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VAN'S

VAN'S INSTANT GUN BLUE

Penetrates rust, blues steel and brings out metal's natural patina.
AVAILABLE SIZES
118 ml / 4oz - $25       
946ml / 32oz - $135

Your guns can look like new with Van’s Instant Gun Blue!

 

Van’s beautifies, treats and protects ferrous metal. It’s been available since the 1940’s.

 

Easy to apply, it’s popular with gun owners and gunsmiths as it can be applied over original bluing to remove rust and fix scratches/scuffs without having to strip off the factory blue. II’s also ideal for erasing holster and trigger guard wear.

 

With fast, odorless, safe, one-step Van’s cold blue, you can achieve an original factory black-blue colour that is both durable and long-lasting. 

 

Best of all, besides being stellar for touchups, Van’s is great for FULL BARREL restoration. A gun can be given a makeover easily and inexpensively.

But Van’s is fabulous for more than firearms… 

 

Aside from firearm enthusiasts, Van’s is a desirable workshop item for many trades/craftsmen including blacksmiths, metal artisans, hobbyists, tool & die manufacturers, printing press operators, and the like..

 

From large industrial applications to small scale bluing projects, Van’s provides a very desirable finish in a very easy and expedient manner. For example, it does a lovely job bluing motorcycle frames, staircase railings/handrails/bannisters, and antique handles, hinges and fixtures. It’s even been used for movie props and theatrical scenery (e.g. it was what coated the cornucopia, the survival symbol in ‘The Hunger Games‘ movie).

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VAN'S INSTANT GUN BLUE DOES NOT:

  • Have a strong, offensive odor like other bluing products

  • Irritate your hands or the fine wood of your gun (it is a blend of acids so always wear protective gloves)

  • Etch anything other than the exposed steel

  • Come off when buffing the finish or applying oll

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Mar 10/21 B.W., Steinbach, MB

RB-17 and Van’s Blue did indeed work well. 

 

Feb 4/21 T.G., London, ON

Did touch up on two guns yesterday – amazing results! (RB-17 and Van’s Instant Gun Blue)

Dec 18/18 G.G., Saskatoon, SK

Absolutely satisfied (with Van’s Instant Gun Blue). For a novice it was super easy and with very good results and made me feel that it was all worth it. The whole process made me feel pretty good. Thank you so much for your attentiveness and help. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What finish does Van’s provide?

Each successive application of Van’s makes for a darker colour from light gun metal to blue-black. 

 

Cold blues vary greatly in strength but they are all at the mercy of the steel they contact. Hardness, iron and nickel content play major roles in determining the end result.

 

Heat and duration of exposure are the biggest variables the user controls. The amount of time Van’s is exposed to steel determines the amount of oxidation (bluing) that takes place.

 

Who uses Van’s?

Van’s is popular among firearms owners/dealers, gunsmiths, motorcycle restorers, antique collectors, blacksmiths, metal artisans, printing press companies, machinists and more. Tool & Die makers especially appreciate Van’s for pattern blanks before scribing.

 

Will Van’s work on all metals?

Van’s is intended to be used on ferrous metals only, provided they aren’t coated or impregnated with corrosive resistant alloys/metals. For example, while stainless contains iron, it also contains chromium which generates a protective film that resists corrosion.  Bluing depends on corrosion in order to oxidize (blue) the steel. 

 

Although Van’s is sometimes applied to brass or stainless to create ‘interesting’ results, it will not be consistent.

 

For the same reasons, metals like aluminum, copper, lead, tin and zinc also can’t be blued. 

TIP: High Temperature Engine paint works on aluminum and stainless steel.

 

How do I apply Van’s for a bluing project?

Before you begin bluing, fix the surface so it is free from pits, etc.  Using fine 1000 grit sandpaper or fine #0000 steel wool, make certain the surface texture is free of imperfections, as bluing will NOT hide them.

 

Be sure to thoroughly clean and degrease the metal with an effective cleaner like RB-17.  Wear gloves to avoid adding oli from your fingers. Wear eye protection for safety sake.  

 

Van’s is NOT applied in ‘coats’ or ‘layers’. When possible and practical, dipping is the most thorough method for bluing an entire piece. It provides the easiest and most consistent finish, however, it uses more blue (than applying by hand). 

 

Applying Van’s by hand using a wee bit for small sections is the common approach.  Start by pouring off some blue into a small non-metallic dish to avoid contaminating the bottle. 

 

Bluing should be worked back and forth over a small area for 2 to 3 minutes before moving on to the next section to allow appropriate time for Van’s to etch the steel. Use a small piece of cotton cloth (4” x 4” fiber-free), or a new soft bristle toothbrush, paintbrush, degreased #0000 steel wool, or an airless sprayer.

 

For larger applications consider foam brushes, rollers and even garden sprayers.

 

Heating the metal will speed up the bluing process as it opens the pores to make the metal more receptive to the blue. You can use a hair dryer or heat gun (even an oven). Prime temperature is 32 - 60 °C / 90 – 140 °F.  Don’t overheat as the metal’s integrity might be impacted. In some warm climates, the metal will already be warm enough without heating.

