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Need Duracoat advice...

(Apologies for the large photos - I couldn't get some of them to just be thumbnails like in the original thread.)

Topic author: Johnny Z
Subject: Need Duracoat advice...
Posted on: 07/28/2007 12:57:39 PM

Being the home hobbiest that i am, i want to tackle a duracoat job for a Mak project and a few of my other firearms. I looked on the duracoat page, and saw about a million accessories and products. If someone here has Duracoated a firearm of theirs, i'd love to get some info from you and see some finished pics. I want to know the basics that i will need... thanks!

Also, I plan on having custom sights installed. Should i have the sights installed PRIOR to duracoating, or am i ok with duracoating first?


Reply author: kgbeast
Replied on: 07/28/2007 7:23:34 PM

I was going for duarcoat (durabake actually), but after reading some stuff and doing some research, I went with Molyresin. That or duracoat will require the same things.

Take gun apart (completely).
Remove the original blue finish (sandblast or chemically)
If doen chemically you will need either sandblast or parkerise.
After all above is dne, you will need to degrease (warm water and soap will be one of the better options, but you can use degreaser if feel better abouty it)
Once degreased, spray the duracoat or whatver other finish you pick with Airbrash such as budger 350. SOme people use finer type of spray guns.

Duracoat will not require baking so no oven needed. Everything else will need baking the painted parts for 1 hour or so in the oven.
I am not sure about air-dry duracoat, but baked on stuff are rated pretty high for durability (better than parkerized or blue)

It will cost you at a bare minimum $150 if you have nothing. I spent probably good $60 bucks since I already had everything, but Molyresin, MEK, and airbrush propellant.

I used,
Molyresin (2 colors, have left enough to do 4-5 guns)
M.E.K Solvent (to clean up after paint)
Parkerizing solution
Blue Remover solution
Distilled water
Badger 350 airbrush
Airbrush propelant or some other suitable compressed air source.
Some copper wire (to make hangers and supports for gun parts)
Some particle board and plywood to construct small paint-box (does not required, but helps containing paint sprayng)

I have used most of the above to do some other guns and work as well.

Reply author: TTH
Replied on: 07/29/2007 01:17:07 AM

quote:Originally posted by Johnny Z

Being the home hobbiest that i am, i want to tackle a duracoat job for a Mak project and a few of my other firearms. I looked on the duracoat page, and saw about a million accessories and products. If someone here has Duracoated a firearm of theirs, i'd love to get some info from you and see some finished pics. I want to know the basics that i will need... thanks!

Also, I plan on having custom sights installed. Should i have the sights installed PRIOR to duracoating, or am i ok with duracoating first?


Reply author: Timbo
Replied on: 07/29/2007 10:24:39 AM

Here is some pics of this process that TTH did on my Mak, who does it as a hobby, and is very good at it! I have had it to the range twice, and it shows no wear, just some rub marks on the stripper in the slide. It is a very impressive product. TTH has perfected the process and it doesn't look like a "painted on" finish in my case. Again this was done as a practice project by TTH, and did not cost me anything but a total of $39 shipping, which was just as amazing as the final product. Can't thank TTH enough for the spirit of excellence he shows in his work.

(Click on any pic to enlarge it.)

Softened edges to help prevent holster wear.

Disassemble & degrease.

Parkerize (recommended for better adhesion).

Very Happy!

Dennis Grips dresses up any Mak.

Reply author: Johnny Z
Replied on: 07/29/2007 11:03:30 AM

Concerns of mine...Parkerizing, media blasting and de-bluing. None of which are "musts" according to the Duracoat Mfgr. But i see that most people here recommend it. If i invest in a duracoat kit, it's gonna set me back about $150 (with come extras). If I get the accessories to include the parkerizing and media blasting steps i'm in deeper. Is Duracoating with the Duracoat kit only a real no-no? Should i just find someone with all the stuff and pay them to do it?

