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Different finish examples?
October 11, 2013
7:05 am
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Has anyone seen a book or a web site with good, clear, side-by-side color photographs of all the different case colors and other finishes? I know the possibilities could be endless so by "all" I mean a real good cross section of what’s out there.

It wouldn’t have to be Winchester-specific or even on guns.

I’ve seen some that tend to the blue, while others tend to the brown, or yellow or red. I ASSume that is due to different temperatures, oils, steels, etc. and that various recipes have been worked out to achieve different results? I’d just like to see them under similar lighting/photography to help me decide what I like the most.

Thanks.

October 11, 2013
10:07 am
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Really the best way to get a cross reference between the different colours that were achieved by each of the manufacturers is to subscribe to one or 2 of the many large auction house catalogues. There you will find good samples of colour photographs of what you are looking for.

October 11, 2013
6:24 pm
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Majority of original factory color case hardened finished Winchesters will not have much in the way of original finish. The best place to see original color case finish and know its factory is in a museum, but even museums have messed with guns.

One of the best books with full color photographs that features 73s & 76s that have original condition guns with color case hardening is Ed Lewis’s book on the One of One Thousand. If you have the book you’ll notice only a very few of the case hardened guns have much finish on them. And only a couple that are near mint condition.

There just aren’t a whole lot of books out there with color photographs. Only recently have Gun Books begun to be written as such.

I might would be weary of the guns featured in auction catalogs. You never know if there are original or not. (Or if Mike Hunter got his hands on it! Wink)

Sincerely,
Maverick

October 27, 2013
5:28 am
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James

Not sure what you mean by "what you like the most"

It’s like saying which snowflake I like the most, they are all different.

Yes, each maker used their own formula, ie..wood to bone mixture and that has a significant impact on colors, Parkers tend to have thinner colors, whild Winchesters and Marlins a bit bolder. You had early Colt case hardening and later Colt csae hardening then post WWII case hardening.

Then there is the true randomness of the CCH process, I have seen original Winchesters where one side of the frame is mostly Brown with some flecks of blue, the other site of the frame looks like Picasso puked on it, reds blues yellows greens.

And as been brought up before, not a whole lot of surviving examples out there.

October 30, 2013
3:01 pm
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Mike Hunter said
James

Not sure what you mean by "what you like the most"

It’s like saying which snowflake I like the most, they are all different.

Yes, each maker used their own formula, ie..wood to bone mixture and that has a significant impact on colors, Parkers tend to have thinner colors, whild Winchesters and Marlins a bit bolder. You had early Colt case hardening and later Colt csae hardening then post WWII case hardening.

Then there is the true randomness of the CCH process, I have seen original Winchesters where one side of the frame is mostly Brown with some flecks of blue, the other site of the frame looks like Picasso puked on it, reds blues yellows greens.

And as been brought up before, not a whole lot of surviving examples out there.

I guess I should have been clearer. If I were a gun finisher, I would offer my customers options; not just *my* single cc job. (I’m not sure if Turnbull has different options but the one’s I’ve seen all look pretty much alike (Picasso).)

In order to do this, I would get some representative plates of gun metal and treat each one differently. I would then provide a "palate" book, not unlike paint swatches that you get at Home Depot or a paint store, so a customer could mix and match with different wood (rose, walnut, etc.) and other finishes (blue, browning, silver, nitre blue, etc.), side by side.

When ordering a custom gun, this would allow them to better decide which one they like most in combination with other aspects of the gun (wood, bbl, etc.)

If that has not already been done by a finisher similar to Turnbull, or a company like Winchester, then I would think some gun nut would have produced a book like Wilson’s with a chapter devoted to such contrasts and comparisons from the past (Winchester, Colt, Parker, Marlin, etc.).

Maybe even a book completely unrelated to guns, but devoted solely to esthetic metal finishes of various types. Master engravers have sample plates on simple pieces of rectangular steel. I’m looking for something similar in finishes. Maybe it hasn’t been done and people just leave it up to the artistic discretion of the gun maker?

In the end, I’d like to do my mixing and matching and then tell a finisher "I want this . . ." Hopefully he could replicate it, especially if he knew who did it and how.

Right now I have to take my library and find examples of what has already been done in relation to other aspects of the specific gun upon which the finish is found; maybe an aspect I have no interest in (red-colored walnut, nitre blue, gold, mother of pearl, etc.)

"Steel Canvass" get’s my dreams going, but I want to break it down before putting it all together.

