You can do professional bluing in your shop without hot caustic salts! Here’s how.
by Paul Mazan
In recent years the problem of refinishing a gun in a small shop or by a hobbyist has been somewhat resolved with the introduction of a plethora of alternative finishes. These range from air cured epoxies, like Brownells Aluma Hyde II, to a number of spray on and bake enamels with Teflon or ceramic additives. I was involved in the development of many of these products when I worked for Brownells, and later at Battenfield Technologies and can attest to their ease of application and abrasion resistance. They are an excellent choice for alloys and other items that cannot be blued. Their biggest drawback, however, the relatively thick coating they leave and the fact that many gun owners still think of them as “paint.” In the case of alloy frames and parts there is little choice but many customers with steel guns still want their guns blued.
A hot salts bluing system is simply out of the question for many of us. Not only is it expensive to run gas lines, buy tanks, stands, and salts it also requires a dedicated building or very well ventilated room to operate in due to the quantity of steam generated and the caustic nature of the salts. Anything and everything in a hot salts bluing room that is iron or steel must be painted or it will turn into a pile of rust. I have been searching for a bluing method that would allow the small shop or hobbyist to provide a professional bluing service to their customers without having to farm the project out. I’ve tested any number of cold blues and asked several chemical supply companies about a quick and easy solution to the problem and have come to the conclusion that the magic elixir just isn’t out there.
Slowly it dawned on me that perhaps the product I had been searching for was right there all the time.
Read more in our October 2011 issue. Back issues are available.
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