"Blacken It" Is using it a Mystery?


Bill Welch
 

Is there a secret formula or protocol for using "Blacken It?" I tried it several times on brass parts when I was living in Virginia. When I moved to Florida it occurred to me maybe I had a bad batch so I purchased another bottle. It seems to work about half the time. I don't really expect it to blacken anything, just darken a little and thus help with paint coverage. On occasion it has attacked the brass and weakened it.

I have made some brass gussets to attach to the corners of the bulb angles on the SP G50-15 I have become absorbed in, which made me think of blackening them and thought maybe there was a way to prep the brass. "Blacken It" instructions are no help in this regard. Any wisdom or experience out there to share on this subject?

Thank you!
Bill Welch
 


George Courtney
 

I bought some Blacken-It just after a change in ownership I think.  It wasn't working.  Gave it to a chemistry professor at the local university.  He told me I'd purchased some expensive water.  This was around or a bit over ten years ago, so I don't know if things have changed, just my experience the second time I bought it.  First time it worked like a charm.

George Courtney


 

Get some from a gun shop. 

Thanks!
Brian Ehni 
(Sent from my iPhone)

On Sep 12, 2016, at 5:20 PM, gsc3@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

 

I bought some Blacken-It just after a change in ownership I think.  It wasn't working.  Gave it to a chemistry professor at the local university.  He told me I'd purchased some expensive water.  This was around or a bit over ten years ago, so I don't know if things have changed, just my experience the second time I bought it.  First time it worked like a charm.


George Courtney


Jack Burgess
 

Bill…



I rarely use Blacken It but I recall that the brass needed to be very clean (polished with steel wool helps). The reaction also was better if the metal was warm. I don’t remember how I heated it but I may have used a small torch but if you heat it too much, it will weaken the brass. A hot hair drier might do it though.



A-West is no longer in business after the husband and wife who owned the company died in an automobile accident a year or two ago.



Jack



From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com]
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2016 3:07 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [STMFC] "Blacken It" Is using it a Mystery?





Is there a secret formula or protocol for using "Blacken It?" I tried it several times on brass parts when I was living in Virginia. When I moved to Florida it occurred to me maybe I had a bad batch so I purchased another bottle. It seems to work about half the time. I don't really expect it to blacken anything, just darken a little and thus help with paint coverage. On occasion it has attacked the brass and weakened it.



I have made some brass gussets to attach to the corners of the bulb angles on the SP G50-15 I have become absorbed in, which made me think of blackening them and thought maybe there was a way to prep the brass. "Blacken It" instructions are no help in this regard. Any wisdom or experience out there to share on this subject?



Thank you!

Bill Welch












[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Andy Carlson
 

Hi-
If someone could live with a deep tarnish color, a method I have used is to place the brass parts which are to be darkened suspended above a tablespoon of Vinegar in a small pan. Seal the container and heat the vinegar. The contained atmosphere is saturated with acetic acid and tarnishing is controlled by time exposure. I would start at about 15 minutes. Do not immerse in the vinegar.......

You can get it darker than an old tarnished penny rather quickly. Works with copper and brass alloys. I don't think it would work on Ferric metals. Those would be better darkened with gun blueing.
-Andy Carlson, in a race with Bill Welch to pass Tim O'Connor's post counts.
Ojai CA







Scott H. Haycock
 

Bill,

What you are looking for is a brass oxidizer. Google this, and you'll come up with several products. A jewelry supply will have several types, and you may be able to find something at Michael's, or Hobby Lobby.

This site:   http://www.finishing.com/1000-1199/1198.shtml  has a method using Palmolive dish soap, among others.

I buy jewelry related tools and the like here:   https://ijsinc.com/c-1064-oxidizers.aspx    

Scott Haycock 


 

Is there a secret formula or protocol for using "Blacken It?" I tried it several times on brass parts when I was living in Virginia. When I moved to Florida it occurred to me maybe I had a bad batch so I purchased another bottle. It seems to work about half the time. I don't really expect it to blacken anything, just darken a little and thus help with paint coverage. On occasion it has attacked the brass and weakened it.


I have made some brass gussets to attach to the corners of the bulb angles on the SP G50-15 I have become absorbed in, which made me think of blackening them and thought maybe there was a way to prep the brass. "Blacken It" instructions are no help in this regard. Any wisdom or experience out there to share on this subject?

Thank you!
Bill Welch
 




Dave Parker
 

Bill:

I can't recommend it because I haven't tried it yet; my Micromark order should arrive today.  I will test on a piece of scrap brass and report back.  (Yes, it's pricey but, if it works, 2 ounces should last forever).




