View Full Version : How to age a NEW Musket ?

October 10, 2002, 03:19 PM
I've got a reproduction civil war musket. As with the originals, all of it's metal is "Armory Bright". This looks good over the fireplace, but is not the best finish for hunting. The last couple of seasons, I wrapped it in strips of bur-lap to cut down on the shine. But, this is a real chore to do, and to keep it on throughout the season. So now, I'm thinking of making this rifle look tarnished and used.

Any suggestions on how to make a NEW musket look like it's 140 years old ?

Are there any shops that offer an aging service ?


Please, no suggestions that I buy another gun for hunting. This rifle is a great shooter, suits my style, and has already brought home the venison.

Alex Johnson
October 10, 2002, 08:15 PM
The aging your talking about would basically ammount to rusting with some pitting. There are numerous varieties of browning solutions available that will allow you to put a controlled coat of rust over the surface of the steel. When properly done you will get a nice plum brown color, if you want you can even slightly pit the surface in places as would likely have happend over the 140 years you prescribe. As far as the wood goes I would take a commercial chemical stripper and remove the coating from the wood and follow by a light sanding and than the use of an oil finish such as Tru Oil, or even linseed if you have a lot of time on your hands. If it is a light colored wood than stain it before applying the oil. If you want some nicks and dings a set of old car keys on a key chain works well, just don't overdo it. Hope this helps.

Oh, I forgot to mention if you really want to get technical there is a chemical out called old growth that adds over a 100 years of patinia to wood through rapid oxidation, it would undoubtably work well for your uses, I'll try and find the address if your interested.

June 4, 2004, 05:28 AM
I've got an 1842 Springfield repro that I shoot Yankees with on the weekends. A lot of the other guys I know use 1853 Enfield repros, which are blued, and evidently there's an argument among Civil War reenactors as to whether or not they should be. So, a lot of guys de-blue theirs, and one popular method is to use Naval Jelly. Now, this stuff takes the 'silver' color out of the steel, leaves it a flat, battleship grey color. It will still have that mirrored surface, though, so once you've done the Naval Jelly bit (a step you can actually skip unless you want the actual dull grey color in the metal) you do what I did to my '42. WD-40 and some 400 grit sandpaper from the auto supply store gives it a nice, brushed satiny surface, a nice patina like the original pieces in the museums have. The Old Boys used white firepit ash and a dab of water to polish theirs. Took off rust and at the same time gave that dull finish. Really cuts down on that 'use-your-lockplate-for-a-shaving-mirror' polishing wheel finish that modern Springfield repros come with. I'm assuming that's what you have, given that you talk about it being bright steel. Doing the above will still leave it in the white but greatly cut down on glare and flash. With respect to the poster who suggested browning it--that will darken it of course, but then it won't be the correct finish for an original. A nice linseed oil finish, once you take off the urethane on the wood (although ArmiSport doesn't do that any more, thank god), will indeed, as he said, darken up the wood nicely--done enough, it makes an excellent water seal on the wood too. It applies even better when in a mixture...I can't think of it at the moment, because I just used plain linseed oil, but the misture is linseed oil, turpentine, and...something else. I'd have to dig around on the 'net for the rest.

June 4, 2004, 05:41 AM
Come to think of it, I know a guy who had just purchased a '61 Springfield repro and left it on the workbench out in his barn, and while he was in the house taking a 'constitutional', one of his boys knocked over a bucket there by the bench with a basketball, staining the wood darkly. He figured to use anything different would look stupid, since about half the weapon was now stained, so...he now carries an 1861 Springfield with a stock finished with Rotella-T agricultural oil :eek: . Looks beautiful, and water beads up on it like a car somebody just waxed. I get a giggle out of that every time I think of it.

Tommy gunn
June 10, 2004, 02:31 AM
The muskets did not look 140yrs old when they were issued new to the troops back during the Civil War.

June 15, 2004, 01:14 AM
No, they didn't. The linseed oil mixture is something we do because it's more historically correct than that nasty urethane that was being used, and it darkens the wood. ArmiSport and EuroArms use European hardwood, and it's got a little more of a reddish cast to it than the dark color of the American walnut used on the originals.

February 21, 2007, 09:50 PM
Light sanding and a little bit of rusting might do the trick.

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