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Thread: Homebrew parkerizing actually worked!

  1. #1
    Boolit Master cheese1566's Avatar
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    Homebrew parkerizing actually worked!

    I tinkered with making my own homebrew manganese parkerizing solution. I did research on the web and found some ideas and a lot of different-but similar recipes.
    The web info listed using products that contained phosphoric acid, but those recipes were from the last decade when acid concentrations were higher, and have since changed in this "greener" climate. I had to do some more research on local products and MSDS sheets.
    I found a gallon of Krud Kutter Concrete Cleaner and Etcher (<40% acid) for a whopping $12.99 at Menards! I also lucked out in having a local potter/pottery instructor in having manganese dioxide for $3.00 a pound-no taking apart batteries--if you ever do, make sure they are NOT alkaline- they spew nasty caustic chemicals!
    I started the one gallon formula with two ounces of manganese dioxide powder which gave the results in the pics below. I found that the powder did not dissolve very readily and ended up with a lot floating around and settling on the bottom. I did do my Ishapore refurbish using this formula since I knew it worked. The reciever did not finish as dark, except for a ring around the locking lug recess where they have heat treated it. The barrel and other parts match those below.

    Attachment 17439
    (test parts from a Lee Enfield in.303 British)

    I since changed the formula by reducing the manganese dioxide to 1 ounce per gallon. Those test pieces came out just as the others.

    My formula (use at your own risk and test on your own!!)

    120 fluid ounces distilled water (I used reverse osmosis water)
    8 fluid ounces Krud Kutter Concrete Cleaner & Etcher (<40% phosphoric acid)
    1 ounce manganese dioxide
    0.5 ounces (1 coarse steel wool pad) iron scrap


    Some recipes call for iron filings like those sold through Brownells. I found an ample supply (5 pounds) at the local Ford dealership at the brake turning machines. I also found the clean steel wool pads at Menards that were pretty clean of oil. If you use steel wool, make sure they are degreased of all oil.

    My technique (I studied the instructions from Brownells which is available online):

    Have all you parts degeased and blasted to a nice clean even finish. Use rubber gloves and hang them on degreased black rebar tie wire. Spray down a final time with brake cleaner.

    1. Ready a large stock pot with clean fresh water and bring to rolling boil.
    2. Ready another stainless steel stockpot with 120 ounces of distilled water.
    3. Raise distilled water to about 140 degrees and add the 8 ounces of acid to the water.
    4. Add the 1 ounce of manganese dioxide powder and stir thoroughly.
    5. Raise the temp to about 180 degrees and add the steel wool pad. Keep stirring and submerge the pad as it will have the tendency to float after a few minutes. It will gas and and create a foam on the surface. Keep the pad in for 10 minutes, then remove. It should be black.
    6. Submerge the parts in the boiling WATER for about 3 minutes.
    7. Remove from the water and submerge in the park solution. Keep the solution moving and raise/lower the parts in and out of the solution one in a while to monitor the work and to keep slurry off the tops. Hang the parts from a rod so they are suspended in the soultion and off the bottom. Don't let them touch one another.
    Keep the solution between 185-200 degress and do not let it boil--ever!
    8. After 10 minutes (which worked for me), but no longer than 15, remove the parts from the park solution to the boiling water again. (Time varies on submerging the parts- keep an eye on it keep from etching.) My parts came out very black but had a coating of "sludge" on them.
    9. After 3 minutes in boiling water, remove and spray down with WD-40.
    10. After all parts are done, brush liberally with clean motor oil.
    11. After a day, lightly scrub the parts with more oil and a soft tooth brush. I then lightly rubbed them with 0000 steel wool to remove all traces of sludge.
    12. Apply gun oil and reassemble.

    I figure I can make about 16 gallons of solution for about $17 (acid, manganese, and steel wool). Two gallons was more than enough to do my Ishapore 2a .308


    I found about 3 weeks later I could reuse the same solution after it had cooled. I had made up an extra gallon a day later after the others to do a forgotten part. I let this solution sit in the SST pot. During this 3 week time it froze solid for about one week in subzero temperature. When I thawed it, it was "half" frozen. I placed it on the stove and warmed it back to 190 degrees slowly. The solution worked just as it did before with the other parts.



    Here is my new shutterfly site for all the pics: http://cheese1566gunsandstuff.shutterfly.com/27/
    Last edited by cheese1566; 12-23-2009 at 09:56 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Congratulations!! Many have tried, but for some reason most seem to fail. Not sure why. Its not really that hard once a guy gets the hang of it.

    Did you use any zinc? (I didnt see any in your recipe).

