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Old 12-31-2007, 01:31 AM   #36
VALMET_M76
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I've been boiling the rusted parts and then letting them dry which they do real quick being 200' hot. Then I have been hand carding the dry parts.

During carding, large amounts of black DUST is generated and it is nasty stuff that will ruin your clothes, your carpet and your lungs.

Wear old clothes, put paper on the floor to catch the dust, wear a dust MASK. Beware, don't track this stuff into the house.

Rapid rusting by applying the solution and then placing the parts in a hot, steamy bathroom lets you rust in 24 hours out here on the currently cold DRY desert. Previously, three days barely gets rust going good around here.

I'm up to rust five and the parts are getting good and dark.

Assembly is coming up along with final rusting, carding a CURING.

This is by far the most forgiving blue process there is as well as possibly the most durable. That fine, deep blue color comes with AGE and many a oiling and rubbing of the metal as happens when you clean the weapon.

Looking at some new East German parts and some late model Hungarian parts kits I have......rust bluing is more AUTHENTIC than you might think.
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Old 01-01-2008, 03:23 PM   #37
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I am glad you are having good results.

One tip: On subsequent carding you may get some silvering and think you have ruined the job by carding too hard. Simply apply more dilute acid and the next go round the parts will come out darker and more even than ever! The areas that were silvered will have a bright orange rust! What happens is the rust crystals grow out from the old areas to the silvered areas and the process just heals itself.

The slow rust bluing can be used to rust just as dark as the old German blue process used on WWII and 1950s era small arms. The process is forgiving in that areas that are coming out lighter can have thicker amounts of acid placed there in subsequent coats to allow that area to catch up.

For what it's worth slow rust bluing is the process that was long used by Colt and Smith & Wesson on revolvers. Colt used the process on Commercial 1911s up to the Series 70.

On fine custom firearms like double guns the slow blue process is usually halted somewhat sooner before the parts are absolutely deep dark black. More of a medium to dark gunmetal gray is desired. (Keep in mind that small parts, pins, levers or trigger guards on these guns are usually finished by a variety of metal finish methods from precious metal inlay to plating to Nitre Blueing and the end result is an appealing variety of metal finishes that is very attractive on a fine gun. On some guns like double rifles the receivers may actually be left a medium gray to show off all the relief engraving while keeping the rifle "blued enough to keep from spooking game in the field".)

I have been told by chemists that what happens in this slow rust process is that the surface is etched by the solution to be Iron rich. The Carbide granules on the exposed surfaces are etched off by the Nitric Acid. This works good for bluing Charcoal or Bone case hardened parts as the case hardening would be otherwise be resistant to the process. Of course the actual etching is limited to only a few atoms thick (exposed atoms) and the majority of the case hardening remains (99%- several microns thick) to provide wear resistance!

Ordinary Hot blues like (actually chemical blackening) may not work well at all on some charcoal or bone case hardened parts and slow bluing may be the only way to get bluing to work.

The blue produced is very authentic to the process used on many AKs.

I would imagine if you were looking for a "battlefield pick up" look the new receiver could be slow rust blued and carded/wet sanded with 1000 grit w/d paper to match the parts from the parts kit and the parts in the parts kit could be chemically stripped and partially cold rust blued to match and sanded with the 1000 grit w/d paper to match!
To do something like that one can make a flap wheel for fine wet dry paper by cutting a slot across the end of a quarter inch piece of mild steel rod with a jewelers saw, etc.

Many AKs were actually hot blued using the German hot rust blue type process. The German process actually uses a mix of Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer and some other chemicals. This recipe is outlined in the old Gunsmithing book by the late Roy Dunlap.

The only difference between the two processes is that the cold bluing process rusts in a humidity cabinet and the German hot bluing process rusts and boils all at once. Of the two the slow rust blue produces the slightly nicer finish and is the process used on very expensive custom rifles and side by side shotguns.

Another tip: The receiver and parts can be sealed using artist grade boiled linseed oil that has been mixed 50/50 with Grumbacher "lamp black" or "midnite black" etc artist oil from the tube. I usually also thin with a little MEK. The desired consistency and color is like "black milk"-translucent. This can be brushed on thinly and evenly with a half inch flat sable artist brush. I try to coat thinly so the bluing shows through and the coating is transparent. After drying for 30 minutes "air dry" this seal coating can be baked @ 350 degrees F for one hour in an oven. A final thin coat of clear artist grade blo can be applied in a second coat and likewise baked for an hour. I then usually oil parts by buffing in heavy mineral oil with a wool cloth. I use a sable brush to get mineral oil in grooves and recesses. A 8 inch square piece of old cheap surplus wool army blanket works great for buffing in the oil over large areas. I then usually place the parts back in a warm oven (200 deg F) for an hour or so. The parts are then oiled with heavy mineral oil a second time and and any excess is blotted off with a paper towel.

Another tip: Slow rust blue solution can be used to pre-treat items to be Brownell's Parkerized. I like to apply an even coat to parts with a q-tip and allow the parts to sit with the acid on them for 10 to 20 minutes. Then I put on Butyl rubber gloves. The parts are then carded by hand to get the acid off under clean tap water before being wired with stainless wire to a stainless steel or plastic rack and lowered in the Parkerizing tank.

When parts have been pre-treated like this the Brownell's Parkerizing comes out a very even dark charcoal color almost black. Very close to the old original Ordnance Park used on 1903 receivers and bolts in the 1920 and 1930s.

Brownells sells a pre-treat solution to produce blacker Parkerized parts and I believe what they are selling is just slow rust blue solution in another package!

Last edited by USGIgunsmith; 01-01-2008 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 01-01-2008, 04:37 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USGIgunsmith
I am glad you are having good results.

One tip: On subsequent carding you may get some silvering and think you have ruined the job by carding too hard. Simply apply more dilute acid and the next go round the parts will come out darker and more even than ever! The areas that were silvered will have a bright orange rust! What happens is the rust crystals grow out from the old areas to the silvered areas and the process just heals itself.

The slow rust bluing can be used to rust just as dark as the old German blue process used on WWII and 1950s era small arms. The process is forgiving in that areas that are coming out lighter can have thicker amounts of acid placed there in subsequent coats to allow that area to catch up.

