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Thread: How do you remove bluing?

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default How do you remove bluing?

    The threads on stock work and bluing are very informative. You folks have been great to share your experiences.
    What tips do you have for stripping the metal before bluing?
    Do you heat the barrel and parts to be stripped?
    What product do you use?
    How do you blend out corrosion or pitting?
    Do you like sandpaper, steel wool, or something different?
    Do you use alcohol or other cleaners after the stripping is complete?
    Do you normally take apart the trigger assembly or leave it in place?
    What do you do about non-steel parts to refinish them? (aluminum trigger guards, magazine drop plates, etc.)

    I am sure I am missing something, just don't know what it is. Thanks so much for sharing, and Merry Christmas to all of you.

  2. #2
    Member Vince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Fairbanks most the time, Ancorage some of the time,& on the road Kicking Anti's all the time


    1 trip copper river dippnetting.... will strip it clean while it lays on the beach
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  3. #3


    I can't remember ever stripping one completely for cold bluing. However when I used to do a lot of hot bluing I usually took all the bluing off with a buffing wheel and a light grade of buffing compound. One has to be very careful when buffing around lettering so as not to take off the sharp corners and thus make it look faded. I always completely stripped the barreled action of sights, trigger, mounts....everything. I used trimethyl-chloride111 for a cleaning agent ( you do not want to get any of this on goes right to the liver....rubber gloves a must). I never had a bad blue job when I used it for the cleaning agent.

    If you are cold bluing then my recommendation would be to give the tech support guys at Brownell's a call. The cold bluing method is an art and new ways of doing it plus new products are becoming available with every issue of Brownells catalogue. Last summer I was in Brownells front office when a gentleman came in with a Stevens Crackshot that he had cold blued via Brownell's advice. I have to admit that it looked as good as any hot bluing job performed by these hands. They are very user friendly for the most part. They will usually put you in touch with the tech that is most witty about the subject at hand.

    Good luck with your project!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Anchorage, AK


    I've used a couple of different bluing removers - I currently like the Brownells product. There is other stuff that works, even from the hardware store, but the Brownells stuff works and isn't that expensive

    Cleaning/degreasing before stripping is pretty normal for me. I completely disassemble the piece and check each component to make sure it's attracted to a magnet before I start in on it. I don't leave the trigger set in place while I'm working with abrasives - just seems like a bad idea.

    Pitting - a pita. The answer depends on how deep and where. If it's fairly light and in a non-critical area you can draw file it to clean it up. I have also used a mold stone to rub them out. Just remember that you have to remove metal to smooth it that 'away. If theya re deep then you have to remember that you will be altering the contour of the area where the pits are, and it may be a loosing battle.
    If it doesn't show, you can just ignore it.
    If you are going to spray the piece with one of the 'paints' then you can use one of the epoxies to fill it - Lauer makes DuraFill for just that purpose. I haven't tried using epoxy on an area that doesn't show and then rust bluing or cold bluing, but the epoxy should be able to handle boiling water.
    I've done a little TIG welding on bits that show in non-critical areas to fill pits and that has worked well for me. I've tried peening (so so results, probably technique) drilling and peening a pin (so so results) and drilling/threading/peening (ok results). Just depends on where the pitting is, and you have to know how the metal is all going to finish out or you'll wind up with a mottled spot in your work.
    Steel wool: I use it for some cold bluing, and I've used it with rust blueing, but I don't use it for polishing steel. I use it for cleaning up brass - works well there. But I like using 'sandpaper' or stones, depending on what shape is being worked on. I use mold stones more and more.
    One of these days I'll get the polishing wheel figured out, but I am not happy with the finish I get using a wheel, and as a hobby thing I can take the extra time to use people powered tools. Besides, it makes a pretty horrid mess in the shop.
    After stripping and polishing is complete the parts must get a good cleaning. Brownells has an excellent set of instructions online to help you through the whole polishing/bluing process. Even if you don't go into hot bluing you can still use the instructions to improve your results.
    For non-steel parts I spray them with Duracoat or GunKote or krylon or....


  5. #5
    Member Big Al's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007


    Dip in hydrochloric acid, removes all blue. Rinse with lots of clean clear water as soon as you pull it out of the acid., does not take any soak time, so you have to move fast.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    welfare state of Alaska

    Default Trick

    When I was doing hot bluing one of the "tricks" to cover spots of the redish tinge from high nickel steels like 1917 enfields and the heat treatment differences in colors on 1911 .45 slides was to first do a normal blue job which was then removed with blue remover -no mechanical polishing - and then re-blue it in the hot bath. usually the second time did the trick with a uniform blue-balck color overall.

    I haven't tried this with cold blue but it might be worth a try to get a more uniform color and surface.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK


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