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Old 02-01-2012, 06:18 AM   #1
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Royal blue Bluing

Hello everybody!!!

i'm new member and i guess how make a Royal Blue Bluing.

Does Anyone know a right recipe or something that can i try?

Thank you very much!!
 
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:20 PM   #2
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The Colt Royal Blue was not a chemical, it's the level that the metal is polished to.

There was an old saying that when other gun makers guns were in the trucks being delivered to the distributors, the Colt Python was still in the factory being polished.
The final polish was done with polishing media the consistency of flour.
Colt also polished with huge wooden polishing wheels covered with leather.
They made these in the factory.

Most any bluing chemical can be used to do a Colt Python level Royal Blue, but it takes a real expert with years of experience to polish the metal to that level without rounding off sharp edges or leaving ripples in the flat areas.
You can buy hot salts bluing chemical from Brownell's, but I don't think they can ship international due to the hazardous contents:

Bluing chemical:
OXYNATE® NO. 7 - Brownells

A bar minimum beginner's bluing tank system:
"FIRST STEP" BLUING KIT - Brownells

WARNING: Hot salts bluing operations are DANGEROUS due to the hot caustic chemicals. There is a real risk of getting steam explosions causing hot caustic chemicals splatter if a drop of water gets in the tank.
Since you have to add water to the tank, this is a very dangerious job. You must wear protective eye and face protection and clothing.
These hot chemicals WILL eat right through clothing and the skin under them.
Also, due to the extremely corrosive fumes you have to run the tank operation either in a special room or outside under a cover. The corrosive fumes will very badly rust anything in the same area.

Here's the giant polishing wheels Colt used to do the Royal Blue high polish finish on the Python:





Your best option is to find someone in your area who's able to do very high quality very bright polish bluing without over-polishing the metal and blurring the sharp edges and surfaces.

Last edited by dfariswheel; 02-01-2012 at 05:24 PM.
 
Old 02-02-2012, 03:21 AM   #3
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Dfariswheel, you never cease to amaze ! ! ! Welcome to the forum, Chrome 1981. I would suggest that you seek out a craftsman from the Brescia area of Italy to do this work for you.
 
Old 02-02-2012, 04:48 AM   #4
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Thank you very much for your precious advices!

Me and me chemist friend we have tried with nitre-bluing, (we bought 3 Kg of KNO3 on Ebay we are trying with small pieces of steel), maybe next week we are going to try rust-bluing method.

Unfortunatly Brownells don't ship this material to Italy, do u you have a recipe with the chemical components and proportions should I use?
i want try also for fun.

when is possible i'll put some pic.

Thank you!
(ps: sorry for my english)
 
Old 02-02-2012, 01:53 PM   #5
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Rust bluing is easy and fun! George M.

CZ82


S&W M25
 
Old 02-02-2012, 06:23 PM   #6
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Rust bluing is a type that can be done without a lot of equipment and it's a durable blue, but it's more a satin blue without the brilliant shine of Colt's Royal Blue.

For actual bluing formulas, I'd recommend buying this book from Brownell's:

FIREARMS BLUING AND BROWNING - Brownells

Here's a couple of formulas. Again, hot salts gun bluing is DANGEROUS.
You have to add distilled water, which is how the temperature is regulated.
When water contacts the chemicals you can get violent explosions that can splatter the chemicals. It WILL eat skin and eyes instantly.

The Roy Dunlap formula:

sodium nitrate 1/4 oz
potassium nitrate 1/4 oz
bichloride of mercury 1/2 oz
potassium chlorate 1/2 oz
distilled water 10 oz
spirits of nitre 1/2 oz

Here's several other home brews:

5 pounds lye
2 1/2 pounds ammonium nitrate
per gallon of water
---------------------------------------
65% Lye (aka sodium hydroxide)
35% Potassium nitrate (aka saltpeter)

Bath Formula

Ingredient Chemical Weight Weight
Materials Symbol Measure Ratio One Gallon
Water (softened) H20 4 Pounds 64 5.2 Pounds
Sodium Hydroxide NaOH 4 Pounds 64 5.2 Pounds
Sodium Nitrate NaNO3 1 Pound 16 1.3 Pounds
Sodium Nitrite NaNO2 1 Ounce 1 1.3 Ounces

Some Primary Hazards
(A partial listing)

These chemicals can be dangerous. NaOH ("Caustic") will rapidly attack flesh, clothing and many metals. Spills should be flushed quickly with vinegar to neutralize the caustic and minimize damage. Mix dry caustic into the water in 4 or 5 small steps to avoid boiling the solution, or use commercial 50% caustic solution. Wear caustic resistant gloves, aprons and eye protection at all times. Don’t use bore plugs, which will splatter hot caustic if they pop out. Dry NaNO2 and NaNO3 can be explosive, just like lawn fertilizer.

