Bluing process- using an electric drill?

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Metalman2004, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Metalman2004

    Metalman2004 New Member

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    I am working on rebluing an old Mossberg 45A. I do not have access to many tools, so I have been working manually with sand paper and steel wool. This is taking forever!

    One of the few tools I do have access to is my electric drill. Are there attachments from Dremel or anything else that could be used to polish that would fit in a regular drill? Should I just be patient and keep going the way I am?

    Thanks!
  2. blackspyder

    blackspyder New Member

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    Plenty of polishing tools are available for drills, but I'd keep doing it the way you are now. I've seen guys royally screw up Wheels and Fuel tanks with the power buffers, I can only imagine the damage to be done on a gun.
  3. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    the only thing that I can suggest using is a flap wheel sander with the nylon inserts between the flaps. This prevents you from digging to deep. I use them for final finish and I have 2, 1 is for flat surfaces and one is for barrels. They take the shape of what your sanding so don't mix up the barrel sander will ruin a flat surface. Its really only good for final finish, deep pitting still needs some good old hand work.
    http://www.mcmaster.com/#abrasive-flap-wheels/=af76jz
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Perhaps you are starting with too fine a grit paper. Many books insist that guns must be given a "mirror" finish before rebluing. In fact, few factories ever do that (Weatherby is one) and 600 grit paper will usually give a finish about equal to the normal factory finish.

    If 600 grit does not give you the polish you want, then you work up to 1000 grit or even 2000 grit. But starting with 2000 grit will remove so little metal that you will be a long time getting the metal smooth enough for a high polish.

    For some areas and parts, you might also consider a rust and blue remover; it will remove the old blue without buffing or polishing. But it is an acid, so make sure you wash it off before it can "frost" the steel.

    Jim
  5. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    You have probably seen the signs "Don't Even Think About Parking Here". Well the same thing needs to be said about your drill idea. I would suggest you use only wet and dry black paper starting off with 220 grit(courser if really pitted) and finish with 400 or even 600. I don't think anything is shinnier than a 400 finish on a Mossberg. Steel wool does not have much of a place in a bluing shop either. Wrap the paper over a flat file and run water over it often. Do not use any file unless it is wrapped with paper.

    One really needs a belt sander, a barrel spinning device and a couple of different polishing wheels on a bench grinder to really blue guns. The polishing wheels are never used to move material but rather just to put a light shine. I have blued several guns and at times never used the polishing wheels.

    Ron
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  6. mr.t7024

    mr.t7024 Member

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    I agree with Jim K :D
  7. gunplumber

    gunplumber New Member

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    The fact that you are attempting to prep a gun for bluing with no more equipment than a hand drill suggests that you will be employing some type of cold blue. I sincerely wish you the best of luck but also have to say that the time you will invest for the lasting results I am afraid you will get will be a big let-down. I have used every type of cold blue I could find and not found a single one that I liked or that would give any worthwhile lasting results. Be that as it may, there are things to remember in the process: new blue will not take over old; it will leave spots of differing colors. All rust has to be removed; ALL of it. The more shine you want, the more perfect the surface has to be to look good. Flats have to be polished with a hard backing to the paper to avoid "dipping out" of scw holes, stampings or engraving. A vice with leather backed jaws will aid greatly in holding the work. I would use files on the round surface(bbls and round rec) to remove any pitting, followed by paper in a shoeshine motion, to the degree of polish I wanted. Without a blast cab, motorized wire wheels, bbl spinner and pol wheels, the job can be quite daunting and take a huge amount of time to do properly. Obviously, if your gun is in fairly good condition to start with, it helps.
  8. carver

    carver Moderator

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    I spent 1 1/2 years as an apprentice to one of the best gun smiths in our area, many years ago. I can not begin to tell you the horror stories that came thru the door of this shop, from those that thought they could do it thereselves. My advice is don't do anything to any gun unless you know what you are doing, before you start! Take the gun to a competent smith if you want it to turn out anywhere near right!
  9. Metalman2004

    Metalman2004 New Member

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    Thanks for the advice so far! Maybe I should explain things further.

    This is an old Mossberg 45A that has sat in a closet for decades and is pretty pitted and rusted. It would probably be junk other than the fact that it is probably shootable. So, I just want it to look semi decent when I take it to the range.

    I started with the buttplate and am close to being through with it after quite a few hours of work. At this rate the whole gun will take a long time to finish, but I am okay with that i guess.

    I started with 220 and am down to around the 400 range, then moved to steel wool. The steel wool isn't doing much of anything, so I may just go get some 600 paper and try that.

    I originally bought the Birchwood Casey kit, but it quickly became obvious that my project was too big for it to handle. I am using the blue and rust remover out of the kit though.

    Any other advise is greatly appreciated! I will let everyone know how it goes!
  10. BETH

    BETH Well-Known Member

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    how about a picture of how it looks now
  11. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

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    This is a good project to use one of the spray-on gun paints on. Cold blue will not work well at all.
  12. gunplumber

    gunplumber New Member

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    I would check with a smith in your area and see if he would dunk your gun for you after the metal work is done. I have a couple of engravers I blue for and they do all the prep work and bring me the guns ready to dip. The cost for this is greatly reduced since they have done all the grunt work. This way you can avoid all the sweat beads popping out on your forehead when you see the rust forming under your cold blue after all your hard work.
  13. cyknight

    cyknight New Member

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    I am a smith, and I offer this: If using your drill, try brass brushes mounted on spindles, available at most hardware stores, and definitely at Harbor Freight Tools. Brass brushes will remove rust and most bluing without damaging the steel. You must be careful NOT to apply excessive pressure though, or you'll be headed toward damage! It WILL take time, short of a sandblaster, nothing will be super fast! Hope this helps. :)
  14. gunplumber

    gunplumber New Member

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    I doubt that you will be able to use an elec drill to your satisfaction regardless what brush you put on it. Better results can be had with a bench grinder that has a wire wheel on it. Remember thaat if you do not get the rust from the bottom of any pitting it will result in off color spotting. SteelWhite from brownells or Naval jelly will remove your rust with no surface damage (other that what ws there to start with). Also, hot or cold blue will not color bronze or brass or silver solder for that matter. If you have a brass front sight like on some of the old guns, it must be removed before hot bluing (should you take it to be dipped). We blast, power wire wheel then polish (if called for) before we blue. Draw, lathe and hand files are used to remove pits, followed by backed paper or polish wheels.
  15. Big Shrek

    Big Shrek Well-Known Member

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    As an aside, wintertime is the WORST time to use a cold blue product.

    Prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, and MORE PREP!!
    Funny, but so very true.

    You really need an 80-degree plus room to work in...
    Heat the metal parts before applying the blue. (Hairdryer or oven)
    BAKE it in after applying.
    Slather it in cosmoline immediately after removing from the oven, leave it sit for at least 48 hours in a hot room.
    I prefer a week or longer....

    Birchwood-Casey ain't half bad...as long as you do your prep work properly.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
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