For what it's worth slow rust bluing is the process that was long used by Colt and Smith & Wesson on revolvers. Colt used the process on Commercial 1911s up to the Series 70.

On fine custom firearms like double guns the slow blue process is usually halted somewhat sooner before the parts are absolutely deep dark black. More of a medium to dark gunmetal gray is desired. (Keep in mind that small parts, pins, levers or trigger guards on these guns are usually finished by a variety of metal finish methods from precious metal inlay to plating to Nitre Blueing and the end result is an appealing variety of metal finishes that is very attractive on a fine gun. On some guns like double rifles the receivers may actually be left a medium gray to show off all the relief engraving while keeping the rifle "blued enough to keep from spooking game in the field".)

I have been told by chemists that what happens in this slow rust process is that the surface is etched by the solution to be Iron rich. The Carbide granules on the exposed surfaces are etched off by the Nitric Acid. This works good for bluing Charcoal or Bone case hardened parts as the case hardening would be otherwise be resistant to the process. Of course the actual etching is limited to only a few atoms thick (exposed atoms) and the majority of the case hardening remains (99%- several microns thick) to provide wear resistance!

Ordinary Hot blues like (actually chemical blackening) may not work well at all on some charcoal or bone case hardened parts and slow bluing may be the only way to get bluing to work.

The blue produced is very authentic to the process used on many AKs.

I would imagine if you were looking for a "battlefield pick up" look the new receiver could be slow rust blued and carded/wet sanded with 1000 grit w/d paper to match the parts from the parts kit and the parts in the parts kit could be chemically stripped and partially cold rust blued to match and sanded with the 1000 grit w/d paper to match!
To do something like that one can make a flap wheel for fine wet dry paper by cutting a slot across the end of a quarter inch piece of mild steel rod with a jewelers saw, etc.

Many AKs were actually hot blued using the German hot rust blue type process. The German process actually uses a mix of Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer and some other chemicals. This recipe is outlined in the old Gunsmithing book by the late Roy Dunlap.

The only difference between the two processes is that the cold bluing process rusts in a humidity cabinet and the German hot bluing process rusts and boils all at once. Of the two the slow rust blue produces the slightly nicer finish and is the process used on very expensive custom rifles and side by side shotguns.

Another tip: The receiver and parts can be sealed using artist grade boiled linseed oil that has been mixed 50/50 with Grumbacher "lamp black" or "midnite black" etc artist oil from the tube. I usually also thin with a little MEK. The desired consistency and color is like "black milk"-translucent. This can be brushed on thinly and evenly with a half inch flat sable artist brush. I try to coat thinly so the bluing shows through and the coating is transparent. After drying for 30 minutes "air dry" this seal coating can be baked @ 350 degrees F for one hour in an oven. A final thin coat of clear artist grade blo can be applied in a second coat and likewise baked for an hour. I then usually oil parts by buffing in heavy mineral oil with a wool cloth. I use a sable brush to get mineral oil in grooves and recesses. A 8 inch square piece of old cheap surplus wool army blanket works great for buffing in the oil over large areas. I then usually place the parts back in a warm oven (200 deg F) for an hour or so. The parts are then oiled with heavy mineral oil a second time and and any excess is blotted off with a paper towel.

Another tip: Slow rust blue solution can be used to pre-treat items to be Brownell's Parkerized. I like to apply an even coat to parts with a q-tip and allow the parts to sit with the acid on them for 10 to 20 minutes. Then I put on Butyl rubber gloves. The parts are then carded by hand to get the acid off under clean tap water before being wired with stainless wire to a stainless steel or plastic rack and lowered in the Parkerizing tank.

When parts have been pre-treated like this the Brownell's Parkerizing comes out a very even dark charcoal color almost black. Very close to the old original Ordnance Park used on 1903 receivers and bolts in the 1920 and 1930s.

Brownells sells a pre-treat solution to produce blacker Parkerized parts and I believe what they are selling is just slow rust blue solution in another package!
WOW!!


Thanks for all the tips. Especially the sealing tips.

This is my first attempt at refinishing anything and so far it is working good.

I have noticed that the finish gets more even with every step and that a light touch is best for carding.

I was familiar with the German WWII hot liquid fertilizer process which I think was responsible for the RED blued WWII guns. Note, I have some like new Romy kits that have this same look on most of the parts.

Once the weather warms up I'll be doing some parking using the Brownells Zinc Park solution. So I can use the rust blue as you describe to preblack treat the parts? Neat idea, thanks.

It is great information you've shared with us. Thanks again.
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Old 01-01-2008, 04:41 PM   #39
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My sealing or curing coat was just going to be non detergent motor oil bushed on and then baked at 300-350 for an hour or so.

I like your idea better.

The process isn't all that different from "seasoning" Cast Iron cookware.
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:25 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VALMET_M76
WOW!!


Thanks for all the tips. Especially the sealing tips.

This is my first attempt at refinishing anything and so far it is working good.

I have noticed that the finish gets more even with every step and that a light touch is best for carding.

I was familiar with the German WWII hot liquid fertilizer process which I think was responsible for the RED blued WWII guns. Note, I have some like new Romy kits that have this same look on most of the parts.

Once the weather warms up I'll be doing some parking using the Brownells Zinc Park solution. So I can use the rust blue as you describe to preblack treat the parts? Neat idea, thanks.

It is great information you've shared with us. Thanks again.
I do the hot liquid fertilizer bluing, and it only comes out red if it's blued at too high a temperature. The red wipes off with a rag in the sealing process. It's a sediment left by the overheated salt solution. It definitely should not be able to stick to the metal. Sealing is important after bluing. My take on it is that bluing serves two purposes. It pre-rusts the metal, so further rusting is more difficult, and it textures the metal, so the metal can hold more oil. Thus the importance of sealing. I like the results you guys seem to be getting with this process.

If you want more information about hot-bluing try this. We've discussed the process pretty exhaustively over there.

http://www.akforum.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=27254
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:04 PM   #41
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I'm thinking I'm going to give the ammonium nitrate a try myself this summer when I can do it outdoors. I'm almost certain I have some kits that are blued in some type of simple, low cost commie way of doing things.

The Red-tinted German WWII guns stay that way as in you cannot rub the red off.

