What are your go-to "friendly to use" chemicals to use for bluing?

Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
5,689
Location
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
Hi all. I posted this in the gun section because bluing is something most commonly done to firearms, though my recent new-be to bluing application was on some steel that I machined, and nothing related to firearms.

I bought a 32 oz bottle of Birchwood Casey Perma Blue Liquid Gun Blue from Amazon. It is the white plastic bottle. I was aware that I did not want to contaminate the entire bottle, and also did not want to have the liquid act on the containment I poured a small amount into.

I worked outside on the front porch and poured about 2 ounces into a small glass cup, and used a chemical resistant 1/4 inch wide brush to brush it onto the metal parts I want to protect. Then I put those treated parts in warm water and washed off the bluing acid.

I probably should of had a couple of gallons of used motor oil handy to put the parts into to neutralize the acid. Because some of the sections show some rust on some inside sections that was not there before, when I was done washing away the bluing.

I put some WD-40 on these metal parts. I then got a couple of gallons of used motor oil and put these parts in it to neutralize any remaining bluing acid.

Last night after I stopped working with this acid I realized that my skin was itchy in many places even though the acid never directly touched my skin in those places. This went on even after I showered and went to bed, and made it extremely hard to go to sleep. I do not know if I am allergic to this chemical, but suspect that the fumes that actually did not smell much at all, actually are extremely powerful and cause damage to skin that I did not realize until I was done working with it even though I was outside on our front porch and a slight wind was blowing. This chemical is deceptively more dangerous than I thought it was when I was working with it.

If I ever open the bottle of this stuff again, it will be outside with multiple fans blowing air away from me, and carrying any fumes from it away from me. And I will be wearing a tight fitting mask with cartridges that absorb acid fumes. Because this is on of the most wicket chemicals I have used in a long time. And I have lacer thinner that removes machining ink from metal, and also I have acid to etch PC boards which is fluoride based and extremely dangerous because of its ability to bond to organic material better than oxygen, and to also cause damage and even death in large exposure.

So, are all bluing chemicals this bad to work with, or are there some that are much more user friendly than this stuff but still work?

I see that some are gels and suspect that those might not off gas any where near as much, but some of the parts I am now working with have a lot of rough internal surfaces such as that on the inside of metal tubes, that I would like to protect from rust. Those rough surfaces probably would use up a lot of gel.

I know that different steels and different finished steels require different bluing agents if you want to blue them.

So, are there any user friendly bluing chemicals that I should buy if I need to do additional bluing in the near future?

And what are your go-to chemicals for every step you have to do to properly blue metal?
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
Messages
657
Location
Canada
I've used the G96 bluing paste, it's easy to use and looks good.

http://www.g96.com/products/gun-blue-creme/

The old rifles I've used it on haven't seen any sort of use in the outdoors other then trips to the shooting range so I don't know how well it would hold up to any hard use. Hope this helps.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2015
Messages
9,684
Location
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
I've messed with most of them, (G-96, Perma Blue, Brownell's Oxpho-Blue), and never encountered any issues with any of them. Health or otherwise. They do require immediate rinsing, and a heavy application of a good anti rust agent. Something like Corrosion-X or plain WD-40 works well.
 

Al

Joined
Jun 8, 2002
Messages
19,621
Location
Elizabethtown, Pa
I think WD-40 is as good as any CLP. There are a number of threads on this subject. Someone mentioned it got gummy after a while. Anyone else notice this. I have seen tests where it protects against rust as well as anything.

Thoughts?
 

Astro14

$100 Site Donor
Staff member
Joined
Oct 10, 2010
Messages
16,204
Location
Virginia Beach
I think WD-40 is as good as any CLP. There are a number of threads on this subject. Someone mentioned it got gummy after a while. Anyone else notice this. I have seen tests where it protects against rust as well as anything.

Thoughts?
I’ve seen it get gummy and sticky, like a varnish, on tools.

No way that crap gets used on any of my guns.
 
Top