Reply author: Timbo
Replied on: 07/29/2007 11:21:29 AM

Johnny, from my experience with automotive refinishing, I know that the prepared and primered surface is the most important part to a durable long lasting finish. That is why I would recommend the parkerizing and media blasting steps. I feel it will prevent premature failure of a Duracoat finish. I do not have any experience with Duracoating without this, it may adhere fine with good results. I saw a plumber use both a Teflon tape and a brushed on Teflon on a joint. A better chance it won't leak, he said. The extra attention in the Duracoat process seems to assure good adhesion, and shows the job was done with the best chance of a long lasting spray on finish.

Reply author: Johnny Z
Replied on: 07/29/2007 11:40:13 AM

Timbo- I completely agree and thank you for your input. I am not the "skimping" type of person. When i go to someone's house and they ask me how i like the room they painted themselves, the first thing i notice is whether or not they taped off the baseboards and ceiling (and if they didn't, it makes my skin crawl!). So my Duracoat-only vs. Duracoat, Parkerizing, media blasting isn't about me not wanting to take the easy road, just looking at the testimonies from others who have duracoated only and it seems like they all have had pretty good results. The Mak i want to Duracoat isn't going to be a CCW weapon, more like a novelty range/target gun. So holster wear isn't really a concern. Decisions, decisions...

What i CAN say is that both yours and TTH's, and even 'beast's projects look beautiful. So if yours all included the extra steps, it's probably not a bad idea.

Reply author: Timbo
Replied on: 07/29/2007 11:55:23 AM

Another perfectionist! Sounds like we have similar ideas on what a job should look like. I have seen some pics of Duracoats, and was, frankly, not impressed. I wouldn't like an "Orange peel" finish on a gun. But after seeing Troy's projects, I changed my mind, I was happy to let him practice on mine. However, Troy's experience is key here. I don't feel confident in that I couldn't have gotten those results. The more he practices on projects, the better he seems to get. My Mak was another practice piece for him, and the best yet I told him. I am very happy with the finish, and it is flawless after a couple Range sessions.

Reply author: Johnny Z
Replied on: 07/29/2007 3:31:44 PM

Timbo- don't even get me started on the people who wax their vehicles but don't do the top because "no one will see it."

TTH- did you use a "reducer" in your mix to get that smooth of a finish? From what i was reading, they recommend using it in the mix to thin it out to avoid "orange peel." Or is that just your "skillz!?" Because i've seen some Duracoat jobs that aren't even close to that even of a finish.

Reply author: TTH
Replied on: 07/29/2007 11:07:52 PM

quote:TTH- did you use a "reducer" in your mix to get that smooth of a finish? From what i was reading, they recommend using it in the mix to thin it out to avoid "orange peel." Or is that just your "skillz!?" Because i've seen some Duracoat jobs that aren't even close to that even of a finish.

I have several points to make....
First of all it is absolutely technique and practice and skill and attention to detail. Having said that I believe anyone well most anyone can do it quite well if they plan and think things over before doing it. And mostly don't take any short cuts.

I will post the best way to do it below this post. First though some here are some important tips:

1. Make sure you degrease with very good chemicals I used simple green then the Duracoat degreaser then hot soapy water. So basically I degreased 3x. Then blew the water off with air hose then heated with heat gun to evaporate any hidden moisture. Of course you need lots of latex gloves as to not touch the metal during ANY part of the degrease, media-blast, parkerize and duracoat process. Always wear gloves. Absolutely do not touch without the gloves on.... Ok did I state that enough? Good.

2. Definately aluminum blast with 120 grit to bare metal.

3. With clean tooth brush and 100psi air hose blast air while brushing any remaining residue off the bare metal.

4.Then right away dip it in your parkerizing solution for 5-8 min at 180 degrees. I use a big crock pot (ceramic) on the 4 hour setting. (Make sure you have it already heated before you begin any of this process) Then rinse with warm water and again using tooth brush scrub the new parkerized parts under the water. Then dry with air hose then heat gun again to "burn" off any hidden moisture. Allow parts to cool down to the touch (of course your gloves are still on) (you may be on your 3rd pair by now). After parts have cooled you are ready to Duracoat. 3 coats on inside of slide/rails that rub together and 4 coats on external parts that don't rub. Sounds simple but you have to know how to layer them and also know how wet each layer should be. The first layer is the one that goes on evenly and will "soak" into the parkerizing (very important for adhesion).

