How do I blue a tiny seconds hand that is soldered to a post?

Jim Duncan

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May 31, 2011
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I'm working on a Seth Thomas Ship's Bell clock that has a rather small seconds hand that consists of the blued hand soldered onto a hollow brass post.

I've blued a few hands before, even one that was soldered onto a post (blued first, then re-soldered with low melt solder-Tix). But this thing is so tiny that I'm sure to melt the solder during heating to blue, or ruin the blueing if I blue first and then solder.

Any words of wisdom or tricks of the trade out there?

In the photo the background squares are 1" per side.

Jim

STSB seconds hand.JPG
 

wow

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Can you remove the solder and re-stake the hand on the post as it probably was originally? Then you can blue it.
 

Rob P.

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Most gun shops and suppliers sell a "bluing pen" that can be used in this situation. It's like a felt pen & is used for covering scratches in gun finishes.
 

Jim Duncan

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I got sidetracked from this project for a few days but have returned to it now.

Tinker & Bob - I once had a French roulant type movement where someone had slopped on the faux blueing. Not only did it look out of place (it was thick and a bit lumpy), but it interfered with proper operation (they put it on a post where a lever swiveled). So my impression of the chemical stuff was off on a bad foot.

What I ended up doing on the second hand was to try to get it without disassembly, and failing that, to melt the solder, blue the hand, and then ever so carefully re-solder.

I mounted the brass tube on a brass nail and then mounted that in a cube of aluminum so that the heat at the solder and tube would wick away. Thought about putting the cube in water, too, but that seemed overkill for such a small bit.

I got lucky. Used a small butane torch with the flame turned all the way down. I had just started to heat the skinny end when it instantly went blue. My reflexes surprised me as I pulled the flame away quickly. It was over at that end in a fraction of second with just the right color. Did the same at the bulb end. Only a small collar around the solder did not blue - and that does not bother me a bit.

Added some Renaissance Wax and was done.

Jim
STSB blued sec hand.JPG

PS: Pardon the blurry photo. Has there ever been a message thread on good point-and-shoot cameras for macro/ close-up shots?
 

shutterbug

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Probably was hardened before, and not tempered back to the proper color. Looks fine now :thumb:
 

David Robertson

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Jim,

I would use a heat gun. They put out plenty of heat to blue steel hands and are easier to control than a torch. Can be purchased inexpensively (less than $20) from places like Harbor Freight, etc.

David
 

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