Bath Operation

The solution tanks must be un-galvanized iron, steel or stainless steel, with welded seams. Soldered or brazed seams will dissolve, ruining solution, tanks, and whatever gets leaked on. Adjust the bath to boil at 275 F (135 C) to 302 F (150 C) by adding water slowly through a large fine steel mesh to catch spattering caustic. Don’t go over 310 F (155 C), or the solution will be damaged. Turning the heat down won’t work, as the bath must boil gently. Handle parts with steel wire hooks or tongs. Degrease in a hot detergent or caustic solution and rinse well. Then put them in the hot bath right away. Hang them away from the sides or bottom of the tank, but small parts can be placed in a steel wire basket. Let them boil for ~ 10 minutes, then remove and rinse in clean cold running water. Check color after scrubbing with clean, degreased “0000" steel wool. Return to the bath until the color is good. Rinse thoroughly, dry, oil and reassemble.

Trouble Shooting

Polish your metal well. Blueing won’t cover poor polishing. Poorly polished white steel becomes poorly polished black steel. Protect polished parts from rust with light oil until ready to degrease and blue them. Anything a magnet won't pull on (like wood, glass, aluminum, plastic or stainless steel) won’t blue, so don't put it in the bath. It could dissolve and ruin both the part and the bath. If a used bath is heated but won’t work, try adding a little more caustic or nitrate.

No color, or red or purple tones can be due to low temperature, copper contamination, low NaNO3, high carbon alloys or too little time in the bath. Green or pale blue colors can be caused by low temperature or not enough boiling action in the bath. Splotchy or un-colored spots can be caused by poor cleaning or oil contamination. Sometimes this can be fixed while blueing by scrubbing with degreased “0000" steel wool. A powdery black that scrubs off is caused by a worn out bath. No color can be caused by a worn-out or overheated bath, wrong amounts of chemicals or (in old baths) by caustic being used up by CO2 in the air.
 
Old 02-06-2012, 02:22 PM   #7
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Colt used the "CARBONA" process. They used a rotating drum furnace running at around 600 deg F using charcoal. About the same as Nitre Bluing only using charcoal.

It is heat bluing. Chemical salts will not give you the Royal Blue color.
 
Old 02-06-2012, 03:15 PM   #8
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Sorry, that's wrong.

Colt used the old Carbona process prior to WWII.
After the war, Colt changed to a modern hot salts bluing process.

The Colt "Royal Blue" ultra polish finish was first used on the Colt Python in 1955, and for many years the Royal Blue finish was known inside the Colt factory as "the Python finish".
Royal Blue didn't refer so much to the color as to the brilliant polish, the finest polish ever done on a semi-production pistol.
 
Old 02-06-2012, 03:43 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forum, douglas34474.....
 
Old 02-06-2012, 04:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
Sorry, that's wrong.

Colt used the old Carbona process prior to WWII.
After the war, Colt changed to a modern hot salts bluing process.

The Colt "Royal Blue" ultra polish finish was first used on the Colt Python in 1955, and for many years the Royal Blue finish was known inside the Colt factory as "the Python finish".
Royal Blue didn't refer so much to the color as to the brilliant polish, the finest polish ever done on a semi-production pistol.
And when Colt dropped the CARBONA bluing, they lost the COLOR. I'm sorry, but the ROYAL BLUE was standard on all early Colts. While the polish does effect the quality of the bluing job, it does not effect the COLOR. The polish on the the Python was indeed top of the line.

One eyed Joe, thanks for the welcome.
 
Old 02-07-2012, 05:13 PM   #11
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Welcome also.

However, Colt NEVER used the name "Royal Blue" until the Python was introduced.
We can discuss the more blue color of the old Carbona bluing Colt used before the war versus the more blue-black color of the post war hot salts blue Colt's, but the "Royal Blue" name was strictly a 1955 Python finish, later offered as an option on most other Colt pistols.

In this we're not discussing COLOR we're discussing the Colt trade name "Royal Blue".
 
Old 02-08-2012, 08:50 PM   #12
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Even if we are discussing the trade name, the process is still the same.

Please name me one bluing salt that will give the color in question. The OP wants to do it himself.
 
Old 02-09-2012, 05:31 PM   #13
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The OP is specifically asking for a chemical that will give him the Colt Royal Blue finish.
The Colt Royal Blue finish is a super polish job, not just a chemical.

To get the pre-war Colt Carbona finish you're talking about requires a lot of special equipment.
Colt's process included a revolving steel drum, a temperature controlled furnace and some materials like charred bone and other ingredients packed in the drums.

