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Blackening aluminum?

RocklobsterRocklobster Member Posts: 7,060
edited July 2015 in Ask the Experts
Any of you fellers have experience with a room-temperature (preferably swab-on) product that's effective at blackening aluminum? It is my understanding that the process is an oxidation, just black instead of the normal white aluminum oxide.

I've tried "Birchwood Casey's" offering, it does not work well. Are all of the products available composed of the same chemicals with a different name stamped on the bottle?

Thanks.

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    yoshmysteryoshmyster Member Posts: 21,322 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I think I got Birchwood? Aluma-Black was the name. I did dab it on but it didn't work so well. I did notice as the dabs started to pool on the lowest part seemed to get "black" the best. I got a strip of paper towel and wraped it to the area that needed blackening. Then soaked that with the agent. That did the best coverage but I think it would work best if you dunked it in the solution.
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    rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,650 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Call up one of the customer service reps at Brownells. They sell many different products, for refinishing guns. Probably can give you the skinny.

    I also used the Birchwood Casey stuff, years ago. It wasn't durable and it didn't cover evenly.. It struck me, that it's only use was as a "touch-up". For small areas.

    My guess if you want to do a large area, like the aluminum receiver of a gun. They will either recommend, sending it out for anodisation. Or one of their specialized paint products.
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    TRAP55TRAP55 Member Posts: 8,275 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Doing a receiver?
    What's offered is pretty much a dye stain that wears off about as fast as you can put it on. Black Duracoat is one option. Your best bet is black anodize, that has come way down in price with all the 80% AR builders.
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    kidthatsirishkidthatsirish Member Posts: 6,985 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by TRAP55
    Doing a receiver?
    What's offered is pretty much a dye stain that wears off about as fast as you can put it on. Black Duracoat is one option. Your best bet is black anodize, that has come way down in price with all the 80% AR builders.


    +1 anodizing is much cheaper and as durable as any bluing....duracoat or creacoat would work well I bet.
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    cbxjeffcbxjeff Member Posts: 17,476 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Black anodize will give you a nice finish but it will scratch. Hard coat anodize is much more durable but not as attractive. Zylan give a beautiful satin finish but will also scratch. I have used all of these on either firearms or projects at work. I am a fan of Cerakote. I have 4 firearms coated and they look great. Tough as nails also.
    It's too late for me, save yourself.
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    rsnyder55rsnyder55 Member Posts: 2,526 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Your best bet might be to send it out and have it cerrccated or some other similar process. AR receivers are aluminum.
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    spiritsspirits Member Posts: 363 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My Mossberg slug gun, a Model 9200, has a black enameled aluminum receiver also most of the older CZ75 pistols had a black enamel finishs and this was very durable and a cheap finish to apply. For example, to cover up some pitted surfaces on pistol frames, I've used flat black rustoleum spray paint with thin consecutive coats, then left to cure for a few days, and then baked in an oven at +400 F for a couple hours. Just make sure the surfaces are degreased first and what you don't want paint on gets carefully masked off. The resulting finish looks good and is durable enough for me.
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    beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by spirits
    My Mossberg slug gun, a Model 9200, has a black enameled aluminum receiver also most of the older CZ75 pistols had a black enamel finishs and this was very durable and a cheap finish to apply. For example, to cover up some pitted surfaces on pistol frames, I've used flat black rustoleum spray paint with thin consecutive coats, then left to cure for a few days, and then baked in an oven at +400 F for a couple hours. Just make sure the surfaces are degreased first and what you don't want paint on gets carefully masked off. The resulting finish looks good and is durable enough for me.


    Yes, the Cold war era CZ75 pistols had a black enamel finish that was cheap to apply. . .but, no, I don't think it wasn't all that durable.

    46e3dce2.jpg

    Anyway, despite that, I think this is good advice.

    You didn't say exactly what you were trying to blacken, but for something cheap, tough, and relatively easy to apply, I'd take a look at something like this purpose designed for aluminum epoxy-based bake-on finish:

    http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/metal-prep-coloring/paint-finishes/air-cure-aerosol-paints/aluma-hyde-ii-prod1117.aspx
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    RocklobsterRocklobster Member Posts: 7,060
    edited November -1
    Thanks for all the valuable input! What I have is an old revolver with black-anodized alloy grip frame. It was obviously carried quite a bit, probably in a leather holster.

    The bottom of the trigger guard, the bottom of the backs trap, and along the top of the top strap have bare spots.

    beantownshootah, you're reading my mind. I just happen to have a can of Aluma-hyde II sitting in my cabinet. The crane is a bit tight, and I want to pop off the side cover and clean/lube the inner workings anyway, so I believe I'll mask off the barrel and go for glory.
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    dfletcherdfletcher Member Posts: 8,164 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I just did an old High Standard revolver grip frame with engine enamel, works fine and is durable. Brownells sells "one can" duracoat that will work fine, but a) it's about $25.00 a can and b) it's single use.
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