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Thread: Cold / rust blue formulas

  1. #21
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    Thanks JLF but I think I’ll try some less toxic stuff first.
    But the solutions you given probably less toxic than some bought stuff for all I know anyway.

  2. #22
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    I use Laurel Mtn browning for a slow rust blue and have for 30yrs or more.
    It works good because it has Nitric Acid, Ferric Chloride and Copper Sulfate in it according to the MSDS.
    Sometimes it's hard to stop.
    I've found that after the last cycle of boiling and carding, I put one Express blue coating over it right then and there using Mark Lees Express Blue and I never have any after rust at all.


    Plain Muriatic acid (swimming pool acid) does a nice job of slow even rusting. About a 10% acid to water soln is all that's needed.

    Also one that hardly anyone uses anymore but used to be quite popular was a Salammoniac soln.
    This was popular for Browning muzzle loader parts back before all the parts and kits and DIY chemicals started being made available.
    The stuff is Ammonium Chloride, a natural substance I think.
    It's major use that I knew of was as a soft solder flux.
    As such it works very well, but it is highly corrosive as well (rusts!)

    It comes in small bars like a bar of soap and most welding supply shops and still carry it. I'm sure the Almighty Web can supply it.
    It's a fairly soft substance.
    For rust bluing we simply cut off shavings of the stuff w/a knife and dissolved them in plain water.
    Then use this soln as the rusting soln.
    As long as the metal was clean just like any other Rust Bluing, stuff layed down a very nice fine red rust in about the same time as any other product.

    If you use it for a soldering flux,,the fumes from the stuff will settle on and rust any steel in the shop. Plus the residue on the soldered part will rust aggressivly as well if not washed and flushed from the surface.
    Kind of like the so call 'Acid' Soldering Flux, which are not an acid at all.
    The most common is Zinc Chloride,,,, Zinc disolved in Hydrochloric acid to saturation. Ph acidic probably.
    This stuff is Ammonium Chloride

  3. #23
    Rust blued custom rifles professionally for 30 years. I tried them all including many home made formulas. Settled on Jim Baiar's Gun Goddess. I have guns that I blued 25 years ago with no worn through spots on the gun.

  4. #24
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    Well had no joy finding anything besides touch up cold blue or two.

    Tried some quick 1hr bluing with peroxide /vinegar and salt buy applying and letting it rust then boiling for 3 minutes or so.
    In the end it wasn’t to bad and may try again but I did drop it a couple of times on the floor amongst things and it came out a bit blotchy in places but generally looked the goods.

    I decided that I will take a slower route and applied a couple of layers of solution with a somewhat heated part and left it for a few hrs.
    Applied another tonight and I’ll see how it looks tomorrow.
    I plan on keeping it going with the lightest possible smear of solution so it is not dripping wet at any stage.
    After a good rusting use a piece of denim to card off or may even try some paper.
    Get to a degree that looks good then boil in water or steam to make it black.

    First half day.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #25
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    Minimum solution so no runs, allow to rust, boil or steam then card.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by barrabruce View Post
    Well had no joy finding anything besides touch up cold blue or two.

    Tried some quick 1hr bluing with peroxide /vinegar and salt buy applying and letting it rust then boiling for 3 minutes or so.
    In the end it wasnít to bad and may try again but I did drop it a couple of times on the floor amongst things and it came out a bit blotchy in places but generally looked the goods.

    I decided that I will take a slower route and applied a couple of layers of solution with a somewhat heated part and left it for a few hrs.
    Applied another tonight and Iíll see how it looks tomorrow.
    I plan on keeping it going with the lightest possible smear of solution so it is not dripping wet at any stage.
    After a good rusting use a piece of denim to card off or may even try some paper.
    Get to a degree that looks good then boil in water or steam to make it black.

    First half day.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    It takes multiple cycles of oxidation and boil out. For boiling, you need to go 25 minutes for the conversion to work well. If steaming, 20 minutes.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  7. #27
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    Didn’t have much time today.
    2x boil and card.
    I’ll try boiling longer as stated.
    Learning as I go.
    THis is a piece of gun steel.
    I think I will make a steamer .
    Be awhile before I try any real stuff thou.
    Thnx everyone.

  8. #28
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    My rust bluing experiences typically take five days: boil and card in the morning, apply solution and rust all day, boil and card in the evening, apply solution and rust all night. Twice a day for five days. Times, of course, dictated by work and sleep, rather than just the right amount of rust.

    The final finish tends to look lighter than it will when it is neutralized and oiled. Beware of this, because pushing it for a darker finish will begin to roughen the polished surface slightly, with no increase in the color. A matte finish is not particularly objectionable, but after all the polishing, one might want to preserve the shiny surface.

