Bluing Hands

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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby Marty101 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:37 pm

Ha-yes I saw that and polished it off. Didn't get seem to get positive results but I blame the metal. I do believe there were certain spotty improvements though. -And again most often but not always or fully the polished parts will still lack a certain higher mirror gleam;I believe they do shine up enough to fool most people. It's a subtle difference but all important.
I have to question my own "method" of bundling of course. I wrapped/mixed about 12 hands in animal hair(poor kitty) and then enough thin wire to hold everything together,heated to cherry red for about two minutes. More hair maybe? I have a nice supply unless my wifie spies on me here... and I really wasn't sure how much of a carbon source was needed in relation to the steel. Longer and hotter heating time? I will try again in any case-if not for you this would have been beyond me so thank you.
I
It's Xmas time and I know-I hope- we all have other duties and pleasures this time of year. Still,I will sneak back... :lol:
Keep winding things,
Marty Bell
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby mars-red » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:28 pm

If you do want to try again, make a paste of oil and baking flour (whatever you can find for oil - motor oil probably would be best) and spread that over them as well. Way back in the day, from what I've read, they would use urine and hoof shavings. I think the urine was for a nitrogen source. Do try a higher temperature as well - get them to a brighter red. Two minutes sounds perfect for time.
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby Marty101 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:08 pm

Well,it's been a while. Between the weather, snowblowing,shoveling,and recuperating I have been trying to squeeze in time to do more than talk. I'm into several projects like many of us,and have been frustrated lately trying to get some quality time to work on them-especially this one which is at the top of my list.
Max-I finally got around to cooking these-I bundled them in oil and flour,heated to cherry for a full two minutes. At the end of that time the oil/flour had just about disintegrated and I dropped them in water. Getting them cleaned up and polished again was a worry;these have been through this 4-5 times now and are really thin. I am happy to say they all made it,which I did not expect,and everyone of them polished to my satisfaction-again,which I did not expect. So,it is looking good so far.
All I have to do is blue them up and see what happens....I'll be back later today with the results-Good,Bad,or Ugly. I'm honestly afraid to hope too much.
Keep winding things,
Marty Bell
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby L48X55 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:42 pm

Marty just one quick thought. Aren't you skewing your results by using these hands over and over? Every time you heat these you change the molecular structure and it is bound to change the end result. I'm just thinking out loud so please be gentle if you tell me to go pound sand. Just my mind wondering around.
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby mars-red » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:56 pm

Daniel, as long as he is taking steps to avoid decarburization it should be fine. Hardening, tempering, and annealing all change the molecular structure in different ways - I'm not aware of any steel alloys that lose their ability to respond to heat treatment (as long as the carbon content isn't depleted).

Marty, I'm looking forward to hearing about your results! Were the hands a good cherry red when you quenched them?
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby Marty101 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:15 am

SAM_0772-001.JPG
SAM_0771-001.JPG
SAM_0769.JPG
SAM_0768.JPG
OK friends-thanks to Max I'm getting somewhere with these "problem" hands that have refused to blue in the past.

Please remember-this was only my second attempt at carburization and my first was a failure. I'm sure my third attempt will be better yet, and with Max at my side I'll get it down.

I have some "before" pictures of these hands I'm also posting for comparison. Please remember again that these hands were restored and blued at least 4 times. From my intense practice sessions years ago,I know that after 5 times they tend to fold in half or even float away. :lol: That they all survived is amazing, and I believe the carbon certainly gave them a second life.
I considered them all garbage and 100% unusable.
Keep winding things,
Marty Bell
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby Marty101 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:57 am

r_steel vial 1.jpg
A HUGE word of thanks again to Max,the man has just made my 2014 really start off with a BANG. Not only am I whipping an old problem with bluing certain hands,but I have a new tool for doing it.
Custom made to my specs but with improvements only a master could foresee,our friend has been kind enough to help me keep delicate pocket watch hands safe and undamaged while being carburized.
I'm still half in shock this years long problem is solved-thank you again Max. I'm in your debt. :D
Keep winding things,
Marty Bell
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby Glyn Meredith » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:42 pm

This topic has developed over five years now. It's really interesting to see how Marty has progressed since January 2009.

