View Full Version : Filling in lettering on Springfield 1911

October 29, 2007, 08:44 PM
I've got a Springfield 1911 5" (NM S/N frame) I've had since 1996. It's been a sometimes carry gun/plinker. I'd like to move toward getting it 'spruced' up after years of service. The Springfield rollmark (behind the ejection port) was struck lightly. I've refinished the gun twice now and the logo is extremely light. My thought was to have the logo, the Springfield Armory lettering and .45 ACP on the left side of the slide filled in. I'll probably go with a GunKote refinish again. Can the logo and lettering on the slide be filled in with sliver solder or what? I'd prefer not to have them ground off. I don't want to have the rear and forward serrations recut if I don't have to. The lettering on the frame is well defined and would stay. Any ideas??

Harry Bonar
October 30, 2007, 05:55 PM
The rear serrations are below the slide side - I don't approve of it but you can if you're careful clean up that slide.
Wayne Novak sent me a bunch of Colt military slides to cut serrations on and remove the assembly numbers on the left side. I used a fine sanding belt on the belt sander and got rid of 95% of the number - the rest I "struck" off.
Harry B.

P.S. I have the measurements and angles to re-cut the rear serrations if you need them - you'll need a mill.

October 30, 2007, 07:10 PM

Thanks for the info.


T. O'Heir
October 30, 2007, 08:10 PM
Filling with silver solder will make it stand out nicely. Silver solder doesn't take bluing of any kind. Filling with anything won't work. Having it surface ground will do it, but you'll remove the amount of steel to the depth of the stamps. This will alter the weight of the slide. That is bad.
Duracoat of one of the other finishes that adds material will likely cover it better than trying to remove it.

Bill DeShivs
October 30, 2007, 09:15 PM
If you're going to paint the slide anyway, just use autobody filler!

October 31, 2007, 05:08 PM
I was actually thinking more along the lines of JB Weld! Bondo would be easier to remove if I chose to do so in the future...



October 31, 2007, 07:05 PM
JB Weld is probably not a bad choice. Devcon's got a thick black liquid (http://www1.mscdirect.com/CGI/NNSRIT?PMPXNO=1658630&PMT4NO=32025229) consistency steel-filled epoxy in their industrial line that will give you a harder surface. I would recommend you blast the surface for better adhesion. The fine aluminum oxide blasting that the little Badger air-brush style blaster produces is good for this kind of thing because it makes an activated surface too fine to grossly disturb or texture adjacent unfilled areas.

To level the job after the epoxy sets, pick up a small granite surface plate. You can get a 12" x 9" grade B for about $15 plus shipping (http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=640-0100&PMPXNO=947969&PARTPG=INLMK3). That will be flat within a ten thousandth of an inch across its surface. Grades A and AA halve then quarter that error, respectively, but are a waste of money if you are going to do what I am recommending it for. What you will do with this stone plate is put some spray adhesive on the back of some wet/dry paper and glue it down to the plate. Push the sides of the slide across it to produce uniform flat leveling. By working up through the grades to 600 or 800 grit, you produce a very smooth surface that is still microscopically rough enough to be very receptive to a spray-on finish.

If you are going to Parkerize a slide without filler, you can finish it by the same method, but leave it rougher; maybe 320 or 400 grit final finish. If you are going rust blue it, go up to maybe 1200 grit.

You can, by the way, improvise a surface plate closely enough for this job by gluing several pieces of plate glass together with a slow setting epoxy. If you have to buy the glass and have it cut and the sharp edges cleaned up, though, the granite will be cheaper. It will also be flatter, more durable and a lot less trouble. You can also use the plate as a steady stand for a scale. It slows temperature changes as well, tending to reduce electronic scale drift.

October 31, 2007, 08:43 PM
The Devcon product sounds great! It will 'take' bluing or parkerizing too? That really sounds like what I'm looking for. I've used Devcon products working around cars before...can't remember exactly what right now, but I have seen the name on something. The plate of granite is a great idea too.

