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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys thanks for your responses in advance. I am relatively new to the forum. I am having a Colt 1928 built by John McGuire. He has already built me a 1919A4 and a 1917. I am looking to see if anyone can blue the gun for me for a decent price. John is willing to park it for me and I'm sure he will do a great job of that but I want to see if I can get it bluesd instead. If not I'll just have him park it. My local gunsmith doesnt have the ability or equipment to blue this gun. If anyone is near John in Tennessee or by me in the people republic of Illinois that's all the better as these aren't cheap to ship. I am close to Indiana as well. Thanks again for the help. I believe it has to be rust blued but what do I know.
 

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I am sure Lucky#13 will pitch in with a few comments as he is an expert at all things rust blued. Keep in mind that the rust bluing is just the final step, the prep of the gun to accept the finish is where a majority of the work (and expense) comes in. Kind of like painting a car, the prep work is what makes the final paint job. In many cases the 1928 Colt water jackets have dings and dents so they may actually look better parked then blued. Just my opinion.
 

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FWIW they were originally charcoal blued but I doubt you will find anyone today that has the skill or a vessel the enough to do it, the vessel being the biggest obstacle. Lucky13 has a guy that does fabulous rust bluing and it is worth the cost of shipping if you want it done right and plan on keeping and enjoying it.
 

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I have a 1928 I was going to blue...

After the range test, I sat it back in the vault and started building the next, and the next and the next...

I didn't consider parking. Is it OK to park this weapon with the brass and other metals it contains?? I had thought that might be a problem.

Karl
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
FWIW they were originally charcoal blued but I doubt you will find anyone today that has the skill or a vessel the enough to do it, the vessel being the biggest obstacle. Lucky13 has a guy that does fabulous rust bluing and it is worth the cost of shipping if you want it done right and plan on keeping and enjoying it.
That's interesting information. I am actually not planning to keep it. I have all of that parts so I decided to build it and sell it rather than selling the parts separately. If the bluing costs more than I will gain in the sale then I would just assume have John park it.
 

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That's interesting information. I am actually not planning to keep it. I have all of that parts so I decided to build it and sell it rather than selling the parts separately. If the bluing costs more than I will gain in the sale then I would just assume have John park it.
If you had mentioned in your first post that you were going to sell it, I would have suggested you just park it.
 

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PhD in Over-Engineering
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I think you will find the cost of rust bluing to be more than you can get back out, as you suggest. Bluing will show all the level of finish, good and bad, in the metal. How you prep the metal will dictate dull, shiny or anything in between. I don't have time to take in bluing jobs these days, and the rust bluing shop I work with is set up to do stuff already prepped. Mostly, we are doing this on new guns built with new receivers and new water jackets. The amount of work to make a used kit look good is extensive... and expensive. If you had the time to do your own clean up and polishing, it would make sense. Otherwise, probably not. Now a modern hot blue will be less expensive, but the prep issues are, if anything, magnified. At least the rust bluing is wire carded over and over, following each application of the chemical. The carding burnishes the steel and can blend in some flaws. The hot blue is just a dip and boil process so it will magnify the flaws even more. I hate to see one of these parkerized, but that is your most cost effective solution if you are just going to sell. The effort and cost of bluing is something you do for a keeper.
 

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The hot blue is just a dip and boil process so it will magnify the flaws even more.
+1 for the above. I had one of Rollin's new boxes and Lou's water jackets hot blued by John McGuire and it came out very blotchy. John said he would never do it again. The smallest flaw in even cleaning the surface was obvious. You could clearly see where the oil boiled out between the plates and trunnion. To me, it looked like a used and well worn gun —which might have an appeal to some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think you will find the cost of rust bluing to be more than you can get back out, as you suggest. Bluing will show all the level of finish, good and bad, in the metal. How you prep the metal will dictate dull, shiny or anything in between. I don't have time to take in bluing jobs these days, and the rust bluing shop I work with is set up to do stuff already prepped. Mostly, we are doing this on new guns built with new receivers and new water jackets. The amount of work to make a used kit look good is extensive... and expensive. If you had the time to do your own clean up and polishing, it would make sense. Otherwise, probably not. Now a modern hot blue will be less expensive, but the prep issues are, if anything, magnified. At least the rust bluing is wire carded over and over, following each application of the chemical. The carding burnishes the steel and can blend in some flaws. The hot blue is just a dip and boil process so it will magnify the flaws even more. I hate to see one of these parkerized, but that is your most cost effective solution if you are just going to sell. The effort and cost of bluing is something you do for a keeper.
Thank you Lucky#13. I agree that it pains me to parkerized one of these. If I were keeping it I would work on it myself to minimize the flaws and get it prepped properly. I assumed that a good bluing job would be cost prohibitive but I wanted to be sure before I parkerized it. The tripod and accoutrements are not in mint condition so the parkerized finish will work for the whole setup.
 

