One of my favorite piddle projects is touching up and restoring metal finishes that have suffered rust or other blemishes. I don’t have hot blue tanks and bead blasters to do professional refinishing jobs and I don’t intend to get into it at that level. I don’t have the space or facilities to do that, and even if I did, I’m not sure that I would want to deal with vats of boiling caustic chemicals. Consequently, I’m always scouting for touch-up goop that can blend in well with existing finishes.
My most recent blemish problem was on the beloved Kimber Compact which has a parkerized finish. During a deer hunting trip last fall, it got to sit half submerged in a pool of water in its holster for several hours due to a late night thunderstorm and a leaking tent. Along the bottom edge of the slide, from the dust cover back to the slide stop notch, the wet leather removed the finish leaving a ragged band of white metal about ¼” wide. Needless to say, this drove me nuts. I didn’t want to send it back to Kimber for a re-parkerization nor did I want to send it off for a finish coating such as Armor-tuff or Black T. I just wanted to make the blemish go away. This gun has been used heavily and the matte-black parkerization has evolved into a satin “gun metal” gray. Most of the finish is worn off along the edges of the controls—the manual safety, beavertail, slide stop flange, top of the sights and along the edges of the slide. To my eye, it’s a pleasing effect, a subtle antique patina that says the gun is a veteran.
I had tried some Birchwood-Casey Perma Blue on the Kimber but found that it gave too much of a blue tone to blend well with the gun-metal gray of the rest of the pistol, so the “black” in the Kleen-Bore “Black Magic” caught my eye. Without stripping off the old finish, I began to touch up the blemish areas and those spots on the slide where the holster had worn off the parkerization. After cleaning the slide with de-greaser, I stood next to the kitchen sink where I could wipe on the blue and then quickly rinse it in running water. The instructions say to leave the solution on the metal for 60 seconds, but I found it to be so active that I rinsed it almost immediately after applying it.
This stuff is aggressive. It seems to be the most chemically active cold blue that I have tried. If you leave the wet solution on bare metal very long, it will form little blobs of rust-like material and your applicator cloth with be bright orange before long. The color of Black Magic is perfect, but I did have a bit of a problem with it on some areas of the parkerization. There were areas in which the parkerization took on the rust tone ever so slightly—you had to look at it in direct sunlight to see it. A very gentle buffing with extra-fine steel wool and a couple of re-applications cured this. After working with it during these two sessions, I got the original blemish blended down to the point that you wouldn’t know it was ever there. I am very pleased with the touch-up.
Next, I tried Black Magic on the barrel of an old Stevens 311A side-by-side 20 gauge. The finish on this gun, which is nearly 50 years old, was completely gone. Again the color was just perfect. It gave a deep black color to the old barrel. This time, I just applied the blue (after de-greasing), lightly buffed with steel wool and oiled the new finish. Then I put it back in its case. WRONG. I pulled it out two days later and the whole barrel was covered with the rust-colored film. It didn’t cause any pitting—it’s not rust, just rust colored. I washed it, buffed it with steel wool, and then oiled it. It looks better than it has in years.
This is a very powerful cold blue and is well suited for those jobs which require touch up on black-toned finishes. One word of warning—don’t skip the rinse step.
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