    Not having a tank, or the room for one, I use a whistling tea kettle (whistle removed) and pass the barrel back and forth through the steam until it uniformly darkens. Drop cloths or newspapers on the floor to catch the drips and rust. Smaller parts are boiled in a ceramic coated cook pot. When I moved from 2700ft elevation to 4100ft, the blackening took a considerably longer time. Boiling a pistol in a pot of water didn’t go beyond brown at the time, although it eventually darkened after a decade or so.

    Allegedly, diluting the rusting solution just so, and allowing the rusting time just so long will result in the magnetic oxide particles to be small enough to reflect light only in the blue wavelengths, making the part look “blue.” I must confess that I’ve never been able to reach these ideal conditions; all my parts are dead black, unless I cheat. However, the finish seems to build up out of the pores of the metal, whereas the hot-dunk alkaline niter salts process seems to go in from the surface. So the finish by the first process takes a lot of wear to disappear, whereas the second one rubs off just in normal handling.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bent Ramrod View Post
    R. H. Angierís Firearm Bluing And Browning has all the formulas and procedures for the slow-rust and ďexpressĒ processes that anyone would ever want to try. I was a chemist in a previous life, so I combined some of the elements of a couple of them, added some new stuff and went from there, but the original mixtures worked fine.

    The book has been through more editions than most best-selling novels, and might even be downloadable from somewhere.

    It doesnít cover the modern alkaline hot-dunk process that you mostly get commercially, but the investment in tanks, thermometers, heaters, etc, is more than the home hobbyist would want to spend anyway.
    If you have Kindle Unlimited it's free to read, or $13.19 to buy the Kindle edition. Nobody seems to have it in a dead-tree edition right now.

    Bill

  10. #30
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    Turned out green which is not bad.
    Had another go at quick bluing.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Looks good enough in it’s own weird way.

    Down loaded the KINDLE APP
    See if I can figure out how to use it.
    Ha.

  11. #31
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    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    I ended up getting the ebook to read.
    Wading through it although it may be past my ability to nut out the chemistry stuff.
    I’ll battle on regardless anyway.
    It’s all balls and sticks to me and if it was in Chinese it would make as much sense.
    Ha

  13. #33
    Boolit Master
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    Well I have ordered some Salammoniac acid
    And found some Hydrochloric acid .
    Read the book and now know less than I started.
    Still trying to find a kettle I would like to use in the kitchen as well.
    So hopefully be wiping rusting and boiling and or steaming soon when I have a day to set myself up properly before I start.

    Lot of the recipes have mercuric acids in them and playing with mercury is not on my list of stuff I want to be playing with.
    Thanks.
    I’ll post my results to be critiqued later on.
    All in all if it don’t rust and not eat away the rifling then I will have achieved satisfaction and the rest is just icing.

  14. #34
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    All you need as far as “chemistry” goes is:

    A solution of something that will quickly rust steel. This means able to generate very fine, “flash” rust quickly, rather than producing the heavy flakes that have the pitting underneath. The mixture I used from Angier’s book was a modification of Neidner’s formula, nitric plus hydrochloric acids (Aqua regia, which can dissolve gold) mixed slowly together outside, and then enough scrap iron (I think Neidner used rusty nails) introduced until no further reactions happen. This also done outside, with gloves, tongs and eye protection, and one’s face upwind and as far from the action as possible.

    Pour through a funnel with coffee paper for a filter and to the liquid add:

    Copper sulfate, which will plate copper out on the steel, allowing you to see where you’ve already wiped the solution on. You don’t want “heavy” and “light” areas of treatment, as the rusting will be more or less in proportion, and the darkening the same. The plating will not show after the first rusting, boiling and carding step, but the surface will be dark enough so you can see where you’ve wiped the solution anyway.

    Finally, you might want some organic emulsifier or solvent added to your mixture. The old books used something called “sweet spirits of nitre” for this, but I used either DMF or DMSO. This is just in case you haven’t wiped the last trace of that last fingerprint off the metal; it will allow the rusting solution to spread over the oily spot and rust it anyway, instead of beading up and ruining your blued surface.

    I had access to a chemistry lab back then, and was able to get all that stuff easily. Perhaps isopropyl alcohol or acetone would work as the grease solvent, or, if you are careful, you won’t need it anyway.

    The cheating I used to do to get a blue color was the wiping down of the part, just before the last application of rusting solution, with a solution of some soluble sulfide, like hydrogen sulfide in water, “liver of sulfur,” or sodium sulfide. It goes without saying, I hope, that you keep your nose remote from this step. The copper plating is still on the part, mixed in with all that black magnetite rust, and the sulfide converts it to copper sulfide, which imparts a pleasing blue hue to the black coating.

