Author Topic: Finishes...what’s your opinion?  (Read 1024 times)

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Offline Parnell

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Finishes...what’s your opinion?
« on: March 13, 2019, 12:54:27 pm »
I’m curious about how and why people view gun finishes.  There seems to be opinion out there that barrels should be left plain, to develop their own patina over time, keeping things authentic or “period correct”.  I get that, but also consider giving things proper protection and seeing things through, with sense.  I’ve heard people say there should be nothing but aqua fortis and rendered fat on a gun, stuff like that.

So from stock finishes, to blueing or brown, furniture treatments, etc., I am thinking about it reasons behind it.

As far as the trade gun I’ve been working on...I was thinking of leaving the steel alone and doing a simple aqua fortis/fat finish.  But I’m reconsidering.

Different strokes for different folks?  Safety and wear concerns over time?  Curious to hear greater logic behind opinions.  Thanks.
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Offline Eric Krewson

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Re: Finishes...what’s your opinion?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2019, 07:12:00 am »
I have browned the parts on two guns and grayed the parts on 2 guns. The browned finish is by far the most durable. The grayed finish is pretty but is easily worn off, particularly on the buttplate. Metal left in the white will gray itself over time as the random parts around my shop can attest to. Metal that you polish and oil will stay in the white for a very long time.

On wood I would go with tested and proven finishes. I have seen a lot of bows with a paraffin finish, they looked good but I have only seen mention of a a couple of guns with a beeswax or similar finish. I have used the Chambers finish which is my favorite and grabbed the Tru-oil for my last few guns because I didn't have any of the Chambers. Many like the Permalyn finish and some say to use the sealer because it soaks into the wood better and is just a thinned version of the regular finish.

If you use fat for a finish and don't like it it will be impossible to remove from the wood to change finishes. I would use fat on a test piece of wood to see how it comes out before I put it on your gun.

I have pictures but the site isn't taking pictures today. I get a message that my resized pictures are still too big.






Offline Parnell

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Re: Finishes...what’s your opinion?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2019, 02:02:09 pm »
Thanks for writing, Eric.  I appreciate your thoughts.

I’m wondering how far back the blueing goes and if it was more prevalent with styles and regions.  What’s your take?

I’ve done cold brown before and liked it.  When studying trade guns there wasn’t much in my reading about makers browning barrels and parts when guns were new, so I have to figure if this is the type of thing that gets people thinking that using browning isn’t authentic.  Then, I just read an account of Robert Rogers taking on and instructing George Howe in ‘Wilderness Empire’ about his tactics...it’s mentioned here he had his men brown their barrels for reflection purposes.  I’m not too “Period correct” nuts, but do look to take it into consideration

I do want to turkey hunt with my trade gun, so, browning seems reasonable. 

Do you have opinion on people using vinegar?  Was this an authentic treatment?  I don’t know diddly squat about when modern blue or browning was first applied.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 02:13:32 pm by Parnell »
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Offline Eric Krewson

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Re: Finishes...what’s your opinion?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2019, 06:20:28 am »
Fire bluing has been around forever as has boiling a browned barrel to rust blue it.

I don't know if vinegar metal treatment is original but I suspect it isn't. Vinegar and clorox are used for a faux aged appearance as is cold blue scrubbed back, not something a person in 1790 would be concerned about. 

I would imagine that a majority of original guns were left bright and aged naturally but I don't know.

You could ask that same question over at the ALR site, they would know.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 06:23:40 am by Eric Krewson »

Offline Mike Yancey

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Re: Finishes...what’s your opinion?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2019, 07:35:02 am »
I like the Loral Mountain Forge sealer and finish. The sealer really soaks in and seals the wood like Eric said its Permalyn. I like the browned barrels best and it is a good finish, you can rub it back some if you like.
The last few that I have built I take bear grease and bees wax and rub on my barrels after I get them where I want them and lightly heat with a heat gun to make the metal soak up the grease and wax. Then I steel wool it, it has a nice feel to it and a good finish.

Again like Eric said on the fat or grease on the wood. I love it on my selfbows but you better be sure you like it before you use it, because it would be hard to change it after using it. If you use it heat the wood to suck it in good. Over time it gets a great feel on the wood bows.

Offline Parnell

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Re: Finishes...what’s your opinion?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2019, 06:07:57 am »
Thanks for your perspective Mike.  Interesting about applying the grease and wax to the barrel after you brown.  So you do that instead of using motor oil or such, I figure.

Got my touch hole installed over the weekend, so I’m moving into finish work.

My thoughts are coming together.
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Offline Buck67

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Re: Finishes...what’s your opinion?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2019, 03:53:20 am »
Most of my guns have an oil finish on the stock.  3 Parts Linseed oil, 1 Part Turpentine and 1 Part Vinegar.  Shake it up, pour on a rag, Wipe it on and rub it in.  It takes a lot of applications.  Once an hour for a day, once a day for a week, once a week for a year.  This makes a finish that goes deep into the wood.  One warning, the linseed oil soaked rag will self ignite if left in a wadded up ball.  I always pack my rag tightly into an air tight Ball jar to keep the air away.  This is an original finish.

For the barrel, leave it in the white.  Shoot it and clean it as usual.  When you get rust on the barrel lightly steel wool it so the red dust gets removed but not so much that it goes back to shiny, then oil the outside of the barrel.  After a few years the outside of the barrel gets an attractive "Steel gray" color that does not rub off.