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Help with French Greying

 

Associate Member
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 9
Topic starter  

I picked up an old German Drilling at the Southern SXS and I am giving it a refresh. There is no engraving on it, just a surface finish similar to stippling. The action is greyed but I would like to freshen it up. 

 

I have done some internet research and I find some conflicting information regarding whether the part needs to be blued before it can be greyed. Most of my research has info coming from engravers forums saying to blue it before greying and I understand the need for bluing to help with the shading in the engraving. Mine doesnt have engraving so there is no need for any shading effects.

 

So is there a need to rust blue before greying? Does the act of rust bluing help produce the distinct finish of the greying?

 

Thanks.


   
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DaveN
Professional Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 81
 

Experience in polishing, blending polish marks and coloring steel would be a big help. For example, on a vintage double gun action which is still hard but just kinda turned a bit grey/silver there are any number of things you could do. Old carding wheels can be a big help and give you different looks - examples would be-using a clean dry carding wheel at about 600 rpm and running it over the action will give you one look, but using a carding wheel which has been oiled will give a similar but different look. Using scotch brite pads will also give you another look. Now you can take any of those treatments and ink the engraving background and get another look. I always used rustoleum on a q-tip to ink the engraving.

Engraver Sam Welch has a great process of bluing the part and using naval jelly to work back the bluing to a grey. Rust blue or caustic blue ? Yes, if you are experimenting try it both ways and learn. Rust bluing and then using oven cleaner works too.  Rust bluing and using Phosphoric acid also works. Be sure to neutralize when done playing with the acids. 

Be sure to fully disassemble and clean the parts you are coloring first, absolutely chemically clean. Most anything above will color the steel and each will give you slightly different shades /hues/tones.

Covering the steel with coatings is another ball game

 

good luck

best to all

Dave


   
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DaveN
Professional Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 81
 

Here is a bit of a correction - above I said  'oven cleaner' when I should have said  'Toilet bowel cleaner' 

 

best to all Dave


   
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Associate Member
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 9
Topic starter  

Thanks for the info Dave. 

I am working on two test pieces now. One is the bottom of the trigger plate and the other is the trigger guard. The trigger plate had pitting in the area where the triggers are so I draw filed it and then ran through the sand paper up to 800grit (probably too fine) and then used Mark Lees express rust blue on it. it took about 5 sessions with the express blue to get it nice and dark. I then used naval jelly (phosphoric acid) to remove the blue and attempt to grey it. It gave an OK grey, but I do think the 800 grit was too fine. I think I will go back over it with 400 grit and recoat with Naval Jelly.

 

The trigger guard also had pitting so I got rid if the pitting and ran the grit up to 400. Then I used Mark Lees slow rust blue and gave it 5 session with that. It came out a beautiful color. I am going to use the naval jelly on it to see if it give me the grey finish I am looking for.

Pic of the trigger guard after bluing.

 

Drilling trigger gaurd Blue

   
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Associate Member
Joined: 12 months ago
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This weekend I used the Naval Jelly to remove the bluing to see what I would get. It was a little streaky at first but some elbow grease and 0000 steel wool gave me this.

image

   
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DaveN
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 81
 

Atta boy !

 

dave


   
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SamW
 SamW
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Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 4
 

That looks nice!  I have found that sometimes several applications of the Naval Jelly are needed to get the metal really clean looking.  Your steel wool worked just fine.  I usually selectively remove the bluing leaving unengraved areas blued.  But not always...just depends on the look you want.  I use steel wool at times.  I buy oil free 0000 from lmii.com, a luthier supply business.


   
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Associate Member
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 9
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Thank you! I havent had time to work on this project in the last week and i want for another 3 weeks. I appreciate your post and letting me know that i can do more cycles of naval jelly to see if that helps improve the color.


   
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