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Home bluing

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I've been messing around on line a bit too much again, and ran across a different recipe for bluing than I've messed with previously. Consisted of hot bluing using a mix of one gallon water to 5 lbs lye, and 2.5 lbs of nitrates, preferably sodium. Anybody tried this before I even think of digging out fun chemicals like caustics and nitrate salts? (Seems a little more risky than acid bluing I've tried.) Definitely not going with ammonium nitrate as I enjoy breathing oxygen to ammonia.

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I have 5 gallons of a lye/potassium nitrate solution I've used for hot bluing but it's dangerous stuff, even the fumes will get ya.. but it's a brilliant bluing process and no paste or liquid from a tube is going to compare.


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For forged ironwork, I like to use Oxpho cold blue from Brownells.  Leaves a nice dark finish and relatively safe.  Works best if you sandblast first then spray it on evenly so the entire surface is wet - or completely immerse in a bucket of the solution.  Rinse in clean water and spray with WD40 to remove the moisture.  The piece(s) can be sprayed with clear urethane after they dry completely.

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My old mentor, Victor Vera, said that in the early 1900's, his dad and uncle would place scale-free lock plates and keys in a hot box of sand, being heated over the forge fire until blue, then immediately given a coat of oil. I suspect they used tallow. They were located in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The buitiful blue found on early Colts  were done in charcoal from memory .

Lot of spur makers use fire blueing .to colour .

These fittings i did in caustic and nitric around 270 f  the salts boil a lot higher than water

dangerous stuff one splatter you have a real bad burn .wouldnt use in the smithy my self .

Most firearms were done with the caustic method not doubles tho you end up with 2 in the tank eats all the solder out .




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