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Brown Patina Conversion
Unread 02-05-2021, 04:18 PM   #1
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jeffery c
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Default Brown Patina Conversion

I've aware that difference between browned barrels and blued barrels is that the blueing is boiled between applications of the acid, before carding. Years ago I blued some 1911 parts and browned a couple muzzleloader barrels. Most older average condition Damascus barrels seem to turn brown in the iron strands, even if they retain the silver pattern in the steel strands.

Has anyone tried boiling old barrels to see if the brown color would convert to black? I kind of doubt that would happen but I wonder why not?

I've heard that careful polishing can improve contrast. I believe I've also seen reference to a chemical process that can improve Damascus contrast short of a full refinish. Has anyone heard of that?
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Unread 02-05-2021, 06:27 PM   #2
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would like to see the results of this stuff your talking about....charlie
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Unread 02-05-2021, 07:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyconnor View Post

Has anyone tried boiling old barrels to see if the brown color would convert to black? I kind of doubt that would happen but I wonder why not?

that is exactly the process for the black/white finish used on American guns

not sure how it would on old barrels - degrease a set and give it a try

hmm now that I think about,since the last step is to neutralize the chemicals before oiling, i'll bet it won't work without additional applications

boiling works prior to fnishing
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Unread 02-06-2021, 10:40 AM   #4
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There are unfortunately some inconsistent statements in historical literature regarding coloring, but it is likely that the low carbon steel component in pattern welded barrels turns "black" and the wrought iron "white"
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...g51u_SnEM/edit
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Unread 02-06-2021, 12:28 PM   #5
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I looked around the internet a little bit. I may have been remembering reading about ferric chloride which is evidently used as a step before carding in basic finishing. The dip time is referred to as very short, like 10 seconds for that purpose. Does anyone recall it's use to freshen up Damascus finishes? The other possibility is logwood which blackens traps. Has anyone ever tried boiling old barrels in a logwood solution?
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Unread 02-06-2021, 12:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Drew Hause View Post
There are unfortunately some inconsistent statements in historical literature regarding coloring, but it is likely that the low carbon steel component in pattern welded barrels turns "black" and the wrought iron "white"
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...g51u_SnEM/edit
I always figured the iron strands darkened and the steel strands stayed silver. I have read pure iron Scandinavian boat nails resist rust better than steel, though. Based on reading this, it looks like I had that backwards.
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Unread 02-06-2021, 11:41 PM   #7
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Years of exposure to oxygen and UV light will turn a black ferric oxide back to a brown ferrous oxide. Theoretically, boiling in water will reverse it back to black. Properly cleaned and degreased, I believe it would work. Please share your results.
Most of the barrels I’ve worked on have some problems, pitting, dents and other issues that require more preparation for a good refinish than a simple degrease and boil.
Parker used a logwood dye decoction for the boil to enhance contrast. Logwood is not lightfast. It was outlawed as a textile dye in Victorian England because it faded when exposed to light. Luckily there are fixatives that are known now that alleviate that problem.
The question about the iron being black and the steel being white, or vice versa, deserves its own thread. I honestly don’t know the answer, but I have theories. If carbon content is the key, know that contrary to logic, pig iron has a much higher carbon content, 2.5-4% versus steel at around 1%. But then wrought iron has a carbon content down at .5%. So what type iron and what type steel was used in pattern forged barrels that made those elements different enough to create the contrast?
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Unread 02-06-2021, 11:58 PM   #8
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http://www.morana-rtd.com/e-preserva...30-12-2012.pdf

Queen Victoria’s coronation gown. Once in 1837 a rich black silk, but over time and exposure turned to a mottled brown. Very similar process to what happens to barrels. Common denominator, logwood dye.

Brits recommend that their best barrels get re-blacked every couple years.
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Unread 02-07-2021, 07:25 AM   #9
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Breck: I've done chemical composition on 3 Crolle samples and 1 Twist sample by Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES), and they were non-standard AISI 1002 - 1005 low carbon steel. This would suggest that the iron component was wrought iron and the steel was very low carbon “mild” steel.

re: coloring. Steve Culver's thoughts are here
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...g51u_SnEM/edit
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Unread 02-07-2021, 05:00 PM   #10
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All in all it sounds like a degrease and boil might be worth trying, maybe also boiling in a logwood solution. I'm thinking initially of the $500-$700 class guns. Most of those are too silvered or too brown/pitted to respond to a treatment like this and need a full refinish. I do have a gun enroute that might be a good candidate. Meanwhile, I'm sure we'd all be interested if someone gives it a try and reports back. Logwood seems to be available, is this the stuff?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-Logwood-T...cAAOSwsB9V9Kc7
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