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Thread: Refinishing this winter?

  1. #1

    Default Refinishing this winter?

    Anyone else reworking a muzzleloader this winter?

    I couldn't stand the bluing and glossy lacquer finish on my Traditions Crockett 32 caliber, so I decided to help it match my other guns. There was surprising figure hidden under that glossy finish, so I am picking up bonus points. Browning will start tomorrow using LMF solution. I've used it before on Lyman GPR's and am confident of good results.

    I also tried "aging" the brass fittings using mustard as recommended elsewhere on the web. Waste of time! Any other suggestions for aging brass?

    I'll post pics when I'm done in the next week or so.

  2. #2
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    I tried to reblue my dad's old Remington 7400 last week and it turned out horrible. What do you mean LMF solution? Is this this a do-it-yourself at home blueing job? This is not my go to gun, I'm just trying to fix it up during these next few winter months. Any advice would be appreciated.

  3. #3

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    It's Laurel Mountain Forge browning agent, which can also be used to produce a bluing. I haven't tried it for bluing, but it is GREAT for producing antique brown finishes. Much easier to use than Birchwood Casey's Plum Brown.

    I know what you mean about cold bluing. But here is a good description of the easiest, most consistent way to do a good blue at home: Rust bluing. While the article references Pilkington's solution from Brownell's, I much prefer the results with the Mark Lee rust bluing solution, also from Brownell's.

  4. #4

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    Oh well. I didn't think that message "took" on the board, so I just sent you the same thing in a PM, KWP.

  5. #5
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Default not a re-finish..

    but i am building a great plains .50 caplock pistol. figured it would be a good starter project. might check out the LMF brown, but TOTW is brutal on shipping and i dont need anything else right now. have you ever used "WonderBlue"?
    boy, i sure wish i had a shop!!!
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
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  6. #6

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    I've used Birchwood Casey's Perma Blue and Super Blue, as well as Formula 44/40. Probably due to failures in my technique more than the products, I wasn't happy with any of them. Problems developed getting uniform coverage on multiple treatments, but that may be less of a problem with the shorter barrel of the Lyman pistol.

    Check on the rust bluing at the links I provided to Brownells. Once I tried rust bluing I completely quit with the cold bluing attempts.

    Let us know how you like shooting it when you're done. Pics would be great too! I'm seriously thinking of building one too, probably in 54 tho.

    BTW- I got my last batch of LMF from The Log Cabin Shop. As I recall shipping didn't seem too bad, but I was getting some other small stuff, too.

  7. #7
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    is rust bluing the same as browning? have not decided what i will use. i got the .50 to match my GPR in caliber, but i am not sure if i want to try and match the finish, which is the factory blue.
    i am planning on carrying the pistol as back-up for my spring black bear recurve adventure.
    i'll look at the log cabin shop. i had a devil of a time finding a decent deal (w/shipping) on the gun kit. finally got one for a mite over $200.
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
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  8. #8

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    Rust bluing and browning may be related in how they are done, but the results are very different. Rust bluing in fact produces a blue reminiscent of what you see on modern arms, but usually a little more black than blue. Look close at the metal finish on this gun and others at the site, and you'll get a feel for the possibilities with browning. It's a more traditional finish and can result in a wide range of brown colors, depending on how you do it. Much more of a traditional look than hot bluing, but I really like it. Fortunately it's also a bunch easier to do a good job of rust bluing or browning than cold bluing with things like Perma Blue and Wonderblue. Here are the detailed instructions for both using LMF, and a good explantion of what's going on when you get down to the rust bluing section.

  9. #9

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    I just got a nice surprise and solved an age-old problem in the process.

    My single hesitation in starting the job was the stock finish, specifically the stain. In all my past experiences with cheap guns (not just muzzleloaders), the white "mystery wood" used is almost impossible to stain. Whether American or European manufacture, you often find that the color in your stock is actually in the lacquer and the wood beneath is bullet proof white and won't take stains. I've heard it's beech, but I've got other names for it.....

    Anyway, when I stripped the stock, sure enough it was white. On a whim I tried Watco Danish Oil Finish, which comes in a variety of stain colors. Worked like a charm! The only trick is to let it dry a full 72 hours to prevent it bleeding back up when you apply an oil finish. I'm using Tung Oil Finish, and I've gotta say I'm jazzed with the results.

    On another note, if I was being completely anal, I'd take on another problem. The original lacquer on the stock was so thick that the oil finish isn't going to build it back up so thick. As a result, the buttplate, forend cap, side plate and escutions are slightly "proud" to the stock- sticking up above the wood a little more than the thickness of a matchbook cover. I may take care of that sometime in the future, but I can live with it for now.

    BTW- I used a stock stripper rather than sanding off the original finish, so the smaller dimension of the stock isn't the result of sanding away too much wood.

  10. #10

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    BB,

    Where are you located? I'm quite a ways out from browning my barrels yet, heck I'm still waiting for one to get here. I'm also using this browning system. Have never done any of this before using the brown. Have done a birchwood casey cold blue that really kinda stunk. So I'm pretty eager to see your results. I'm up in Fairbanks. Plan on starting these two pieces here in the next couple of weeks. Need to get some carving tools yet.