There is so much I can tell you that I have learned/gained from doing about 20 handguns/long guns. Do not use the thinner for the duracoat. Your pressure is excellent at 40psi with the good Paasche air-brush (VL-Set Double action/internal mix) The crappy black one they give you with the kit sucks. Just by it off ebay or something. I did and paid about 60-75 don't remember exactly. With the blasting gun and media and sprayer and duracoat colors and building the spray stand with fish wire to suspend parts from and other misc items to do a quality job you are looking at well over $200. So unless you are doing at least 2 firearms it is not worth it. Have it done by someone else if you truly only plan on doing one. It is fun but expect a learning curve even if you are a very skillful person. I am inherantly very detailed and crafty but anyone can do it if they invest the time. That's just life... you get out what you put into it. DO NOT believe the hype that you can just degrease smooth metal and have a quality duracoat on top of it. Yeah you can do it... but.... you get out what you put into it. You will read that some people don't have good luck with Duracoat however, I guarantee they did not follow all the steps meticulously. My finishes on my P-64's, 1911, Maks, and CZ-82 are flawless and tough. No holster wear after 6 months of every day leather holster use.

You will need the following..........

-Pneaumatic Media Blast Gun (blast metal at 50psi and plastic grips at 30 psi)

-Aluminum Oxide 120 Grit (at least 5-10lbs worth)

-Blast cabinet works best or something to spray into so you can recover your
aluminum oxide and reuse it.

-Disposable Latex gloves.

-Silicone barrel plugs

-Fishing wire (50lb test)

-Manganeze Parkerizing solution (parkerize for 5-6 min at 170-180 degrees.

Watch out for burping of parkerizing solution keep it right at 180 degrees

-Wire baskets at least 1(to degrease parts and to rinse after parkerizing)
you don't want to loose things like the extractor when rinsing or cleaning.

-Plastic container to allow finished parts to CURE in after they first hung to dry
in front of a fan. I suspended mine in a 110 oven that was designed to hang
things from. Allowed them to cure for 2 hours there first then I could touch
them and place them on the plastic tray for a week before I reassembled them
(lube parts first)

-Gallon of Distilled Water (works better than tap water, I found)

-Med to large heavy/thick stainless steel pot like a chef would use
(parkerize in this container)

-Duracoat (HK Black is what I chose)

-Nice (not cheap) small hobby spray gun. Don't get anything less than a
2stage gun. Mine is a Paasche VL-set #38395 double action internal mix.

-Compressor to run at about 40 Psi seems to work best. (don't use canned air
you will hate yourself)

-3 coats on parts that slide across eachother(inside frame and inside bottom of
the slide

-4 coats on surface of slide and lower frame

-Coats must be sprayed so it is not a dry spray but a continous wet spray.
Flash the "just sprayed" area with air after each coat giving about 2-3 min between them. Section off areas like left side, right slide, slide top, slide front, slide rear, etc, etc.

-Feed fishing wire through the firing pin hole and through the end of where barrel goes and attach it on some kinda wood stand you build so you can rotate the slide (without touching it) there is a technique to do so.

-Hang all other parts when spraying them.

-I know it seems easy but I practiced on so old crap guns first and glad I did
so I didn't ruin my Maks. I have assemble, shot and cleaned the 4 maks that I
have done and they are excellent and holster wear is not seen so far.

Good luck with your project and I'm sure I am missing something so post questions if you have them and I will answer them as soon as I can.. Thanks for reading.


