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Working with Brass by 01Sporty

504 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  SHOOTER13
When I made the trigger guards for my Marlin 60's I decided to use brass. It's easy to machine, it's easy to nickel plate and, although I didn't know how at the time, I knew it could be colored black.

I figured I'd best know how it's done before investing much time and money. I had some Precision Brand Tool Black on the shelf that I use for steel blackening so I thought I'd give it a shot. It worked. Well, sort of. The rough sample worked great but when I polished a test piece, the black would rub off.

I went to the Precision website and found that this is a common issue. They recommend NOT using an alkali cleaner, which I regularly do. Seems the black is acid base and if any alkali residue is left, it will neutralize it. It worked fine with steel, how was I to know? So, I soaked it in vinegar overnight. The next test went splendidly so I thought I had it wired. Ha.

After putting an embarrassing amount of time and money into the project, (repeat after me, 'it's only a hobby), the day came to do the actual part. You've probably guessed by now that it was not exactly smooth sailing. The part was left half 'as machined' and half was highly polished. The polished sections quickly got nice and black. Almost too black - like it was sooty. And, it wiped off almost as easy as soot.

Well, there was no turning back now so I just stayed with it. And, it got better, and better. The more I rubbed off the loose stuff and kept re-applying the better it got. It would form a new black where the sooty black had rubbed off but the new black was visibly thinner and obviously bonded. It also started taking on than nice, variegated color that I think of when I think of blackened brass.

The sharp edges got visibly thin from all that rubbing but I just see it as instant patina. It has a nice antique look that I'm quite pleased with.

Other Stuff: While I was at the Precision site, I saw they made a non-ferrous compound so I ordered some of that. On the brass, I could not see a whit of difference. I haven't tried it on aluminum yet.

Don't forget your rubber gloves, I've seen where some people have a REALLY bad reaction to this stuff.

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Very informative...thanks for taking the time to post this piece.
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