Parker Gun Collectors Association Forums

Parker Gun Collectors Association Forums (
-   Parker Restoration (
-   -   Degreasing before Rust Bluing (

Brian Arthur 09-03-2018 09:46 AM

Degreasing before Rust Bluing
1 Attachment(s)
Good Morning-

First time rust blueing a shotgun barrel (VH), and I have immediately run into a problem.

I boiled this barrel in a solution of Simple Green and water. My heating set up has an issue, so I did not get to a full boil, but more of a simmer. I am hanging the barrel by a wire and a couple of wooden dowels in the tank, since I will hone the inside of the barrels after I am done.

When I pulled the barrels from the tank and dried them, I see streaking on the lower barrel. It appears to be oil leaking from under the rib?

Attachment 65248

These stains do not wipe off.

I'd appreciate your thoughts and suggestions!


Brian Dudley 09-03-2018 12:16 PM

Looks like you have voids in the solder joints that are allowing water to get in and then weep out which will effect the finish. You will be chasing this through the whole process.

Brian Arthur 09-03-2018 07:36 PM

Thanks Brian- Is soldering the edge of the rib a possible solution to seal it?

Brian Dudley 09-03-2018 07:44 PM

You likely will not be able to get it to take, but you can try.

Brian Arthur 09-03-2018 08:09 PM

Well, I did undertake this project as a learning experience, so I guess I'm getting my money's worth :-)

Jerry Harlow 09-03-2018 11:03 PM

Boil, boil, boil with air blown in the voids between boils to get the oil out. You've got to get all the oil out somehow (was the gun ever hot blued to dissolve the solder that much?). Acetone and lacquer thinner soaks work also. Then you are ready to go.

I boil and if somehow oil still comes out I flood my boil tank so all the oil floats over the tank. That way I don't drag the barrels through oil on the way out.

If you get streaks in your bluing from oil which happens, you don't need to remove all of the good rust bluing that you have so far and start over. I learned this after screwing up every set I did due to oil, usually at the final time. Just take that oil streaked dark spot down until it is gone and keep bluing. It will catch up.

Just my 2 cents.

Brian Arthur 09-04-2018 08:47 AM

Thanks Jerry- I spent last night watching videos and reading about resoldering a rib, and I much prefer trying the approach you describe before I go down that path.

Tom Flanigan 09-04-2018 09:52 PM

I'm thinking that the rib will probablyt have to be relayed. That is a lot of leakage. You might want to soak the barrels in acetone for a couple of days and then give it a try. I'm not sure if you are boiling with simple green in the water to convert the red oxide to black. But if you are at this stage, simple green is not recommended. If you are boiling to clean the barrels, it is not necessary. Barrels should be washed down with a a good degreaser like simple green and then rubbed down with acetone. If you are not using Laurel Mountain Forge as a rusting agent, you might want to try that. This product is less sensitive to residual oil or other contamenents.

Brian Arthur 09-04-2018 10:14 PM

Thanks Tom-

I have the barrels sitting in acetone now.

While I am not against relaying the rib, the looks I get from my gunsmith friends when I suggest this is sufficient warning that I may be going out to the edge of the map where it says, “There be monsters”...

I will put a week into removing the oil and then see where I am.

Tom Flanigan 09-04-2018 10:31 PM

Acetone is your best bet Brian. A good long soak may solve the oil problem. But you might want to consider relaying the ribs at some point. I would have someone familiar with Parkers do the work. There are some good people out there, many of whom have been mentioned on this board. Moisture will collect under leaky ribs and you may damage the barrels eventually if you don't fix the problem.

A quick fix to get the barrels done could be provided by mixing glass bedding compound with a bit of black color and very carefully placing it at the base of the rib where it leaks. Make it very thin, just enough to prevent the barrels from leaking. Brownell's glass bedding compound is not impacted by boiling water. It's a quick fix but it will get you through the bluing process. Don't use the acraglas gel, use the regular acraglas for this situation.