Well done, Marty and those who have helped you with old hands, ideas, practical advice and encouragement.
Posted on GH recently? Your posts keep us going.

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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby Marty101 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:10 pm

Thanks Glynn.
This latest breakthrough for me (which Max made possible never forget) is a big win. Being able to blue previously unblueable hands means I can save almost any hand made of steel. I plan to post more pics soon of the same style hour hands above;this time undamaged and restored properly-just for the record.
Besides,it would be ungrateful if I didn't show off what Max's and his "Carburization Tube" has made possible,right? :D
Keep winding things,
Marty Bell
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby mars-red » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:32 pm

I have enjoyed this thread for a long time now, and it is a privilege to be of some help. Marty has quite a gift being able to achieve such consistent color on these parts that do not lend themselves to even tempering very well at all. Vianney Halter should be using Marty to blue his hands! :)

Marty, I suspect I won't be able to post the little steel vial until Saturday morning, just to give you a heads up. I will let you know when it does go out though.
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby Marty101 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:21 am

I REALLY have to get out more-I never heard of him before,and have never see anything like that. I'm ashamed of myself. I don't think I'm up to par for much of a contribution to THAT though,Max. :lol:
I'm going to have to start watching more Utube videos. Maybe we can post links to the best here?
This isn't the 1st time I've been shocked at what's going on around me,and just having those pictures in my head means a LOT to me. My imagination is poor-but once I have the ideas I do have a knack for making improvements...and even if I can't,it's fun to ponder. :D
Mail-? Max,I'm a patient guy. I can wait. But I'll be watching. Thanks for the update,too.
Keep winding things,
Marty Bell
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby mars-red » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:12 pm

Marty101 wrote:I REALLY have to get out more-I never heard of him before,and have never see anything like that. I'm ashamed of myself. I don't think I'm up to par for much of a contribution to THAT though,Max. :lol:
I'm going to have to start watching more Utube videos. Maybe we can post links to the best here?
This isn't the 1st time I've been shocked at what's going on around me,and just having those pictures in my head means a LOT to me. My imagination is poor-but once I have the ideas I do have a knack for making improvements...and even if I can't,it's fun to ponder. :D
Mail-? Max,I'm a patient guy. I can wait. But I'll be watching. Thanks for the update,too.


I can honestly say some of your hands I've seen are more consistently blued than some hands I've noticed in photos and videos of some really high-end hand made watches.

I PM'd you some of my favorite videos relating to modern day independent watchmakers (pay particular attention to the closeup of one of Vianney's watches in "Timepiece", and you'll see an example of some nice bluing that in my opinion still isn't as good as your work). Halter is nearly as interesting to me as Daniels. Vianney apparently grew up in a converted railway car, and was completely hopeless at everything in school. His teachers told his parents to put him in trade school so he could work with his hands. That turned out to be pretty sound advice. His latest piece, the Deep Space Tourbillon, was apparently inspired by a long running series of dreams he had, after he had already decided he was going to give up watchmaking. Completely fascinating.
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby Marty101 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:46 pm

Max,I have to comment. Some of these men seem to be purposely bluing hands to be slightly mottled. I remember Roger Smith's video in particular:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3LtmR0115E
-it appears that either a mottled look is what some men want, or what is considered in an "acceptable" color range. I really don't know. I have seen hands blued like in Rogers video mostly on key winds and pre-1900 pieces. Most post 1900 hands (in my experience) are deep blue,but some are lighter and some greenish-like Elgin/16s and certain Waltham hands.
When I began learning I tried to imitate the factory colors of hands,but I always considered consistency more important.
Keep winding things,
Marty Bell
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby brownsrplm » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:03 pm

Marty,
Don't forget the purplish color on Illinois 16s Bunn's.
Raymund L. Brown
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George Washington
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Re: Bluing Hands

New postby Marty101 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:35 pm

OH Boy...Ray,"plumming" is a whole 'nother animal as far as I'm concerned. I have tried various things over the years but can't get a consistent "plum". The factories didn't get always get consistent quality either. I have noticed the hands are often too light or even brownish rather than plum. I also suspect that atmospheric control of some sort may have been used.
But I'll keep trying.
Keep winding things,
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