Reply author: kgbeast
Replied on: 07/30/2007 1:48:54 PM

As you can see from TTH reply, it is pretty expensive and involving to do it in the professional and expensive manner. I can give you some tips below that will help you to keep it within reason and it will still produce just as good results.

Since you have not done this before (or any thing like that). I would suggest you do it with Baked-on type finish. This is because if you mess anything up and wish you can redo, you can. Any of the baked-on finishes will come right off with recommended solvent (Molyresin uses MEK available in Lowes and Homedepot for $8 a quart). You can spray parts, let them dry, then twirl all you want to see if the results are good. If not, deep them in solvent and is 5 minutes you can try again. With duracoat, you have only this much time to do anyhting about it and it is not really an option.

You can save money on not buying blast cabinet and aircompressor. Since it will run you up major dollars, I would only invest in blast stuff if I wanted to make a full time hobby out of this or a business. Full time hobby is pretty bad because stuff is a killer and messy if not done right.
Main reason for blast cabinet, is to make sure that all original finish is gone and to rough up the surface for better adhession. It is allso the only way you can take dried duracoat (or cured baked-on stuff) off with.
You can buy "IOSSO Blue and Parkerizing remover" ( to take the blue out (it worked perfectly and fast on my IJ70). It should take it only 5 minutes for blue tottaly gone and parts should like like they are made of stainless. IOSSO remmover does not attack still and thereofre there will be no risk of etching as it is with Naval Jelly or some othere acid deep solutions.

Parkerizing is recommended because it creates ceramic-like porus surface which is great for adhession of a spray on finish. It also will prevent rust from forming on the surface before you paint (we all know that rust will form within minutes and you will be spraying over rust). It does not cost a lot to do it (probably $30 after shipping and you will need to come up with stainless, termal-sresistant glass, or ceramic pot to cook it in), but it is not absolutely necessary.
Ater removing old finish with IOSSO product, use 300 grit (or what ever fiils comfortable to produce brashed llok) sand-paper to rough-up the surface (make sure going lengthwise back and forth on slide and frame). After done with this and thing looks awesome. It will be full of sandpaper grit and hand oil and probably some starting rust. You will need to give the parts a good wash with soap and water and then deep them in the IOSSO again to make sure the surface is steel (it will also take light finger grease and residual soap out).
Rince and dry parts and then apply 4C Metal Prep ( It will also convert any new rust into a metal and will prevent any rust from developing (not good to use as final finish since it will wear out relatively fast). Do not touch part with bare hands anymore if deside to use duracoat or similar.

If you go with Molyresin, you can touch parts with clean hands (not after handling a burger or pizza). It is not openly said that it is ok and you should avoid touching parts, but it is ok if you slip here and there. Molyresin is a degreaser of a sort by itself.

Rest of the process is pretty much the same for all and will require mounting parts in some fassion so you can hit them with spray all around. I have built a small mdf box (2 qubic feet about) with a basic turn-table (a circle of playwood on a nail). Since you do not have aircompressor, spray gun is out of question. With that being your options, buy a discent Airbrush from a hobby store (such as Michaels) or online. Badger 350 is the best choice since it is capable of spraying thicker finishes such as duracoat and thin such as Molyresin or even ink. It is also adjustable for volume and costs $60 (includes can of propellant to do the job). Airbrush will also waste less finish (4 OZ will last you at least 3 handguns). Airbrush can be powered with available from the same place canned propellant or a spare tire (would need $5 addapter) since it needs only about 17PSI. Airbrush will be your highest expence in the project, which you can also cheap out on by buing $24 Badger 250 (but I can not guarantee it will work as expected).

Now here is the breakdown of the cheapest way to do this,

Airbrush kit - $60
4C Metal Prep - $8
Quart of MEK - $8
Sand paper - $5
Iosso remover (gallon) - $30

total will be about $110. Obviously you will also need a bottle of the finish of your choice, some latex gloves, and a plastic tub to wash parts in.

