ANTIQUE EXPRESS RUST BLUE
Gives a beautiful black-blue finish.
118 ml / 4 oz - $65
236 ml / 8 oz - $120
473 ml / 16 oz - $235
946 ml / 32 oz - $450
Bluing (Blueing) is a controlled rusting process. It was originally used to camouflage a bright surface and to protect against rust. Special rusting mixtures are applied and allowed to rust, then they are brushed off and the steps are repeated until the desired colour is reached. In Europe, this centuries old technique was first called russetting and then browning. Later on, a modified browning solution was introduced that resulted in a blackish-blue finish and as a result the name bluing became popular. There are various types of bluing such as Express Rust Bluing/Browning, Slow Rust Bluing/Browning, Hot Bluing and Cold/Chemical Bluing.
PJ’s Antique EXPRESS Rust Blue compound gives a beautiful black-blue Belgian finish that is durable and long-lasting. It lets you control how light or dark you want the end result. It replaced our former Rust Blue product when Radocy discontinued operations. If you liked Radocy’s blue, you'll love this new one!!
This bluing approach is the most desirable choice for double-barrelled guns to avoid weakening the solder.
The process is similar to that used centuries ago but an EXPRESS agent (mercuric chloride) has been added to quicken and streamline the bluing operation. The mercuric chloride not only speeds up the bluing process but enhances the finish.
This HOT WATER bluing method requires the parts to be immersed in boiling mineral-free DISTILLED water to bring the metal up to temperature; the temperature must be maintained throughout the process. The water must be kept at a rolling boil throughout the project and replenished as it boils away.
Detailed instructions are provided. Each sequence is called a ‘pass or turn’ and the process is repeated with as many ‘passes/turns’ as it takes to achieve the colour desired (usually 5 or 6). Carding involves the use of fine steel wool (0000) or a metal brush/wheel to wipe down the metal. The carding process in effect polishes the metal.
NOTE: This method is not to be confused with Hot Tank Bluing that involves bluing salts. Heating the metal with a torch/heat gun or in the oven DOES NOT adequately do the job but some customers use a steam box with very satisfactory results.
DISCLAIMER: Because of the wide range of metals, results will vary. When you are bluing, minerals in the water can change its electrolyte structure and cause ‘checking’ (cross hatch marks on the metal). To avoid this, use mineral-free distilled water.
Apr 30/23 J.M., Chinook Arms Ltd., Taber, AB
Rust Blue worked very well (as usual)…I’ve been happily using your products since 2016!
Oct 12/22 H.Z., Windsor, ON
I’m very pleased with the rust blue; the finish is very durableand the instructions surely helped. Many thanks.
Jan 29/22 A.B., Elgin, NB
The bluing project went VERY well! This is such an amazing product; Dad and I were both speechless. Another project and possibly a lot more to come so please send a 4 oz. Antique EXPRESS Rust Blue and 2 oz. Clenzoil Pump Spray.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does PJ’s Antique EXPRESS Rust Blue solution differ from a slow rust bluing solution?
PJ’s Rust Blue process begins by heating the metal in boiling distilled water then applying the well-shaken solution. The metal is then re-heated to speed up the oxidation (rusting). The rust is then brushed off with fine steel wool (0000) or a carding brush/wheel. This process called ‘carding’ in effect polishes the steel. The procedure is repeated until the correct colour is achieved.
Slow rust bluing produces the same result as the EXPRESS approach but uses humidity and therefore is a time-consuming process. In the wild world of bluing, both Slow and Express rust bluing generally give the most durable finish and offer the option to control how light or dark a finish is achieved.
How can I be assured of a successful bluing job?
Use the right product for the job. PJ’s Antique EXPRESS Rust Blue is a professional product with an excellent track record among gunsmiths and do-it-yourselfers. Follow the instructions exactly and remember that for the blue to perform, it is imperative that the parts have been cleaned (degreased) and are kept hot. A heavy receiver piece stays warm longer than a tang piece as the outer ends cool off first. So remember to return the item to the boiling water as often as is needed to keep the metal hot and be sure to change the water if contaminated (degrease again).
What are the basic steps involved in using PJ’s Antique EXPRESS Rust Blue?
1. Pre-preparation is the most important step in the bluing process. All dents, rust pits and scratches should be removed by hand or machine for a perfect job, otherwise imperfections will be obvious. Polish the metal with 220 up to 320 emery cloth/paper but don’t overpolish as the blue needs a substrate to adhere properly. If any filing is needed to remove imperfections and rust pits, be sure all filing and handling marks are removed.
2. Clean and degrease parts well (critical to overall result) so the finish properly adheres. No bluing solution will work unless the metal is completely cleaned and degreased. Use RB-17 gel gun cleaner which is very aggressive and ensures the best ‘prepped’ surface. This is especially important on old metal which is often full of oil and dirt.
Note: There is no need to plug the bore when bluing but you must clean the bore well beforehand so you don’t introduce oil etc. into the boiling water. PJ’s Rust Blue will not harm the bore but you should clean it aggressively after bluing.
3. Shake the Rust Blue well then pour 15 ml/0.50 oz. of blue onto a cotton shotgun patch (approx. 76mm/3 inch square) in a small glass dish. Once the patch has soaked it up, gently squeeze it over the dish until it’s not dripping/too wet.
Note: Be sure to use a fiber-free cotton patch that doesn’t contain oil or other contaminants. Pouring off the blue into a small glass dish prevents disturbing the bottle contents. Always cap the bottle to prevent spills and evaporation.
