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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am considering buying a ww1 / ww2 1911 / a1 that has been bubba'd with a "new hard chrome Duracoat finish" I would love to bring it back to the original blue or even a parked finish being it is an a1 re-arsenal, the dorky pachmayr grips are no problem at all. The hammer, trigger, grip safety, serrated back of grip, thum safety & some pins are chromed, the rest is a matte black plastic looking coating that I am completely unfamiliar with (due to the fact that I HATE IT when a perfectly good c&r is screwed with).
What can be done here?
 

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I did this several years ago. Wow--what a mess. It seems easy until you try it, but rest assured it's not.

I had a smith who specialized in refinishing remove the chrome. It took several closely-monitored acid baths to do this. Not enough and you leave chrome which will not take the park or bluing. Too much and it eats into the metal. And the markings tend to get fainter and go away even if the job's done with meticulous care.

Second problem is that many chromed guns had metal removed from the rails to allow the gun to function with the chrome on them. When you remove the chrome, you now have a very loose-fitting gun.

And of course even though you're absolutely sure that you got every last bit of chrome off, you'll never really know until you try to apply the new finish and it doesn't take in certain areas, typically the slide serrations or areas where there was deep lettering.

It's a project all right. Do it slow and right and you'll have a pistol to be proud of, but it's aggravating and time consuming. I would not try it again personally, but everyone's entitled to one try at it, I guess. Good luck.
 

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Removal....

...is a matter of reverse electroplating to pull the finish off and plate it onto another piece of metal. Dunlap's book, "Gunsmithing" , has pretty good directions. You can get a better set from Lindsay Books, if they still have the book in stock. More a pamphlet, really. I don't much like to agree with HFA about much of anything, but you would likely be ahead of the game to get an expert to do this.

Then, you're looking at parkerizing the unprotected surface. It's not a complicated process to do parkerizing, but there are some tricks to getting the color right for a given historic-period arm. I was always more concerned with getting a weather-resistant finish, so I'm not the fellow to ask about this one. You'll have a hard time matching the original carbon-blue that Colt used on its arms from that period, but a cold rust-blue comes very close, and is almost as tough as the original.

That said, the Durakote finish is an excellent one for a working gun, and I can see why the previous owner might have done so. I can also understand why you'd want it off....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The frame & slide are not chromed, they are duracoat, the other small parts are chromed, I may just want to replace them with period replacements, removing chrome sounds like a sob.
 

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Duracoat

Since Duracoat is a paint I think any good paint stripper will work.Mike
 

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I must be getting old,....

...the stuff I was remembering was Duracoat by Armalloy. I completely missed the Lauer paint-on finish. Must be getting old. Milsurp Mike, you're right. Paint remover oughta handle it. If it is a chrome finish, what I said holds, but you say it's black, cruffleman. So you might just try paint remover on it.
 

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I agree with Optimist; if it's electroplated chrome, then it can best be removed with a reverse electroplate process. The reverse electroplate process will not damage the base metal. If it's chrome colored duracoat, then you should contact the manufacturer for removal instructions. Is duracoat an epoxy coating? If it is, it might not be affected by solvents. Good luck with your project.
 

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Plating can certainly be done by a reverse electric current some of the time, but there are all sorts of ifs and buts and maybes which mean that it could be risky for the amateur. Different metals may require different types of solution, for example. Electroplating requires a certain mathematical relationship between the current in amperes and the area exposed to the solution. I've certainly seen a firearm irregularly eroded by the amateur electrolytic removal of nickel plating.

Also current doesn't simply come in AC (which is needed for this job) or DC. Some types of transformer may give a pulsating polarity, of which I don't know the result. A car battery with no charger attached should be truly DC, and of a good voltage, if you must try it, and you don't run into disaster if you have to interrupt the process and charge it. Plating onto a base metal will turn into a removable foil jacket if you try that.

You really are on safer ground if you go to a plater to have it stripped. One benefit of Cruffleman's situation is that in most jurisdictions there doesn't sound to be any legal problem about leaving those parts with someone who isn't a licenced dealer.

I think paint stripper will remove epoxy paint, but if it doesn't, heat less than sufficient to draw the temper from hardened parts will probably do this. It would if you wanted the paint to be heat-resistant, unless it is as durable as motorcycle cylinder paint etc. Just remove any springs, and heat it slowly in an oven, to avoid local overheating.
 

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Calgacus....

... the instructions in Dunlap suggest the use of a 12 volt car battery. In any of the electrolysis processes, it is amperage rather than voltage that is important, so a battery is an excellent way to go at the problem. And all plating processes run off DC. Been there, done that, and it's a lot of fun, even if the chemicals are kinda scary to store.

My experience with Lauer has been limited. We repaired a neighbor's bathtub with the stuff a couple of years ago, and it did a fine job. We were even able to match the color of the ceramic finish. However, my contact with them at the Tulsa gun show over the years has given me a considerable respect for their willingness to help a customer. Contact them by e-mail, and they should be willing to advise you on removing their product.
 

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Here's a Duracoat site:

http://www.duracoat-finishes.com/

Problem is its very hard to remove, is usually put on over a 120 grit sandblast and may require sandblasting to get it off. You may end up spending a lot more than just a reblue job.
 
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