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  #1  
Old 06-18-2020, 08:19 AM
joe scuba joe scuba is offline
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Refinishing an aluminum HP frame

Hello I have a lightweight High Power and would like to know if you can just bead blast the frame and leave it in the natural finish or should I have it Cerakoted?

Regarded
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2020, 08:22 AM
Greg Derr Greg Derr is online now
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Aluminum is very soft and would oxidize if left untreated. You should consider a tough finish like IonBond or anodizing.
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  #3  
Old 06-18-2020, 08:58 AM
blastjv blastjv is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Derr View Post
Aluminum is very soft and would oxidize if left untreated. You should consider a tough finish like IonBond or anodizing.
I had never really thought about this. Are you saying that IonBond serves as a surface hardening, much like Hard Anodizing? Good to know, thanks!
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  #4  
Old 06-18-2020, 10:23 AM
Steve in Allentown Steve in Allentown is offline
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Originally Posted by blastjv View Post
I had never really thought about this. Are you saying that IonBond serves as a surface hardening, much like Hard Anodizing?
I have a number of Ionbond coated pistols and while it's very good, it is not a treatment like Type III hardcoat anodizing. It does not penetrate the underlying aluminum to form a hardened layer like anodizing does.
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  #5  
Old 06-18-2020, 10:59 AM
Infidel525 Infidel525 is online now
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I would have it reanodized

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  #6  
Old 06-18-2020, 01:31 PM
Greg Derr Greg Derr is online now
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Steve is correct, it’s a better alternative to Cerakote, but not anodizing.
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  #7  
Old 06-18-2020, 11:13 PM
Benchrest1 Benchrest1 is offline
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You could always Cerakote on top of the hard anodize.
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  #8  
Old 06-19-2020, 12:25 PM
Infidel525 Infidel525 is online now
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Originally Posted by Benchrest1 View Post
You could always Cerakote on top of the hard anodize.
Cerakote needs to have the hard anodized surface blasted. I had 2 colt alum frames cerakoted by 2 different Smith's and both came out like bleep and had to be redone by someone else at additional cost. I wouldn't waste money on it ever again, way overrated

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  #9  
Old 06-19-2020, 07:19 PM
Pit Pit is offline
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Is there any down sides such as tolerance or dimension changes when re-anodizing a frame? Any choice of colors?

JW
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  #10  
Old 06-19-2020, 08:03 PM
Steve in Allentown Steve in Allentown is offline
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Originally Posted by Pit View Post
Is there any down sides such as tolerance or dimension changes when re-anodizing a frame? Any choice of colors?
The biggest challenge is finding someone who will guarantee their work. It seems that most pro 'smiths have found an anodizer they trust. The best advice may be to contact a number of pro 'smiths and ask them if they will handle the prep and coordination necessary to get a frame anodized.
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  #11  
Old 06-19-2020, 08:35 PM
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"I had 2 colt alum frames cerakoted by 2 different Smith's and both came out like bleep"

I have had a couple of relationships with girls that did not end well.
Did I give up on girls?
Heck no!
In my not so humble opinion, there are very few smiths that know or care how to properly apply Cerakote.
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  #12  
Old 06-19-2020, 08:55 PM
GTAW GTAW is offline
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Depending on your location there are machine shops that send out for anodizing so they might know of a good plater.
If you can bead blast and clean it so that it has an even finish the anodizing should only add up to .002" of thickness at the MOST.
Whatever finish or minor defects are visible will show thru. Don't plan on hiding or covering anything.
Practice on the high point so you'll have a better idea of what to do when you get that 1911
Good luck
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2020, 06:09 PM
Suburban Suburban is offline
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Originally Posted by GTAW View Post
Depending on your location there are machine shops that send out for anodizing so they might know of a good plater.
If you can bead blast and clean it so that it has an even finish the anodizing should only add up to .002" of thickness at the MOST.
Whatever finish or minor defects are visible will show thru. Don't plan on hiding or covering anything.
Practice on the high point so you'll have a better idea of what to do when you get that 1911
Good luck
It's not quite that easy. Remember that we're talking about a pistol frame with a serial number. You can't just hand them over to anyone.

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  #14  
Old 06-23-2020, 10:45 PM
roaniecowpony roaniecowpony is offline
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It's not quite that easy. Remember that we're talking about a pistol frame with a serial number. You can't just hand them over to anyone.

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I believe you can.
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  #15  
Old 06-24-2020, 01:28 AM
Suburban Suburban is offline
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Originally Posted by roaniecowpony View Post
I believe you can.
Engraving and refinishing are considered gunsmithing. Gunsmithing as a business requires an FFL.