They are fairly rare, buy every so often you will see a RED-tint Luger and other German WWII weapons.
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Old 01-05-2008, 01:22 AM   #42
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I wonder how they got that. I'm pretty sure that my bluing salts won't do that.

Last edited by my-rifle; 01-05-2008 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:22 AM   #43
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According to the experts at the luger forum it is an incorrect salt bath that causes this. Wrong temperature, wrong concentration of chemicals, chemical mix out of balance. Anyway, something wrong with the blueing. They call the color PLUM and it is as durable as the proper blue finish.





Sometimes plum colored areas are the result of the metal being work hardened by running the machine tools too fast. I used to have a nice blue Luger that had areas of plum in the curves at the rear side of the receiver.
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:34 PM   #44
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That looks like the "purple" color you get when the post-64 Winchesters leverguns are blued. Something in the steel they used creates that color. The scuttlebutt was they actually started plating the receivers with a different type of steel sometime in the 70s so the blueing would look better. Hardened steel will also sometimes come out purple, Brownells sells "Oxynate S" additive to reduce this effect with their blueing salts.
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Old 01-05-2008, 01:19 PM   #45
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I think some of the Winchesters had a high-nickle steel that made them hard to reblue.

The Lugers are more random. The plums are regular production guns that just turned out plum due to variances in the blueing.

Here is a rustblued Luger in it's original condition.

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Old 01-05-2008, 04:00 PM   #46
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The Germans bought large quantities of Eskilstuna Steel from neutral Sweden. Eskilstuna is a naturally occuring iron ore alloy that producers a natural steel alloy that contains some nickel and chromium. Eskilstuna was used on Swedish M96/38 rifles and some of the rifles have the same plum color on rebuild. Chromium in steel will halt the oxidation process and as a result I believe the bluing chemicals were heated to a higher temperature to overcome the presence of Chromium.

It was the study of naturally alloyed iron ores likes Eskilstuna that produced a greater understanding of Steel made from Iron ore containing other metals. This technological understanding led to the development of man made alloy steels in the early 20th century.

I do believe the plum color on German parts comes from some combination of contamination/overheating of the baths and possibly also due to some substitution of chemicals in the bluing baths.

Please keep in mind that the blue in bluing comes from the red ferric oxide turning black in the bath. If something causes that part of the process to not occur the parts come out plum.

Also there are two basic types of Nitric Acid. Red Fuming Nitric Acid (RFNA) and White Fuming Nitric Acid (WFNA). In many chemical processes if RFNA is substituted for WFNA a Red Nitric Oxide contaminant (emphasis added) will result.

FROM WIKIPEDIA-

Pure anhydrous nitric acid (100%) is a colorless liquid with a density of 1522 kg/m which solidifies at -42C to form white crystals and boils at 83C. When boiling in light, even at room temperature, there is a partial decomposition with the formation of nitrogen dioxide following the reaction(emphasis added):

4HNO3 → 2H2O + 4NO2 + O2 (72C)

which means that anhydrous nitric acid should be stored below 0C to avoid decomposition(emphasis added). The nitrogen dioxide (NO2) remains dissolved in the nitric acid coloring it yellow, or red at higher temperatures(emphasis added). While the pure acid tends to give off white fumes when exposed to air, acid with dissolved nitrogen dioxide gives off reddish-brown vapours, leading to the common name "red fuming acid" or "fuming nitric acid".


Red Fuming Nitric Acid can be made from an alternate process to that used to make White Fuming Nitric Acid from the start.

The Ostwald process is used to synthesize white Nitric Acid from Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Water.


From WIKIPEDIA-

Ostwald process-

Nitric acid can be made from Copper(II) nitrate or by reacting approximately equal masses of potassium nitrate (KNO3) with 96% sulfuric acid (H2SO4), and distilling this mixture at nitric acid's boiling point of 83 C until only a white crystalline mass, potassium hydrogen sulfate (KHSO4), remains in the reaction vessel. The obtained red fuming nitric acid may be converted to the white nitric acid. Note that in a laboratory setting, it is necessary to use all-glass equipment, ideally a one-piece retort, because anhydrous nitric acid attacks cork, rubber, and skin, and leaks can be extremely dangerous.


The Haber process is also used to produce both Red and white Nitric Acid.

FROM WIKIPEDIA-

Haber process-

The acid can also be synthesized by oxidizing ammonia, but the product is diluted by the water also formed as part of the reaction. However, this synthesization method is important in producing ammonium nitrate from ammonia derived from the Haber process, because the final product can be produced from nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen as the sole feedstocks.

White fuming nitric acid, also called 100% nitric acid or WFNA, is very close to the anhydrous nitric acid product. One specification for white fuming nitric acid is that it has a maximum of 2% water and a maximum of 0.5% dissolved NO2. Red fuming nitric acid, or RFNA, contains substantial quantities of dissolved nitrogen dioxide (NO2) leaving the solution with a reddish-brown color(emphasis added). One formulation of RFNA specifies a minimum of 17% NO2, another specifies 13% NO2. In either event, an inhibited fuming nitric acid (either IWFNA, or IRFNA) can be made by the addition of 0.6 to 0.7% hydrogen fluoride, HF. This fluoride is added for corrosion resistance in metal tanks (the fluoride creates a metal fluoride layer that protects the metal).



My best guess is that due to wartime shortages and exigencies of production either Red Fuming Nitric Acid was substituted for WFNA or that WFNA was produced from incomplete conversion of RFNA. This could be because the Sulfuric acid solution used to convert was faulty or dilute or otherwise contaminated. Alternately the Germans could have added flouride to protect the metal tanks used to store or transport Nitric acid or the Nitric acid in the tanks could have been broken down by decomposition from faulty storage or prolonged use at high temperatures.

Potassium Nitrate

Potassium Nitrate is a common substitute for Ammonium Nitrate.

If you substitute Potassium Nitrate ( common Saltpetre) for Ammonium Nitrate in the bluing solution and overheat the solution you will also produce a LOT of Nitrous Oxide contaminant in the bath.

Potasium Nitrate is made from mammalian urine or the washout from solid wastes such as manure piles. With a population of tens of millions people and animals in German occupied europe, I am sure that the Germans ramped up production of Potassium Nitrate during the war for use in basic chemical processes such as the production of explosives and fertilizer and Nitric Acid.

