View Full Version : engraving a stevens 311

April 16, 2012, 11:29 PM
i was asked to engrave on the metal of a stevens 311 but wasnt sure how to go about doing it. i wasnt sure if i would be able to cut into the color casing with out ruining it. can you case harden pre cased metal? he said it is faded and he wanted to re case it but i have had little experiance hardening and dont want to open a can of worms. if i engrave it can it be recased or would it be better left alone? if i dont engrave it can i heat up the metal like i was going to harden it but for a shorter time to bring back the colors? i dont plan to harden his any time soon i have learning to do yet, i am simple asking

Bill DeShivs
April 17, 2012, 01:51 AM
You will have to sand off the case hardened exterior, then engrave. Cutting through it will be tough on gravers-even though the metal is soft underneath.
It can be re casehardened after engraving.
Now, why anyone would want to engrave and re casecolor a Stevens is beyond me. The guns aren't worth very much.

April 17, 2012, 02:31 AM
Yes that's a hopelesss project !

Don P
April 17, 2012, 06:40 AM
Now, why anyone would want to engrave and re casecolor a Stevens is beyond me. The guns aren't worth very much.

I concur Bill and to play the devils advocate, its like the kid that buys that $700 car, puts $2000 worth of stereo equipment in it and a set of tires and rims worth $3000. Makes sense, probably not and does make sense to a few folks, As we say, to each there own. It makes the world go round

April 17, 2012, 06:58 AM
i have a few rifles of my own that while they are valued as much to the world setimental value trumps its actual worth.i figure it would be more work than it is worth. is it possible to brighten up old case coloring without taking off what is already there?

April 17, 2012, 07:54 AM
As much as I like the Stevens 311 (I've owned several and found that the factory stock fits me perfectly), I can't imagine engraving one. It's a working gun, a beater, a rough-and-tumble shotgun.

Still, if a customer wants it and you can figure out how to do it, good for you, but it seems to me that it's putting lipstick on a pig.

I had one, once upon a time, that came with full-modified barrels. I had the gunsmith cut the barrel 1/2 inch, opened it up to almost I/C-skeet and used it for close work in the quail coverts and rabbit brambles. I lost that shotgun during a divorce and have always hated having to let it go.

April 17, 2012, 08:05 AM
The case-hardening is glass hard for what is left of it. The hardening process only go's a few thousands in to the surface of the metal. The case colors are formed when the metal is heated with the bone/leather/charcoal in the hotbox and then quenched. Those colors are just on the surface and will wear away quickly unless protected by a coating.

During the case-hardening process the gun parts have support blocks bolted to prevent warping. It is possible to harden a action and turn it into a paperweight. And some gun makers will add pieces of metal to actions/parts to enhance the colors when the parts are put into the quench.

April 17, 2012, 08:56 AM
i am perty sure we are going to pass on the color casing but it is worth ask about for future refrence

April 17, 2012, 10:00 AM
Taking off the current case would be advisable if it will damage the engraving tools. I admit the gun is not valuable enough to engrave but let everyone do as they please. To re-case the action think about just case hardening without any color. The original case hardening back in the 1700's was a sort of pewter gray and I think Brownell has a free pamphlet on a French Gray finish- which ought to look better with the engraving.

April 17, 2012, 10:13 AM
i think i will still pass it over, untill i can get more practice hard casing and removing the casing.

James K
April 17, 2012, 01:28 PM
Get the money up front and with "no guarantee" in writing. That is the kind of project where the customer wants a lot of custom work on a cheap gun, then when he gets the bill says the gun isn't worth it (it's not) and walks away.


Bill DeShivs
April 17, 2012, 02:14 PM
Old color case hardening can't be "renewed."
The hardening is best left to experts. It's not a home project.
Plating the metal might be a better option.

April 17, 2012, 02:20 PM
i didnt think i could be re worked. i havent had the chance to do it yet but from what i have found when oil bluing is that once it is heated and the color changes you stop. if it is over heated the colors fade ot to a dark greyish ugly that cant be fixed. i wasnt sure how much of the coloring came from the elements it was pack with. i know things like bone and cynide will amp up the coloring but i wasnt sure how much of it was the heat.