Bluing Frequently Asked Questions

Does bluing prevent rust?

  • Cold bluing is a controlled oxidation of ferrous metals similar to rust. Whether cold or hot blued, these metals should be treated with a wax, lacquer or water displacing oil to reduce exposure to corrosion causing moisture.

Will Van's work on brass or stainless steel?

  • Van’s is intended to be used on ferrous metals only. Although Van's is sometimes applied to stainless and brass to create “interesting” results, it will not be consistent. Vans will not affect pure metals such as: aluminum, copper, lead, zinc or tin.

How do I remove old bluing?

  • The least abrasive solution possible should be used. Pink naval jelly or soaking in white vinegar are common solutions. Sanding and steel wool can also be used, but caution should be taken so that scuffs and scratches to the metal aren’t created.

What is the best degreaser?

  • Natural and synthetic oils vary in strength and intensity, so do degreasers. Acetone, denatured alcohol, brake parts cleaner, clear PVC pipe cleaner, are effective degreasers. If using one does not remove everything, don’t be shy about using another.

Should I use heat in the bluing process?

  • Heat can open up the pores of the steel making it more accepting of bluing. Excessive heat is not necessary - 90° and 150° Fahrenheit is sufficient.

How do I apply Van's Instant Gun Blue?

  • Opinions vary as much as the project that is being blued! Most people agree that when possible and practical, dipping the metal provides the easiest and most consistent finish. Other methods include application with small pieces of cotton cloth (4”X4”), a new toothbrush or paint brush, degreased #0000 steel wool, airless sprayers, and even garden sprayers. How Van's Instant Gun Blue is applied has a lot to do with the visual effect the user is trying to attain. Be creative!