Potassium Nitrate was used as an extender or substitute for Ammonium Nitrate in basic chemical processes during the war.

Potassium Hydroxide

Potassium Hydroxide is common Potash lye and is produced by filtering rainwater through wood or coal ash. I am sure that the Germans ramped up production of Potassium Hydroxide during the war too.

Potassium Hydroxide may be substituted for Sodium Hydroxide (Soda lye) in MOST chemical processes. Both can be used in de-lignification of wood to make wood pulp. Both are used to bleach fabric in the textile industry and make products like nitrocellulose (used to make smokeless powder and dynamite) and soaps and detergents. They can also be used to make bio-diesel from organic oils or the oil type base in ANFO type explosives (the glycerine precipitated from bio-diesel production can also be used to make nitro-glycerine proper or mixed with gun cotton [and/or Aluminum or Iron Powder] to make Dynamite or other explosive formulations).

Potassium Hydroxide was also used as an extender or substitute for Sodium Hydroxide during the war.

German Ordnance Blue

The beauty of the German Ordnance blue is that you are only producing the Nitric Acid Bluing solution when you need it. The dry ammonium Nitrate is basically stable and much safer to store than Nitric acid.

It was standard practice in the German Armed forces that rifles were polished with rottenstone and oil on a wool rag EVERY DAY in the field. A piece of rottenstone was carried wrapped in the wool cloth in the breadbag or rucksack (tornister). (This same rottenstone and rag were used to clean the inside of the mess tin.) As a result weapons took on a high polish at all times. Unfortunately this practice to a toll on blued parts.

German Army units reblued weapons in the field periodically using the Ammonium Nitrate process (See Guy Sajer's book- the Forgotten Soldier. Weapons were reblued by company. First each soldier disassembled his rifle on his Zeltbahn. Parts were placed on large iron hoops or in mesh baskets for rebluing. Like parts from the company were blued together- all front bands were placed on one iron hoop. All firing pins placed in the same basket etc. This is the reason all parts were numbered. Blued parts were called off by number and a soldier reported to take charge of his part and return it to his Zeltbahn. Reblued parts and assemblies were subsequently reassembled by the numbers.

The common German Ordnance hot blue was Ammonium Nitrate (NH4NO3) Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4) or Hydrochloric acid (HCl) and Sodium Hydroxide (Soda Lye- NAOH). Ammonia gas is given off and you get Nitric acid and a sulfur precipitate or Chlorine gas.

My understanding is that this bluing was done in the standard Wehrmacht horse drawn or Opel Blitz towed cook station. This cook station normally consisted of three or four large Iron pots over heating elements. For bluing one pot contained boiling water: One contained hot caustic soda (lye) solution and one the German Hot Blue solution. The rings and baskets were moved from hot water to caustic soda several times to remove all traces of oil or grease and then dipped in the hot blue solution.

The parts were moved from one pot to another as needed by the company armorers until they were completely reblued. An entire battalion or regiment was generally rotated through the same station in one or two days. At which point chemical solutions were discarded the cook set was cleaned and returned to service for cooking.

If you mix Potassium Nitrate with Sodium Hydroxide you also get a bluing solution (I believe the Potassium forms a precipitate and no Ammonia gas is produced).

If you mix Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) with Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) with a mishmash of other chemicals such as Sulfuric Acid and Hydrochloric acid my guess is that you can also get a hot bluing solution???

Perhaps the Germans altered their chemical formula for bluing solution based on shortages and needs?

My best guess is that the Germans used a Nitric acid based solution indoors at the time of production and the Ammonium or Postasium Hydroxide process in the field.

With the result that they ignored the sometimes red colored parts occasionally produced from Nitrous Oxide contamination?

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Old 01-05-2008, 05:54 PM   #47
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I've seen the same ruby colored parts before...on Refurbed Mosin Nagants as I recall...I always wondered about it.

Same deal?

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Old 01-05-2008, 07:10 PM   #48
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My observation is that the Soviets always used the cheapest acceptable method available.

Marx was big on economic explanations for the disparity of wealth etc. It was a basic goal of the Soviet proletarian movement under Lenin and later under Stalin to make everything cheaper per unit so more could be made at lesser cost.

"Quantity has a quality all of its own"- Joseph Stalin.

The Russians went so far as to produce field gear of similar pattern to German (bread bag, pack, canteen, belt and suspenders, boots) so that captured German field gear could be issued to Soviet soldiers.

The Soviets also tended to make weapons of slightly larger caliber than opponents (example: 82mm mortar, 76mm gun) so that captured shells can be used.

In the west we tend to use high quality chemicals with a fairly high standard of purity for everything.

Since Red Fuming Nitric Acid is cheaper then WFMA my guess is that the Soviets used RFMA or WFMA contaminated with RFMA by incomplete conversion/ contamination/ decompostion whenever possible. It is also quite possible that they re-used Nitric acid for finishing metals that was first used by some other process- such as use in electronics production.

I can also see them substituting Saltpetre and Potash lye for the more expensive chemicals whenever they can get away with it.
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:07 PM   #49
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Gentlemen,

Best thread EVER regarding 'real' chemical finishing processes.
I humbly suggest it be NOT a Sticky but part of a new topic.

On another hand, I just wish I could use some of these refinishing techniques at work refurbishing AAA guns.
Right now we bead or sandblast then send parts out for Cadmium plating.
Yep, $20,000.00 PER GUN JUST for plating!
Your tax dollars at work.
Last bunch of guns we refinished some small parts with cold or hot blue, (Well oiled after X2 bluing using a special proprietary Lithium? based CLP compound), but now we must cadmium plate freakin' everything which I think is a total waste.
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:56 PM   #50
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Our new friend USGIgunsmith has shared a tremendous amount of information with us in just a a few postings. I am very impressed and appreciative of all he has given us.


Back to the plum finishes. German firearms from the prewar era turn up with the plum color at a time when Nazi Germany is at its economic peak and not under wartime stress.

I don't think it is so much that they were shortcutting materials or process' as much as it is an indication that even peacetime German military STANDARDS had quite a bit of tolerance as regards appearance.

