Rust Bluing is superior

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by lklawson, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    (I posted this on our sister forum, TheKTOG, also)

    Let's call this thing a "Masculine Bracelet" and not worry too much about it past that. I wanted one, but I would have preferred to buy one. But no one was selling them that I could find. Searches of "Men's Bracelets" were all goony looking chains and the like. You could find some in heavy leather but they were usually "biker" type theme (or worse) and I wanted steel anyway. I found some products which covered the whole forearm (there's your hint) but I didn't want anything that big. And don't bother googling for the archaic term "wrist cuff." That brings up a whole world of BDSM links which, while sort of entertaining in a "can't look away from the train wreck, oh GADS! my eyes!!!," weren't particularly what I was looking for.

    So I resigned myself to having make one myself. "Shouldn't be too hard," I thought to myself. And I have some sheet steel left over from a project years ago that I lost interest in and never completed. It's heavy gauge, cold rolled, mild steel and I'd already cut a bunch of it into 2" strips. I had to use a fiber-blade on my circular saw back then to do it. This is too heavy to use hand-held snips. So I took some rough measurements and used my bench mounted sheet metal shears to cut to length and shape on the joining edges. Then off to the grinder to even it all up and radius the corners. Then a trip to the 1" belt sander that I usually use to start an edge on blades which have the "1mm unsharpened edge" to smooth the burs off. You can't see it well in the pics, but I used an old nail & hammer to dimple in a dot-line pic because, why not? :)

    Yeah, this stuff rusts. It's been rusting just sitting in my garage. I want it to be able to rust. Can't Rust Blue without it, right? So after bending it to a circle shape in my vice, it was off to be Rust Blued. Same technique as documented here. Took about 5 or 6 cycles before it just wouldn't rust anymore and I declared it "done." I washed it off in Balistol & water emulsification, dried it off in the toaster oven, then rubbed a good coating of Johnson's Paste Wax onto the surface. Done. Looks good. Almost exactly what I wanted.

    Thursday morning I put it on but I started remembering some of my friends over on TheKTOG who talk about the problems they have carrying their Blued guns. Rust problems and the like. While I am pretty confident about the longevity and durability of Rust Bluing, I began to wonder if it really was as good as I think? So, spur of the moment, I decided to run a "real life" test of my finished product. I would wear it constantly for the next few days and do NOTHING to maintain it. So that's exactly what I did.

    For the next SEVEN DAYS, 1 full week, I have, literally, worn it constantly and did absolutely nothing to maintain it. Remember it is Rust Blued and had a coat of Johnson's Paste Wax. That's it. During the last 7 days, I have taken the "bracelet" off exactly 3 times; once for 2 min. because my 8yo daughter wanted to see how it looks on her, and twice for an hour or two each during Judo, where it's not a good idea to do grappling with this sort of thing on your arm. Outside of that, I wore it non-stop. I wore it to bed. I wore it during every shower (where it was drenched with hot water and soap). I wore it mowing the lawn on a 100 degree day (I nearly passed out from heat exhaustion - no kidding). I wore it during 3 Western Martial Arts training sessions using sticks, knives, slungshot, and the like. I wore it in the shop, grinding out some more "bracelets" which I intend to gift to friends. I wore it in the rain. It has been subjected sweat, hot water, soap, acidic skin oil, and any other environmental contaminant which happened to be floating about in my world. Below are the pictures from this morning, seven days later. There is no apparent rust either inside or outside. It has begun to show some wear at contact points on the edges which, obviously, are unlikely to rust during wear.

    Let me repeat that: 7 days of sweat, hot showers, acidic skin oils, and environmental hazards and NO RUST.

    My conclusion is that Rust Bluing is "da bomb." It is an excellent coating and our 19th Century forefathers deserve a lot more credit for it than they get. Yes, I understand that it's pretty labor intensive and Hot Caustic Dip Bluing is way, way faster. I'm not convinced that Hot Caustic Bluing is better; just the reverse, actually.

    Tonight I'll wipe down & clean the "bracelet" and give it another coat of Johnson's Paste Wax. I may stop wearing it to bed & in the shower; I dunno yet. Depends on convenience.

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    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  2. Rerun

    Rerun Member

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    The waxing does the trick.

    My friends who like shiny helms and body armour wax them after polishing the metal to a high sheen.

    eldar
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2015

  3. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I don't believe it survived more than a few days of showering in hot, soapy water, nor likely that it survived washing hands in hot, soapy water multiple times a day.

    Yes. It does that well. And, if not worn or cleaned off, it can provide an excellent second layer of protection. I use it on all of my blued guns and even on one which is nickled.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  4. Rerun

    Rerun Member

    8,115
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    You'd be surprised how long a good waxing with a commercial product like Turtle Wax will last.

    You said seven days, these guys wax once a month or so.

    eldar
     
  5. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    My tests of carnauba wax ("car wax") was unimpressive:

    http://cbd.atspace.com/articles/rustprotection/rust_protection.html

    Do they shower with their helm on?