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I'm planning on building a 1917a1 later this year and hope to have learned enough about the various kinds of bluing processes to do it myself.

If worse comes to worse I can just bead blast it and try again or parkerize it if it gets totally screwed up. :D

This picture of one of Lucky#13's fantastic creations is my inspiration:

 

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Keep in mind that Lucky13s you posted is a work of art. That piece is better than it left the factory and took many hours of work.

Rust blueing is messy and time intensive. I'd suggest hot bluing. I've used both and prefer the hot bluing.

That' said, and it's already been said, it's all in the preparation.

A factory military arm that is cleaned blasted, and hot blued will look very much like it's parkerized unless kept coated with oil. This is because the metal finish is relatively rough, so the reflection from the bluing is more like the moon's surface than a mirror.

If you want that mirror blue-black reflectivity the metal has to be highly polished. This isn't as easy as it sounds, since one has to polish hard-to-get-to surfaces to the same level as big flat surfaces. Anything fluted (e.g., FAL G1 handguards) is a real PITA. And, as any professional restoration shop can show you, the home "polisher" often removes markings and sharp edges.

If you want a 1928 that looks sort-of-like Lucky13s (close enough for government work) I'd suggest high polishing the jacket (easy). Bead (not sand) blast the rest, and lightly polish what you can- don't overdo the easy stuff like sideplates and cocking handle, because then you'll have a mix of shiny and not-so-shiny. The key here is to polish everything to the same level. Never polish away any markings, particularly factory markings- so this in itself limits the level of polishing.

When you are done and ready to blue make sure the gun is totally disassembled as far as possible. ALL oil MUST be removed; the box, as previously noted, is problematic since oil will seemingly seep out of it forever- but it has to be TOTALLY oil free, otherwise the oil gets into the bluing and splotches.

That's it in a nutshell. Bluing prep is difficult for the hobbyist. You can try it, and you'll see how well you did (or didn't do) after the bluing.
 

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You guys are making me seem like some impossibly high standard, lol. Really, what I do is not all that difficult, for the most part. First, there is the fact that, while I am responsible for the metal prep, I don't actually do the rust bluing personally. I have a guy who does that locally, so long as I give it to him ready for his part. Now here is the secret to how my guns, like the one Mr.Maim pictured, get to looking as they do. And thanks to my friend Abominog, who is so kindly complimentary. The rust blued guns have all, so far, been done on all new metal, at least as far as the receivers and jackets go. There is a method to this madness. I do NOT do any high polishing, as the rust bluing is wire carded between each application. It is not going to be all that shiny. Pictures can't do this stuff justice, and some of the pics are of guns with oil on them, so that can be deceiving too. It's really a satin, semi-sheen finish. It's very deep, very durable, but it is not particularly bright. My desire is to offer a high quality, commercial grade finish to what is, essentially, military hardware. The Blanchard grinding patterns in the side plates are left intact, though they get burnished out to some degree by the multiple carding sessions. Lou's jackets come to me, now, all ready for the bluing, as he can turn the tubing to that level required. Saves me a lot of grief. The way I finish the riveting and other receiver detailing is really only a little bit beyond what I do on a gun that is getting parked. Just delete the sandblasting part. I go to a little extra trouble, maybe a finer grade of emery cloth to blend everything in. Lots of attention to detail, but it's not really all that much. Certainly you are not getting some kind of mirror polishing from me. Not my thing. Now Len's Dual Feed 1917A1 is hot blued, as I did not have the rust blue yet. It is a wee bit shinier, no question. But working on all new metal makes things MUCH easier. Only things like back plates, top covers and latches need a greater amount of work, as usually parkerizing has to be stripped, the parts cleaned up and then worked to get out any etching from the park. Even some NOS parts, once the parkerizing is blasted off, show a fine etching all over from an acid dip, before parkerizing. I have to get as much of that out as possible, and that's a pain. But I don't want this stuff oversold, expectations set too high. I like the way the guns finish up, but with the new run of WWI builds coming fairly soon, it is important that people do not expect something that I do not offer. But hey, thanks for the plugs.

Mr.Maim, if I can help with your project in any way, info, advice etc, let me know.

Abominog, your description of how this is done is excellent. Funny you mention the oil-free part. I don't let ANYTHING come near oil when a gun is being assembled. I don't even use oil to drill holes, for the most part. Drill bits are cheap. It's all kept bone dry throughout. But what you accurately describe, in restoring an old 1928, is exactly the kind of thing I get to avoid by working on all the new metal. Let's face it. I'm lazy!!!!
 