    Forget all the mercuric salts and the potassium chlorate, etc. Those are components of the “express blue” formulas, where you kept the part in boiling water, took it out, wiped on the solution before the part could cool, and put it back in the tank. The mercury plated out on the steel surface, allowing the oxidizer to “bite” into the metal and start the blackening process. If you’re going to do that, the closer you are to sea level, the better. Boiling water up in the mountains won’t give the temperature for blackening, just browning, although, as I mentioned, the brown finally turned black after twenty years or so.

    Your ammonium chloride ought to rust steel just as well as the iron chloride/nitrate mix I described; maybe even better. Try several dilutions of the stuff on a clean steel plate and see how you like the rusting over a few hours. Add copper sulfate and see if it plates out, and, if you want, try some alcohol or acetone on a greasy steel surface and see how well it spreads.

    My sophisticated rusting setup was a framework of Tinker Toys and bent wire coathangers in a couple taped-together dry-cleaner bags, with a couple wet sponges in the bottom for humidity. Barrels were coated inside with RIG grease and dowels driven into the ends, both for handles as I passed the barrel through the steam, and plugs so the liquids stay out of the bore. Wipe all the grease off the ends, of course.

    If people had to be chemists to do this process, it probably never would have started. I understand the urine of an uncorrupted youth makes a great rusting solution. Arguing that you can find an uncorrupted youth these days.

  15. #35
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    No, I think it was the urine of the Bishop that was desired, because they were the rich ones drinking the wine and other alcohol. Urine of an uncorrupted youth would not have the desired effect.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  16. #36
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    Well I got my ammonium chlorite and mixed a small batch up with it.
    I couldn’t get it to take till I scratched the surface with the mix in steel wool.
    It would just bead up.
    I may have to return to oil removal properly.
    But the small section I did turned out well.

    I tried next to do a barrel and not much luck with it.
    I got a brownish tinge at best.
    I my have contaminated it.
    It’s the end of the barrel I want to redue to make it look well- even.
    I left it for a few days and I seem to have some after rusting.

    But I did learn that plugging the bore with a cast bullet and a over size empty shell seals it off good.

    I will lick my wounds and clean up my mess better around me and make a sterile environment to work in and not hurry things along.

    All is good.

    Do I just pass the steel over the kettle spout and rotate it or just hold it still and do small sectionals at a time?

    It will keep me occupied on the wet days but I believe SWMBO could keep me busy enough anyway.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by barrabruce View Post
    Well I got my ammonium chlorite and mixed a small batch up with it.
    I couldnít get it to take till I scratched the surface with the mix in steel wool.
    It would just bead up.
    I may have to return to oil removal properly.
    But the small section I did turned out well.

    I tried next to do a barrel and not much luck with it.
    I got a brownish tinge at best.
    I my have contaminated it.
    Itís the end of the barrel I want to redue to make it look well- even.
    I left it for a few days and I seem to have some after rusting.

    But I did learn that plugging the bore with a cast bullet and a over size empty shell seals it off good.

    I will lick my wounds and clean up my mess better around me and make a sterile environment to work in and not hurry things along.

    All is good.

    Do I just pass the steel over the kettle spout and rotate it or just hold it still and do small sectionals at a time?

    It will keep me occupied on the wet days but I believe SWMBO could keep me busy enough anyway.
    You may have polished the metal too much. Stop at 320 grit.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  18. #38
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    I passed the barrel back and forth in sections while turning until all areas were a uniform dark gray with no brown or red. By that time all the loose particles that were falling off with the condensate and making a mess on the newspapers Iíd spread on the floor were black also.

    The smaller parts boiling in the pan would be taken out with tongs and inspected until the color was uniform charcoal gray. The color would get darker with every pass, but would not be black until they were cleaned of the last of the solution, dried and oiled or greased. Iíd rub RIG into the parts, which prevented after rusting.

    Iíd steel-wool the parts as fast as I could, recoat them with the solution before theyíd fully cooled if possible, and put them back in the rusting bag again. Didnít want the solution loading up and dripping, or the parts lying around outside where anything could get on them again.

