Hobby Black -- Blacken-It

Both of these are/were chemical solutions for creating a black finish on a variety of metals, most commonly Brass.
Apparently Blacken-It has a finite shelf-life: A not-that-old bottle of it
is about as powerful as pure water at changing the color of a piece of cleaned brass but the last few drops of the 30+ year-old bottle of Hobby Black are still quite active and produce exactly the desired effect.
SO ...
I've found several sources for Blacken-It but a Google search turned up only a few older references to Hobby Black. Is it really no longer made? [I'm sure we'd have the CPSC and the EPA to thank for that]?
Are there any substitutes for Hobby Black that are more effective and longer lasting than Blacken-It?
TIA Norm
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Yes. All of these brass blackening products have a common ingredient: selenium dioxide. Go to a gun shop and get some Birchwood Casey gun bluing, or any other brand for that matter. You may be able to get it at any good sporting goods shop that have firearms, or even a discount store such as K-Mart. Check local hardware stores too. you'll fid it somewhere. Gun bluing. That's what you want Another source is flea markets that specialize in antiques and such. There are a number of brass blackeners sold under various names in those places as well. Again, the thing is the selenium dioxide, doesn't matter what brand it is. Selenium dioxide is poisonous, so handle it carefully. The "shelf life" is a function of the amount of SeO2 in solution and the number of times you use the product. I never return the used portion to the bottle and only use what I need to blacken a piece. Never immerse the piece in the solution in the bottle, the solution will weaken quickly if you do.
Froggy,
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wrote:

The bottle of Blacken-It I just tossed is less than 5 years old and was just about half-full. I'd most recently used it about a year ago, pouring an ounce or two into a tray to treat some parts and tossed that solution when I was finished with it. The stuff in the bottle is still a nice blue-green color but it's got no activity.
I'll check out a gun shop over the weekend.
Thanks for the info
Norm
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Back in January, I was looking for an alternative to Blacken-It and several people suggested Gun Bluing. I finally managed to find a gun shop that had some in stock and discovered that at least the brand they carry only works on ferrous metals (steel) and not on Brass, Copper, Silver, etc. Unfortunately my main working metals are those so (at least that brand of) Gun Bluing is useless to me. Any other suggestions?
TIA Norm
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Birchwood Casey Brass Black.
http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?pI42&title=METAL+FINISHING+PRODUCTS
scroll down the page

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wrote:

If you had been in a good gun shop..they would have had this on the shelf
http://www.knifekits.com/store/s-pages/kk_store_1mainframe.htm?kk_products_parts_brassblack-main.htm~smain
Ive used it many times when building black powder firearms
Works pretty good.
Gunner
"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." - Proverbs 22:3
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http://www.knifekits.com/store/s-pages/kk_store_1mainframe.htm?kk_products_parts_brassblack-main.htm~smain
It's the closest Gun Shop around and not very good since it didn't even have Gun Bluing the first time I went there.
This looks ideal. Thanks
Norm
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Hi:
Hobby Black was marketed by RAC Distributors. A short seach reveals the manufacturer as Birchwood-Casey. They have several metal finishing solutions which may be used as substitutes, dependent on desired finish and base metal. Some examples are shown on my site.
For more details with methods and extensive discussion of problems and solutions, see first site below in METHODS/ METAL FINISHING.
Hope this helps.
Thank you,
Budb
Author of:
MODELRAILROAD TECHNICAL INFORMATION http://www.geocities.com/budb3 /
PROTOTYPE TECHNICAL INFO FOR MODELRAILROADERS (Revised. New address) http://www.geocities.com/budb3/pindex
Moderator of: MR TECHNICAL HELP GROUP http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mrtechhelp
COUPLER HELP GROUP http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mrcouplers
Norm Dresner wrote:

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Thanks -- there's some really good examples of how the various stuff works specifically at http://www.geocities.com/budb3/arts/meth/mtlbkn.html for anyone who wants to go right to the page being referenced.
Norm
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