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  6. talon

    talon the banned wagon

    Cerakoting would still be better. And wouldn't require waxing.
     
  7. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Maybe.

    But it's not what I tested.

    Further, Rust Bluing is a whole lot easier for the DIYer. It's within the skill of a 6th Grade science project; easier than building a lead-acid battery. Seriously. If you can boil water and burn toast, then you can Rust Blue. Proper cerakoating, on the other hand, is quite a production for the home-user.

    And Rust Bluing is a whole lot better than a vast array of other alternatives. Heck, Rust Blue (magnetite) has a higher Mohs scale rating than Nickel plating and outperforms most everything on a taber abrasion test (except for, admittedly, cerakote).

    It's good stuff and easy to do.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  8. talon

    talon the banned wagon

    Cerakote actually sells it in a spray can now. Its about 30 bucks a can but its nice working stuff. Granted not worth it for your project, but its a much simpler and affordable option now.
     
  9. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    I'm amazed you got it back from your daughter..... Looks good though!
     
  10. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Everything comes in a spray can now. ;)

    Seriously, both duracoat and ceracoat now have that fairly innovative "dual container" can. Everything from Brownells you can get in a rattle-can. Molly-coat and on.

    IMS, you still have to prep the metal by either bead-blasting or parkerizing. Most home DIYers aren't set up with bead-blasting booths and if you're going to park, why not just park?

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  11. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    She liked it, but I don't think it was girlie enough for her. She loves jewelry and will, literally, cobble together jewelry from stuff that shouldn't be. She's been buying colored clear plastic bear shaped keychains from a local bowling alley (they look like double-sized gummy bears) then attaches them to a glow-stick bracelet.

    She was very upset last night when the glow-stick bracelet (predictably) separated and dropped the bears into the grass, losing one.

    Thanks. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to make any extra to sell or what I should ask for them if I do. It's kinda a pain and each one takes probably 2-3 hours to fully finish.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  12. Rerun

    Rerun Member

    8,115
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    No, but, they drip sweat (salt) all over them what with practising once or twice a week and fighting for hours on the weekend at events.

    eldar
     
  13. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    My assertion was that the hot-water soapy showers effectively stripped the wax off of the steel after a few days. Further, the constant wear against skin, clothing, bed-sheets, etc. (for non-stop, 24-hours a day), would also have rubbed the coating off.

    Without sending it to a lab for testing, just using my personal, eyes-on (and fingers), observation, I believe this to be the case. I, honestly, don't believe that any of the wax is left on it by this point. The wax gives it a different visual "look," a different tactile "feel," and it reacts differently to water. Water stopped "beading" on it after the 2nd day. Based on my experience (which includes using Johnson's Paste Wax on swords and knives for some time now) and these observations, I conclude that even the smallest residue of wax as simply gone before the end of day 3.

    Could I be wrong? Yeah. But, like I said, I'm not sending it to the lab for a spectral analysis or anything. :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  14. Rerun

    Rerun Member

    8,115
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    That is probably all true but, their medieval armour is still shiny at the end of the month when they take time to re-apply their wax (usually Turtle wax).

    eldar
     
  15. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I'm sure it does. I have no doubt. I have a number of friends with the same (or similar) hobbies. Yes, it's common for them to wax their armour. The traditionalists use bee's wax mixed with olive oil.

    That said, my friend, I contest the assertion in this case that it is that "the waxing does the trick" for this "bracelet."

    I use Johnson's Paste Wax on my guns and knives because, yes, as I wrote above, it provides an excellent second layer of protection. But, in this case, the wax is gone and there is still no rusting. That must be due to something. The logical conclusion is that it's the Rust Blue oxide coating. This is a conclusion which is supported, I believe, by the fact that many tools are still "Black Oxide" coated to promote longevity and reduce rusting.

    :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  16. So a rust blue question.
    We do not have AC and this year has been SUPER wet in PA. I noticed my Marlin 25N starting to get little rust spots. its discouraging as this is the first gun I ever shot, and a gift from my father. What is weird to me, the blue looks perfect all over it, except the 3 or 4 small rust spots.

    Should i try and re blue the entire thing?
     
  17. IMO, no a few spots is character. But if you want you can boil the gun, or parts without disturbing the original blue. Those spots are rust, and if you boil them in water they will turn black. Depending on how dark your gun is they may show, or they may not be noticeable.
     
  18. OTH there is a Colt trooper with splotchy blue calling out to me. If I could just get the pawn shop to drop the price to 500 bucks I would bring it home and do a new rust blue job on it.

    The other problem is the rubber grips.
     
  19. that sounds like a terrible idea, but i believe you.
    so far i used a nylon brush and brushed them as good as i could, then oiled well.

    That may or may not be a correct thing to do.
     
  20. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    yeah, he's right.

    a brass brush would probably work better. 0000 Steel Wool with gentle rubbing, too.

    Peace favor your sword (mobile)