Re: double stirrup steps and Blacken-It

Schuyler Larrabee

I have vinegar-etched metal parts prior to using Blacken-it. You get a really
nice rich black finish, at least on brass. You have to clearcoat this RIGHT
AWAY, because it will rub off on your fingers. Once that's done, it is fairly
tough, but it will eventually rub off on the wear points, if you
handle/wrap/transport your models. The only way I know of to truly prevent that
is to have them plated.

The vinegar-etching is pretty essential. Otherwise you won't get an even

You can strengthen the etching by dissolving salt into the vinegar until you get
a saturated solution (solid salt remains in the bottom of the bottle) to get an
acid. I forget, but I think this is hydrochloric acid, but not all that strong.
Wear gloves, though, because your hangnails will announce themselves quite
stridently. And mark the bottle, you don't want that vinegar in your salad!


-----Original Message-----
From: Dean Payne [mailto:deanpayne@...]
Sent: Sunday, February 20, 2005 1:44 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] double stirrup steps and Blacken-It

I am finishing up my kitbash of a 1920's Newburgh and South
Shore GS gondola based on a Red Caboose kit (with plate
ends). I am in need of long, double run stirrup steps (sill
steps). Tichy has 3045, which appear to be too short,
perhaps, but Des Plaines has DPH2001, which might be better.
Are these the only sources of non-offset double sill steps?
Are the Des Plaines steps any different from the Tichy steps,
or are they dimensionally similar?
Also, since I replaced the supplied ladders with wire grabs,
I am wondering if you have experience with using Blacken-It
to turn the wire grabs black. I would hope this would
prevent the common problem of paint wearing/chipping off and
showing a glint of brass on a black model. I have heard of
etching the brass by soaking it in vinegar, and blasting it
with abrasive. The cheapest abrasive blaster I know about is
the Paasche Air Eraser at $40, which might be more than I
want to spend right now. Of course, you can use it to blast
truck side frames as well, etc, so you get more versatility.
Vinegar is even cheaper than Blacken-it, so I am trying that
as a start. I could use Blacken-it over the vinegar
"etching", of course.
Dean Payne

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