    It sounds like you havenít gotten all the oil completely off everything. Iíd buy dishwashing gloves and, wearing them, washed my hands in dish detergent and hot water before using them. I used to use freshly laundered worn out undershirts as rags to wipe the parts off with solvent. Used to be able to buy dichloromethane or chloroform, but now the only degreasing solvent worth bothering with (IMO) is that chlorinated brake and electrical contact spray stuff. Thereís an environmentally friendly version, but Iíll let George use it and report. I also used the solvents on every bit of steel wool I used for carding; thereís a lot of preservative oil on that stuff. If Iíd automated, Iíd do the wire wheels the same. I used sterile cotton balls to wipe the solution on. They didnít need any pretreatment. The dishwasher gloves might last the whole bluing cycle, but I always got spares, as the rubber fingers would decompose eventually. The thin surgical gloves wouldnít last more than a pass or two.

    I need to do some bluing again, but clearing five days for the psychodrama isnít as easy now that Iím retired and my schedule is so fluid.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bent Ramrod View Post
    All you need as far as “chemistry” goes is:

    A solution of something that will quickly rust steel. This means able to generate very fine, “flash” rust quickly, rather than producing the heavy flakes that have the pitting underneath. The mixture I used from Angier’s book was a modification of Neidner’s formula, nitric plus hydrochloric acids (Aqua regia, which can dissolve gold) mixed slowly together outside, and then enough scrap iron (I think Neidner used rusty nails) introduced until no further reactions happen. This also done outside, with gloves, tongs and eye protection, and one’s face upwind and as far from the action as possible.

    Pour through a funnel with coffee paper for a filter and to the liquid add:

    Copper sulfate, which will plate copper out on the steel, allowing you to see where you’ve already wiped the solution on. You don’t want “heavy” and “light” areas of treatment, as the rusting will be more or less in proportion, and the darkening the same. The plating will not show after the first rusting, boiling and carding step, but the surface will be dark enough so you can see where you’ve wiped the solution anyway.

    Finally, you might want some organic emulsifier or solvent added to your mixture. The old books used something called “sweet spirits of nitre” for this, but I used either DMF or DMSO. This is just in case you haven’t wiped the last trace of that last fingerprint off the metal; it will allow the rusting solution to spread over the oily spot and rust it anyway, instead of beading up and ruining your blued surface.

    I had access to a chemistry lab back then, and was able to get all that stuff easily. Perhaps isopropyl alcohol or acetone would work as the grease solvent, or, if you are careful, you won’t need it anyway.

    The cheating I used to do to get a blue color was the wiping down of the part, just before the last application of rusting solution, with a solution of some soluble sulfide, like hydrogen sulfide in water, “liver of sulfur,” or sodium sulfide. It goes without saying, I hope, that you keep your nose remote from this step. The copper plating is still on the part, mixed in with all that black magnetite rust, and the sulfide converts it to copper sulfide, which imparts a pleasing blue hue to the black coating.

    Forget all the mercuric salts and the potassium chlorate, etc. Those are components of the “express blue” formulas, where you kept the part in boiling water, took it out, wiped on the solution before the part could cool, and put it back in the tank. The mercury plated out on the steel surface, allowing the oxidizer to “bite” into the metal and start the blackening process. If you’re going to do that, the closer you are to sea level, the better. Boiling water up in the mountains won’t give the temperature for blackening, just browning, although, as I mentioned, the brown finally turned black after twenty years or so.

    Your ammonium chloride ought to rust steel just as well as the iron chloride/nitrate mix I described; maybe even better. Try several dilutions of the stuff on a clean steel plate and see how you like the rusting over a few hours. Add copper sulfate and see if it plates out, and, if you want, try some alcohol or acetone on a greasy steel surface and see how well it spreads.

    My sophisticated rusting setup was a framework of Tinker Toys and bent wire coathangers in a couple taped-together dry-cleaner bags, with a couple wet sponges in the bottom for humidity. Barrels were coated inside with RIG grease and dowels driven into the ends, both for handles as I passed the barrel through the steam, and plugs so the liquids stay out of the bore. Wipe all the grease off the ends, of course.

    If people had to be chemists to do this process, it probably never would have started. I understand the urine of an uncorrupted youth makes a great rusting solution. Arguing that you can find an uncorrupted youth these days.
    According to duckduckgo's search engine, sweet spirits of nitre is ethyl nitrite in ethyl alcohol. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/ethyl-nitrite-spirit Further searching suggests you can't get it in the US any more, as it can be toxic, and has very little odor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethyl_nitrite If you're crazy enough, it can apparently be synthesized by reacting nitric acid with ethyl alcohol. Hard pass for me.

  20. #40
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    This is what it looks like.
    Inside it’s a very dark colour but in hard light it looks transparent like looking through layers of polished wood.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I think I’ll leave it as it will stop the rusting.
    Next time I’m going to follow the path layer out before by others.
    Well try to anyway

    I know everyone is going come on Bruce. It’s easy just……..

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