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Old 04-07-2018, 01:32 PM
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Default Rusty 36 no dash

One of the guys in my squad brought in an old Model 36 that heís had in, letís say, storage. It appears to function fine, but itís rusted.

What do you experienced members think are the chances this gun can be cleaned up? Suggestions requested... thanks!
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Old 04-07-2018, 01:39 PM
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Stored in a wet sock?

I bet it is pretty badly pitted.
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Old 04-07-2018, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demkofour View Post

What do you experienced members think are the chances this gun can be cleaned up? Suggestions requested... thanks!
Depends on what you are expecting?

It will "NEVER" look "GOOD" again. Functional.. not pretty.
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Old 04-07-2018, 01:53 PM
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That’s my kind of project. Love those...
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Old 04-07-2018, 02:02 PM
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I sold a friend a 30-1 that was in similar condition (cheap). He had it parkerized/duracoated in a two tone - black frame and gray cylinder. It turned out really nice.
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Old 04-07-2018, 03:21 PM
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Looks like he had it "stored" in the spare tire well of his trunk that leaked when it rained!
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
Looks like he had it "stored" in the spare tire well of his trunk that leaked when it rained!
Where ever it was stored, it didn't get inspected for a pretty long while. Letting a gun get in that shape oughta be against the law!
Some of those pits are as big as a caliche pit!
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:50 PM
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That's pretty bad. Coincidentally, I've been looking for a "used & abused" (probably with a little surface rust) pre-IL S&W revolver as a candidate for a refinishing project. But I'm mainly interested in one needing a little clean-up, TLC, polishing and re-bluing... not a serious metal restoration project.

I guess it all depends on how much the OP's friend wants to spend. Almost anything can be saved, but at what cost?
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:14 PM
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Naval jelly is fairly cheap. I'd put some on the rust and see if I could get a better looking at the pitting. IMHO it's past the point of being able to save the original finish. If it were mine I'd strip the finish and remove/fill the pitting as necessary and refinish.
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:43 PM
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Sad to see. Maybe try bead blasting or aomething and re-bluing, but I don’t think it will ever look good.
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Old 04-08-2018, 09:42 AM
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That could be restored/refinished.
Worth it to do? Depends on what the gun means to you,,wether you are doing the work yourself as a project or have to pay some one else to do it,,ect.

Yes it can be brought back IMO.

Pitting is just that. It ain't going away by just splashing it with something or covering it with a coating. You have to file , grind or otherwise remove the surrounding metal to a level lower than the deepest pitting.
Other option in welding in some of the deepest pits so as not to have to take the original surface down as far to get a clean one.

You'll probably remove some of the markings, so figure they'll have to be re-cut after polishing is done. Some engravers do that work some don't want to touch it. A roll die would be nice but not many have such along with the other proper caliber, address and misc frame marking dies needed.

If the bore and/or chambers are effected by the pitting in any way like the outside of the gun, I wouldn't put much work in to bringing it back. It'll always be a nice gun w/a rotten bore after that.
Making it into a presentable shooter/carry gun would be an option for it. Much less work and not as much attention to detail towards a restoration.
Just make it look better,,it sounds like it functions just fine as is.

It's perfect piece for someone to work on that is learning the trade of restoration. You can't learn from just reading books and watching YouTube videos.
You spend countless hours at the bench producing a fine finished product that nets nearly nothing in $$ when and if sold. But the experience you gain is priceless.
Not many places to get paid to learn this stuff.

Just my .02,,,
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Old 04-08-2018, 03:30 PM
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Disassemble, soak in Kroil, clean, and send out to be professionally refinished. It's possible that even after all that, some pitting may still be evident. That's pretty far gone! May not actually pay since the money, effort & time might just not justify the expense.

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Old 04-08-2018, 04:21 PM
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That is just ridiculous.
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Old 04-08-2018, 04:47 PM
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Forgot to add, if the outside is that bad, be prepared for some work on the inside, as well.
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Old 04-08-2018, 05:25 PM
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Just a thought, and I figured this might be a good post to throw it out there.

