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Smooze, the black art of adding artifical patina
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December 28, 2021 - 12:35 am
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 As a collector many of us have damaged screws, replacement sights that don’t match, or a rust area that needs cleaning so we get out the cold blue. So we color it, smooze it. Most everybody does it or at least tries it. The part is cleaned, maybe sanded shiny then we experiment with cold blue, browning solutions, bleach, color dyes, and maybe a propane torch, the black art of smooze. If everything goes good it looks better from 6 feet away. A screw head is easy but a rust patch or sight is a no go. When you shine a bright light on it you easily see the smooze.  Pictures on the internet can hide what’s been done or a novice collector might not see it but it affects the value of a gun.

 If your lucky enough to own an original gun with a natural patina, a so-called cleaning that exposes more bare shiny metal is not in your best interest. The gun is only original if it has not been smoozed. If the gun is bare shiny metal and you smooze it your not hurting it’s value, you can always clean it back to shiny bare metal. A smoozed gun displayed above your fire place or taken on a hunting trip is just fine, have fun but don’t pay original prices. Original guns are rare!

 Most gun shows will have tables full of smoozed guns, the value to me is the same as if they were freshly cleaned with a SOS pad. Most of the time smooze wipes off with your gun rag over time. T/R

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December 28, 2021 - 1:05 am
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TR,

Thanks for the insightful post. We need to be careful when handing out money for what we think is an original example that may very well be smoozed in some way.

Al

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RickC
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December 28, 2021 - 3:41 pm
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This is my model 64(1948) And I wouldn’t think of smoozing it. It’s an honest gun with honest carry wear on the frame. The barrel and mag tube are 90% & smoozing isn’t happening under my ownership. Good post TR.

00BACDD5-B085-4A4A-B692-AC2B87266E26.jpegImage Enlarger

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December 28, 2021 - 5:07 pm
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RickC said
This is my model 64(1948) And I wouldn’t think of smoozing it. It’s an honest gun with honest carry wear on the frame. The barrel and mag tube are 90% & smoozing isn’t happening under my ownership. Good post TR.

  

Nor is it needed–some thinning blue is all I see in the areas you’d expect to see it, & I’d rate it above 90%.  But what if it had a deep scratch on the rcvr–one that you might make less painful to look at by going over it with a toothpick dipped in cold blue?  Not talking about making it disappear (impossible with refinishing), merely reducing the eyesore effect. 

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December 28, 2021 - 5:26 pm
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clarence said

Nor is it needed–some thinning blue is all I see in the areas you’d expect to see it, & I’d rate it above 90%.  But what if it had a deep scratch on the rcvr–one that you might make less painful to look at by going over it with a toothpick dipped in cold blue?  Not talking about making it disappear (impossible with refinishing), merely reducing the eyesore effect.   

Clarence I can certainly appreciate your comment & I guess I would have to see it in person or own it to make that decision. The flip side is I might not have bought it in the first place. ??‍♂️

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December 28, 2021 - 8:52 pm
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 Have you every bought a gun that looked good, wiped it down, put it in your safe, and over time thought the condition diminished? You began to see scratches and blemishes that you haven’t noticed before. Did you not notice it before or were you the victim of a smooze artist? Maybe a little of both? Most gun cleaners and corrosion protection products remove cold blue and dyes when rubbed with a gun rag.

 If you like the way your gun looks maybe wax is better than cleaning rust prevention products to preserve the look. Some gun dealers use wax to seal in the smooze, you can rub it and it still looks good, your dry rag does not change color. 

 I once bought a nice? SAA for big money, lots of blue and case waxed shiny. I showed it to my friends and they to thought it was worth the money. Got home and wiped it with G-96 and the rag turned blue. The G-96 took off the wax and the toner ink that was mixed in, maybe a little cold blue also. The only finish on it was the original Colt case and blue. It was still a good looking Colt but not worth what I paid. I was the victim of a smooze artist, he added color to the gun and sealed it in wax. At least he didn’t shine up the metal, his work did not change it’s value permanently one way or another. T/R

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December 29, 2021 - 12:12 am
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Ive bought a few guns for shooters that I knew had some cold blue, but bought at the right price. Ive taken them and removed the cold blue, sometimes its an improvement based on what they were trying to cover up.  Dont make it to many shows, the Tulsa show seems to have its fair share of cold blue toughup guns. 

Never heard of anyone using toner blue then sealing it with wax. Folks will try anything.  In doing the 92 TD survey, there are a number of high end TD rifles that Ive seen only to find later those scratches in the barrel or receiver blue from original prior pics are no longer there.   High end guns arent my favorite for that reason alone.  Too much tinkering to make them “better”.  Those without indications of some honest use have no personality and lack the historical perspective for what they were designed, to use.   

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December 29, 2021 - 12:40 am
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1892takedown said  Those without indications of some honest use have no personality and lack the historical perspective for what they were designed, to use.     

Absolutely!  A genuine “like-new” gun, un-smoozed, is something to marvel at, together with the special circumstances that allowed it to survive the vicissitudes of time, but it is without history, & to me, uninteresting beyond the fact of its condition.  I’m especially dismayed by the narrow mindedness of those, the majority I own, who downgrade guns returned to the factory for changes to be made…what the owners, after using the gun in its original configuration, must have regarded as improvements.  The owner tried it out, found it didn’t suit his preferences, thought how it might be improved, then took the trouble to box it up & ship it back–how many shooters did that?  That’s history as interesting to me as “kilt a bar.”

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December 29, 2021 - 1:23 am
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1892takedown said

Never heard of anyone using toner blue then sealing it with wax. Folks will try anything.      

 Chris, It worked and like a fool I wiped away the evidence. I tried to duplicate it with ink and that didn’t work. I believe the toner was applied to the unprepared clean dry surface of the metal adding color not only to the blue but also the case colors and somehow cured then waxed. The hard paste wax added a shine and hard durable surface. It changed a 60% Colt to a 90% gun temporarily. Not a good feeling when 30% of your guns color wipes off. It didn’t wipe off in one easy wipe making me think there was some cold blue involved in the process. I showed the gun to my friend that looked at it when I purchased and he could not believe it was the same gun. They sell tables to anyone at a gun shows, I had the gun in my hand when I bought it. T/R

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January 11, 2022 - 3:19 am
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RickC said
Smoozed?

https://www.gunpost.ca/firearms/rifles/city-toronto/winchester-1894-pre-1964  

I like the woodwork but the metal has an odd tint to it. Reckon there’s a nice grey gun hiding under that “makeup“, Rick?

 

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January 11, 2022 - 3:36 am
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Not obvious to me, but if you can accept that checkering, what does it matter?

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January 11, 2022 - 3:50 am
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I don’t see any smooze on the metal except for a little varnish on the barrel from the forearm. The pictures were taken with the white balance not set correctly for the lighting giving it a nice blue cast.

Bob

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