Blacken It.

Discussion in 'Weathering Forum' started by tetters, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

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    Hey folks,

    I was wondering if anyone here could give me some opinions on Blacken It. Ya know the stuff used to "weather" metal parts. I was planning on using it to weather the copper ties on my turnouts and even the sides of my rails to help finish up my track work "details".

    I've read different opinions elsewhere on what to use to clean the metal before applying the Blacken It as well as whether or not it should be diluted and to what ratio.

    Some advice from here would be a great help to me.

    Thanks,

    Shane
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I havent used it, but my guess is it will work differently depending on what kind of metal it is applied to. I have heard it will rub off over time if placed in an area that sees mechanical wear. This isn't a problem for ties and the sides of rails, but chemically blackened wheels will eventually rub off and dirty your rail tops.

    I've always just used paint for both rails and ties.

    Kevin
  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

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    Hmmm...I tried painting the ties, however quickly found that in the area of the switch points the paint comes off almost right away. Which is why I figure a chemical blackener maybe the way to go, however if you are saying it will wear off over time, I have to ask...just how quickly do you figure? I wasn't planning on using it on the top of the rail or on the rolling stock wheels. I centainly wasn't going to stop with the blackner either. I was thinking of using it as a base coat so to speak, then further weather the trackwork with either paints or weathering chalks.

    Make sense?
  4. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    yep, makes sense. Hmm. I've actually got the same problem, so I await the response form someone who has tried it.

    Kevin
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    I first tried chemical blackeners back in the '70s, on some MDC steamers. These kits had metal boilers and frames, with plastic cabs, tenders, and details. The product that I used was called Hobby Black, and the instructions suggested steel wool to clean the metal parts before applying the blackener. Don't touch the cleaned parts with your bare hands, as body oils prevent the chemical from working properly. Here are a couple of rather poor photos:
    [​IMG]

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    This last one is a modified Tyco,
    [​IMG]

    I found the finish to be very durable, and I liked the effect that it gave. I later needed more, but couldn't find the same product, but did manage to locate some Blacken It. This appears to be similar stuff, but I used it on smaller detail parts, or to pre-blacken parts that would later be painted. I washed the blackened parts, as per the instructions, but later found that the chemical hadn't been completely neutralised, resulting in some discolouration on delicate parts. It's not too easy to notice in the photo below, but the "ropes" (.008" brass wire) on the telltales developed a whitish efflorescence that resists removal. It's most noticeable on the one on the left, supported by the wooden pole.
    [​IMG]

    For large stuff, like loco boilers or cylinders, I applied it with a brush, whereas smaller stuff went into a suitably-sized plastic container, then enough chemical was added to cover the parts. You can save the used chemical, but don't mix it with the un-used stuff. I would work with the used stuff for as many jobs as possible, and as more was used, continued to save it in a common container. When I had amassed a sufficient quantity of metal scrap (broken detail parts, brass sprues, metal trimmings, etc.), I'd dump them in the container of "spent" blackener, and remove them a few days later. After spreading the bits to dry on some newspaper, I had some more scrap for scrap loads - different metals colour differently, and nothing needs to be cleaned beforehand when things are left to soak for so long.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    I think that it should work well on your PCB ties, but be sure to follow the instructions exactly. Any chemical left in place will continue to "work", resulting in the efflorescence (or worse). :eek: I also used it to blacken some track, but I found the prep work to be time-consuming, and it was difficult to neutralise the chemical afterwards. I didn't apply a clear finish to any of this work, including the locos, as it had a finish that had a very metal-like quality to it. It also stood up well to handling, and didn't rub off, either.

    Wayne
  6. iis612

    iis612 Member

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    Here is an off the wall idea...
    Having been a police officer, I carry a weapon. That weapon shows "Holster wear", which is where the factory bluing (an odd term for black) is wearing.
    Go to a gun store and ask if they have re-bluing kits.
    Clean the area to be colored, and use the bluing dye. It holds up well to mechanical wear and tear.