Brian Arthur 09-05-2018 09:10 AM

That's an interesting approach. Thanks for the insight into alternative methods to achieve the results I am after.

Tom Flanigan 09-05-2018 10:23 AM

It's a work around that will solve the problem of leakage when you are working the barrels. But long term, I think the rib should be properly relayed. You can PM me if you have any questions as you work the barrels or you can send a message to my email at

Jerry Harlow 09-05-2018 01:21 PM

I hate to say it but you absolutely do not want to now seal the barrels up and then blue, because you have already introduced water to between the ribs. That is why Fox, Ithaca, Savage and others used weep holes. Since you already have leaks you should have blown all of the water out with air and heat them with a heat gun to get the water out.

You should remove the streaked bluing, and immediately start rust bluing and boiling with the leak (top rib) up so the oil that does come out floats up and to the top of the water, thus not down and won't streak. I just set them in the tank on the lugs and do not suspend them. They rust no matter what you do. Either flood the tank to get rid of the oil since it is floating on top, or I have scooped it off. Finish bluing and after neutralizing the acidic bluing in cold water with baking soda, the last step is to put the barrels into water displacing oil. Let them soak, blow out the contaminated oil (which will be milky), and soak again, repeating until milky oil is gone. Then pull them out and let them hang. I had rather have leaky ribs that constantly had oil in them than ones sealed up with water present from the process you already started. Again my 2 cents.

Tom Flanigan 09-05-2018 01:30 PM

I totally agree that all moisture between the barrels must be removed before any more work is done. If you need to go the acraglas method, this still applies.

Frank Allegra 09-07-2018 05:22 PM

Reading your post. If you didn't get the barrels to a full boil and hot enough to evaporate the water after you pulled them out, could those be water stains? It seems that oil would stop the blueing and you would see evidence of it in your boiling tank. I'm not an expert but just a guess. Good luck.

Jerry Harlow 09-07-2018 07:52 PM


Originally Posted by Frank Allegra (Post 252837)
Reading your post. If you didn't get the barrels to a full boil and hot enough to evaporate the water after you pulled them out, could those be water stains? It seems that oil would stop the blueing and you would see evidence of it in your boiling tank. I'm not an expert but just a guess. Good luck.

That's oil. It makes a dark streak that you have to take back out. Usually happens on the last bluing, after spending hours and having them ready but you want to do it one last time. Consider oneself lucky when it happens on the first bluing.

Tom Flanigan 09-08-2018 09:56 AM

Just a note on leaky Parker ribs......I have refinished a large number of Parker barrels since I started restoring barrels at 16 years old. I have seen relatively few leaky ribs. Maybe I've been lucky, but, in my experience, leaky ribs are generally something that I don't have to deal with, even on the early lifter guns. This is certainly a testament to Parker quality.

Judicious use of a good degreaser and acetone should eliminate any problems on most barrels, regardless of which rusting agent you use. Prep of the barrels is key to eliminating problems.

Brian Arthur 09-08-2018 12:20 PM

Update: I soaked the barrels in acetone for 3 days, then degreased them with simple green. After the first round of rusting, then boiling and carding, I'm happy to report that whatever leaking was occurring from the rib is not affecting the finish- whew!

Note that I am adding a 2 hour bake in the oven at 215F after carding to make sure any water under the rib gets dried out before starting the next cycle.

I'll post pictures when I am done, and update my other thread, "Learning on a Parker VH".

Thanks to all for the help and advice!

Tom Flanigan 09-08-2018 12:30 PM

Great news Brian.

keavin nelson 09-10-2018 03:15 PM

Alls well perhaps, but the rib is not sound, and likely will fail further with shooting???

Brian Arthur 09-10-2018 03:53 PM

I had the same concern, but the barrel rings like a bell, and after 4 rounds of boiling I've noticed the leaking rib is confined to a single 1/16" section near the breech.

This is going to be my shooting Parker, so I will see what happens...

