Talk to me about bluing

Travis Fry

Well-Known Member
I'm looking at the options. I've used some cold blue paste before and am not really happy with it. I think that the bluing of fittings is something I'd like to do on maybe 10-20% of my stick tang knives, which is to say 2 or 3 times a year, and have thought about gettgn set up for nitre bluing or?

Can someone with some experience with the bluing options help me figure out the best way to go?

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
I've done limited bluing and what I've done has been restricted to the old acid bluing method. I had it above a bit of acid in a container that I made from a bit of PCV pipe and end caps (safer than a glass jar) and hold the piece above a bit of acid. I've used Aqua Regia but Muratic acid should do). You let a nice surface of brown rust form up, brush it back, then expose it to the acid fumes again for a few cycles until you are satisfied with the depth. Then all you have to do is boil it in water for a few minutes and you will have a deep practically black blue.

From others who have tried this method they just peed on the piece instead of using acid (actually they just used a different acid) The down side of this method is that it is slow. It might take a week or so to build up the rust.



Well-Known Member
I was looking into hot bluing. It just seemed to be to much money and space required for a decent set up. I have opted for a Parkerizing set up instead. I will let you know my thoughts after I give it a shot this coming week end.


Active Member
I have gunsmithed and built custom rifles since 1986. I have used them all. Sounds like to me you need Brownells Nitre Blue. One of the nice things about Brownells is their tech support.


"The Montana Bladesmith"
Just from my personal perspetive.....I believe Nitre Blue is ideal for knifemakers... all you need is a steel vessel (I made a couple of different ones from different diameter pipe, that I lopped off to the depth I wanted, then MIG welded a "cap" on one end that was 2x as thick as the pipe wall thickness. I retrofitted an old coleman two burner stove to propane, and been using it ever since (about 10 years now). The other produt I really like, but its no longer avaialbe was "black magic" salts that Jantz used to sell.

There are a number of different methods that can be used to "blue", but overall I've found Nitre Blue to be the simplest to use, and one of the more durable blue type finishes.

Another method of coloring that I've used successfully for a few years now is takes a bit of experimenting to get good results, but it can be had in just about any color, and most recently I have been using the clear satin to coat 416 laminate blades (the etch finish on those type blade is very fragile).

About the only drawback I can think of on Nitre Blue is that shipping costs.....they slap a hazardous shipping charge on, which nearly equals the cost of the product. The up side is that I've been using the same "batch" for nearly 10 the longevity kind of offsets that additional shipping.