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You guys are making me seem like some impossibly high standard, lol. Really, what I do is not all that difficult, for the most part. First, there is the fact that, while I am responsible for the metal prep, I don't actually do the rust bluing personally. I have a guy who does that locally, so long as I give it to him ready for his part. Now here is the secret to how my guns, like the one Mr.Maim pictured, get to looking as they do. And thanks to my friend Abominog, who is so kindly complimentary. The rust blued guns have all, so far, been done on all new metal, at least as far as the receivers and jackets go. There is a method to this madness. I do NOT do any high polishing, as the rust bluing is wire carded between each application. It is not going to be all that shiny. Pictures can't do this stuff justice, and some of the pics are of guns with oil on them, so that can be deceiving too. It's really a satin, semi-sheen finish. It's very deep, very durable, but it is not particularly bright. My desire is to offer a high quality, commercial grade finish to what is, essentially, military hardware. The Blanchard grinding patterns in the side plates are left intact, though they get burnished out to some degree by the multiple carding sessions. Lou's jackets come to me, now, all ready for the bluing, as he can turn the tubing to that level required. Saves me a lot of grief. The way I finish the riveting and other receiver detailing is really only a little bit beyond what I do on a gun that is getting parked. Just delete the sandblasting part. I go to a little extra trouble, maybe a finer grade of emery cloth to blend everything in. Lots of attention to detail, but it's not really all that much. Certainly you are not getting some kind of mirror polishing from me. Not my thing. Now Len's Dual Feed 1917A1 is hot blued, as I did not have the rust blue yet. It is a wee bit shinier, no question. But working on all new metal makes things MUCH easier. Only things like back plates, top covers and latches need a greater amount of work, as usually parkerizing has to be stripped, the parts cleaned up and then worked to get out any etching from the park. Even some NOS parts, once the parkerizing is blasted off, show a fine etching all over from an acid dip, before parkerizing. I have to get as much of that out as possible, and that's a pain. But I don't want this stuff oversold, expectations set too high. I like the way the guns finish up, but with the new run of WWI builds coming fairly soon, it is important that people do not expect something that I do not offer. But hey, thanks for the plugs.

Mr.Maim, if I can help with your project in any way, info, advice etc, let me know.

Abominog, your description of how this is done is excellent. Funny you mention the oil-free part. I don't let ANYTHING come near oil when a gun is being assembled. I don't even use oil to drill holes, for the most part. Drill bits are cheap. It's all kept bone dry throughout. But what you accurately describe, in restoring an old 1928, is exactly the kind of thing I get to avoid by working on all the new metal. Let's face it. I'm lazy!!!!
So on my kit my left sideplate does have some light pitting but not real bad. My question is, should i prep it lightly, and high polish the jacket, or would parking it be a better bet. I want to keep it original or as close as possible. Money isnt really the deciding factor but i dont want to blow tons of it for no reason if it wont give me a decent outcome.
 

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PhD in Over-Engineering
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So on my kit my left sideplate does have some light pitting but not real bad. My question is, should i prep it lightly, and high polish the jacket, or would parking it be a better bet. I want to keep it original or as close as possible. Money isnt really the deciding factor but i dont want to blow tons of it for no reason if it wont give me a decent outcome.
How brightly you polish the jacket, or anything else, is all about how bright you want the bluing to be. The shinier the polish, the shinier the bluing. I don't like real shiny stuff, but that's me. Some like it to twinkle like the sun. The original finish was not that bright either, from all examples I've seen. There is some disagreement on what bluing process was used by Colt on these. Some say it was the charcoal blue, I am not so sure. I've looked at original commercial Colt C&R guns and never saw what I would consider bright polish. Same for original 1928 components- jackets, etc. They do vary a lot, but then we have no idea how much refurbishment might have been done on these in 60 years in Argentina. Bluing is definitely correct, but I would focus less on bright polishing than in removing what pitting you can, maybe some dings and scratches that are not too deep, and getting it evenly smooth (within reason) rather than bright. I wouldn't go any finer than a 320-400 grit emery cloth. Just keep the flat area flat, and the round areas round and even.
 

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You guys are making me seem like some impossibly high standard, lol....

<...>

Mr.Maim, if I can help with your project in any way, info, advice etc, let me know.
Lucky#13, I will take you up on that offer. :D I plan on building a 1917a1 and I really, REALLY want to blue it. Already have all the parts except the box itself. I'll reach out when I'm ready for sideplates, we can talk about it then.
 
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