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Thread: Touching up Aluminum

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    SE Kentucky

    Touching up Aluminum

    Picked up a used Kimber conversion kit for my 1911 and was wondering about touching up the finish. Has a lot of little chips out of the finish, not a function issue but would like to "pretty" it up. Tried Aluminum Black but it didn't have any effect. Called Kimber but the nice lady there said they do not recommend after market products, but if I send it in the will refinish it and charge me. Too cheap to do that and was wondering what others use for this purpose.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    New England
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Near Mazomanie, Wi.
    I have tried the AluminumBlack a few times with no effect also. I recently had to alter an old aluminum butt plate to fit a rifle that was missing one. I ended up using a Sharpie pen to "blue" the edges. Probably won't last long, but easy to touch up.
    NRA Life
    NMLRA Life

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Way up in the Cascades
    I've had no luck either using the Birchwood Casey product.

    There's an old saying, "Penny wise, pound foolish". If you send it to Kimber you'll get back a first rate job without the nicks and scratches. If you refinish it yourself you'll probably just coat them with something and they'll not only be visible, but accented.

    But, if you're going to do it yourself, then I'd recommend Brownell's Aluma Hyde II as being, everything considered, the best solution; this taking into account ease of application, durability, appearance, cost, etc. Follow the directions exactly and you'll get good results. Here's a pistol that I finished with Aluma Hyde II 8 years ago. It had been seriously rusted before I acquired it, and had a reoccurring rust problem. The finish has held up well and it doesn't rust anymore.

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  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    Never had any good results with the birch wood caseys product. When we want aluminum dark at work we sent it out for anodizing, the first thing asked was what alloy the aluminum was. different alloys take slightly different processes. A plus to anodizing is its also a much harder finish.

  6. #6
    Moderator Emeritus

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    IMO, the best repair job on aluminum is to have it Ceracoated. You can even pick a color if you're so inclined. It adheres better and protects the finish and surface MUCH better than anything else available. But if you want it to look "original," send it back to the original manufacturer. Those are the only two ways I'd approach refurbing a fine gun like yours. But maybe that's just me???

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Just outside Gun Barrel City, Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    the first thing asked was what alloy the aluminum was. different alloys take slightly different processes.
    That's the dirty little secret.
    The Alum-a-black will probably work OK on pure cast Alum.
    Any of the exotic alloys-- not so much.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.

    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    That's a good looking Star, DG! Is that a B 9mm Largo?
    I need to refinish a Single Six grip frame and ejector housing- I may go that route.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Way up in the Cascades
    No, Sir, it's a B Model, 9mm Parabellum--but other than the caliber there isn't any difference between the B and A models. Metal refinishing, as you know, is 80% in the preparation. I prepared this one exactly like if I was going to hot blue it. Removed all the pits and scratches, and polished it up to about 320. De-greased it. I coated it with 3 different spray sessions, because the AlumaHyde will run if you put it on too heavily. So 3 thin coats added up to a finish. You have to let it dry thoroughly, the longer the better, because since it isn't heat cured like baking lacquer it remains tender for several days. You can shorten the time somewhat using heat lamps. I prefer blued finishes, but for some reason this particular gun just wanted to keep rusting, and since it's a concealed carry gun I decided to trade utility for beauty. The stainless grip screws came from e-bay, and the walnut grips from 4S Grips in Texas made from wood I sent to them. Thanks for the nice words.


  10. #10
    Vendor Sponsor

    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ojai CA
    I have used Cera Kote on several guns and now they have an "Air Cure Product" that doesn't require cooking.

    I have to use it on a Enfield Rifle I have because I don't have an oven big enough to cook it in.

    But one of the dirty little secrets out there is that Exhaust Manifold Paint is really the predecessor of Cera Kote and for most uses works just as well.

    The key is in the prep work and if you go on the Cera Kote Website they have the instructions for prepping for their product. It is nothing more than an anal retentive paint prep which anyone who does high end paint for a living would do.

    So as long as you do that you'll be fine. Please understand that if you have pits and such in the paint and you don't get rid of them, they will show up like a sore thumb thru the new finish..

    All of the Ex Czech Police CZ82's that came into the country had painted finishes on them and looked bad. I refinished one of my guns by completely stripping it, Grit blasting all the paint off it and painting it with Cera-Kote. All the small piece parts were blued with Birchwood-Casey Cold Blue and the gun came out nice. A PITB to reassemble and that's why I didn't do the other one yet. Maybe now that we are all locked in our houses, I'll get to it.

    In my shop when a black anodized part gets a ding in the finish, it gets fixed with a Black Sharpie. Note: this is the way that platers/anodizers deal with this same issue every day.

    For any older gun without a perfect exterior surface, painting with one of these products will restore the gun to an acceptable looking tool. In some cases uses of different colors can bring new dimensions to what the gun "Should Look Like." There are many gun makers who are selling guns with Cera-Koted finishes now as front line products, Kimber included.

    One thing I can say for sure, is that if it is properly applied,,, It is ON THERE! You won't have to worry about little dings and such. The adhesion level of this paint is right up there with the most durable paints there are.

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    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

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