The firearms are military grade, if fritz was out having a beer while his apprentices ran the blueing tank and things didn't turn out perfect....Well Hell, let's go get another beer.

If you look at the edges of the Lugers in the pictures you can see that the edges are all sharp and the pistols are reputed all original by knowledgeable sources. So the color is not from refinishing at least in the case of the Lugers in the picture.

I think the Germans just looked at the finish and said good enough, ship it.

Why all of this interests me is that I have AK parts from kits that look exactly the same, indicating a hot blue process is sometimes used. And as has already been said, commies are cheap, so they are cutting corners and using things like rainwater filtered through wood ash and who knows what else.

It is how some of these kit parts and complete kits were originally finished is what I'm looking to get figured out and USGIgunsith has gone a long way to explain a lot of that.

Cause it ain't all PAINT.
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Old 01-06-2008, 02:26 AM   #51
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I was originally planning on painting all of my kits as I built them. Painting is the most suggested way of refinishing I've seen on all the boards.

But after looking closely at all the painted AKs that are posted on all the AK boards.......and looking again real close at some AKs I already have........uh-uh, I don't want to paint anything other than Bulgarian AK74s and then all I want to paint is just the NDS receiver.

There is a better way. This rust blue is turning out very well and only requiress a stainless pan long enough for the barrel to fit in, an inexpensive bottle of Rust Blue, $3 worth of 0000 steel wool and a lot of boiling water. And some gloves so you can handle the steel without getting oil from your fingers on the steel. And that is about it. Oh yeah, time, you need some time. Well hell, and a way to prepare the metal. I used a $20 miniblaster. I'm going to invest in a $99 bench top blaster just to save about that much money by not losing my blast media every time. Rust blueing is a very easy and safe process with no large quantities of dangerous chemicals or complex procedures.

I have some kits that look hot blued. Some kits that are dark parked and Bulgarian painted kits and one Polish painted kit.

The Polish kit has a very worn finish that I do not care to replicate back as original, so for that one I may try my first hotblue fertilizer based hot dip. Maybe I'll just rust blue it if the one I'm doing now works out really good.

But those kits that I have that appear hot blued to a red-black......those RECEIVERS are going to get hot blued. The kits are new rifles. I will at least attempt one hot bluing of a receiver once the weather has warmed up.

The dark parked new kits that I have, those receivers are going to get dark parked and that's it. I don't yet see the need to refinish a whole rifle and no reason to put paint all over one.

It is easy to just hose a rifle with paint. Matching your receiver to the real deal as issued finish kit is a little harder, but worth it. And I'm thinking pretty do-able.
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Old 01-06-2008, 10:27 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by falakar15
that looks really good. It's going to be a bitch to build it then have to do it all over again
We'll see then pretty soon. Today is drill day.

I'm thinking I can rivet and press this thing together without damaging the finish at all. The resulting finish is pretty tough.

The thing you might have missed is that to Rust Blue, you already have done it all over again. I'm up to cycle 6.

The plan is to rivet the receiver together, run one or two more cycles and then press the barrel back on. I'm pretty sure I can press the barrel with no finish damage.

I have no intention of trying to apply finish to a completely asembled rifle. My tank and my oven can't handle fully assembled.
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Old 01-06-2008, 12:15 PM   #53
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As for plum/red color on new parts.

I agree with all of your theories.

Yes, the same colors on seen on all sorts of firearms. From Colt SA frames to Lever action parts to cheap Harrington and Richardson revolver frames made way before the war to Luger parts to K98ks to Swedish Mausers. On some guns like the H & R revolvers on some part of the frame some portions like the front hinge coming out red and the rest of the frame coming out blue. Sometimes the two portions divided by a clear diagonal line where the frame appears to have been annealed/drawn down by submerging in lead or tin while the hinge was left hardened.

At some point in the late-19th century the German Hot Blue and Slow Rust Blue began to replace the traditional slow rust Browning of firearms as the desired "Modern" gun finish.

In the mid 19th century black cast Iron products such as frying pans, stoves, locomotives, bridges began to replace earlier technologies. Iron Bridges replaced stone, masonry or wood bridges. Iron stoves replaced the stone or masonry hearth and cast iron frying pans and pots replaced hammered copper pots and pans. Up until the beginning of the 20th century cast iron products could genrally only be afforded by the wealthy. Black Iron and the black metal finish steel color came to be seen as the symbol of the modern age. At the same time the German hot blue finish and slow rust blue finish began to replace the tradition slow rust browning color.

About the 1880s homogeneous steel Krupp barrels for rifles and shotguns appeared which were hot or slow Blued OR Browned while Damascus twist barrels generally continued to be Browned (Some London twist barrels being made Slow rust blued to look more like the Krupp homogenous type barrel). Up until the great depression many shotguns and custom rifles could be ordered with either the Brown or Blue finish on various parts. For example: Up until something like the 1920s Parker shotguns could still be ordered with the Browned Damascus twist barrels or Browned Homogeneous barrels.

In many cases the Brown or plum finish being regarded as "traditional" while the Hot German Blue or Slow Belgian Blue being regarded as "modern".

Another example- Early US 1903 rifle receiver, barrel and bolts were finished Plum Brown by slow rust browning. This was the original Ordnance finishing specification. At some point the specification changed to German hot blue and about 1920 US service weapons began to be finished using the black Parkerization process. Very few early 1903s are seen with the original Brown today most at some point being either refinished or boiled until the brown Ferric oxide turned blue.

I find it humorous that many 19th century firearms that are listed on Gunbroker and auction arms are described as "bluing has turned mostly brown" by the sellers. In most cases Plum brown was the original finish color! The dull mid earth brown color that is present today only needs to be cleaned, and resealed to restore the original plum color. 9or alternately cleaned, degreased and boiled in hot clean water to be turned "blue".

I have only posted some ideas on why some parts turn out the plum/red color on firearms that are generally "blued".

1) Alloy Steel/heat treatment

2) Nitric Acid (RFNA vs WFNA, Nitrous Oxide contamination, decompostion. Overheating of solution.

3) Substitution of chemicals. Saltpeter and Potash lime substituted for Ammonium Nitrate and Soda Lime. Or some mix of chemicals used rather than "pure".