Dave Parker
Riverside, CA


On Monday, September 12, 2016 4:13 PM, "'Jack Burgess' jack@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
Bill…

I rarely use Blacken It but I recall that the brass needed to be very clean (polished with steel wool helps). The reaction also was better if the metal was warm. I don’t remember how I heated it but I may have used a small torch but if you heat it too much, it will weaken the brass. A hot hair drier might do it though.

A-West is no longer in business after the husband and wife who owned the company died in an automobile accident a year or two ago.

Jack

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2016 3:07 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] "Blacken It" Is using it a Mystery?

Is there a secret formula or protocol for using "Blacken It?" I tried it several times on brass parts when I was living in Virginia. When I moved to Florida it occurred to me maybe I had a bad batch so I purchased another bottle. It seems to work about half the time. I don't really expect it to blacken anything, just darken a little and thus help with paint coverage. On occasion it has attacked the brass and weakened it.

I have made some brass gussets to attach to the corners of the bulb angles on the SP G50-15 I have become absorbed in, which made me think of blackening them and thought maybe there was a way to prep the brass. "Blacken It" instructions are no help in this regard. Any wisdom or experience out there to share on this subject?

Thank you!

Bill Welch

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




mark_landgraf
 

Having clean brass is important. Steel wool is good, although that leaves oil behind that must be removed. Lacquer thinner is good. Having the part hot, think 300 degrees, is good. The chemical should be applied with cotton, think q-tip. Reheat the part to evaporate the chemical. A sizzling hot part as the chemical goes on is a good thing

Mark Landgraf
Albany NY

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.
From: 'Jack Burgess' jack@... [STMFC]
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2016 7:13 PM
To: STMFC@...
Reply To: STMFC@...
Subject: RE: [STMFC] "Blacken It" Is using it a Mystery?

 

Bill…

I rarely use Blacken It but I recall that the brass needed to be very clean (polished with steel wool helps). The reaction also was better if the metal was warm. I don’t remember how I heated it but I may have used a small torch but if you heat it too much, it will weaken the brass. A hot hair drier might do it though.

A-West is no longer in business after the husband and wife who owned the company died in an automobile accident a year or two ago.

Jack

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2016 3:07 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] "Blacken It" Is using it a Mystery?

Is there a secret formula or protocol for using "Blacken It?" I tried it several times on brass parts when I was living in Virginia. When I moved to Florida it occurred to me maybe I had a bad batch so I purchased another bottle. It seems to work about half the time. I don't really expect it to blacken anything, just darken a little and thus help with paint coverage. On occasion it has attacked the brass and weakened it.

I have made some brass gussets to attach to the corners of the bulb angles on the SP G50-15 I have become absorbed in, which made me think of blackening them and thought maybe there was a way to prep the brass. "Blacken It" instructions are no help in this regard. Any wisdom or experience out there to share on this subject?

Thank you!

Bill Welch





Dennis Storzek
 

I have no direct experience with this product, but Birchwood Casey is a well respected name. The info mentions using the product to mark brass cases to identify loads, so I doubt it rubs off easily. If someone trys it, please report back.

Birchwood Casey Sporting Goods - Brass Black Touch-Up


  Dennis Storzek


Schuyler Larrabee
 

Dave Parker wrote about Neolube.  I have used it to blacken some obnoxiously bright replacement wheels, and it really looks good.  It’s not (at least in my experience) truly BLACK, but it does look very much like raw steel, suitable for wheels, or steel loads in gons or flat cars.  The cautions about it’s being conductive enough to bridge an insulated wheel, or other situations where you might inadvertently create an unwanted circuit path, should be taken quite seriously (how does he know that, you ask . . .).  I would  (and did) use a small paintbrush to apply it, vs a Q-tip, for the sake of better control, and still had an oops.  As the notes in the linked info says, you can cut your way out of a problem.

 

Dennis’ BrassBlack looks quite interesting.  I’d be curious if it is really flat black, vs the steel gray color I got.

 

Schuyler

 

 

 

I can't recommend it because I haven't tried it yet; my Micromark order should arrive today.  I will test on a piece of scrap brass and report back.  (Yes, it's pricey but, if it works, 2 ounces should last forever).



 

Neolube, 2 fl. oz.

Neolube is a water-thin graphite/alcohol solution that works like a dry lubricant, a metal blackener and an elec...

 



Dave Parker

Riverside, CA


Dave Parker
 

Schuyler:

Thanks for the heads up.  Steam loco drivers were one of my planned applications.  I will be very careful during application.

PS:  If it both lubricates and conducts electricity, then the pigments are presumably graphite.  Does the bottle day so?

