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This is a great topic that applies to more than just guns. I've heard the exact same thoughts on both sides about furniture when I was a cabinet maker. Just my take on it, but here is my line of thinking.
"Refinishing destroys the value."
If you are talking about the rifle Custer took into battle, then sure. Don't touch it.
But that hand crafted quartersawn oak dresser that granddad used as a workbench, then Aunt Tilly painted with house paint, it doesn't have any value as it is. Restored it will get a new life. Left alone it's off the collector market anyway.
I restore all manner of antiques as a hobby. Cost is not really a factor as I do my own work. But Gooffy did a great job explaining the math on that.
I also restore a lot of guns to expand my collection, not as investments. I paid $100 for a C96 that was rusted beyond recognition. Yeah, the bluing is not original. Nor are the grips. But now I have a perfectly functioning shooter that looks great that I wouldn't have otherwise.
I can't think of many people that prefer a rusty gun over a refinish job. Some guns will always be worth more left in their current condition. But those are a tiny minority that most of us won't come into contact with anyway.
 

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One of my pet peeves ..... as I have a few that lost value when they restored em.

Folks they don't make anymore of a lot of those old guns anymore and if they do you'll probably find out you are better off buying the new one to shoot.

Now if you want the gun REPAIRED, just to shoot to put a few rounds out of every once in awhile that is a different story.
A friend of mine got a 36 Plymouth decades ago... I explained he could sink 1000 bucks into it and have a 6000 dollar vehicle (repaired to running condition) OR he could sink 6000 dollars into it and have 1000 dollar (hot rod) vehicle .......... He sunk over 6000 into it and got less than 1500 when he sold it ....
I am not a gun smith ....I used to make custom ammo for old guns people had inherited. So having them repaired to safe functional condition was my concern.
 
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This is a great topic that applies to more than just guns. I've heard the exact same thoughts on both sides about furniture when I was a cabinet maker. Just my take on it, but here is my line of thinking.
"Refinishing destroys the value."
If you are talking about the rifle Custer took into battle, then sure. Don't touch it.
But that hand crafted quartersawn oak dresser that granddad used as a workbench, then Aunt Tilly painted with house paint, it doesn't have any value as it is. Restored it will get a new life. Left alone it's off the collector market anyway.
I restore all manner of antiques as a hobby. Cost is not really a factor as I do my own work. But Gooffy did a great job explaining the math on that.
I also restore a lot of guns to expand my collection, not as investments. I paid $100 for a C96 that was rusted beyond recognition. Yeah, the bluing is not original. Nor are the grips. But now I have a perfectly functioning shooter that looks great that I wouldn't have otherwise.
I can't think of many people that prefer a rusty gun over a refinish job. Some guns will always be worth more left in their current condition. But those are a tiny minority that most of us won't come into contact with anyway.
I also "restore" a fair amount of stuff, my approach is always to disturb the piece as little as possible from original. What I do depends on what I am trying to achieve. Sometimes you have to replace parts if you want to get the thing serviceable, there is no way around it. If you want to have a non-working piece then you can keep it all "original". You can also keep things original by using original OEM parts, though this is not always possible with all things as original NOS parts can be so old they have also deteriorated. I recently restored an old 1954 Victa mower, took 2 years to just find all the old OEM NOS parts, down to the last screw. I took it from a piece of rust to better than new. The only thing that is not original is that I zinc plated the cadmium coated parts though the finish is the same looks wise.
With guns its the same thing. What is it you are trying to achieve with it?
With old guns I hardly ever restore. I use the same approach that armories used, disassembly, thorough degrease and re-blue. Notice I did not mention any sanding or file work. All you are doing is converting that brown rust patina back to blueing, adding to areas that are bare steel and in doing so preserving the firearm and preventing any further deterioration. This method does not in any way devalue the firearm as you have not removed any metal or changed the finish. The blue on a gun is not determined by the blueing solution used, it is determined by the makeup of the steel. There is only one form of rust that can form on it and when converted back to blueing it will be exactly of the same color as it was when it came out of the factory new.
I'll add a disclaimer to the above. Some old firearms, specifically Colts did not use rust blueing, impossible to reproduce without industrial sized equipment. These are best left alone. Similarly you would not rust blue a firearm that has been parkerized but use a different method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
I also "restore" a fair amount of stuff, my approach is always to disturb the piece as little as possible from original. What I do depends on what I am trying to achieve. Sometimes you have to replace parts if you want to get the thing serviceable, there is no way around it. If you want to have a non-working piece then you can keep it all "original". You can also keep things original by using original OEM parts, though this is not always possible with all things as original NOS parts can be so old they have also deteriorated. I recently restored an old 1954 Victa mower, took 2 years to just find all the old OEM NOS parts, down to the last screw. I took it from a piece of rust to better than new. The only thing that is not original is that I zinc plated the cadmium coated parts though the finish is the same looks wise.
With guns its the same thing. What is it you are trying to achieve with it?
With old guns I hardly ever restore. I use the same approach that armories used, disassembly, thorough degrease and re-blue. Notice I did not mention any sanding or file work. All you are doing is converting that brown rust patina back to blueing, adding to areas that are bare steel and in doing so preserving the firearm and preventing any further deterioration. This method does not in any way devalue the firearm as you have not removed any metal or changed the finish. The blue on a gun is not determined by the blueing solution used, it is determined by the makeup of the steel. There is only one form of rust that can form on it and when converted back to blueing it will be exactly of the same color as it was when it came out of the factory new.
I'll add a disclaimer to the above. Some old firearms, specifically Colts did not use rust blueing, impossible to reproduce without industrial sized equipment. These are best left alone. Similarly you would not rust blue a firearm that has been parkerized but use a different method.
Sorry to disagree with you (I feel allot of what you said is wrong) but "Touch up bluing" is not good at all. If you do not prep the steel it will not hold. Getting the exact color that is there is impossible and will stand out like a sore thumb. And will take away value.
I know in your country you do not get to see all the different makes of guns that I deal with and do not have the availability of all the chemicals I can get.
I have restored many guns that have been "Touched up" by someone that has no idea what they are doing.
Armories do not reblue they touch up.
Restoring a gun requires getting rid of ALL the rust and stop the oxidation completely. Which requires proper prep work not just "Touching up" the bare steel.
And the color IS determined by what you use to do it NOT the steel (In 99.9% of cases).
I will stop at this because I do disagree with many of the things you said.
And I do this for a living, Trained and have done it for MANY years.
Mike
 