 

The key to a great bluing job with Van’s involves just a few steps:

1) work in small sections

2) keep the piece saturated

3) blend the blue into the metal as you go

4) while working on a new section remember to return to the old ones blending out any imperfections/blotching to ensure an even, consistent finish.

 

How Van’s is applied has a lot to do with the visual effect the user is trying to attain so you can be creative. 

 

Once bluing is complete the piece will have a flat ‘matte’ finish. To remove the haze and make it shine, buff it thoroughly with #0000 steel wool then neutralize the bluing process with a high quality gun oil like Clenzoil. If oil isn’t suitable for the project, such as metal fabrication, give the steel a water bath to neutralize and then protect the surface with a lacquer top coat.

 

How do I handle repairs with Van’s?

Using fine grit sandpaper/ steel wool, rub over the repair spot until you match the surrounding metal area. The more exact the match in surface texture, the better the bluing result. If surface rust is present you can scrub the metal with fine steel wool dipped into the Van’s blue.  Be sure to wipe off all oxidation residue.  

 

Be sure to do a thorough cleaning/degreasing job before bluing.  Heating the metal will speed up the bluing process as it opens the pores to make the metal more receptive to the blue. You can use a hair dryer or heat gun (even an oven). Prime temperature is 32 to 60 °C / 90 – 140 °F.

 

Apply the bluing and rub it in, keeping it wet.  A soft bristle toothbrush works best or you can use cotton fabric/swabs or paper towels that are free of lanolin/dyes/perfumes that may prevent the bluing from working to your satisfaction.

 

Soak in the bluing for 3 to 5 minutes…the longer you soak it, the darker it gets.  If you stop too soon, you can always apply more. 

 

If any ‘spotting’ or a haze occurs, rub the area with #0000 steel wool dipped in bluing, wipe off and reapply with a toothbrush.  

 

When you achieve the desired colour, wipe dry with a clean paper towel, and neutralize by rubbing in a rust-preventative oil like Clenzoil. (Not WD-40 or any other synthetic oil as it won’t neutralize the acid!).

 

How do I prepare the metal for bluing?

For the best results, bluing requires a clean, consistent surface with all natural and synthetic oils removed from the steel. Warming the metal is often helpful with the cleaning effort. 

 

Steel should be in ‘finished’ condition before bluing. All unwanted scratches, stains, rust and other imperfections must be addressed before bluing is applied.  Use emery cloth to rub out pits.

 

Common products for steel preparation include the well-respected RB-17 Biodegradable Gel Cleaner, considered by many to be the best cleaner/degreaser in North America. Other effective degreasers include acetone, denatured alcohol, brake parts cleaner, rubbing alcohol, clear PVC pipe cleaner, and even Dawn dish soap.  

 

How do I remove old bluing? 

The least abrasive solution possible should be used to remove old bluing. Loctite Naval Jelly or IOSSO QuickStrip is ideal for this. Soaking in white vinegar is also a common solution. If you prefer to use sandpaper or steel wool be sure it is a fine grade and use it with caution. Always use the least abrasive method possible so scuffs/scratches aren’t created that will have to be buffed out before bluing can begin.  

 

Should I use heat in the bluing process?

Van’s is called a cold blue but heat opens the pores of the metal making it more receptive to the blue so it is recommended. Use a hair dryer (around 32 °C / 90 °Fahrenheit) or a heat gun (around 65 °C /150 °Fahrenheit). You can even use an oven. Excessive heating isn’t necessary and should be avoided. In some climates, the metal is naturally warm enough.

 

Does bluing prevent rust?

Cold bluing is a controlled oxidation of ferrous metals similar to rusting.  Bluing should not be considered ‘rust proofing’.  Blued steel should be treated like raw steel and protected thoroughly from air and moisture.

 

Whether cold or hot blued, these metals should be treated afterwards with a wax, lacquer or a water displacing oil like CLENZOIL to reduce exposure to corrosion causing moisture.

How many guns can I blue with a 118 ml / 4 oz. bottle of Van’s?

Usually a 118 ml / 4 oz. bottle will allow for 3 long guns to be blued. While most cold blues are considered as being for ‘touch up’, Van’s is succcessfully used for FULL BARREL restoration providing a long lasting, durable finish.

 

Will Van’s work on GLOCK slides?

This bluing will only work on GLOCK slides if they are sanded down completely.  Otherwise, use a High Temperature Engine paint instead.

 

What is the shelf life?

Van’s will be fine for several years if the cap is securely closed and the bottle is stored in a cool, dry place where it won’t freeze.

 

Any tips/techniques suggested?

Van’s is a blend of acids so always wear protective gloves and eyewear and work in a well ventilated area.

 

For each project, pour the blue needed into a separate non-metallic container to prevent contamination of the unused portion.

 

For more suggestions on how you can use Van’s and to find detailed instructions on stripping and bluing a gun barrel, visit www.vansgunblue.com.

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