    What are you using for tanks and heat? I used stainless steel mud pans from Harbor freight (also available at the big box lumber yard). I sealed the seams with high temp silicone RTV. Two or even three of them can be rivetted together to make a long skinny tank for barrels and such.
    People sometimes tell me they dont own guns because guns are too expensive. I tell them guns dont cost anything. They are essentially another form of currency.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master cheese1566's Avatar
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    No zinc, I was going for the darker color. I have used Brownells Zinc parkerizing solution and it's pretty cheap, a little goes a long way. I think the potter also has some zinc oxide chemicals if I decide to go that way.

    My main tanks for small parts was a 2 and 5 gallon stainless steel stock pots and a enamel pot for the water boil bath.

    I zinc parked a shotgun using plastic wallpaper trays reinforced with a plywood trough. Not too bad, but they were flimsy and brittle after one use.

    On my recent Ishy, I used vertical tanks from liteweight PVC with glued on caps on one end. Not too bad, except they became soft in the heat. (One tank for hot water, the other for the park solution.) I heated the water and soultion and then poured them into the pvc pipe. Then dipped the barreled receiver. Not too bad, but the pipe softened and became squished from the bungee cords. Good thing I noticed and removed the tension halfway through. I didn't see too much heat loss. I see one person on a homegunsmithing.com (?) post made an elaborate heated pvc tank. If (actually when) I do it again, I'll spend the extra few dollars and get sch 40 heavy weight PVC pipe and caps.
    I did find in my research that some are using the stainless steel speed rails from bar supplies. They come in different lengths and are used to hold liquor botttles, one sight has them for $25 in 42" lengths.
    Last edited by cheese1566; 11-28-2009 at 03:25 PM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Nice work.


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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Nice work and thanks for sharing your recipe and your results.

  6. #6
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    Ideas, ideas. I've always wanted a parkerized Mauser...Hmm..

  7. #7
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    Nice work cheese. I used one of the recipes on the Surplus Rifle forum and did a formerly black painted Ishy 2A. I had a local sheet metal fabricator build a stainless tank (<$50) in which I was able to place the entire (stripped) barrel receiver. I did the small parts in a set of those stainless cooking pots available at Dollar General for $10. Bought the manganese off eBay. The entire job turned out very nice.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I for one would sure like to see the re assembled rifle.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master cheese1566's Avatar
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    I am still working on the wood and trying to get the cosmoline weeped out of the pores. Takes a long time on low in the shop oven and wiping down every 15 minutes. The long section of stock just fits and has to be wiped every 5 minutes to keep the cosmo from baking on the wood near the element.

    I have a gallon of lacquer thinner and quart of Formby's Refinsher when I get tired of the neverending weeping cosmo. and then some Formby's tung opil low gloss finish. Hopefully have pics soon.

    I may take some of the barrelled action today without the wood. A buddy brought over his new Ruger bolt action today. His receiver and bolt matched my parkerizing on the Ishapore.


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheese1566 View Post
    I am still working on the wood and trying to get the cosmoline weeped out of the pores. Takes a long time on low in the shop oven and wiping down every 15 minutes. The long section of stock just fits and has to be wiped every 5 minutes to keep the cosmo from baking on the wood near the element.

    I have a gallon of lacquer thinner and quart of Formby's Refinsher when I get tired of the neverending weeping cosmo. and then some Formby's tung opil low gloss finish. Hopefully have pics soon.

    I may take some of the barrelled action today without the wood. A buddy brought over his new Ruger bolt action today. His receiver and bolt matched my parkerizing on the Ishapore.

    You'll be weeping oil for a year that way.

    go to walmart and buy a Gallon of "Purple Power Degreaser" Spray it straight on the stock and wait 2 min. You'll see the oils start to flow. I had to do mine 3X with the stuff, hosing it down every 10 min or so.

    It's biodegradable, non-staining, harmless to wood and does an EXCELLENT job of pulling the oils from the tight Mahogany stocks those ishy's came with.

  11. #11
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    WOW!!! Too cool! Awesome job!
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master cheese1566's Avatar
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    UPDATE: I it can be reused at a later date!!!


    I found about 3 weeks later I could reuse the same solution after it had cooled. I had made up an extra gallon a day later after the others to do a forgotten part. I let this solution sit in the SST pot. During this 3 week time it froze solid for about one week in subzero temperature. When I thawed it, it was "half" frozen. I placed it on the stove and warmed it back to 190 degrees slowly. The solution worked just as it did before with the other parts.

  13. #13
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    Gonna hafta give this a try!
    Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

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