I can't exactly remember the last time I hand waxed a car but every time I blue a piece of steel with Van's Gun Blue I am reminded of the process. I recall waiting for the wax to dry and haze over the quarter panel of my (my parents) old Pontiac. It was at that point in the waxing process that the car actually looked worse than before I began! Then, as the haze was buffed away, new life was breathed into the tired blue paint and it would shine from the wax that set into the surface.
Similarly, when steel is blued, a residue forms on the surface that must be buffed away so that the brilliant oxidized steel underneath can be revealed. To perform this buffing step, we recommend the use of #0000 steel wool. While #0000 steel wool is abrasive, it is not rough enough damage the blued surface, yet at the same time it is course enough to quickly and easily scrub away the film left behind by the bluing process.
We are often asked if the buffing stage of the bluing process is required. The short answer is "no". In fact, for some applications a flat, matte finish is desired. Simulating a parkerized finish would be an example of a situation where a person would certainly not want to use #0000 steel wool to polish the steel to a high luster. Instead, the piece would be left in the flat black phase after bluing and top coated to protect the look and finish.
In most instances however, Van's Instant Gun Blue is used to create or touch up the mirror-like finish typical to many steel and firearm applications which makes the buffing process critical.