Please also keep in mind that the first half of the 20th century was another age. Most working people living in Europe were still "illiterate peasants" by todays standards. In many cases "uneducated" while at the same time highly skilled workers in their given field.

I think most people in that age considered the recipe for German rust blue to be some Nitrous fertilizer, a little Aqua regia (Common preparation of of Nitric acid and sulfuric acid mixed used to pickle non-ferrous metals dating back to Rome) and lye. Product labeling at the time was not the same. Bagged goods were not labeled with actual chemical contents and proportions as they are today. Powdered bagged Fertilizer was labeled "nitrous fertilizer" and lye was labeled "lye". Very often no reference was made to whether the product was organic source (Potassium Nitrate, Potash lye, chamber lye) or chemical source (Ammonium Nitrate, Soda lye).

Many skilled workers like metal workers had OJT only knowledge and Knowhow passed down by word of mouth only.

For example: In early America many muskets and Kentucky rifles were browned with some combination of chemicals- saltpetre mixed with lye and having iron filings added untill no more dissolved being a common browning formulation.

It was a very common practice in the 18th and 19th centuries to make saltpetre by collecting the contents of chamber pots. In fact many Colonial American communities collected to contents of commodes each day for the purpose of making gunpowder. Likewise many tradesmen went around buying fireplace ashes and old cooking grease for the process of making soap.

If you read the Firefox books many traditional recipes for making all sorts of chemicals abound. The preparation of many useful chemicals from what we today consider garbage or waste was once common knowledge and common practice. Many households made their own lye soap (cooking fat and potash lye being free byproducts of domestic life). Many hunters made their own powder (the only component needed to buy being sulfur- the salpetre coming from the chamber pot and the charcoal from the hearth).

If you go to the hardware store today some Nitrate fertilizer mixes are part Ammonium Nitrate and Part Potassium Nitrate. Some drain cleaners are part Soda lye and part Potash lye. And some drain cleaners contain metallic salts added to protect pipes.

If you mix any of these things together I bet you will get something that blues steel.

Also keep in mind that if say German Hot Blue chemicals are contaminated by other elements like Copper and the Ammonia is still boiling out then the Copper could plate out due to galvanic action and the Ammonia could color the copper RED. Fuming Copper items with Ammonia to make a red patination is a common practice of Coppersmiths.

I do not know why the parts turned out plum/red. I only have several possible theories as to how it may have happened.

Since poeple of the era were comfortable with both the Plum and Blued color on finished steel gun parts I think they really didn't care if the part came out Plum/red or Blued.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VALMET_M76
I have no intention of trying to apply finish to a completely asembled rifle. My tank and my oven can't handle fully assembled.
Good results can be achieved with minimal equipment on assembled barreled receivers. Small gun parts are traditionally always slow rust blued and sealed unassembled.

I have real equipment now so the processes are performed "easier" but perhaps not any "better".

Years ago I used the following methods.

Barreled receivers can be boiled out in a large stock pot. Half hour with one end sticking up into the air. Half hour with the other end sticking up. I have done barreled K98 receivers and barreled US 1903 receivers this way with very good results.

Likewise seal coats can be done in the kitchen oven.

I have done K98s and 1903s this way. I generally remove the racks and place the barreled receiver diagonally across the oven space. On a K98 or 1903 only about an inch sticks out so a barreled AK receiver will probably fit all the way in.
Make sure you keep the 'lower end' away from burners or electric heating elements. Any gaps can be sealed with aluminum foil. After an hour the barreled receiver is rotated so the other end sticks out. Your wife may think that you are crazy at first but the process will work.

All small parts are done on a baking sheet in a separate run.

Alternately the baking can be done in a field expedient oven. These ovens are not a very energy efficient approach but they get the job done. And for still under $1 worth of energy.

1st method:

The oven can be made around the barreled receiver and parts on a concrete basement floor. First lay down about 3 feet of foil. The items to be baked are then placed on the foil. Then surround the items with bricks or cinder blocks. Then an ordinary swing arm desk lamp is placed over the edge of the cinder blocks and aluminum foil draped over the tops of the blocks to "tent" the bricks/blocks and lamp. The heat of a 100 watt light bulb will cause the enclosed space to reach over 300 deg F. It's like an easy bake oven but it will work.

2d method:

Another option is to merely place the sealed barreled receiver and parts on Aluminum covered baking sheets on the basement floor and hang a heat lamp from the farm store (commonly sold as brooder lamps for keeping newly hatched chicks warm) about a foot above the barreled receiver. (In the past I simply hung the brooder lamp from twine under the middle of a step ladder.) These heat lamps are about $10 at TSC. The surface temperatures will exceed 300 degrees and the items will bake in the open air. The ladder can be moved to bake the barreled receiver and parts from end to end.

Lastly some fellows have reported doing this on their propane grill with the lid down. On a large grill a barreled K98 receiver will fit across the rack diagonally. I have never used this method(being a hardwood traditionalist southern boy who BBQs on a traditional smoker/BBQ), but I can see how it would work.

(This same field expedient oven methods can be used to bake laminated wood parts like recurve bow limbs or canoe/skiff parts. They can be used with traditional laminating resin or epoxy resin.)

(IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO GASOLINE FUMES OR OTHER FLAMMABLE VAPORS IN THE SPACE WHERE YOU ARE MAKING A FIELD EXPEDIENT OVEN).

Last edited by IanMor; 11-26-2013 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 01-06-2008, 01:24 PM   #54
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An easy-bake AK oven!

I like it!
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Old 01-06-2008, 02:17 PM   #55
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this is fantastic. i;m going to bend a flat and try it. or i may disassemble a rifle and do the rec..there are several solutions available, i'm interested in what's best. midway has art's(herter's) and pilkington a little cheaper than brownell's.
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Old 01-06-2008, 02:40 PM   #56
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You can get this setup for $30.+shipping.

http://www.store.laurelmountainforge...gtgm1j5pj323e7
I'm going to give it a try on the next rust blue and use the rest of the stuff for refinishing a stockset or two.
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Old 01-06-2008, 03:35 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USGIgunsmith
My observation is that the Soviets always used the cheapest acceptable method available.
Or what "stuff" falls readily to hand...Since you know your way around the the periodic table...