Reply author: kgbeast
Replied on: 07/30/2007 1:59:08 PM

Forgot to mention... IOSSO is reusable and will last at least 20 guns if not much more. 4C Metal Prep will do about the same ammount. Provided can of propellant will do 2 guns at least, but have a spare one available before start anything. If you go with Molyresin, the minimum amount (8oz) will easily last 10 Maks. Duracoat should be just as efficient.

Reply author: TTH
Replied on: 07/30/2007 3:05:17 PM

You can make a blast cabinet in 5 min for $10. I will take a few pictures of what I am talking about hopefully today. The blast gun is roughly $40-45

Reply author: kgbeast
Replied on: 07/30/2007 4:51:05 PM

... but you still will need air-compressor and media.

Reply author: kgbeast
Replied on: 07/30/2007 4:51:20 PM

... but you still will need air-compressor and media.

Reply author: Johnny Z
Replied on: 07/30/2007 7:05:47 PM

quote:Originally posted by Johnny Z

TTH & 'beast-

I REALLY appreciate you guys taking the time to go through all of that information. I think i am fairly confident that as long as i can get everything i need, i can handle the project. Whenever I can muster up the coin to buy everything together, i think i'm going to go for it.

A few odds and ends questions:

**sights- I am having custom sights installed. Is it on to parkerize and duracoat over the sights if they are not metal? Or should i have the sights installed after the duracoat job?

Are there any parts which should NOT be parkerized and duracoated? I'm assuming no to the firing pin and trigger bar, but see that you finished the extractor.

Are there any problems with refitting due to the increased surface area thickness? what i mean is, did you find that the slide fit too tight to the frame? firing pin not moving freely in the firing pin channel? etc?

And as far as the blasting media, definitely use alum oxide? no sand or any other type?

When i sucessfully complete this project, i'm going to have to buy you guys a "virtual beer" or some other token of appreciation!

Thanks again for the continued input.

Reply author: kgbeast
Replied on: 07/30/2007 8:29:28 PM

I would parkerize everything (except recoil spring, extractor spring, and trigger guard spring). But I would spray only the parts that can be seing from outside (even main spring since part of it is a mag release that sticks out from the bottom, slide stop, and the extractor). On my IJ I even have taken the sight itself apart and refinished evry visible part of the sight (there are like 5 parts in the god-damn thing) in two tone colors (as you can see on the picture). I do not think there is any justiffication for duracoating internal parts which are already well protected by frame or slide and parkerizing. I assume you have novak cut sights (as shown on botom most TTH photo) that you worry about duracoating. Again I am not sure how thick is the duracoat. From what I see on pictures is is not any thicker than Molyresin. I did refinish my Desert Eagle where I have dovetailed rear and front sights. After curing, they went right back in same as before (I have sprayed the cuts and the sights... no problem there), but the key is, you have to wait for finish to fully cure before pounding the sight back in and with duracoat that may be a few days. Also if you do not have sight yet and planning on putting them on, make sure to put them on first, then take gun apart and refinish. If sights are not duracoated they will look out of place. You can probaly diracoat sights while they are on the slide (unless you want them to be different color than slide). If you do take sights off for duracoat, to ensure proper fit, do not spray their bottoms. The slide to frame and barel to slide fits are fine and feel good after spray finish because on Maks they have extra slop for reliability in high dust which is slightly taken out by spray on finish (do not worry, it will not render your Mak useless unless you plan on dragging it thru mud and concrete dust and then fire away:)).
Other concern that you should have is serial number. If it is lightly engraved or lasered on, you will not see it after duracoating. If number is not punched in or engraved harder (as shown on TTH chinese), it will not be obvious or visisble after duracoat. In such case, I would cover it with a shape of paper or glue, before applying the finish (park will not cover even lightly engraved stuff, but will cover lasered on crap).

Reply author: TTH
Replied on: 08/07/2007 02:24:21 AM

PM me and I will send you my phone # to answer your very important questions.

Reply author: Johnny Z
Replied on: 08/08/2007 5:20:21 PM

Troy- PM sent.

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