Cathead

Experience with BlueJacket metal toners?

I would like to learn to blacken metal properly, and have read through many threads on MWS regarding various blackening agents. A few references have been made, that Bluejacket sells their own version, but I haven't found any reviews or clear experiences stated. How does their product compare to the other options like Casey's or Jax?

 

The Bluejacket website is not very helpful, as it doesn't include any information beyond a title:

 

PN0051 Pewter Blk (blackens Britannia)
$8.50 PN0052 Brass Black (copper,too) $8.50

 

It says "directions included", but I wouldn't mind knowing what I'm getting into before ordering blind. Are these for soaking or brushing on? How toxic or fume-producing? I do my modelling in my living room, so would like to minimize the nastiness used.

 

If there is a thread or clear report on Bluejacket that I missed, I'm sorry. I searched both the Paint and Metal forums for "blacken" and read all the results as far as I know.

thibaultron, reilly and Seventynet like this

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I have used their Brass Black and Brass Brown. I work in a small shop just off the den and I have not noticed a lot of odor. I have applied with a brush and I have soaked.

 

It will tone brass, copper, and aluminum. I have always used it full strength. Quite often it is necessary to apply the toner, wait a bit, rinse off, blot dry, and reapply, repeating until you get the depth of color you want. For small parts, I usually hold the piece with cross locking tweezers and brush on the toner, dunking in water and blotting on a paper towel each time.

 

Using a toner takes some time and patience. It is not something to do if you are in a hurry.

 

Russ

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I've used both their blacking and browning agents.  Both gave excellent results by soaking.  You have to watch or time the immersion since these are mild acids (etchants).  Fume odors are mild but you might want to do this in the bathroom or kitchen.

 

Keep building and above all, have fun.              Duff 

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So I've now tested the BlueJacket blackeners, using a variety of metal parts from the Model Shipways naval cannon kit, and am quite pleased with the results. I scrubbed all the pieces in warm soapy water, then soaked them in white vinegar before rinsing and drying. Then I tested the blackening solutions.

 

The bottle instructions suggest diluting the solution 1:10; I wasn't sure which direction this meant (one parts solution to ten parts water, or vice versa), so I wrote BlueJacket. As you might expect, I got a swift and helpful response:

It is ten parts water to 1 part solution.  That ratio is really flexible.Some people use it full strength, and others really dilute it a lot. The10:1 blackens the metal in about 5 minutes or so.  Make sure to clean theparts first.

Here's what the blackened parts looked like after my first attempt (all were soaked for several minutes up to 15):

 

post-17244-0-88870200-1456517982_thumb.jpg

 

The pewter parts didn't fully blacken, but turned a deeper shade of grey-black. The true metal parts blackened beautifully, especially the chains. I really like how the cannon barrel turned out; the blackening kept the rough texture of the metal intact, whereas paint seals it into a glossy smooth finish. It wasn't dark enough for me, so I gave it a thin wash of black paint, which preserved the texture but achieved the right color:

 

post-17244-0-40981900-1456517987_thumb.jpg

 

Compare to the very similar carronade kit, on which I used paint alone, needing several coats to fully color the metal:

 

post-17244-0-64890700-1456518453_thumb.jpg

 

This latter gun has a much shinier appearance that I don't like as much as the blackened and washed long gun. Not sure how well it shows in these photos, but it's very obvious in person. I preferred the effect so much, that I removed my painted chain from the carronade kit and replaced it with extra blackened chain.

 

I did find that the blackening had a tendency to rub off on parts that were handled a lot, so I tried to use tweezers as much as possible. Also, I didn't notice any odor or other such problems, nice since I work in my living room.

 

So for whatever it's worth, I was very happy with these two products as a novice getting started with blackening metal.

cristikc, Jack12477, Canute and 6 others like this

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Interesting...I personally use gun blue..found in stores such as Cabalas or Pro Bass type shops.  The product is a cold blue system....I simply dip my items in the blueing agent for several seconds....some times suspended with hemostats.    Great looking blackening.  One issue...is you can leave it in too long and literally dissolve the metal part.   Ooops!

 

Rob

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Don't leave an open container on the bench. It will blacken every metal object within a foot of the container.   Bill,     using blackened pliers ,Ex-acto knives and tweezers in Idaho

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Interesting, that wasn't my experience. Were you using BlueJacket or something else? I had two open containers with various tools lying around, and unblackened parts, with no effect.

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Reading labels and safety warnings is step one with these agents.  If you are stilled concerned about the toxicity of a blackening agent (or any chemical product) ask the manufacturer for a MSDS (material safety day sheet.). Many MSDS will tell you exactly what is in the product. Even if the material is listed as proprietary, the MSDS will describe any toxicity issues and proper precautions to take. As degreed Chemist, I have a house rule that chances are that anything that will react at room temperature will react with "you".. That having been said, proper ventilation, use of protective gloves and eye protection are most likely all you need to handle these material.

Jaxboat

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My experience was about 20 years ago and I think it was a product intended for the stained glass hobby but I was using it for ship parts. I left a container open on the workbench and that is what happened. There may be new formulations that aren't quite so "effective."  Bill

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Yeah,at that time my workshop was in a separate building. I've used different materials since ,but I always promptly dispose of any excess chemicals by diluting with a lot of water and dumping it in my gravel driveway. We're In a low rainfall area so a couple oz. shouldn't hurt anything.   BILL

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