See that squirt in my profile pic?
I cold blued that gun he's holding. I've discovered that cold bluing seems pretty fragile, very easily scratched.
The first time around was a learning process, and I did learn quite a LOT in valuable lessons.
For one thing, I'll never use the paste again. Liquid only. The paste is too hard to spread evenly in the tight nooks and crannies of the frame.
Degreasing a stripped gun leads to nearly immediate rust. Between stripping and refinishing, it's a constant battle to keep the rust away.
The metal kinda goes into shock from the harsh treatment of the chemicals. Keeping rust at bay is a process that'll take several weeks unless you give it a good soaking in vinegar between the stripping and refinishing. After stripping, douse in vinegar, rinse under COLD high pressure water, dry with compressed air, repeat. Do this quickly. Keep a piece of polishing cloth on hand (a paper towel with flitz on it will work) and a cleaning brush, to knock out any rust spots that pop up in the process. Don't use your gun cleaning oils, the purpose is to completely degrease because oil and grease are rust inhibitors, and bluing is only a form of controlled corrosion. It's basically blue rust.
Apply blue. The instructions say, I think, to let it sit a minute. NO. As soon as it starts to turn reasonably dark, rinse under high pressure cold water, dry with compressed air. If you let it sit too long, the chemical process will basically eat into itself, removing the blue, and leaving a nasty gray patina. This is acceptable to some people in old guns, but it's not exactly what most people are going for when they refinish in blue.
Not dark enough? Well there's the beauty of it. You can repeat until you get the color you want.
Metal prep is key. What you see in your bare metal, will be magnified times ten when you're finished. Follow the directions. Then POLISH EVERYTHING. Make it look like high polished chrome. If you can't look at a flat piece and count the pores in your face, get back to work. Then degrease and douse with vinegar again.
Then be prepared to start all over again at least once, if it's your first rodeo. Possibly twice.
Seriously. Take it to a pro. It's not impossible at home, but it's really not worth the hassle.
A good shop can often reproduce original finishes. More guns are ruined by home bluing then any thing else. It takes care and knowledge to avoid rounded edges and buffed out numbers and legends on the firearm.
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here is a link to a thread where i modified my AC Commander. it does detail how i blued it at home. shows also how it turned out. this pistol was blued about five times to get it to the point it's at now.