I know I've read that the Japaneese used human urine to blue their weapons...

A) Any truth in that?

and

2) what in urine is doing the work?

I don't think that "Urine Blueing" would be something the wife would let me do in the kitchen....

CPO T

...also...I noticed that if I cut up an apple (to share with my dog) the juice from my apple will...first turn the blade of my pocket knife a "electric" blue color...and then, if I don't wipe if off...the blue turns to a smokey dark grey...it seems to last a LONG time...

Whats up with that? Is that a type of metal Blueing...or just a sort of stain?
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Old 01-06-2008, 05:59 PM   #58
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CPO Ted,

The Japanese developed some fancy metalworking techniques. Mokume gane for example.

I do not have any direct knowledge of how they actually finished their matchlocks.

------------------------------------------------------------

In times past people often had to make do with what they had. For example urea may have been used as a flux when borax or boric acid was not available. Today I can roll down to the pharmacy and buy boric acid for a few dollars. Likewise I can buy various prepared fluxes from welding or jewelers supply houses.

Many things will rust steel. Many products have been traditionally made using the urine in chamber pots as a source material for chemicals.

Saltpeter was collected from human urine. Saltpeter was used to make gunpowder, can foods and preserve dried meats.

Human urine salts were also used to make urine lye. This was commonly called "chamber lye". Urine lye and salt are what remained after the saltpetre crystalised out along the sides of the crock. I believe the salt crystal remaining after the salt peter was collected were cooked on in a ceramic crock over a hearth fire to make the chamber lye.

Chamber lye was used as a bleach. It was also used to bleach and store dried fish. And as a pre-mordant and post-mordant in textile dying when an acid like tannic acid or acetic acid was used as the mordant.etc. With some light color dying processes chamber lye was used as the mordant itself- no pre- or post mordant being necessary.

In times past people did not have an aversion to using urine. In fact urine from the chamber pot was very often partially consumed and used to brush teeth as part of a morning routine.

Urine was often used as a skin softener or to treat blisters or soften callouses or as a footbath to cure aching feet. Don't laugh Urea ( produced synthetically from ammonia and carbon dioxide) is a common ingredient used in modern skin creams and cosmetics. Urea has many medical applications.

Amongst the more controversial- it is injected into the Uterus to induce abortions.

Urea is/was commonly used as a flux in metal working and brazing and for fusion welding of iron and as a carburizing agent for tool making. Like I said they used what they had available.

Whole urine was often used as a pre-wash to remove grease stains.

Urine was even used to obtain table salt when other salts were not available in remote arid places.

Urine is one of the traditional materials used to brown steel in colonial America. As was ordinary sea water in coastal areas.

Fresh urine is less acidic than aged urine. Microbes turn human urine more acidic and smelly in about a weeks time. The microbes convert sugars and proteins present in fresh urine into acids and ammonia compounds.

Human urine contains:

From Wikipedia--

Urine contains large amounts of urea, an excellent source of nitrogen for plants. As such it is a useful accelerator for compost. Urea is much less toxic than ammonia and is formed by the combination of the byproducts of deamination (2 NH3 molecules) and cellular respiration (1 CO2 molecule). Other components include various inorganic salts such as sodium chloride (sodium discharge is called natriuresis).

[edit] Chemical analysis
Urea structure
Urea structure

From the book Coen Van Croon, The Elixir of Life, here is a list of all substances contained in urine:

* Non-organic substances in the urine: bicarbonate, chloride, phosphorus, sulphur, bromide, fluoride, iodide, rhodanide, potassium, natron, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, selenium, arsenium, lead, mercury.

* Nitrogenous substances in urine nitrogen, urea, creatine, creatinine, guanidine, choline, carnitine, piperidine, spermidine, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, tryptamine, levulinique amino-acid, bilirubin, and so on.

* Amino acids in the urine: alanine, carnosine, glycine, histidine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, serine, tyrosine, valine, hydroxyloproline, galactosylhydroxylyzine, xylosylserine, and others.

* Protein in the urine: albumin, haptoglobin, transferrin, immunoglobulins IgG, IgA, IgM, and others.

* Enzymes in the urine: lactadehydrogenase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, alpha amylase, uropepsinogene, lysozyme, beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase, urokinase, protease, and others.

* Carbohydrates (sugars) in the urine: arabinose, xyloseribose, fucose, rhammose, ketopentose, glucose, galactose, mannose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, fucosylglucose, raffinose, and others.



The traditional rust blues use nitric acid to etch the steel slightly and that seems to be a good first step.

As I posted in my first or second post- after the second or third bluing cycle ordinary table salt can be substituted. Substituting the Brine solution at that point tends to produce a darker final product. The brine makes a fine dark orange rust that boils out to a jet black finish.

In general when slow rust bluing one dilutes the "corrosive" element (bluing or salt solution) with each succeeding pass.

I think I bought a quart of a brand Brownell's no longer sells about eight years ago. Half a quart has been used to blue about forty bolt action rifles and a bunch of double shotgun barrels. I generally apply it with q-tip. A little goes a long way. A q-tips worth will cover a whole gun for one pass.

Last edited by USGIgunsmith; 01-06-2008 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:05 PM   #59
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Drilled it for the front trunion. Probably won't get to rivet until coming saturday.

Where it is color wise right now. Same mag as in previous pictures. First one is in direct sunlight, others are inside indirect sunlight and flash.



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Old 01-06-2008, 06:27 PM   #60
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Thanks, there really isn't a lot to it.

It is important to use just enough solution to actually get some on there. Use it very sparingly, don't rub it around wet, get it on evenly one stroke at a time. Don't go back over it with solution until the next cycle. Each cycle it gets more even and darker.
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Old 01-06-2008, 07:35 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etek
Gentlemen,

Best thread EVER regarding 'real' chemical finishing processes.
I humbly suggest it be NOT a Sticky but part of a new topic.

On another hand, I just wish I could use some of these refinishing techniques at work refurbishing AAA guns.
Right now we bead or sandblast then send parts out for Cadmium plating.
Yep, $20,000.00 PER GUN JUST for plating!

