View Full Version : Hobby Metal Refinishing

April 3, 2009, 09:24 PM
I've been doing small scale hobby refinishing of surplus arms for a number of years now, and finally put all of my notes into one large document. I am a chemist, and a firearm enthusiast, so this is my interest. The document covers the essential basics that I've been able to figure out on the subjects of rust bluing, caustic black, iron/zinc phosphate finishes, painting, anodizing small aluminum items, etc. The methods are all done using basic chemicals, not kits. I've included a number of photos to help the reader.

Consider it a introduction to a great hobby - hobbyist surplus firearm refinishing. If you have tips, or suggestions, pop me an email. I'd love to eventually build a "what-works-best" database of refinishes to arms, if only by manufacturer. That would save a lot of guess work and experimentation.

The link below will get you the PDF. I hope you enjoy and find it useful. It is free to read and share, but if you enjoy the document, or use it on a project and it works out great for you, consider the "contribute to the author" PayPal option. It will help me pay for the work I have done, and support more. ;)


April 4, 2009, 09:45 AM
Very interesting read, thanks. I have been working at perfecting my rust bluing. I think I may have been over polishing my parts to start with.

April 4, 2009, 12:07 PM
Over polishing is a problem for many reasons, penetration, rounding edges, elongating holes and going through case harding. One fault I see many people making is not using filtered distilled water in their tanks, it can make a very big difference in the end product.

April 4, 2009, 03:49 PM
Agree ---

If you need to polish, do 90% of the work with high grit paper on a flat - don't sit there all day on a buffing wheel, because your project gets that ugly melted look. Not all polishing compounds work well either, some come off clean with little embedded tramp, others essentially ruin the surface chemistry.

Use distilled water for caustic blue, and for things like anodizing dyes, sealing anodizing, and submerged converting baths for rust blue. For steam baths and phosphating, I find rain water is fine.

April 5, 2009, 05:34 PM
Fourn6, tried to download your .pdf file, but the link gave a "file not found " on google groups error. Retried it, still no joy. Will try it again later. Just FYI.

April 5, 2009, 07:52 PM
It worked on my end, but try: