Friday, November 11, 2011

Gunsmith provides a deadly finish

Yesterday for the first, and probably only time in my life, I visited a gunsmith’s shop and came out with something potentially lethal.  You may however be relieved to know that it was not a gun, but a small tube of cream bearing the words MAYBE FATAL IF SWALLOWED.  So I decided on this occasion not to swallow any, but to squirt some onto a cloth and rub it onto the newly rubbed down pendulum rod on the clock I have been restoring.

Why a gunsmith?  Because this stuff is called Gun Blue and it is principally sold for people to restore that blue black finish on their gun barrels.  Of course you can use it for any ferrous metal object and maybe there’s something on a boat that would look nice done this way, although at this moment I can’t think of anything. The colour produced is rather lovely, and the advantage over paint is that the coating is microscopically thin so it looks like the metal itself is blue black. 

I can well believe the health warnings on the tube.  After using the stuff for half an hour in our airy conservatory, (it needed about four coats to turn an even colour, although each coat dries in a couple of minutes),  I had significant irritation in my nose, although I didn’t notice any fumes at the time.  I wore latex gloves which I think are strongly advisable.

The clock is nearly ready to go now and is looking quite good although not nearly as pristine as Rick’s.  I wouldn’t like to think how many hours I have spent with the wet & dry paper and the metal polish.

 IMG_0826 (683x1024)      IMG_0829 (683x1024)

Keen observers of horology might notice that the clock has something missing.  A clock face.  A minor detail.  I’ll get one presently.  I didn’t buy the clock to tell the time, but to watch the lovely mechanism doing it's stuff.

I tried to get a good photo of the blue black finish, but so far this is the best I can do (it’s on the rod only).

    IMG_0831 (1024x646)

Anyway, it’s been a fun thing to do while we can’t go boating.  Herbie is currently sandwiched between two canal stoppages, so we won’t be cruising for a while.  I’m itching for Foxton locks to re open because I want to go to Market Harborough.  I can’t see that happening any time soon.


Halfie said...

Do you use wet and dry on Herbie's brasswork?

Neil Corbett said...


The only time I have, was to get off lacquer I had applied to mushroom vents, and they have never been as shiny since. I think the secret if you do use W&D is to use lots of grades and to finish with a really high one like 1800. Rick used W&D on his clock and the results are near perfect, but it took him 6 weeks!

Matthew said...

Oh, I love clocks, particularly old ones. When my ship comes in, I'll get a grandfather clock, I think :)