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Old 03-20-2010, 06:39 PM   #1
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Default Parkerizing question

I am considering taking the DIY plunge towards parkerizing an old pistol. I am still not 1,000 percent convinced however this is the way to go. If I move in this direction I will use one of the pre-mixed kits such as those sold by Brownells or Shooter Solutions. My question is related to the effect of polishing the gun before the dip into the solution.

I am fully aware that parkerizing is most often chosen as a way to hide pits, and rough finishes as part of the process is a sandblasting with aluminum oxide or glass beading. It was developed for the military as a lower cost alternative to final polishing then bluing. Later on it was also found to be corrosion resistant and the combination of lower cost and corrosion resistance were such that the military adapted it back in the 40s.

However, I have a pistol I don't want to sandblast. I like the look of parkerized, and therefore lean that way. The gun has been polished to a 1,000 grit finish. How important is the sandblasting to the overall end result? Is the sandblasting done simply to minimize any existing pitting or scratches, or is it necessary as providing little dimples for the solution to settle into? My question therefore is can a highly polished pistol be parkerized without sandblasting it and will the finish be as durable as it would be if the gun had been sandblasted first?

Has anyone tried this?

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Old 03-21-2010, 03:02 AM   #2
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I attempted to parkerize a few guns while I was an armoroer in the service. We had a professional grade set up with dedicated tanks, burners, etc. I noticed the biggest difference when parkerizing unblasted guns was the huge variation in color and consistency. The ones that were blasted were very nearly perfectly uniform in surface finish, even near angles and hard to reach spots, and turned out much better looking as far as uniformity goes. The highly polished parts came out a muted silver or gray color, whereas the blasted ones were the typical black I had expected. This was done on some very lonely M1 Garands as an experiment for parade pieces. It was a sad story but that's for another time. If anyone wants to hear about 1,000 plus Garands destroyed, I'll tell ya.

I never had any long term associations with these firearms so I can't offer any actual accounts on durability, but I suspect with a blasted finish to "bite" onto, the parkerizing would hold up better.

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Old 03-21-2010, 04:36 AM   #3
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Blasting helps the parkerizing to adhere to the surface. With an extremely smooth finish the thickness will be affected. Why not blast? It'll be more uniform.

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Old 03-21-2010, 03:49 PM   #4
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And when you blast, you use glass beads not oxide. Glass will not "etch" the metal like oxide will.

Another option is Dura-Coat. Less mess to deal with and much cheaper but still as durable with lots of finish options.

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Old 03-21-2010, 05:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepcreep927 View Post
If anyone wants to hear about 1,000 plus Garands destroyed, I'll tell ya.
Please don't, you'd make me cry....
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:25 PM   #6
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Hmm, I hadn't even thought of Duracoat. That is an interesting idea. Doing the old Colt pocket pistol in Brooklyn Blue or Lime Green does possess a certain novelty as a concept...

I am now pondering Duracoat, and guess I should pick a color. Thanks for the idea.

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Old 03-22-2010, 10:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superc View Post
Hmm, I hadn't even thought of Duracoat. That is an interesting idea. Doing the old Colt pocket pistol in Brooklyn Blue or Lime Green does possess a certain novelty as a concept...

I am now pondering Duracoat, and guess I should pick a color. Thanks for the idea.

Glad I could help. Just an FYI..? There are two ways you can apply the Dura-Coat finish. One (and the prefered in my opinion) is by air brush. You can get a starter air brush kit in most hobby stores pretty cheap. Number two: Dura-Coat also sells an aresol spray can type deal for use with their product.

I've got the first setup. You will also have to invest in a small compressor to maintain the 10 or so psi for the air brush. I suggest getting one from somewhere like Home Depot. they're usually on sale and they are very handy in the shop.
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:29 PM   #8
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If you decide togo the Dura Coat route (I love that stuff), get an airbrush as TheOldMan mentioned. The aerosol jobber that Lauer sells sucks. It's the exact same thing you can buy at home depot but more expensive. A glass jar, a nozzle, a pick up tube and canned propellant. It does not work well at all. Just FYI.

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Old 03-23-2010, 01:15 PM   #9
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Thanks I already have both a big bolted to the ground compressor and paint spray stuff so I think I am good to go with this. The more I look at DuraCoat as a coating for one of my pistols, the better the option looks. The original Colt blue clearly left it sometime in the last century. I have given a lot of thought to re=bluing it, but IME pistol bluing just doesn't last long with guns that are carried a lot. Parkerizing was the next choice, but I just hated the idea of bead blasting a nicely polished pistol. As soon as I select a color and get it done I will post progress on the DIY page.

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Old 03-25-2010, 04:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Thanks I already have both a big bolted to the ground compressor and paint spray stuff so I think I am good to go with this. The more I look at DuraCoat as a coating for one of my pistols, the better the option looks. The original Colt blue clearly left it sometime in the last century. I have given a lot of thought to re=bluing it, but IME pistol bluing just doesn't last long with guns that are carried a lot. Parkerizing was the next choice, but I just hated the idea of bead blasting a nicely polished pistol. As soon as I select a color and get it done I will post progress on the DIY page.

Spraying Dura-Coat is not the same as spraying a car.. You only need 10psi. Very thin layers of the Dura-Coat will be applyed. A little bit will go a long way for a firearm.
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