Jerry Harlow 09-10-2018 10:49 PM

It will be fine in my opinion. I would not worry at all.

Brian Arthur 09-16-2018 08:13 PM

Gentlemen- The rust bluing process went exceptionally well through the first 5 cycles (rust/boil/card).

Cycles 6 and now 7 are not turning from rust red to black.

Suggestions on causes for this?

I am using Brownell's Classic Rust Blue solution, a stainless steel tank and house water (RI water is pretty neutral). I have no problem maintaining a rigorous boil.


Brian Dudley 09-16-2018 08:14 PM

I would strongly recommend using distilled water. Just buy it by the gallon. I can do a set of barrels with 6 gallons.

Brian Arthur 09-16-2018 08:29 PM

I will try that, Brian, thank you!

I assume you keep using the same water then if you can do all the boils with 6 gallons?


Tom Flanigan 09-16-2018 08:51 PM

I guess my first question is why you are doing so many iterations. Did the barrels not blacken properly and therefore needed more iterations? I have never used the Brownell’s formula so I don’t what results to expect using it. I have used Pilkington’s and Laurel Mountain Forge. With both of those rusting agents, you should never need to go more than five iterations and I have done barrels with four. I just finished a set of Trojan barrels with four iterations. You don’t want the barrels to be a deep black. Parker bluing was not dark black but more of a black bluish color in sunlight. This is what you should shoot for.

I would have thought that a problem caused by not using distilled water would have shown up before you got so far into it. But, I don’t know for sure. I use well water and have never had a problem. I’m not sure what is going on with your barrels. Are you sure that the rust you are seeing on the barrels is not from contamination from the rust in the water? If so, just card and the red rust will disappear.

My biggest question is what did the barrels look like after five iterations. Were they black / blue? Or were they gray and so more iterations were needed? It is best to stop when the barrels are black / blue. I always compare my barrels to a benchmark set. It makes it easy to know when to stop. But on average barrels, five iterations is standard with four sometimes sufficient. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to go more than five iterations. I’ve never gone beyond six. But your situation is hard for me to judge since I have never used Brownell’s rust blue. Laurel Mountain is a strong agent with Pilkington’s a bit less so.

Brian Arthur 09-16-2018 09:21 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hi Tom-

The instructions with the Brownells' Rust Blue solution stated it would take 6-20 that's where my head has been at.

Based on your observations, I just carded the rust off and compared it to my reference DHE. I think I may be done.

Attachment 65681

I've been known to overthink things...


Brian Dudley 09-16-2018 09:31 PM


Originally Posted by Brian Arthur (Post 253801)
I will try that, Brian, thank you!

I assume you keep using the same water then if you can do all the boils with 6 gallons?


I use Mark Lee express blue. So I can do a set of barrels from start to finish in about 5 hours. And that is with 6-8 cycles. The tank never cools down in-between cycles. My tank holds 5 gallons and about 1 gallon evaporates in the process.

I find that the water does not start turning orange and dirty until maybe 4 cycles in. Since you are using the slow method, you should change your water more often. Maybe every 2-3 cycles.

One note about your red not converting to black. I observe the same thing after about 5-6 cycles. What I am carding off is more rust colored than black. This is normal once you reach when the barrels are pretty much done. They are not taking much more. So, you may not have a problem. As long as your barrels are black, even and have good coverage without thin spots.

Tom Flanigan 09-16-2018 09:32 PM

You are definitely done. The barrels look nice. If Brownell's said 6 to 20 iterations, it must be a weak rusting agent. If you plan to do more barrels, I would recommend Laurel Mountain Forge. It is a strong agent that some dilute, but I've never had a need to do that. With 5 iterations, you are done most of the time. And Laurel Mountain is a lot more forgiving if you touch the barrels or other contaminants get on them.

Nice job Brian!

Brian Arthur 09-16-2018 10:07 PM

Thank you Tom and Brian!

Jerry Harlow 09-16-2018 10:34 PM

"Quit while you're ahead."

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:56 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 1998 - 2020,