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Mike did my 94. It's nothing like original. It cost me more than the gun was worth. Did it affect the resale value? Maybe. But I don't care. I now have a work of art done by a true craftsman who takes extreme pride in his work. Plus the sentimental value far outweighs the cost and/or value, both before and after
 

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Sorry to disagree with you (I feel allot of what you said is wrong) but "Touch up bluing" is not good at all. If you do not prep the steel it will not hold. Getting the exact color that is there is impossible and will stand out like a sore thumb. And will take away value.
I know in your country you do not get to see all the different makes of guns that I deal with and do not have the availability of all the chemicals I can get.
I have restored many guns that have been "Touched up" by someone that has no idea what they are doing.
Armories do not reblue they touch up.
Restoring a gun requires getting rid of ALL the rust and stop the oxidation completely. Which requires proper prep work not just "Touching up" the bare steel.
And the color IS determined by what you use to do it NOT the steel (In 99.9% of cases).
I will stop at this because I do disagree with many of the things you said.
And I do this for a living, Trained and have done it for MANY years.
Mike
Sorry but I disagree with you on just about all you said., but you are entitled to your opinion, many years of training or not.
I was not talking about "touch up blueing", I was talking about a complete reblue. Taking off the old blueing has no value whatsoever except maybe to bring up a bill.
I don't know which specific armory you are talking about - all of them? now or 100 years ago or more? Rust blueing is no longer carried out on an industrial scale.
I can't think of any guns that you have over there that I have not seen here.
It is not necessary to remove all the rust, just the flaky loose stuff. Why remove the rust only to re-rust it again? All you need is to have the parts free of grease.
Sorry, the rusting solution has nothing whatsoever to do with the color of the blue, though I'm sure it helps in selling rusting solutions.
As for chemicals I can get any chemical I want and seeing that I make up my own solutions I do.
The truth is that rust blueing is a very simple process that anyone with an IQ of 60 and up can successfully carry out, it does not take years of training, I could most likely show most people how to do it in one day and boy I would really have to buffer it even then.
I have been rust blueing for about 25 years, I am also familiar and can carry out most forms of plating.
 