Back in the day, lead was used for body work / repairs on car sheetmetal. Would filling the cleaned out pitting with lead, then smoothing and coating with something like Dura Coat work? I realize lead would not hold up to high heat (probably not a concern in a snub revolver), and would be softer than the surrounding metal. Might stand up to careful use, and offer a relatively easy restored look? Just thinking outside the box.

Larry

Last edited by Fishinfool; 04-08-2018 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 04-08-2018, 08:19 PM
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Come on, guys, that'll buff out, what's the big deal?

OK, maybe it won't. Still probably a serviceable piece once cleaned up.
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Old 04-08-2018, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishinfool View Post
Just a thought, and I figured this might be a good post to throw it out there.

Back in the day, lead was used for body work / repairs on car sheetmetal. Would filling the cleaned out pitting with lead, then smoothing and coating with something like Dura Coat work? I realize lead would not hold up to high heat (probably not a concern in a snub revolver), and would be softer than the surrounding metal. Might stand up to careful use, and offer a relatively easy restored look? Just thinking outside the box.

Larry
I think I'd try something like J-B Weld or Devcon Plastic Steel to fill in the large/deep pits before I would try lead. Once it's sanded level with the surface and smoothed down, a matte finish with Cerakote or Durakote might not look too bad.

My major concern would be the condition of the bore and chambers.
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:20 AM
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Hurts me to look at it
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:36 AM
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It was common practice by the firearms factories to save frames and other parts that came through production and finishing with flaws in them by filling those surface flaws with braze. The surfaces then repolished to level the imperfections.
Then the pistol would be given a nickel plate finish which would nicely cover both the steel base metal and the braze filler.

That was then,,black powder days and all that. Perhaps very early smokeless powder use.
On a modern firearm, that much heat overall is frowned upon but I have seen it done.

Low temp hard solder (used to commonly be called silver solder) is another option. Some flow at around 1000F+/-.
Still alot of heat to play onto the frame, but less than brazing temp up at around 1600F.
You can filll with one of the new tin/silver soft solders. They melt at around 400F. They take plating very nicely just as brass filler does. Just not as hard of a surface as brass. I've used it before for this very reason on small parts and it works well.
This is the same idea as using lead as already suggested as a filler.
The silver/tin soft solder will take plating though where as lead/tin solders or plain lead filler won't generally.
All this braze, hard solder and silver/tin soft solder stuff is of course if you are considering a plated finish to recover the revolvers looks.

I'd take it down as far as possible to remove the pitting. Any left I'd fill with tiny steel inlays, but I do that all the time anyway.
The other method generally used is to dot those small pits left over with TIG or Laser welding and then complete the polishing.

Just some more options as they say..
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:45 AM
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Many good ideas above. If it is mechanically sound, I think I'd be inclined to remove the rust, then either go "low" (coating) or "high" (hard chrome or full restoration, which S & W would take on, probably). Kind of depends on what your buddy wants in the end.
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Old 04-09-2018, 10:29 AM
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Like they say in the racing industry, “Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?”
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:28 PM
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That poor gun. I once went into a LGS and saw what looked like a pristine Colt Python snubby in a velvet lined Colt display box for $200. Couldn't believe my eyes. Asked the clerk about it and he handed the gun to me. The hidden side was COMPLETELY rusted - so much so the cylinder bolt notches were gone!. The box got wet and the gun sat in it for years in a basement until the owners widow found it.
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Old 04-09-2018, 05:34 PM
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That is such a waste of a fine firearm. Somebody ought to take that gun and beat him with it.
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:37 PM
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I've purchased plenty of guns in similar conditions. Just tell your guy to take care of the active rust then use it as a beater. If you spend a lot of time outdoors it's nice to have something you don't mind getting bumped around and generally abused.

It will never be brought back to "good" condition, and 36s are cheap enough that if he wants a good looking one he'd be better off killing the active rust then selling it for $200 or so towards a nicer one. Unless you're already set up to do a refinish throwing money at having someone do that is just tossing it away.
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