Chemically blacking steel - help needed.

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Forum topic by YorkshireStewart posted 04-22-2008 01:10 AM 1243 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1130 posts in 4140 days

04-22-2008 01:10 AM

OK – it’s not wood, but the steel components will be incorporated in a wooden project. I’m finally getting on with making my replica of the 1600 year old Roman plane that I blogged some weeks ago. I want to tone down the bright steel parts without risking distortion by heating them. Does anyone have knowledge a chemical brew I can use to black or blue them please?

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

8 replies so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4007 days

#1 posted 04-22-2008 01:40 AM

you might want to try contacting David Marks. He knows a lot about all those different chemical concotions. You can email him from this site

View Cedrus's profile


110 posts in 3953 days

#2 posted 04-22-2008 01:52 AM

Greetings…from my old stained glass days I used copper sulphate and water…test first …it will turn things blackish..and caution as this stuff was originally used as poison! Here’s a good site

-- Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4227 days

#3 posted 04-22-2008 02:59 AM

They sell a cold black oxide solution here in the states. You could probably find it there also.

Just clean it with acetone and dip it for a while.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4035 posts in 4303 days

#4 posted 04-22-2008 03:09 AM

There is a black Parkerizing solution available – I am going to use it on a couple of metal planes, but have been waiting for the weather to warm up as it involves heating a weak acid solution to a boil, and leaving the part immersed in the bath for twenty minutes. I have been told in no uncertain terms that this procedure will not occur in the kitchen. I’ll keep you posted.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 4140 days

#5 posted 04-22-2008 08:57 PM

Gentlemen, thank you. I knew the answers would be out there. Quite a few approaches to experiment with. I’ll be reporting back in the fullness of time.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View BrianM's profile


116 posts in 3992 days

#6 posted 04-23-2008 12:09 AM


Yup, believe it or not but there is one requirement. The metal must be rusted.

Placing loctite on rusted metal starts a chemical reaction that turns the metal black— no paint needed.

I know of a person who makes outdoor sculptures with rusted parts and he mentioned to me that this is the system.
I have never tried it, but have seen the results.

-- There is no such thing as scrap wood!,

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4038 days

#7 posted 04-23-2008 12:59 AM

David Marks has a link on his site to a chemical company that sells just what you need.

-- making sawdust....

View F Dudak's profile

F Dudak

342 posts in 4050 days

#8 posted 04-23-2008 01:42 AM

Any trappers out there? I seem to remember boiling traps in water and red oak bark to blacken them.

-- Fred.... Poconos, PA ---- Chairwright in the making ----

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