Do I sound like a woman trying to decide what I want? Okay, I’ll own that. But with the price of a custom gun I’ll get what I want or I’ll just do without.

October 30, 2013
3:10 pm
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Well, I’ve heard that Marlin CC’s were different than Winchester’s CC’s and we seem to agree that Turnbull’s CC’s are different still, all due to the process. I believe Mike Hunter can speak to this, as he does CC’ing himself, but it seems that CC’ing is a bit of an art and it is hard enough to get the nice colours without trying to offer a variety. I’ll look forward to Mike’s experience on this.

October 30, 2013
3:40 pm
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No offense James, but I think you have "Pipe Dreams" here. I think one could probably get closer to "Factory Looking" finish than Turnbull. But as far as getting down to wanting specific colors or even patterns, its not hardly or likely all that possible. Its not like your going to the Car dealer and asking for a Cornflower Blue paint job.

Winchester went through lots of rejects when producing frames with Color Case hardening. Which is why in later years they got away from the process and mainly stuck with bluing.

I also doubt that even if you came up with some specific pattern or colors you wanted, that any gunsmith would agree that they could deliver on the finished product.

Sincerely,
Maverick

October 30, 2013
4:13 pm
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The problem with the case color process is the part can warp or crack in the process without proper fixturing.

Bob

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October 30, 2013
4:46 pm
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While there can be some similarity of patterns around holes in the steel, like screw holes, or the edges, I would not be looking for specific patterns. I understand cc patterns are like finger prints and they are unique to each gun.

I’m looking at colors and tones. If you have Steel Canvass, compare page 150 with 173 with 176 with 319. (I kind of like the Emperor’s gun but I’d like to see it up against some darker wood).

If you have Wilson’s Winchester, An American Legend", compare page 63 with 69 with 88 with 116 (Emperor’s gun again) with 119 (similar) with the top rifle on 280 (I like that too). See also the bottom rifle on 288 (what’s up with that?) and the bottom rifle on 296. And those are just Winchesters.

I’ve seen enough of the "standard" Winchester cc to know they can crank out a similar product, from gun to gun, all of which makes the above *unique* cc comparisons seem to come from different processes and/or materials. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe all those vastly different looking guns are the result of the same process applied to the same materials and they just look different because of background, or lighting. Or maybe they just look so different because cc is fundamentally random and cannot be adjusted by temperature, bath time, type of oil, type of steel, type of cooling, etc. But if not, I would have thought some expert would have spent a great deal of time not only trying to come up with a standard that his employer (Winchester) liked best, but which offered alternatives for customers to choose from. Especially if he was out on his own. I guess not. Shrug.

October 30, 2013
5:57 pm
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James

James

There is some science to the art; wood to bone ratio, quench temp, water temp, is it fresh water or has it been used before, if so how many times, distance parts drop before hitting the water, how much oxygen (PPM) is in the water. There are a lot of variables, most the case hardener can control. Any change in these variables will change the results achieved. Then the variables that cannot be controlled: mass of parts, how the parts hit the water and how the parts fall thru the water. When I started CCH it took me about a year to figure it out, to where I get reliable, repeatable results. At that point you can start changing variables to see how they affect the process. BUT since the colors are so random, you need to experiment with each variable several times before you can say “changing X will produce Y results”. I’ve been CCH for about 10 years now…. Still haven’t tried all variables or combinations of.

October 30, 2013
6:04 pm
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Mike Hunter said
James

James

There is some science to the art; wood to bone ratio, quench temp, water temp, is it fresh water or has it been used before, if so how many times, distance parts drop before hitting the water, how much oxygen (PPM) is in the water. There are a lot of variables, most the case hardener can control. Any change in these variables will change the results achieved. Then the variables that cannot be controlled: mass of parts, how the parts hit the water and how the parts fall thru the water. When I started CCH it took me about a year to figure it out, to where I get reliable, repeatable results. At that point you can start changing variables to see how they affect the process. BUT since the colors are so random, you need to experiment with each variable several times before you can say “changing X will produce Y results”. I’ve been CCH for about 10 years now…. Still haven’t tried all variables or combinations of.

I like your sig line.

I don’t know enough about the finishing business but there might just be a market for what I’m looking for, if it doesn’t already exist. It seems you might have the expertise to supply that demand. All it would take was some good record keeping. My wife is a potter and she has to keep good records of various glazes and clays to achieve similar results or she will never be able to do it. I would think it’s kind of the same thing.

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