Dave Parker
Riverside, CA



On Monday, September 12, 2016 8:15 PM, "'Schuyler Larrabee' schuyler.larrabee@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
Dave Parker wrote about Neolube.  I have used it to blacken some obnoxiously bright replacement wheels, and it really looks good.  It’s not (at least in my experience) truly BLACK, but it does look very much like raw steel, suitable for wheels, or steel loads in gons or flat cars.  The cautions about it’s being conductive enough to bridge an insulated wheel, or other situations where you might inadvertently create an unwanted circuit path, should be taken quite seriously (how does he know that, you ask . . .).  I would  (and did) use a small paintbrush to apply it, vs a Q-tip, for the sake of better control, and still had an oops.  As the notes in the linked info says, you can cut your way out of a problem.
 
Dennis’ BrassBlack looks quite interesting.  I’d be curious if it is really flat black, vs the steel gray color I got.
 
Schuyler
 
 
 
I can't recommend it because I haven't tried it yet; my Micromark order should arrive today.  I will test on a piece of scrap brass and report back.  (Yes, it's pricey but, if it works, 2 ounces should last forever).


 

Neolube, 2 fl. oz.

Neolube is a water-thin graphite/alcohol solution that works like a dry lubricant, a metal blackener and an elec...
 


Dave Parker
Riverside, CA



Schuyler Larrabee
 

Yes, Dave, it says “Anti-seize lubricant source of graphite film for nuclear applications, static bleeding of conveyor belts, conductive lubricant for electrical contacts (like switch machines??) . . .” and lists a number of other serious electrical applications.



I have seen it used on side and main rods, too, which are typically on models way too shiny. It strikes me as an application with which one must be quite careful and put some thought into it beforehand. Once on, I am not sure how removable it is when used as a finish. It does NOT rub off.



Schuyler





Schuyler:





Thanks for the heads up. Steam loco drivers were one of my planned applications. I will be very careful during application.





PS: If it both lubricates and conducts electricity, then the pigments are presumably graphite. Does the bottle say so?




Dave Parker

Riverside, CA

On Monday, September 12, 2016 8:15 PM, "'Schuyler Larrabee' schuyler.larrabee@verizon.net [STMFC]" <STMFC@yahoogroups.com> wrote:





Dave Parker wrote about Neolube. I have used it to blacken some obnoxiously bright replacement wheels, and it really looks good. It’s not (at least in my experience) truly BLACK, but it does look very much like raw steel, suitable for wheels, or steel loads in gons or flat cars. The cautions about it’s being conductive enough to bridge an insulated wheel, or other situations where you might inadvertently create an unwanted circuit path, should be taken quite seriously (how does he know that, you ask . . .). I would (and did) use a small paintbrush to apply it, vs a Q-tip, for the sake of better control, and still had an oops. As the notes in the linked info says, you can cut your way out of a problem.



Dennis’ BrassBlack looks quite interesting. I’d be curious if it is really flat black, vs the steel gray color I got.



Schuyler







I can't recommend it because I haven't tried it yet; my Micromark order should arrive today. I will test on a piece of scrap brass and report back. (Yes, it's pricey but, if it works, 2 ounces should last forever).



Neolube, 2 fl. oz. <http://www.micromark.com/neolube-2-fl-oz,8383.html>










Neolube, 2 fl. oz.


Neolube is a water-thin graphite/alcohol solution that works like a dry lubricant, a metal blackener and an elec...







Dave Parker

Riverside, CA







[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Dave Parker
 

Schulyer:

"Nuclear applications"?  Seriously?  I am envisioning the plutonium rods being slid more easily into the reactor core.  Or something  like that.  It has been decades since I looked down through the clear window into the small reactor on the Oregon State campus.  It was about the time the film China Syndrome came out.  Very thought-provoking experience.

Dave Parker
Riverside, CA


On Monday, September 12, 2016 8:56 PM, "'Schuyler Larrabee' schuyler.larrabee@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 


Yes, Dave, it says “Anti-seize lubricant source of graphite film for nuclear applications, static bleeding of conveyor belts, conductive lubricant for electrical contacts (like switch machines??) . . .” and lists a number of other serious electrical applications.

I have seen it used on side and main rods, too, which are typically on models way too shiny. It strikes me as an application with which one must be quite careful and put some thought into it beforehand. Once on, I am not sure how removable it is when used as a finish. It does NOT rub off.

Schuyler

Schuyler:

Thanks for the heads up. Steam loco drivers were one of my planned applications. I will be very careful during application.

PS: If it both lubricates and conducts electricity, then the pigments are presumably graphite. Does the bottle say so?

