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Thread: Straw Finish?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    2,912

    Default Straw Finish?

    This does not relate directly to blackpowder arms, but since this is referring to an older arms technology and you guys specialize in older arms perhaps you could point me in the right direction.

    I've been looking at older firearms on auction and information sites recently and there are some finishes not used any more popping up- rust blue, case hardening, etc. I have been able to find information on these old methods on wikipedia or deduced what they are, but one finish has left me a bit stumped- Straw finish. It's a nice golden yellow, without being too bright, usually applied to internal parts, triggers, etc. I see it on older service revolvers and lugers and i want to know how it is applied.

    So what is a straw finish? Does anyone straw finish stuff anymore?

  2. #2

    Default

    Strawing is still being carried out by custom gunsmiths and Luger "restorers" (see the Luger forum and look for Thor). Strawing can be replicated in your kitchen oven but the end result is very fragile. Proper strawing requires a furnace/crucible and Nitre blueing salts (available from Brownell's). The process is very dangerous and is best left to the professionals or advanced amateurs with plenty of experience behind them.

    http://gunblue.homestead.com/Nitre.html
    The correct abbreviation for reproduction is REPRO NOT REPO!

    It's a TURRET Press NOT a TURRENT Press!

    Disrespect is not a verb!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,912

    Default

    Thank you. Liquid saltpeter sounds dangerous, i don't have a need or desire to refinish stuff at the moment, but it is good to know.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    849

    Default

    Find an Optometrist or Optician that still chem hardens lens, they will have a kiln with at bath of salts that they soak the lenses in for 12 hours. Most dont even know it is saltpeter. I did a luger trigger for a friend, first he romoved the blue and polished it. I soaked for about an hour, took it out and let it cool. When washed off it was beautiful.

  5. #5

    Default

    Although it's not much trouble to get a fantastic looking strawed finish with either the kitchen oven or saltpeter approach the real knack, especially at higher temps, is maintaining hardness and integrity. With items such as screws and springs that is of course VERY important.
    The correct abbreviation for reproduction is REPRO NOT REPO!

    It's a TURRET Press NOT a TURRENT Press!

    Disrespect is not a verb!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Siskiyou County, California
    Posts
    2,438

    Default

    Straw is a color, not a finish.

    "Strawing" is slang for the process that produces a straw color on steel. It is not a process to produce a decorative finish.

    Straw color is the byproduct of tempering steel after its been hardened and quenched. Tempering draws out some of the hardness leaving a balance between brittleness and hardness. Without tempering, steel would break like glass after heattreating. Parts like sears and triggers are most often tempered to a straw color as high hardness is the desired result for these parts.

    This chart is from The Modern Blacksmith by Alexander Weygers (a Dutchman, Indonesian educated - former Monterey, Calif resident) who is now dearly departed. He was a world class artist, sculpter and tool maker. His books are classics.
    http://www.alexweygers.com/index.html

    Dutch
    tool-machine engineering, Los Angeles Pierce College 1970

  7. #7

    Default

    A straw coloured finish was indeed the bi-product of a steel tempering process and not the intended objective. However today many people are interested in replicating the appearance of "strawed" parts. Consequently "strawing" is used today to refer to both the process used to produce "straw" coloured parts and the actual finish on the parts tehmselves.
    The correct abbreviation for reproduction is REPRO NOT REPO!

    It's a TURRET Press NOT a TURRENT Press!

    Disrespect is not a verb!

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