    I'm buildiung 2 10ga flintlock fowlers.

  11. #11

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    I'm far, far away on Kodiak. I'll post photos. If you follow the LMF instructions I linked, it's dirt simple. On the other hand Birchwood Casey's Plum Brown is a royal PITA to do right.

    The only place you can really get into trouble with LMF is not having enough humidity or carding too much trying to even out the color early in the process (experience talking on that one).

    I solved the humidity problem by using a plastic sheet to section off one end of our tub/shower and putting a crock pot of water on high in the tub. I hang the barrel from the shower nozzle and hang a second rack of small parts from the soap rack. At first the finish will look kinda mottled, but if you let it go a couple of days and keep treating it as per the instructions, it evens up. Then it's just a question of how brown and how smooth you want the finish to be. In the LMF insturctions I think it says to flood the parts with motor oil after using baking soda to stop the process, but I really rubbed in some TruOil instead, following instructions from another source. That made it kinda shiny brown, and in over a year I've never had any problems with the finish. It even seems to "toughen" the browning, compared to those I've treated with motor oil.

  12. #12

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    Got the link, saved it to the puter, good stuff.

    Not sure if the wifey would be so kind as to let me brown in the shower for 4 days . SHe does like taking a shower every once in awhile you know, cough cough.

    I do have some info on building a box for browning. My plan is to build some double flinters next winter, found a book on it and in there is a plan for a 'browning box' if you will. The directions though are a bit different then LMF's stuff......concept is the same. I'm a long ways from doing this yet though. Still is atleast for me what I'm worring about the most really. Have to drill the touch hole liners, everything else well, unless it gets rushed is hopefully simple wood working tedious work....I'll post pics once I start.

  13. #13

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    No problem with the shower and LMF. It doesn't hurt at all to take it out for a while. I leave it in the shower overnight, take it out in the morning, then put it back through the middle of the day when the shower isn't needed. Now..... Turning loose of the crock pot for 4 days is a different problem altogether!!!

  14. #14
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Red face oh geez....

    i'm gonna take back the WonderBlue and try the LMF brown, but in a wood heated cabin w/ no running water humidity will be a challenge!
    oh well, no hurry... i just decided to file off all the barrel engraving so i have some time before finishing the barrel is an issue anyhow <grin>
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
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  15. #15

    Default

    I'd be inclined to put a pot of water on top of the stove, then hang the treated parts over that. I'm not sure what the heat would do, but I can't imagine it would hurt. We're looking at temps in single digits and high winds tomorrow, so humidity will be short too. I may just put it all off till early next week.

  16. #16

    Default Browning Box

    When I was young my Dad built alot of smoke poles. He had a browning box. It was just made out of wood and he could put a dowel rode through the barrel then it had a block of wood on either end to rest the dowel on so it would keep the barrel up off the bottom of the box. He would put rags on the bottom of the box and wet them. He also had a light bulb in the box to creat the heat.

    BWM

    P.S. I haven't seen that done in about 25-30 years so the details might be a bit fuzzy.
    "Spirituality is the ultimate survival skill. When one is primarily on a spiritual quest, the desire for material objects is effectively lessened. This can make an enormous difference to us in the coming trials since we stand a big chance of losing many of our goodies. We will be in states of shock and anguish. Yet if we learn to not mind losing them, there is no loss. Material goods are to Americans as alcohol is to a drunk. In both cases, losing the craving is a benefit." Mike Oehler

    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. ~ Thomas Jefferson, to Archibald Stuart, 1791"

  17. #17

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    Great idea on that style of box, along with the rags and light. I've been contemplating building one, but all I've seen are vertical rather than horizontal. Sounds like your dad was a great problem solver. Thanks!

  18. #18

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    Bw,

    That sounds very similar to the one in a book I have on doing it.... Had the light also. Neat stuff though I'd like to see it done first. More so I know what the end result is going to be with that process then a fear of screwing it up. My pedersoli was a kind of dull yet very smooth brown. Something I hope to achieve on this one.

  19. #19

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    The smooth part is achieved with the "carding" you do using a piece of wet denim. You can get anything from rough to smooth, depending on what you want. It's pretty easy. You can also go from dull to shiny depending on how you treat the browning after it's finished. Using motor oil as suggested by LMF produces the dull look you're after. I wanted a little more durable surface on my last one, so I used a thin treatment of TruOil ala another source. It darkened the browning slightly while giving it a little more glossy than dull look. That's probably what I'll do with the Crockett too, but will make the decision after the browning process is finished. In my eyes the difference will depend on how the browning looks against the new stock color.

    Bottom line, it's easy. If you don't like what you see you can use steel wool or sandpaper to take it part way or all the way back down to bright metal and try it again differently. I was surprised how easy it was the first time I did it, and now I'm not afraid to mess around a little to change the look.

    If I run across any online browning tutorials, I'll pass them along. This tutorial on bulding is really topnotch, but I don't recall how far into browning it goes. Mike Brooks is "Mr. Fowler" in many people's minds, so it should be of special interest to you.

  20. #20

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    Thanks BB,

    I have emailed a few times with Mike on this build.... Didnt see that build before...good stuff!!!!

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