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"Blue finish for iron and steel"



Q. I am trying to find a solution for putting a blue lustre [not black] finish on old trigger guards, pistols,etc. I have tried some of Angier's but no luck so far. Please help me someone or I will go mad!

Paul Stevens
- Barnstaple, North Devon, England

"Firearm Blueing and Browning"
by Angier
from Abe Books

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Q. I am curious as to if you found a good solution and could you share the answers?

Thank you,

Paul E. Marlow
gunsmith - Murphysboro, Illinois, USA


A. Blue for iron and steel:

copper nitrate [affil link].........50 gm
manganese nitrate......50 gm(up to 75 gm)
water..................1 lit
Hot immersion(50 °C)

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia


Q. Dear Goran Budija,

Thanks for the blue finish for iron and steel formula, have you any working instructions? Do you have to high polish the parts? Do the Chemicals have to be mixed a certain way? Can you heat parts in an old iron cauldron.

Many thanks,

Paul Stevens
- Devon, UK


A. Dear Paul!

You can polish your parts if you want! Pyrex glass pot is best (or enameled iron)! You can dissolve copper nitrate first and then add manganese nitrate! Recipe is from one recipe book and I never used it! Only grease and oxide free objects can be coloured!

Good luck!

I have tried this recipe to blue iron and steel:
copper nitrate.........50 gm
manganese nitrate......50 gm (up to 75 gm)
water..................1 lit
Hot immersion (50 °C)

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

Q. I tried applying both hot and cold on steel. It did not work for me - is there something missing?

Bill Vincent
- Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

sidebar 2005

The original blue lustre of stainless steel (if that's what you are talking about) can be had by buffing the stainless steel article on a cotton mop by applying chrome rouge (solid green coloured buffing compound).

Mahavir Mahedu
- Jamnagar, Gujrat, India

August 19, 2008

A. Blue for iron and steel /II
5 gm iron nitrate
35 gm Sodium Thiosulfate [affil link]
1 lit water,70 °C temp.
There are many variants of this recipe, Most of them based on thiosulphate and lead acetate [affil link](toxic compound!)//240 gm sodium thiosulphate+25 gm lead acetate+30 gm potassium hydrogen tartrate/1 lit water. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

January 23, 2013

A. Hi. I'd like to re-address the issue of polishing again. I've seen the very same hot black oxide tank produce a dark matte black on a dull part, and an almost jewel blue on a mirror polished part. If parts aren't coming out blue enough, perhaps you need to polish them more, rather than change your formulation. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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