Parkerizing question

Discussion in 'Engraving & Refinishing' started by superc, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. superc

    superc Member

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  2. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010

  3. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  4. TheOldMan

    TheOldMan New Member

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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.
     
  5. ScottG

    ScottG New Member

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    Please don't, you'd make me cry.... :mad:
     
  6. superc

    superc Member

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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... :D

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

    TheOldMan New Member

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    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.
     
  8. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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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.
     
  9. superc

    superc Member

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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.
     
  10. TheOldMan

    TheOldMan New Member

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    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.
     
  11. superc

    superc Member

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    I am waiting for Dale Woody to re-inscribe what was an incredibly pitted slide with most markings gone. In a few weeks.. Dura Coat very probably will win the re-finish lottery as soon as Novak (where the slide is heading next) finishes the hi viz sight job it will get. A dura coat question.. Do any of the color possibilities have any luster or sheen to them, or all they all just flat matt colors?
     
  12. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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    There are a few colors that are "matte", with no sheen at all. Mostly the earth tones and they are specified on Lauer's website. The rest do have a gloss to them. The shine factor can be manipulated by the amount of catalyst added to the color portion.

    Unfortunately, adjusting the sheen by changing the amount of catalyst might be a trial and error process. I did an old Mossberg 500 that I added a very small amount of extra catalyst (by small I mean less than 1/2 tsp) and the thing shines like a diamond. It's just a truck gun so I am not terribly unhappy but a small deviation in the mix ratios made a big difference for me.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010