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im now restoring my second long tom 12 gauge. one cost 70 dollars the other 100 dollars. they shoot well and are tight and sound. probably worth the same when done. however they will look way better than they ever were ment to be. i like that. nice walnut in the stock. im having fun and it didnt cost me a arm and a kidney.
 

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My son wants us to get a Winchester 12 and do a restore for fun. We would send the metal parts to goffy to get them blued. We wouldn't care about value as it would stay in the family. We just wasn't a nice looking shotgun.

@gmoody did you get the Ruger Blackhawk back from goofy yet. I saw that pistol at the TFF meet and would love to see how it came out.
 
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@gmoody did you get the Ruger Blackhawk back from goofy yet. I saw that pistol at the TFF meet and would love to see how it came out.
Not yet, but Mike mentioned it in the "199" thread yesterday, said that he was finishing mine before going back to that handgun. I took two pictures of it before I mailed it and will post them along with a couple of the "New" look pictures.
 

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For those that are curious here's a vid on what I was talking about, about the only worthwhile video I have seen on the subject.
There's lots of vids on youtube on rust blueing, most take the rusting stage much too far, you don't want your parts to look like its spent the last couple of months at the bottom of the ocean, its very easy to pit steel using rust blueing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
Sorry but I disagree with you on just about all you said., but you are entitled to your opinion, many years of training or not.
I was not talking about "touch up blueing", I was talking about a complete reblue. Taking off the old blueing has no value whatsoever except maybe to bring up a bill.
I don't know which specific armory you are talking about - all of them? now or 100 years ago or more? Rust blueing is no longer carried out on an industrial scale.
I can't think of any guns that you have over there that I have not seen here.
It is not necessary to remove all the rust, just the flaky loose stuff. Why remove the rust only to re-rust it again? All you need is to have the parts free of grease.
Sorry, the rusting solution has nothing whatsoever to do with the color of the blue, though I'm sure it helps in selling rusting solutions.
As for chemicals I can get any chemical I want and seeing that I make up my own solutions I do.
The truth is that rust blueing is a very simple process that anyone with an IQ of 60 and up can successfully carry out, it does not take years of training, I could most likely show most people how to do it in one day and boy I would really have to buffer it even then.
I have been rust blueing for about 25 years, I am also familiar and can carry out most forms of plating.
If you are talking rust blueing then yes you are right but lumping it all together as blueing is wrong.
Almost all guns made after a certain date are HOT BLUED not RUST BLUED.
In HOT BLUEING which is what THIS THREAD IS ABOUT. ALL THE RUST MUST BE REMOVED.
Any body can do rust blueing it does not take much work (Or materials) or any training.
I restore ALL guns as it was done from the factory. I do not rust blue guns that were hot blued originally.
Oh by the way I have been doing this sense I got out of smithing school and that was well over 30 years ago.
As for you seeing the same guns as me I will say this. I have friends in Australia and they say that the gun control you have to deal with it is unlikely you see all the types of guns I do. Very few semi auto rifles and even shotguns pump or semi. have been outlawed in your country and if you want one you have to jump thru hoops to own it and so on. This is what I have been told and read but I do not live there so.
That is why you do rust blueing NOT hot bluing.
All you need to do is add the word rust in front of bluing for us to understand what you are talking about.
HOT bluing requires prep work and the right chemicals to match what the factory weather it is blue or black depends on the chemical you use.
I took your post wrong because you lumped ALL blueing together instead of just RUST blueing.
2 completely different ways to blue.
If I were to rust blue a Browning A-5 I would get it shoved back at me when the customer came in to pick it up. But a old gun that was rust blued from the beginning needs to be rust blued to restore it.
But as I said this thread was started referring restoration to HOT bluing NOT rust bluing.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
im now restoring my second long tom 12 gauge. one cost 70 dollars the other 100 dollars. they shoot well and are tight and sound. probably worth the same when done. however they will look way better than they ever were ment to be. i like that. nice walnut in the stock. im having fun and it didnt cost me a arm and a kidney.
What are you using to re blue?.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Not yet, but Mike mentioned it in the "199" thread yesterday, said that he was finishing mine before going back to that handgun. I took two pictures of it before I mailed it and will post them along with a couple of the "New" look pictures.
I just got the parts yesterday and will be putting it back together (Or start to) today it will be ready to ship next week. I want to get it done tested and ship it with 4 other guns that need to be shipped.
I am not sure how to join these posts so if needed to go ahead and thanks.
Mike
 

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Mike, there is no need in combining the threads, that I can see.
 