Last edited by Suburban; 06-24-2020 at 02:21 AM.
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  #16  
Old 06-24-2020, 10:45 AM
TRex1911 TRex1911 is offline
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Is there any downside to anodizing?
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  #17  
Old 06-24-2020, 11:15 AM
donw donw is offline
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I've had aluminum Hi-Power frames anodized (hard anodized), Cerakoted and hardchromed as was the customers various requests. I'm unsure if the frames originally were anodized at all. Normally I would say yes, but as they were painted when built, I suspect that they might not have been, but have never heard an authoritative answer. The frames are probably 7075 alloy, which is pretty tough stuff. If you want a two tone HP, then I wouldn't leave it in "the white", but would suggest hardchrome, Cerakote or clear anodizing to protect the base metal frame from the elements and wear.
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  #18  
Old 06-25-2020, 10:51 AM
GTAW GTAW is offline
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This Hi Power (I misread the OP early sorry for my comment) If it is 7075 its probably heat treated and that would be my first concern.
Anodizing, ceramic/cerekote, nickle all happen at a temperature that should be compared to that of the 7075 temper.
Granted a few hundred degrees might not seem like a lot, but its far more than mag dumping or leaving the pistol out in the sun on the shooting bench.
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  #19  
Old 06-27-2020, 07:04 AM
Pit Pit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donw View Post
I've had aluminum Hi-Power frames anodized (hard anodized), Cerakoted and hardchromed as was the customers various requests. I'm unsure if the frames originally were anodized at all. Normally I would say yes, but as they were painted when built, I suspect that they might not have been, but have never heard an authoritative answer. The frames are probably 7075 alloy, which is pretty tough stuff. If you want a two tone HP, then I wouldn't leave it in "the white", but would suggest hardchrome, Cerakote or clear anodizing to protect the base metal frame from the elements and wear.
Hi Don,

What are the best options for refinishing an alloy Hi Power frame if one prefers to leave it black?

JW
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  #20  
Old 06-27-2020, 08:00 AM
mkk41 mkk41 is offline
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Anodizing would require all steel parts to be removed. Including the barrel unlocking cam. Not an easy job.

I'm not a fan of Cerakote , but that would probably be your best option.
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  #21  
Old 06-29-2020, 12:17 PM
donw donw is offline
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What are the best options for refinishing an alloy Hi Power frame if one prefers to leave it black?
The options here are anodizing (and as noted, the barrel locking cam needs to be removed - it press's out), Black-T, Cerakote or another spray and bake finish, and Ionbond DLC. There might be others that I'm not aware of.

Hope this helps.
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  #22  
Old 06-29-2020, 01:43 PM
BBBBill BBBBill is offline
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I would be reluctant to remove the cam from the frame. The steel frame cams are pressed in with the edges peened over to retain it in the frame, then filed/stoned flush with the frame. This generally means that a new cam is needed as the peened material is lost in the removal process, leaving inadequate material to reinstall with any kind of acceptable appearance. Some of the aluminum frames use the same kind of cam, some a different type. I have no experience with the second type (round instead of oval end) but have concerns that the steel against aluminum fit in that semi-permanent installation might be adversely affected. That might require a cam with slightly larger outer dimensions (point of interface with the frame) in order to ensure a good solid fit. Cams for steel frames are nearly impossible to come by. I suspect the ones for aluminum frames are totally unavailable. That means machining one from scratch. It can be done, but it will cost $$$$.
I I am wrong someone please correct me, but that is my honest appraisal of what you will likely face.
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  #23  
Old 06-29-2020, 09:27 PM
donw donw is offline
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BBBBil,

The alloy frame HP's have a round locking cam that is pressed into place, and it has serrations around the circumference on each end. The drivers side is flat to clear the slide release and the ejection port side has a domed end. I've removed a number of them so that the frame can be anodized, and they still press in snugly, though I add a bit Loc-tite for insurance.
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  #24  
Old 06-29-2020, 11:08 PM
BBBBill BBBBill is offline
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Originally Posted by donw View Post
BBBBil,

The alloy frame HP's have a round locking cam that is pressed into place, and it has serrations around the circumference on each end. The drivers side is flat to clear the slide release and the ejection port side has a domed end. I've removed a number of them so that the frame can be anodized, and they still press in snugly, though I add a bit Loc-tite for insurance.
Don, good to know. I've seen a very few (maybe two) aluminum frames with the oval pin as seen on the steel frames. I suspected that the round ones were serrated as otherwise there would be nothing to keep them from trying to rotate except friction/interference fit and "force of habit". I certainly would not want to remove on any more than absolutely necessary to prevent loosening of that fit. Still, your success with that proves it can be done. I know of a couple steel frames that could use a new cam. Still haven't found any of those for sale. C&S did offer the service, but I don't think they can get them any more.

Last edited by BBBBill; 06-30-2020 at 01:52 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #25  
Old 06-30-2020, 12:20 PM
donw donw is offline
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BBBBill, I haven't yet had a lightweight HP with the oval cam come through here. It would be interesting to see how it's retained. I know Chuck Warner was using some kind of adhesive to keep the cams in the guns he made. C&S still lists the replacement of the barrel cams on their website but wants $490.00 for the replacement. I don't know whether they were able to buy the parts from Browning or whether they made their own. Last time I had Browning replace one it was $270.25, but that was in 2003.
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