Bluing - Why It Should Be Done and the Method Used
The purpose of this process is decorative, protective and restorative. This consists of a multi-stage process wherein the piece is first derusted in either a solution of hot alkaline or an acid. Determination is made by the severity and depth of the oxidation. This is followed by the mechanical removal of the etched surface by means of multiple-grit felt and cotton wheels. Extreme care has to be given to any lettering or proof marks originally found on the piece. A veteran polisher can work between the letters giving a quality overall effect. Depending on the final grit used, this depicts the final finish, or luster.
Ex. A 400 grit final polish is the approximate grit of a factory finish. To proceed above a 400 grit, for example to a mirror polish would result in a very reflective, high-luster blue. This is known as the "custom" and is only achievable after many hours of hand polishing.
The bluing process consists of a five-stage system: a hot degreaser followed by a rinse, a mechanical scrubbing, then back to the degreaser, back to the rinse, then into molten salts. These are classified as molten because the boiling point is 290 degrees. After the appropriate amount of time, followed by a hot water rinse, the part is placed in a spray rinse and sprayed with vast amounts of water. It is then immediately quenched in a water-displacing oil. At this point, the oxide film is very soft and has to be left untouched for approximately 24 hours. Then the oxide surface is mildly polished. It is then possible to offer another service of a wax seal which gives an even higher luster. The piece is then packaged and returned to the customer. This finish also meets military specifications C13924BAM1 Class 1, Grade A.
This is a picture of a piece after sandblasting:
And then polishing:
This is how your piece should look when complete:
I know, it's a different piece, but I didn't make it in time to get a picture of the other one when finished!
Many people attempt to use "cold" bluing methods but usually find that these will "run" when the firearm gets wet, such as when hunting in the rain. This method may work for a short period of time, but one will normally find their investment wasted on this procedure.
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