View Full Version : do some guns blue different ?

January 8, 2011, 01:38 PM
I kinda know the answer to this but im not sure . i have recently done some cold rebluing on several guns i own but this one 38 iver johnson just will not come out right , it was original nickel plate but it was soo far gone and the gun is not worth having it re dipped or plated . my problem is that it just wont darken enough . is it just the make up of the steel or what

January 8, 2011, 05:02 PM
Even with hot bluing different types of steel can come out slightly different in color, and if you mess up the bluing temperature all sorts of weird things can happen.

Cold blue is even worse since there are multiple types using different chemistry.

A heat gun and Brownells 'creme' cold blue often works reasonably well, but mostly for touch-up.

It is hard to get even color (and dark colors) from cold blue.

Bill DeShivs
January 8, 2011, 05:18 PM
All of the nickel plating must be removed before cold blue will make it look like crap. :D

January 9, 2011, 06:09 PM
Good one.

January 12, 2011, 12:57 PM
I have seen some nickeled guns that had a copper plateing under the nickel, but I doubt I.J would have done that.

January 12, 2011, 02:15 PM
I have seen some nickeled guns that had a copper plateing under the nickel, but I doubt I.J would have done that.

The older nickel plating process required copper under the nickel.

Newer process do not.

Bill DeShivs
January 12, 2011, 05:57 PM
This is a common misconception.
Nickel plating has never required a copper underplate. Electrolytic nickel adheres to steel very well. Copper underplate is what bumper plating shops did to prevent rust-a thick layer of copper, a "strike" coat of nickel, and a thin layer of chromium for color.

January 13, 2011, 10:39 AM
Not just to prevent rust, but when copper was still cheap enough, a thick copper plate acted like body putty to fill scratches, then was buffed smooth for the nickel. I've got an old book on chromium plating shop procedures that describes this.

Today, for guns, electroless nickel seems most reasonable and it can be done at home, but the solutions aren't cheap. You might, however, look at Brownells for the nickel stripper.

For blue, I would forget the cold blue and go to rust bluing. It's pretty easy to do at home for a small handgun sized project and, though slow going, produces far superior appearance and ruggedness to that of any cold blue. Use the site's search engine for threads on rust bluing for instructions.

January 13, 2011, 11:03 AM
Nickel plating has never required a copper underplate.

While not strictly required for the nickel to attach, it helps a lot and prevent contamination of the nickel bath by the steel.

It also aids in getting a more even plating layer (copper conducts far better than steel).

Jim Watson
January 13, 2011, 11:19 AM
I bought cheap a factory nickel Colt S70 that some nitwit had tried to brighten up with a buffer. One side of the slide showed where the buffer had started to cut through the nickel and show copper. The appearance was a pinkish shade.

January 13, 2011, 02:07 PM
have you thought about using duracoat or a similar "paint" system. It will look different, but a lot better than a cold blue job.

Bill DeShivs
January 15, 2011, 02:11 PM
I have refinished a lot of modern guns, including Colts. I have never seen indication of a copper sub plate on any factory plated gun.