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If you are talking rust blueing then yes you are right but lumping it all together as blueing is wrong.
Almost all guns made after a certain date are HOT BLUED not RUST BLUED.
In HOT BLUEING which is what THIS THREAD IS ABOUT. ALL THE RUST MUST BE REMOVED.
Any body can do rust blueing it does not take much work (Or materials) or any training.
I restore ALL guns as it was done from the factory. I do not rust blue guns that were hot blued originally.
Oh by the way I have been doing this sense I got out of smithing school and that was well over 30 years ago.
As for you seeing the same guns as me I will say this. I have friends in Australia and they say that the gun control you have to deal with it is unlikely you see all the types of guns I do.
That is why you do rust blueing NOT hot bluing.
All you need to do is add the word rust in front of bluing for us to understand what you are talking about.
HOT bluing requires prep work and the right chemicals to match what the factory weather it is blue or black depends on the chemical you use.
I took your post wrong because you lumped ALL blueing together instead of just RUST blueing.
2 completely different ways to blue.
If I were to rust blue a Browning A-5 I would get it shoved back at me when the customer came in to pick it up. But a old gun that was rust blued from the beginning needs to be rust blued to restore it.
But as I said this thread was started referring restoration to HOT bluing not rust bluing.
Mike
I thought it would be obvious from what I described that I was talking about rust blueing and I was talking about old guns but anyway. Also I was going off the topic of this thread which is not really specific. Yes I agree with you 100% that with hot blueing its a completely different process.
Hey buddy I live in Australia, I know what goes on here, especially when it comes to guns. All the guns you have over there are available for sale here, AR15's are not banned, they are restricted, two completely different things. If you are for instance a professional pest control hunter you can get a license to purchase and shoot any semi-auto.
 

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i sand out the scratches on the barrel and then bead blast it. then i use mark lee rust blue many coats. when done i soak it in very hot water with baking soda in the water to stop the acid process. then clean it up and rub in floor wax. they turn out nice. i really like mark lee. if you mix the mark lee brown with the mark lee blue you get a nice black finish on the metal. oh yes before i rub in floor wax i apply some cold blue over the rust blue. learned that from the internet. it really tops off the rust blue and doesnt come off. better then sending it in and getting a hot blue. this finish last and last. for the stocks i sand with the grain untill perfect. fill all crack with liquid superglue. i use leather dye for the stain. then i thin watco oil very very thin. rub that in until it will take no more, many coats. can stop their for a oil finish. however i rub it down then spray a few thin coats of acrilic clear car finish. then i rub that down with pumice. then huts polish. then brownells 5 f polish. its a very high gloss then, then i rub it over again with very very fine steel wool. it brings it back to a very smooth oil type finish. no rocket science here. just a lot of years of experience. also to get a even higher gloss before i use the steel wool i can rub it down with 8 thousands guitar finish paper available from stewart mac. banjo and guitar suppies. their it is,what i do. i use this also on the bone and horn jewlery i make that is native american mountain man stuff.
 

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Years ago my tRusty ‘97 became famous here. Back when in my travels I met a lot of original members here and they saw it in person. It was and still is a well used but used well takedown Cyl bore “Brush Gun”made in 1912 that I inherited from my wife’s grandpa that after I removed the hideous poly choke by that he had installed some time during the Depression (that already ruined its high collectors value if he had left it alone!) by cutting it to 18 1/2” and turning it into a riot gun...then I discovered it was a tack driver with 1 oz sluggers and killed over 30 deer with it including my Hoosier Record 8 pt Buck at 192 (measured) yards...with all the dings and scratches and 100 years of patina that both Gramps and I put on it...

I held a poll here on whether I should refinish it or not...

the results were overwhelmingly NOT. So when you hear references here to the tRusty ‘97...or “Polish Patina...”(with capital “P’s”😎) Rest assured it is STILL in it’s scratched up brownish glory, I would still depend on it for my life, and I still have to butt stroke my way out of the crowd of Cowboy Action shooters wanting to buy it when i shoot a round of skeet with it😎
 
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