Your tax dollars at work.
Last bunch of guns we refinished some small parts with cold or hot blue, (Well oiled after X2 bluing using a special proprietary Lithium? based CLP compound), but now we must cadmium plate freakin' everything which I think is a total waste.
Yep Chromium used to be used for components like landing gear and cannon barrels but EPA/OSHA has had a
problem with it.

Cadmium plating is still used for external parts like landing gear where lubricity and corrosion resistance are important.

Cadmium is related to Zinc so it provides galvanic protection.
Since Cadmium is more noble and has higher lubricity it lasts longer and is superior to zinc plating or zinc chromate coatings in marine environments.

I guess thats why you are using it on AAA guns.

Unfortunately Cadmium is also carcinogenic. Cadmium dust particles will also eat holes in your lungs just like Chromium.

Cadmium plated surfaces should not be sanded, polished. or subjected to mechanical processes like hammering or riveting
(Cadmium is prone to microscopic flaking. The flakes go into the air and into your lungs).

Cadmium was also used as an alloying metal in precious metal solders for many years. Both for jewelery and electronics. When the solder melted Cadmium evaporated into the air and formed microscopic beads that ate holes in lungs. It was banned from solder use in the 1980s.

Be careful out there.

As for Lithium based clp there are now many lubricants out there that use microscopic teflon beads (PTFE) in a grease or oil base. Break free CLP and Tri-Flon were the first.

Break free CLP was the lubricant that established MIL-L-63460.

CLP replaced the previous family of small arms lubricants (Lubricant Semi-fluid Automatic weapons) etc. LSA used Lithium grease flakes in a lighter oil base and was state of the art for its time.

The old Lithium based grease was generally used for marine applications subjected to submersion in salt water. I would think that a Lithium grease with PTFE in it would be a superior marine lubricant for something like AAA cannon.

Last edited by USGIgunsmith; 01-06-2008 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:51 PM   #62
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urine is a source of potassium nitrate. with the advent of firearms, one of the foulest jobs was the guy who went through the villiage collecting piss buckets to make gunpowder.
great job val. i'm going to blast the engine paint off my recievers and do them soon. not til after the next shooting session though.
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:57 PM   #63
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aknoob,

Slow rust bluing is the most durable of all the oxide finishes. Since the parts are in chemical terms already rusted the potential for future rust is virtually nil. Combine that with a baked on seal coat and the finish is very tough and corrosion resistant.

Should any wear through of the seal coat and additional minor brown rust occur, the rust can be rubbed with steel wool or carded with a fine soft steel brush or very often just be rubbed down with the end grain of a small piece of rock maple. Very often any rust is superficial top rust that has grown over the black finish rubbing it off will make the finish return to original appearance.

If any brown remains and one is concerned that going any further with carding will cause silvering- the effected 'brown' area can then be gone over with boiling water on a cloth to turn the very slight remains of the 'brown' rust crystals 'black' and then a little blackened boiled linseed oil can be rubbed on and allowed to air dry.

If one cards too hard and silvering occurs the area can be touched up by applying a little slow rust blue solution and allowing a little brown rust to form. Then touch-up can proceed as above.

Incidentally this slow rust blue touch up can be used on guns that have been finished by the German Ordnance Hot blue method.

Parkerizing is more durable than any other firearm finish. (FWIW- Worn and silvered Parkerizing can be touched up with Brownell's Oxpho-Blue and I have found that that is all Oxpho-Blue is good for.)


Durablility of finishes:

1. Parkerizing
2. Slow rust blue
3. German Ordnance hot blue
4. Various Hot caustic salts blues
5. Instant cold blues
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:28 PM   #64
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Just incredible. Just to clarify, you had to re-blue it after the rifle was assembled or were you able to rivet it after it was blued?
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:41 AM   #65
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I did 6 or 7 rust and boil cycles and then riveted it together. The two long rivits that you form the heads when rivetting on the right side of the rifle are raw and need touching up. But not really.

The AKbuilder rivets match the blue pretty good. The finish is tough and suffered not at all from the assembly process. I did the next to last cycle just before drilling the rivet holes and one more cycle after the drilling. Then rivetted it.

All the bluing was done before assembly. You can see the results.

Last edited by VALMET_M76; 01-14-2008 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:08 AM   #66
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did ya use the ak jig or sumpin else..very clean rivets Vcan't tell which ones ya did...
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:24 AM   #67
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Akbuilder rivet jig, AKbuilder barrel pin tool, AKbuilder trigger guard jig, AKbuilder barrel press tool. Work has a 20 ton OTC H-frame press that doesn't FLEX when rivetting which helps a whole lot.

Akbuilder tools are amazing and make it easy for even a novice to turn out a nice build. It took me 3 hours to do all the rivetting, press and pin the barrel. I think I can do it somewhat faster as I get used to using the tools.

I have 9 more kits to do, two underfolders, two sidefolders, 5 other fixed stock variants. I bought the tools figuring that I would get the return on their cost made up in the quality of the builds.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:31 AM   #68
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yes you will get the return after,,same idea here to.I just made some new bolt cutter jaws,I used carrolte's bolt on my tantal with good success and will be getting my new ak flat jig wed..I heard it has the step down rail setup on it,so we will see.dang V that is so pro man..did ya smoke a nice cigar after..?LOL..first born..
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:43 AM   #69
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All I can say is WOW! Well, that, and not only am I thinking of doing my underfolder like this, but I also have a K98 bolt and a semi-auto MG-42 project in the works that this would be perfect for... Thank you for this thread.

I do have a couple of questions, though. What do you do about the inside of the recevier where you cannot get to every nook and cranny with the card brush? Just leave it with the build-up? Also, what about assemblies like an underfolder stock- does it have to be completely broken down, or can this be done assembled?

Last edited by Pvt.Joker; 01-14-2008 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 01-14-2008, 05:38 PM   #70
VALMET_M76
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I haven't done an underfolder yet but I don't see any problems with that once the hinge assembly is apart.
Once the folder is off the rifle it's pretty much all exposed.

For the inside of the receiver you can get the big carding brush in the upper section and the top rails. A small carding brush gets just about everywhere else and a finger or a stick with some steel wool can get just about everywhere. You really don't even need a special carding brush. Just some 0000 steel wool will do it all.

I rust blued every part separately. Even the axis pins and stock screws. They all got nice and dark.
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