My Springer 1911 was made in 1995. That's when they used to put the logo behind the ejection port. I purchased the gun slightly used. The previous owner had the ejection port lowered, cut in the front to eject a loaded cartridge, and scalloped or flared the back of the port. The flare job needs some cleaning up. So I first need to shape that flare a little better and then fill the logo and then sand/polish. I will then GunKote in Flat Gray.
Thanks so much for the tips!!

October 31, 2007, 10:47 PM
No. Sorry. I wrote that badly. I've gone back and fixed it. I meant to say that the flat polishing technique can prepare a regular 1911 slide for bluing or Parkerizing depending on grit. In your instance though, with the Devcon present, only a painted finish will take over top of it. And at that, you should probably not let the Devcon get more than a day or so old before you follow up with polishing and the painted finish. Epoxies are famous for preventing subsequent layers of finish to bond well to them after they've hardened long enough. Usually 12 hours to 72 hours are OK depending on the particular epoxy. A week is definitely too long.

The epoxy resin in Devcon or JB coats the metal and oxide filler particles in it, so they are rendered unavailable for reaction with the chemicals involved in bluing or Parkerizing. To fill in and still accept a finish would require doing a TIG weld build-up in the stamped area, then filing or grinding it down to level. That is a tough thing to do without warping the slide some. You would also likely need to run it through heat treating over again, which, in the 1911 slide, requires not just the usual oven treatment, but also flame or other localized hardening of the slide stop notch. Not something for people who haven't done it before.

November 1, 2007, 08:48 AM
Well, when U do it - let us know how it goes!

November 1, 2007, 05:20 PM
Aways so much to learn here!!

I know silver solder will not allow bluing/parkerizing...but what if the logo were filled in with silver solder. Does the heat required for it interfere with the temper of the slide?

Thanks again guys...

November 1, 2007, 06:07 PM
It depends on whether you are speaking of a silver-bearing soft solder or of a silver brazing alloy? The former isn't going to be any harder than the filled epoxies. The latter is commonly called silver solder, but the process is really brazing and requires a borax based flux and temperature in the 1300 degree range, depending on the specific alloy. Harris Safety-silv 45T is at the low end of the alloy liquidous range, wets fairly well and is cadmium free. That would be my initial choice. It should be OK everywhere but at the slide stop notch, where, ideally, you would like to have something like a Rockwell C scale hardness of 50, which will be a temper of around 800 degrees. Getting it hotter than that will leave it too soft. If you were to use heat-stop paste to block heat spreading to it, or use the old barrel lug welding technique of submerging the parts you want to keep cool in wet sand, you may be able to use silver braze.

If you are unfamiliar with brazing technique, you are likely to overheat the material while learning. You should get some practice with it first. It typically requires a gas/oxygen flame to get something the size of your slide warm enough in a localized area. Propane alone will have trouble getting the steel warm enough for good flow. MAPP gas can get there, but will take long enough that the heat will spread further than you really want by the time the brazing alloy flows and wets the surface well.

FYI, standard bluing and Parkerizing (phosphatizing) are both finishes formed by chemical reaction with free iron. That is why they won't form on solders (no iron) or even with stainless steel (which protects iron with chromium oxide layers). There is a special stainless bluing chemistry that gets the iron loose to act on, but it isn't what you would use on regular steel.

Bill DeShivs
November 1, 2007, 07:15 PM
Either hard or soft silver solder will likely have pits and voids, and the filled areas would have to be cleaned to bright metal for them to adhere well.

Jim Watson
November 1, 2007, 07:21 PM
I'm with Harry B. A good man with a belt sander will erase a soft roll mark like it was never there. My local guy could, maybe you can find somebody.

No Bondo on my guns.

Bill DeShivs
November 1, 2007, 09:26 PM
Me too- but I don't paint my guns, either!