust bluing will be more of a satin finish so no need to polish first. I would go with a light once over with the220-320 and then rust 5 or 6 times. I have only done 4 or 5 rust blue projects myself but they came out ok. Also degreased 4/0 steel wool works for removing the black rust where the brush wont reach.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:21 AM
jeepwm69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flintlock28 View Post
From what I remember also..... If you use too fine of an Abrasive, you will get a shinier finish, but the Bluing won't be as deep. it will be more of a Bluish Gray, kinda like when an old rifle just starts to get a real light patina, and the bluing begins to fade.


The 320 grit will provide some "bite" for the solution to grab on to. if you go finer than 320 grit, you won't get as dark of a Bluing.
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Originally Posted by HUSHKABOOM View Post
Rust bluing will be more of a satin finish so no need to polish first. I would go with a light once over with the220-320 and then rust 5 or 6 times. I have only done 4 or 5 rust blue projects myself but they came out ok. Also degreased 4/0 steel wool works for removing the black rust where the brush wont reach.
Exactly the info I was looking for. 320 grit it is. I'd rather have a darker finish than a mirror polish.

Looks like the recommended way of degreasing steel wool is an acetone soak followed by burn off?

https://forums.gunboards.com/showthr...and-steel-wool
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Old 11-22-2019, 12:12 PM
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Be aware some have used steel wool as fire starters. It may be that with the oil washed out it wont light?, but the acetone is flammable too.
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:48 PM
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I just pull out the amount of wool I plan to use and take it outside and hose it down with a spray can of brake cleaner solvent. Let it dry a few minutes and then use it.
Also some real hot water and dishwashing soap work fairly well for cleaning and degreasing the metal parts. Then acetone or brake cleaner before the rust solution.

Last edited by HUSHKABOOM; 11-22-2019 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:23 PM
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And Do Not handle the parts with bare hands even if freshly washed.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:09 PM
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Degreasing steel wool can be tricky using solvents. If you 'burn it off' you most likely find out why steel wool is use for a good fire starter.
Any residual solvent in the wool and the fine wool itself go up like the best kindling you've ever seen when a match is touched to them.

Soap/water & dry or let the Acetone evaporate is a better plan.
They sell stainless steel 'wool. No oil in that stuff from the mfg'r.
A carding wheel is best but they can be $$.

The 'bite' to the soln depends a lot on the soln itself (there are many) and the steel it's being used on.

If you are doing an Express Rust (heating the metal and applying a soln to rust instantly),,one trick is to apply the soln to the warm metal with a bit of steel wool itself. If only for the first coating, it will most often get you a foot hold and a good coating right off.

Some soln's are just not compatible with steel alloys. That's just the way it is. You'll find that more with Express Rust Blue than Slow Rust blue.
Older guns and softer steels were/are less problems. MOre modern guns with their alloys can give you fits sometimes. Switching to a different soln or just from trying the Express Blue it to going over to Slow RustBlue (Cold Rust) can make the difference.

Express Rust and Slow Rust soln's are not the same. What works for one process will not work for the other process 99%of the time.

You can get a very high gloss shine/polish blue with either process. It's just technique and knowing what your steel is and the soln you are using. Cutting down on rusting times, diluting soln's, changing carding techniques from wire wheels to cloth or thistle wheels are some of the techniques to protect the high polish you start out with.

But most rust blue jobs are a matte blue look and that's almost expected. Polish to 320 or 400 is fine. Don't let the rusting get too extensive in slow rust. You don't need the rustcoating to looks like an old tractor left in a field for 20 yrs.
A barely visible reddish cast to the coating all you need to get a coating of color.
It's a build up of coatings/cycles. The water tank will remain cleaner that way and the metal won't be so matted (pitted) under your blue.

In Express Rust, don't over heat the metal before applying the soln. The old school method was to heat the parts in the same water tank that you used to turn them black. That heating to 200F in the boiling water is enough for the application of the Express Blue soln.
Now most use a propane torch or heatgun for that heating. They way over heat the metal and sizzle the soln on the surfaces. That works but also lightly pits the metal and causes areas of dis-similar color, streaking, ect.

It's not a race, it's a classic gun finish.
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