cold bluing tips
by Michael Wilson
A great way to improve the finish on steel and iron sword fittings is to use cold gun blue - this is actually a well known method but heres a few tips to ensure you get the best results possible.
Prior to using gun blue wash the fitting thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly.
To create a base coat that will enrich the patina created by subsequent coats use the following method:
Bring to the boil a sauce pan of de-ionised water, the kind used in steam irons place the fitting in the pan and leave it for 3-5 mins , remove it and towel dry it, while its still hot quickly apply a generous coat of gun blue -
the heat and the now open grain of the steel will react quicker with the gun blue giving it a deeper patina - it may appear patchy but further coats while the steel is cold will even the patina and you will have a deep rich blue/black finish.
When applying a coat of bluing leave it for 1 minute before rinsing under a cold tap, towel dry the part and with a clean soft cloth buff off any residue left behind and let stand for 1 hour.
To really bring the finish to life after standing for 1 hour take the fitting and finger rub a small amount of choji oil or gun oil ( 3 in 1 multi oil is just as good ) into the part , making sure you oil every are - wipe of any excess oil and you will have a deeply patinated , glossy finished part .
Gun blue works well on iron and steel , none ferrous metals like copper and brass will patinate to a deep, rich red/brown colour - an antiqued effect.
M Wilson 2007