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  #1  
Old 05-14-2012, 06:53 PM
oldcolts oldcolts is offline
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What was the Original Finish on a 1915 Springfield?




If there ever was a perfect candidate for a restoration, it might be this 1915 Springfield. Someone over buffed and blued it a long time ago; the reblued finish is well worn. The small parts appear original, although the original barrel and grips are long gone.

Rust blue is the term I have heard for the original Springfield finish. Can someone explain and/or provide examples of what the original finish looked like? Is it possible to duplicate that finish today? If so, how is it done?
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:37 PM
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You are correct that the Springfields were rust blued. Wikipedia has a fairly decent description of the process: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluing_(steel)
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Old 05-15-2012, 05:43 PM
oldcolts oldcolts is offline
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Thank you, DSK. Rust blue sounds like something one can do oneself, with a bit of patience. Brownells sells the chemical/acid, but they are out of stock on it.

The main problem with this Springfield is that it was over buffed before refinishing a long time ago. Various markings are faint or wiped out.

Before redoing with new rust blue, it would be nice to restore the markings. Doing that may require sending it away.

Or does ANYONE on here have any experience with successful restoration of markings in a home shop? If so, any tips on how to go about this? Even Adair and Turnbull had to start somewhere, so maybe this is within the realm of possibilities? Or not?
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:47 PM
Pato1 Pato1 is offline
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Or does ANYONE on here have any experience with successful restoration of markings in a home shop? If so, any tips on how to go about this? Even Adair and Turnbull had to start somewhere, so maybe this is within the realm of possibilities? Or not?[/QUOTE]

Bill Adair was an artist, he worked with a Gravermiester engraver to restore stampings. I don't know what Turnbul uses but I've been told he has an impressive collection of roll dies, some of which are originals.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:57 PM
oldcanuck oldcanuck is offline
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Somehow I don't think this is the time or place to 'cut one's teeth'.....

Kinda like your first vintage auto restoration.... you choose a 1962 Ferrari 'Lusso'....
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:14 PM
oldcolts oldcolts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcanuck View Post
Somehow I don't think this is the time or place to 'cut one's teeth'.....

Kinda like your first vintage auto restoration.... you choose a 1962 Ferrari 'Lusso'....
You're probably right. The reason that I bought this Springfield in this condition is that they are hard to find. They just don't seem to come along often in any condition. Maybe I'll post a picture or two - it is pretty bad.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:24 AM
oldcolts oldcolts is offline
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Here are some pics. Part of the left side rollmark on the slide is missing, and the USP on the frame is faint. Various other markings also are gone or faint. Obviously, someone heavily buffed it and refinished it long ago.

Does anyone think that this is a good candidate for a restoration? Or would it be better to leave it alone and not spend more on it?








Last edited by oldcolts; 05-16-2012 at 12:28 AM.
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  #8  
Old 05-16-2012, 12:46 AM
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A decent restoration is going to require somebody like Steve Moeller or Turnbull's, and it won't come cheap. Unless you're willing to sink at least a grand just to purdy it up I would say to just leave it be.
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Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
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  #9  
Old 05-16-2012, 06:49 AM
CJS57 CJS57 is offline
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Once a gun is already badly buffed and badly refinished then there is no history or collectability to save! So then it is your economic call on how much money you want to sink into "correctly restoring" it and what small percentage of that money you will recoup on resale. Personally, I always tire of refinished or restored guns very quickly and end up selling them!
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:33 AM
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Lots of rounded edges, there. It looks like the frame tangs were intentionally tapered toward the grip safety? Probably welding and filing to get the shapes corrected, then restoring the markings.
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  #11  
Old 05-16-2012, 12:39 PM
oldcolts oldcolts is offline
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Thanks for the comments. At this point, I'm still considering the options. Springfields are rather hard to find here in Canada, which is why I bought this one in less than great condition. Ideally, I would find one that has not been refinished or abused. But, failing that, restoring this one might be the next best thing. It could again look very nice if properly done.

I do know someone who can do a professional job of restoring the lines and markings. He is meticulous in his efforts and does very nice work. The new markings would be laser engraved, which of course will never look quite the same as roll marks. The restorer also does not do rust blue finishing, but, based on what I have read, I should be able to handle that part on my own.

My first choice still would be to find a nicer original example of a Springfield in Canada. Maybe something will come along before I make a decision on this.
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  #12  
Old 05-16-2012, 08:13 PM
Pato1 Pato1 is offline
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Well, it would be a ideal piece to learn the craft of restoration on. You wold not have to worry about hurting the value of the piece and you would need just about every skill imaginable to make to make it presentable.

I think a panagraph would be the way to restore the markings in a cost effective way. There is or was an outfit named Class Three somewhere in Pa that had the equipment to do what you need, and you would still have to provide the exemplar for them to work from. I think you would find the project very educational and enjoyable.

It would be great if could find an old German gunsmith for a mentor in this project too, but only if your feelings are not easily hurt.

Good luck!
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