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 Post subject: "De-Blueing"/restoring Damascus BBls pattern?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 9:28 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:58 pm
Posts: 2
Is there a way to de-blue/de-black damascus bbls that have been made to look blued or black, like regular steel bbls?

I've come across a couple guns that look like the PERFECT grouse/wc gun for me (and fit).... except someone BLUED/blacked the bbls to cover the damascus (WTF!!?)

What would be involved in stripping them of the finish, and would it even be possible to restore the original damascus pattern look? I'm assuming some kind of refinishing would be required after, but I guess idk what you do with damascus? I also realize it's possible the damascus pattern is worn to silver underneath. Can damascus bbls where the pattern has worn to silver be restored so that the pattern "pops" again or is it gone for good?

I would be open to doing this or part of this at home if it's more of an "elbow grease" kind of project, but I also wouldn't want to screw up a job that could have been done right the first time by a pro! Approximately how much would a job like this cost if done professionally? Just want to have an idea of what I would be looking at if it's practical or not.




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 Post subject: Re: "De-Blueing"/restoring Damascus BBls pattern?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 1:25 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5287
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
I don't know but if I wanted to, I would ask Kirk Merrington. I think he is in Texas. Also, one of the shops that restore old guns could possibly help you. So, why not just shoot it the way it is? That would be expensive just for cosmetics!


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 Post subject: Re: "De-Blueing"/restoring Damascus BBls pattern?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 3:01 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:16 pm
Posts: 3421
Location: New England
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Welcome to SGW, wooden ! ! {hs#

Birchwood Casey Bluing Remover ( $5 @ Amazon) should do the trick w/o harming the Damascus, but you should try it first in a hidden spot, like under the forearm wood.

https://www.amazon.com/Birchwood-Casey- ... B001MQNIZ0



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 Post subject: Re: "De-Blueing"/restoring Damascus BBls pattern?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 3:08 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:17 am
Posts: 671
To each his own, I guess. I went the blue route on my Lefever H grade. It was just a shooter and I was NOT going to spend the jack to have them properly browned..........if I could have even located someone to do it.


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 Post subject: Re: "De-Blueing"/restoring Damascus BBls pattern?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 5:29 pm 
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Location: Williamsburg, Virginia
Bluing does not cover the pattern in Damascus barrels, unless someone polished them first.

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 Post subject: Re: "De-Blueing"/restoring Damascus BBls pattern?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 5:43 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:17 am
Posts: 671
Virginian wrote:
Bluing does not cover the pattern in Damascus barrels, unless someone polished them first.

It's virtually impossible to see the pattern on mine and I promise they were not polished before the bluing.


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 Post subject: Re: "De-Blueing"/restoring Damascus BBls pattern?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:40 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:09 pm
Posts: 22
Virginian wrote:
Bluing does not cover the pattern in Damascus barrels, unless someone polished them first.



Unless I’m reading this wrong what you stated is not accurate. If you blue Damascus barrels they will most certainly look like any other blued steel barrels.

Anyway, the OP asked if Damascus can be stored to original finish. They certainly can be. I have done probably a dozen, I only do it now for my own projects.

A quick explanation of the process.

1) remove all previous finish, strike out any pitting and lift any dents. Polish the barrels up to 320 or 400 grit.
2) heat the barrels in a distilled water bath until boil for about 10 minutes. Pull the barrels and apply bluing solution(I like Laurel Mountain).
3) hang the barrels at least 12 hours to rust. If you have a sweat box is ideal.
4) after the barrels have developed a orange rust boil them in the boiling distilled water tank for at least 10 minutes. Boiling turns the orange rust to black. Then pull from tank and card off the black residue with 0000 steel wool that has been de-oiled with acetone.
5) after the black residue is carded off. Its time to drop dip them in a bath of ferric chloride about 15% concentrate. Only submerge the barrels no more than 15-20 seconds. Spray the barrels down with water(I use my garden hose). The ferric bath will eat away the blue that has developed on the steel part of the barrels. Leaving the blue on the iron portion of the barrels. This is where you start seeing the pattern develop.
6) repeat step 2,3,4&5 until you start seeing the Damascus pattern develop. This may take 5-12 cycles. Usually I get a good pattern on twist steel in 5-7 times. Fine damacus can take as many as 12 or more times.

When I get the pattern I’m happy with, my last boil will contain logwood to darken up the finish a bit.

Easy Peezy nothing to it, but attention to detail. The reason I don’t do any for people anymore is, too many barrels have voids in the solder that allows the ferric solution to get under the ribs. If this happen, eventually the barrels will leak and ruin the finish you worked so hard to accomplish. If you don’t have the equipment and skill it’s best to have a PRO do it.


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 Post subject: Re: "De-Blueing"/restoring Damascus BBls pattern?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 1:04 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:58 pm
Posts: 2
Wow thank you for the detailed explanation!

I am assuming the barrels would have to be evenly submerged at all times (and therefore a vessel large enough to hold the whole barrel) - or would it work if you did one end and then the other end? I have some very large kettles for homebrewing, but the largest one is maybe 24" high. And I definitely would not want to use them for the chemical part!

Good point on the soldering. Would testing to see the barrels ring properly be a sufficient check to see if it would be able to handle this process/treatment without leaking? (I'm assuming if this was the case, you wouldn't have quit doing for others if you could easily check for it).

I don't have a great reason to do this other than I think the damascus patterns look so cool. I think they are just an interesting relic of the past, and just beautiful to look at.

I would be interested in finding someone who does this professionally, but I don't have the gun yet either.


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 Post subject: Re: "De-Blueing"/restoring Damascus BBls pattern?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:52 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 11:25 pm
Posts: 2310
Location: Attica, Mi
Do yourself a favor and do a internet search for gunsmiths who do Damascus barrels. In the past I've used Bachelders in Grand Rapids Mi. They have done 6 or 8 barrels for me. Good luck. Paul



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