Dave Parker

Riverside, CA

On Monday, September 12, 2016 8:15 PM, "'Schuyler Larrabee' schuyler.larrabee@... [STMFC]" wrote:

Dave Parker wrote about Neolube. I have used it to blacken some obnoxiously bright replacement wheels, and it really looks good. It’s not (at least in my experience) truly BLACK, but it does look very much like raw steel, suitable for wheels, or steel loads in gons or flat cars. The cautions about it’s being conductive enough to bridge an insulated wheel, or other situations where you might inadvertently create an unwanted circuit path, should be taken quite seriously (how does he know that, you ask . . .). I would (and did) use a small paintbrush to apply it, vs a Q-tip, for the sake of better control, and still had an oops. As the notes in the linked info says, you can cut your way out of a problem.

Dennis’ BrassBlack looks quite interesting. I’d be curious if it is really flat black, vs the steel gray color I got.

Schuyler

I can't recommend it because I haven't tried it yet; my Micromark order should arrive today. I will test on a piece of scrap brass and report back. (Yes, it's pricey but, if it works, 2 ounces should last forever).

Neolube, 2 fl. oz.





Neolube, 2 fl. oz.

Neolube is a water-thin graphite/alcohol solution that works like a dry lubricant, a metal blackener and an elec...



Dave Parker

Riverside, CA

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




Anspach Denny <danspachmd@...>
 

I have used blacken-it and other similar chemicals for at least 30 years episodically, primarily on brass parts that are either difficult to paint, or more importantly, keep painted. The finish -not really black, but a sort of a deep off black leaning toward a brown, is an integral part of the metal itself in some way, and withstands casual abuse and scratching. It does not solder well.

When rebuilding brass locomotives, I commonly use blacken it to “paint” the locomotive frame, hidden structural and other mechanism parts instead of using real paint- which does not stand up well in those uses. It saves a lot of work and looks good. Sometimes it is mystery why some brass takes the color deeply, while others come out looking like a bad skin disease. Cleanliness is a requisite, and sometimes cleaning with lacquer thinner (my go-to) can make things worse when all it has done is to leave a film barrier. 0000 steel wool does help a lot, although cautionary.

For some reason, the value of heat is new information to me, and I suspect its application will make some considerable difference. By serendipity, It may also answer why so many of the small parts I have blackened turn out so well, because I routinely dry them under an ancient hair-dryer-on-a-stand.

I often dump small parts right into bottle, and then fish them out after about five minutes. The commonly resulting uniform coating dries most often to a relative coarse rust-like finish, which can be polished out to a satin sheen with cloth, Q-tips, etc.

Micro-Engineering sells a very similar product for weathering rail.

Denny




Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento, CA 95864


Tim O'Connor
 


NEO-LUBE is NOT the same thing as Blacken It. I use Neo-Lube all the time for
wheel faces, journal bearings, couplers, coupler boxes, brake hoses... It is not
an oxidizer. It's a mix of graphite suspended in a quick evaporating fluid that
allows it to adhere like a lacquer paint (it does not polymerize and can be taken
off again with alcohol)




Bill:

I can't recommend it because I haven't tried it yet; my Micromark order should arrive today.  I will test on a piece of scrap brass and report back.  (Yes, it's pricey but, if it works, 2 ounces should last forever).

Neolube, 2 fl. oz.


Jon Miller <atsfus@...>
 

On 9/12/2016 9:04 PM, Dave Parker spottab@... [STMFC] wrote:

"Nuclear applications"?  Seriously?  I am envisioning the plutonium rods being slid more easily into the reactor core

    I read up on it once.  Old memory but seem to remember it was used as a "gasket" material for the nuclear apps.

-- 
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax  Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


thmsdmpsy
 

Without getting too far into our proprietary process, when blackening brass in a permanent and correct way, heat is required.  It's a chemical process.  I agree that the gun blackening (not blueing which is a different surface treatment) could well do the trick for at home use.  Tom Dempsey, Spokane, WA


spsalso
 

I made jewelry for a living, once.  Paraphrasing Clint Eastwood, it wasn't much of a living.

Anyway.

I had a blackening solution that worked reliably on silver and gold alloys.  I never tried it on base metal, but it likely would have worked.  In fact, considering these were alloys incorporating base metals, perhaps it DID work.  I may have a bottle somewhere, but.......

However.

My point of posting is that it was REQUIRED to use a STEEL applicator.  I would dip my STEEL probe into the bottle and "paint" what I wanted black.  I would gently buff it and I could add another one or two coats to deepen the black.  The finish was pretty black and pretty durable (rings and such, you know).

So, consider my emphasis on the word STEEL in considering how to apply blackening liquids.  Or not.



Ed

Edward Sutorik


Bill Welch
 

I found the "Original" Palmolive at Target today and will experiment with it. I don't want to make a big deal of this as my desire is to darken some very small parts. Given the "crap" styrene the particular Detail Assoc. kit I am using to build the SP G50-15, I am just hoping I get get it painted with no more fissures developing. It is almost like building a model with potato chips, much worse than the original material Al Westerfield used back in the early days.

Bill Welch