View Full Version : Home cooked re-blueing?

May 10, 2011, 02:39 PM
What are your thoughts on re-blueing guns at home? Are the kits sold in stores worth it? Will they do a decent job?

For those who have used them, what are some "gotchas" or things to be aware of?


May 10, 2011, 02:53 PM
Cold blue touch-up kits are acceptable for small spots, or firearms that don't get handled much. But, it will wear over time; and failure to properly seal the touched-up spot will lead to accelerated rust.

On one recent project, I was completely unable to get Birchwood-Casey's Perma-Blue to work on wear spots on the barrel. The metal was so porous, that I couldn't get all the contaminants out. Without a clean surface, cold bluing products won't work at all.

Some people complain of difficulty in getting the cold blue products to match the existing bluing, but it can be done fairly well - with a little practice (and multiple applications).

In my opinion, the cheaper the firearm is, the harder it will be to get good results with a cold blue.

May 10, 2011, 02:58 PM
Oxpho-blue dont waste your time with the other stuff.

Bill DeShivs
May 10, 2011, 04:56 PM
The short answer is-no.
The long answer is-no.
They are good for touch ups only, regardless of what it says on the package.
Cold blues wear very quickly, stink, and promote rust.
Everybody will tell you they know the "secret" to make cold blues look great, and wear forever but the real secret is, they don't.

James K
May 10, 2011, 06:14 PM
For the umpteenth time, a +1 for Bill. NONE of those cold blues are good for any kind of long term wear. They will do for touchup, or if you want to unload a gun on some suck... I mean some discerning buyer.


May 10, 2011, 06:18 PM
When I worked at a gun shop we never did any cold blueing...we waited till we got a batch of guns..then got the burners and tanks out...I got a nasty scar on my leg from chemical burn....but I have to say it is so cool watching the liquid churn when you add that clear chemical ( cannot remember name )

May 11, 2011, 09:54 AM
Excellent info. Thanks all. I'll leave em worn.

May 23, 2011, 04:35 PM
Do a little research on rust bluing. It isn't fast, but gives the very best at-home result. If you do the metal prep right (polishing and de-greasing), it can rival or even out-perform hot bluing.

I just did a couple parts this weekend and I was blown away by the results I got on my fist attempt (an old Tokarev magazine and a butt-plate for a Schmidt-Rubin 1911 rifle). My next victim is an abused (by a security company) Ruger Speed Six.

Other than removing the old finish and de-greasing, the only chemicals I used was a $10 bottle of Brownells rust blue solution (and boiling water). The whole process is very forgiving (degrease the parts, put on the solution and let them rust, boil them for 20 minutes, card off the converted rust, repeat until you're satisfied).

May 23, 2011, 07:21 PM
Hot blueing is the way to go. Your results all depend on prep work. Black oxide gives a deep black color and is easy to do at home. Cold blueing is only for touch up.

May 24, 2011, 06:07 PM
Can I get a BLUE (not black) blue from any Brownells kits? I have a Colt 1911slide I'd like to reblue to its previous Royal state.

I figure I can sacrifice an old pot to the cause if that's what it takes to do it myself at home.

May 25, 2011, 05:20 AM
I have done multiple firearms/parts using a variety of cold bluing products. The first one was several years ago, and its been subject to much wear-and-tear (and is ironically named FrankenMauser, like one of the posters here). It still looks excellent.

The key is surface preparation, and following the instructions. Surface MUST be completely rust free, polished and ABSOLUTELY clean.

MSD Mike
May 28, 2011, 09:24 PM
I have used the Birchwood Casey refinishing kits on a couple of guns. One is an old Savage single shot 20 gauge and the other is a $50.00 pawn shop .22. Both are serviceable firearms but not really worth anything. I spent more time in surface preparation than the guns are worth (this is key). I got all the pits and scratches sanded out and finished them up with some fine grain sand paper. In addition to cold bluing I worked on the stocks and finished them with Tru-Oil. The results were very satisfactory and both guns were fun projects. They both look much better than before it worked on them. I don’t shoot the guns a lot but they make it out a few times a year and they finish seems reasonably durable. That being said, I don’t think I would do it with my more expensive firearms. Anyway, my take is it works decently if you follow the instructions but it takes just as much prep work as any of the better blueing methods.


Bill DeShivs
May 28, 2011, 11:04 PM
Those of us who advised you not to do it are pretty darned qualified to say so.

Navy joe
May 29, 2011, 05:10 PM
Rust Bluing is a great low cost choice for pistols and parts, you have to be able to get the piece in boiling water.Really nice finish, requires a good bit of patience and prep work. Cold blue? :barf:

May 30, 2011, 02:51 PM
I have not bought the hot blue set up, but I have talked to a couple guys who have.

a) One guy had it in the basement, and his wife made him get rid of all of it.
My brother might have would up with the Baldor buffing machine.

b) One guy had it in the shop, and his Bridgeport started rusting. He tried to sell me all his gear.

I have been doing cold bluing for a while in a bathroom. I do not put any of the bluing trash in the waste paper basket. I throw it out the window, and clean it up later. That way, the wife won't smell it.

May 30, 2011, 03:03 PM

Here is a barrel I cold blued.
I can tell from the excellent order history that Brownells USED TO HAVE that I bought $5 worth of Oxpoho blue in 2000 and bought the barrel in 2002.

You can see that after hunting with Scotch tape over the muzzle many times, that the 1/4" of the muzzle has some bluing worn off.

June 1, 2011, 11:46 PM
Always follow Bill's advice on finishes (or anything for that matter). Cold blueing sucks. Small wear spots are inevitable on a working gun and are going to come right back. If a finish is so flawed that it really bothers you, it needs to go to a good smith for a real blueing job.