4. Boil parts in mineral-free distilled water in a tank for 2 to 3 minutes at 212 degrees F. You can suspend or hang the parts in the boiling water if you like. It’s preferred that the parts don’t touch the sides and bottom of the tank.
Note: DON’T pile parts on top of each other…deal with them one at a time and be sure to bring each one to boiling temperature.
5. Once the pores of the metal have been opened, remove parts from tank. There’s no need to wipe off the water just shake it off as the metal will be so hot the atmosphere will basically air dry it.
6. Swab on the blue to 'etch' the metal (no need to wait for the metal to rust). Apply to the area to be blued covering the entire area. Don't try to do too large an area at one time. Do the receiver, then the barrel and so on.
7. Put parts back in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes then remove them and use damp fine steel wool (0000) or a carding wheel/brush to card/wipe off the oxidation (rusting).
Note: Steel wool usually has oil in it to prevent rusting. If you can't buy oil-free steel wool, put the wool in boiling water for a few minutes then remove and shake well. Dry it out partially before using (a hair dryer works well).
8. Wipe down the metal with a clean paper towel/cloth before returning the parts to the water to avoid contaminating it.
These steps (#4 to #8) are a sequence called a ‘pass’ or ‘turn’.
9. Keep the water at a rolling boil throughout the project and repeat the process with as many passes/turns as it takes to achieve the desired colour (usually 5 or 6). Be sure to replenish the water as it boils away.
Depending on the metal involved and your preference, you may need more coats however piling on solution doesn't change the durability factor.
Note: If you don’t keep the metal hot and the water boiling throughout the project, you’ll obtain a ‘brown or bronze’ not a ‘blue’ result.
10. When you’ve achieved the colour you want, neutralize the acidic action by immersing the parts in a mild solution of warm tap water and baking soda for approximately 10 minutes. Use 1 tbsp. of baking soda per liter of tap water. Then rinse well, dry and apply a true rust preventative oil like Clenzoil to absolutely prevent oxidation.
Do I need a stainless tank for bluing?
No. You can use a stainless steel tank but it isn’t necessary as it is for Parkerizing. If you are using an iron tank, 1015 or 1020 ASTME is needed. The metal must be HRSP&0 (Hot Rolled Steel Pickled & Oiled) to avoid sediment/slag. If not pickled at a platers, black oxide formation will occur when bluing. If you are fabricating a tank, be sure to add handles for ease of use.
How much Rust Blue is needed to finish a firearm?
For an experienced bluer, we recommend a 118 ml / 4 oz. bottle for 2 rifles. For two shotguns or a double-barrelled gun, you need 236 ml / 8 oz.
How do I prepare a gun for re-bluing?
It's always best to remove any old blue before re-bluing.
If the firearm's blue finish has worn or rusted but the underlying metal is okay, use a blue remover like Loctite or remove by hand with an emery cloth to prepare the surface for re-bluing. You can also try a 50/50 white vinegar to water solution applied with a domestic green or industrial red Scotch Brite* pad (if stubborn, try a 60/40 mix). *Scotch Brite is a registered trademark of the 3M Corp.
Polish the metal before it is bead blasted to be sure there are no dents/scratches that will be obvious when blued. If polishing by hand, use emery cloth (starting at 220 and working up to 320). Use glass bead media #7 if you want a matte finish. The more you polish the metal, the higher the luster of the blue finish you'll obtain.
CAUTION: For a dull or non-reflective finish, the metal should be beadblasted before bluing. For an elegant blue or black shiney finish, the metal must be highly polished before bluing but don't overpolish or the blue won't have'the necessary substrate to hold the finish.
Do I need to worry about the bluing solution pitting (i.e. cratering) the metal?
If you use our Rust Blue according to our instructions with no modification, there is no need to be concerned about pitting of metal. Usually ambient air and water won’t cause pitting overnight. However, some small ‘cratering’ may develop after a month or more because of natural oxidation if metal is exposed/left unprotected to the elements.
How can I obtain the darkest bluing finish possible?
Besides applying as many coats as needed to obtain a really dark finish, applying oil to blued metal, reheating it and then letting it cool tends to darken the finish.
We’d also like to share this customer’s trick: “I followed the instructions but also added one other step that I have found helpful from other bluing work I’ve done…I cure the metal overnight by immersing the items in used engine oil from a diesel engine. I think that the high carbon content contributes to the deepening of the colour.”
Is there a shelf life for PJ’s Antique EXPRESS Rust Blue?
No, but close the cap tightly and store the bottle in a cool dry place, where it will not freeze.
Can case hardened metal be blued?
No. Just clean it up with bead blasting and polish it well.
Can brass hinges and screws be blued?
Our rust blue does NOT work on brass but our RB-17 will clean it fabulously!
How does PJ’s Antique EXPRESS Rust Blue finish compare to that produced using bluing salts?
It’s generally recognized in the gunsmithing world that the bluing salts approach produces a coating on metal that’s less durable than that produced by the acidic etching of our rust blue.
What is the best way to obtain a matte blued finish?
Use glass bead media #7 and run the beadblaster at 600psi so you don’t ‘blast the media (beads) to bits’. That speed is best to control what you are doing and to reduce the wear & tear on the blaster nozzle.
Can I partially blue an item then start up again a few days later?
It’s only a matter of minutes between each ‘pass’ or ‘turn’ so it’s better to continue the process in one time period. Best to put off your bluing project until you have an uninterrupted slot of time available.