If the OP wants to know how to do that process I can tell him or direct him to instructions.
 
Old 02-09-2012, 06:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
Sorry, that's wrong.

Colt used the old Carbona process prior to WWII.
After the war, Colt changed to a modern hot salts bluing process.

The Colt "Royal Blue" ultra polish finish was first used on the Colt Python in 1955, and for many years the Royal Blue finish was known inside the Colt factory as "the Python finish".
Royal Blue didn't refer so much to the color as to the brilliant polish, the finest polish ever done on a semi-production pistol.
I thought Smith & Wesson used the name "Carbonia" (Carbona was a home dry cleaning solution that was still available when I was a lad) for their bluing process. I don't believe Colt ever called it that.

Or do I have it reversed?
 
Old 02-10-2012, 04:35 PM   #15
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I'm not sure about S&W's process or trade names.

The best info on the pre-war Colt process is in the book "A History of the Colt Revolver From 1836 to 1940" by Haven and Belden.
This has been reprinted several times and can be found on Ebay and book sellers.

Among other great info, is a description of an in-depth tour the authors were given of the Colt plant in the late 1930's.
They follow a Colt firearm from raw steel to a boxed gun ready to ship.

The part where they tour the polishing and bluing operation goes into some depth on how the process is actually done.
The then-manager of the Colt bluing room was a man named Carmody.
He only describes it as bluing. No mention is made of Carbona or any other names.
The author describes it as a "combination of carbonizing and oxidizing by heat".

From other sources, the bluing process Colt used in the 1840's through at least the 1860's was to heat the parts in an open charcoal fire and wipe the hot metal with rags soaked in fish oil. Repeated heating and wiping gave the guns the brilliant blue of the old black powder Colt's.
Included with that description was a drawing of two men sitting around an open brick pit wiping gun parts with rags.

Last edited by dfariswheel; 02-10-2012 at 04:38 PM.
 
Old 02-28-2012, 01:42 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
The part where they tour the polishing and bluing operation goes into some depth on how the process is actually done.
The then-manager of the Colt bluing room was a man named Carmody.
He only describes it as bluing. No mention is made of Carbona or any other names.
The author describes it as a "combination of carbonizing and oxidizing by heat".
And the name of the process is Carbona bluing. They used a large rotating drum furnace. The parts to be blued where placed on a rack that stayed stationary within the rotating drum. Char-coal (carbon) was allowed to tumble over the parts heated to around 600 degrees F. This is the same temperature that Nitre bluing uses to get the real blue color.
 
Old 03-06-2012, 01:45 PM   #17
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Royal Blue Bluing !

Good topic, and very informative response by both dfariswheel and Douglas4474. Gentlemen, your knowledge is enlightening.

I have 2 questions ................... when a 30-40 year old original blue impaired Python is returned to the Colt factory for a complete, so called "royal blue" re-finish, what process does the factory use today?

................. also, when I closely scrutinize the finish integrity on 2 original near mint wheel guns, a 42 yr old Colt Python and a 40 yr old S&W M27-2, they both appear to have the same high quality high luster bluing, but it appears that Colt took the polishing process to a slightly higher standard. My blue all original M19-2 has a really nice finish, but the 27's finish is noticeably better.
I guess it's similar to why certain Colt models were designated to have the "royal blue" up grade.

the Shadow
 
Old 03-06-2012, 01:49 PM   #18
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Welcome to the forum, Shadow.....
 
Old 03-06-2012, 02:12 PM   #19
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Thanks "one eye Joe" ........ I appreciate the welcome !

the Shadow
 
Old 03-06-2012, 11:15 PM   #20
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Colt is using the same process they used since the post-war 1940's.
After the war Colt changed to a modern hot salts bluing process.
They're still using the same process today.
A 1955 Python was finished just like Colt is doing today to re-blue Pythons.

The only difference between most standard Colt's and the Python is the Python gets the Royal Blue ultra-polish job.
They take the polishing to a much higher level, using more and more finer polishing media.

The difference between an older Model 27 and an older Python is that again, the Python got polished to a higher level.
The Python looks shinier than the Model 27 because it was polished better, and Colt polishers were simply the best in the world.

The pre-war Registered 357 Magnum (Model 27) was really a custom made revolver with the best polish job S&W could do.
After the war, the Model 27 was made a standard production model and the level of polishing dropped.

Right from the get-go, the Python was intended to be the best quality DA revolver ever made in America. The blue job was also intended to be the best ever done on a factory revolver, and it always was.
In the industry, Colt was always known for their higher quality barrels, which they actually made themselves, and for their blue jobs.
 
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