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Old July 13, 2008, 08:20 PM   #1
Oquirrh
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B-wood casey vs. laurel mountain brown

I'm going to brown a revolver, I've used Birchwood Casey Plum brown but I read the Laurel Mountain rust bluing/browning solution is about the best.

Has anyone had experience with them, to give me some insight?
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Old July 13, 2008, 08:45 PM   #2
Hawg
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Laurel Mountain is the one most recommended. Here's instructions for it.
http://www.laurelmountainforge.com/b...brown_inst.htm
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Old July 13, 2008, 10:13 PM   #3
RPrather
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Rotten eggs

Hello,

While I am a big fan of BC for small things (parts, minor touch-ups), I would never think of doing anything larger due to the stink that, even if you can live with it, kills the value of a gun when the potential buyer gives it a sniff. Though expensive, I have used Blue Wonder with good results, but neither of these two wear well in the long run.

I have never tried Laurel Mountain.

--Ron
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Old July 14, 2008, 05:44 AM   #4
mykeal
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I've used both BC Plum Brown and LMF browning solution on both large and small projects, and I've had both long enough to have seen the long term results.

First the bad news: I don't have a favorite between the two. They are different processes requiring quite different tools, and both produce good results that last a long time.

I guess that was also the good news...

I don't understand the comment about somebody smelling something - none of the projects I've done have any discernible odor (or else SWMBO would have 'mentioned' it).

Hints: with the BC product, be sure to get the metal heated uniformly and be sure it's hot enough. It will take the brown if it's cooler than the recommended temperature, but the results will be spotty. It will take several coats and quite a bit of work to get an even finish. Get the metal to 260 degrees and one coat will suffice. The key is to be patient and heat it slowly and evenly; you'll get there and it will be worth it.

With LMF, high humidity is the key. I set up a fixture on a sawhorse in a room with a shower, set the metal in the fixture so I have both hands free, turn on the hot water in the shower and close the door. When the mirror fogs in the room I start applying the solution. When it's all on, turn off the shower and leave it be for at least the recommended 3 hours. And don't be disappointed with the first couple of coats - LMF takes several coats and much more time than the BC stuff, but again, the results are worth it. Patience.
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Old July 14, 2008, 10:43 AM   #5
Oquirrh
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tnx, mykeal,

exactly the info i needed.

I've used the Birchwood Casey Plum Brown and have been happy with the results--tho I did have the spottiness issue. I wasn't sure about the longevity.

As for Laurel Mt. application, I saw online someone who used an old ice chest as a humidity chamber for a revolver--sounded like a good idea. Especially because I live in a dry, dry place.

I'll probably go forward with the BC plum brown, because I've got a bottle of it already. I wonder if you hybridized the two processes? Heat the metal, apply the BC plum brown and "season" in high humidity? Just a thought.

Here's what I plan to do:
Heat the parts to the prescribed temperature (250 degrees, IIRC) in an oven.
Swab on the Birchwood Casey Plum Brown.
Repeat, about five times.

Finish with olive oil.

BTW, I've also wondered if you could make the brown plummier by blueing over it with cold blue. I tried it once but it didn't seem to make much difference, except on worn spots. It didn't enhance the "antique" look.
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Old July 14, 2008, 11:10 AM   #6
Hawg
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I dunno. I've got a Uberti Calttleman the frame is almost white on, case colors are very faint. I've been thinking about cold bluing it to see if it would bring them out any. At least darken the frame if nothing else.
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Old July 14, 2008, 11:58 AM   #7
mykeal
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I have 5 guns (2 rifles, 3 pistols) that I browned in the late 70's/early 80's with BC Plum Brown and the finishes are still like new. And they are not gun safe queens.

I'd heat to at least 260 degrees, and if you are going to use an oven be sure to leave it in long enough to heat through the entire piece. The way to check is to use the water test in the Plum Brown instructions. How are you going to handle it to take it out of the oven and apply the Plum Brown?

There's no need to use high humidity with Plum Brown; it will not affect the results one way or the other. The only 'seasoning' that's worthwhile is the final oil coating.

I'd be surprised if you need more than two coats if you get the metal hot enough. I don't believe you'll be able to see a difference between the 2nd and 3rd coats. IF you get it hot enough.

The purple hue that you occasionally see is actually a mistake in the hot blue chemicals some manufacturers use. Applying cold blue over a rust brown finish will have no effect. You can, however, get an excellent blue/black finish by boiling a rust browned barrel in distilled water. It works with metal that's been browned by either the BC or LMF process. The instructions are in the LMF instructions at the end.
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Old July 14, 2008, 04:09 PM   #8
Oquirrh
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Done...

not that hard.

I heated to 275 degrees and left the parts in long enough to heat through. Liquid sizzled on it.

I hung the frame from a hook on the back deck and swabbed with a sponge soaked in the Plum Brown. When it cooled enough to handle, I put it back in the oven took it back up to 275.

Did three coats, but you are correct Mykeal, after the second, it didn't make any difference.
Quote:
How are you going to handle it to take it out of the oven and apply the Plum Brown?
I used my wife's pink silicon heat resistant glove.

Very even finish considering it is a re-finish job and I couldn't get all the flaws out of the steel. The cylinder has the most "marbling" from having discolored before. But it looks great.

I wiped down with olive oil and hung it out to cure for the next week. Hope to assemble and shoot this weekend.

Is there a better lube to use on it? Bear fat?

I forgot the screw heads and the head of the cylinder rod!




The wood grips are stained and filthy, don't know if paint stripper or sanding will get it out of the wood. Just part of the aging process, I guess.

Last edited by Oquirrh; July 14, 2008 at 06:38 PM.
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Old July 14, 2008, 08:16 PM   #9
mykeal
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Quote:
I used my wife's pink silicon heat resistant glove.
Pink, eh? Ok. Hmm. Pink. Never would have thought of that.

Very nice job. Well done.

Quote:
Is there a better lube to use on it? Bear fat?
Yes. Sperm whale oil. Seriously. But very hard to find. Olive oil will go rancid over the long term. I'd leave it on for a couple of days then wash the gun in hot soapy water, give it a light coat of mineral oil lube, let it dry and finish the exterior with a good single coat of paste wax. Use a mineral oil lube on the interior surfaces.
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