Colt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Called Turnbull, About $300 and 4 weeks to polish and fire blue the normal 1911 parts like on the first 2400 pistols. Anyone know a better and quicker shop to do the fire blue? Picture below just shows what I want done, I am not redoing those on that pistol!

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rick I have only seen pictures of their fire blue parts on his website. Anyone have first hand experience with them on fire blue?
 

·
Forum Friend
Joined
·
5,858 Posts
Very little mystery about fire blue, heat blue altho some skill involved in DIY. Polished carbon steel turns blue at 560 F. degrees, which incidentally is the same as spring tempering temp after the spring has been heated red & quenched in water or oil to a brittle glass hard.

Apply heat with a torch will easily produce the desired blue -- but the skill is capturing the moment of blue as the temp rapidly rises, color changing from a faint brown, passing thru blue to blah. I have used the kitchen oven to temper a big spring & to heat blue a Colt 1902 slide as an experiment - beautiful heat blue but not right for a Colt ---->
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
327 Posts
The polishing techniques of the late 19th and early 20th century are gone forever. Colt used walrus leather polishing wheels to get superior finishing on their firearms from that era and now, there is no source for those wheels. Walrus is a protected specie and Canada [a majority source of the hides] requires permits and good reasons for their export outside of their country. The Colt Custom Shop used walrus polishing wheels to do their bespoke best quality engraved guns, but only on them.

Used serviceable walrus wheels are worth a fortune to custom gunmakers, knifemakers, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Colt used walrus leather polishing wheels to get superior finishing on their firearms from that era and now
I wonder how that compares to manatee hide... :) Those guys die at a pretty good clip down here in a cold snap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,356 Posts
Colt used walrus hide for buffing wheels, but the large wood polishing wheels were covered with high grade cowhide. In "A Century of Achievement 1836 - 1936" :

"A polishing wheel is made of wood and formed to carefully fit the surface it is going to polish. The rim of the wheel is covered with leather. Most of the leather is imported. American hides, particularly of late, have not been thick enough to stand the gaff."

Walrus hide is very textured and not smooth enough for the very high polish Colt originally produced.

Colt used the wood polishing wheels up until the 1960's time period.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is what Turnbull shows from their website. I think I could create a more antique look by rubbing in some high edge wear and by overall lightening the color intensity. Perhaps a feather light rub down with a suitable polishing powder. I own several original Colts with fireblued parts so I am very familiar with cleaning it and that it is somewhat fragile. Turnbull told me they can give me any shade I would like.

 

·
Forum Friend
Joined
·
5,858 Posts
I'm sure I'm not the only member who'd love to see photos of these.
I hope not too much disappointment the only related photo I have -- 1560 French wheel lock restoration I did --


Its V mainspring pushes just under the barrel tang, extends back into the grip 7" & attaches to the crankshaft chain just below the wheel ----->
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,348 Posts
...I think I could create a more antique look by rubbing in some high edge wear and by overall lightening the color intensity. Perhaps a feather light rub down with a suitable polishing powder. I own several original Colts with fireblued parts so I am very familiar with cleaning it and that it is somewhat fragile. Turnbull told me they can give me any shade I would like.
I think the biggest issue is the fact no one seems to get the polish high enough to create the desired luster and appearance. I'm not sure artificially aging a part can really bring up the intensity of the polish.

Before I'd possibly waste a lot of money, I think I'd ask for one good part from them, and then see what you can do with it. If it satisfies you for your purpose, then go for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Scott! Seems like someone would know of a shop or gunsmith that can at least do decent modern fireblued small parts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,518 Posts
There is also the salt bath/hot pot method that you can buy from Brownell's.

Polishing to a sufficient level before blueing is also important there also...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,356 Posts
Springfield Armory used the open pot method to niter blue with a 10-1 mixture of potassium nitrate and black oxide of manganese heated to 800 degrees F. The parts were suspended in the mixture and inspected until the desired color was reached. Springfield did not bring their parts to a mirror polish, but were left more in a satin finish.

Among other small parts, the barrel band and spring on this 1903 Springfield Rifle from 1916 still has the original niter blue.

Incidentally, the U on the barrel band indicates "UP". The stocks as well as the bands had a slight taper, so the U needed to be up for the band to fit correctly.

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,385 Posts
I don’t know who does the cylinder and slide shops fireblue but they look pretty good although may not be anatomically
correct for certain pistols.

 
  • Like
Reactions: srb
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top