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how to polish vintage bsa steel work by hand

Discussion in 'Vintage collectable airguns' started by peterpan, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. peterpan

    peterpan Engaging Member

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    im the last few months iv started restoring some old bsa springers at the mo im doing a mercury the black paint comes of easy enough but no matter how much i sand the blotching wont go its like the steel is stained .do i need a surtain kind of paper to get it silver or how it should be .will the blotching effect a bluing job?the barrel and action are smooth as glass ... ..i had the same problem with another bsa and i ended up spraying it which i dont want to do again any advise would be great as iv done the stock iv replaced the breech seal only had chance to put a few pellets through my chrony and its doin 91/2 ftp or there abouts is this about rite for a mk3 22 mercury ...shoots quite nice at that power and has a nice trigger
     
  2. Meteor62

    Meteor62 Major Poster

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    You need aluminium oxide paper to take out the rust pitting
     
  3. oliver13

    oliver13 Donator

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    9.5 is a bit low, when everything is right they should be nearer 11, it sounds like maybe a new spring & a bit of TLC for the piston head is in order.

    You can modify it to do without the buffer washer, worth 5 or 6mm of extra stroke, & use a smaller sectioned O ring than standard, the BSA one is a very tight power sapping fit - a lot of people recommend one for a Meteor but I found that was still bit tight too.
    I wouldn't bother with a Titan spring or any other quality brand, save a couple of quid & just use a BSA one for a Lightning/Supersport.

    It all adds up & it isn't unusual to find it has managed to creep over 12ftlb's.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  4. John90

    John90 Newbie

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    My Mercury was painted by me. Looking back probably the best/most practical gun I had. Lighter than my airsporter, powerful, and spot on with open sights. I guess the blotching will affect a blueing job. BSA started painting them anyway. I know bluing is not as luxurious, but you can get problems with DIY blueing which never seemed as long lasting as factory. Mine had a metal trigger which I was chuffed with, though it probably made no difference.
     
  5. oliver13

    oliver13 Donator

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    BSA used stove enamelling, I've no idea how to go about reproducing it. Whilst I prefer bluing it's nice being able to prop the gun in the corner & not worry about fingerprints rusting into the finish.
     
  6. Johnc61

    Johnc61 Donator

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    As pointed out, BSA painted/ enamelled their late Airsporter and Mercury models. My .22 Mercury had a clean, relube with original spring and new o ring and is consistent 11ft lbs.
     
  7. mattyts

    mattyts Donator

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    Start off at 240 grit if the pitting is severe,use it wet or with oil, go through every grade of wet and dry,usually up to 2,000.

    Then you can either buff it or carry on using micro mesh right up to 8,000 grit.
     
  8. Meteor62

    Meteor62 Major Poster

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    If there's pitting go for the aluminium oxide, going from rough to smoothest and then use the wet n dry, it will cut the time down no end.
     
  9. mattyts

    mattyts Donator

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    Or use MX Specific Micromesh,starts at 100 grit.
     
  10. kgambrell

    kgambrell Donator

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    Hi
    if your trying to polish steel the best start is with a fine cut file draw filing along the length of the cylinder. Once the worst of the pits have gone move on to draw filing with 120 grit emery cloth. Once all the file marks have gone move onto 180 grit still draw filing with the emery held along the length of the file. Once all the marks from the last grit are removed go on to 240 wet and dry paper and again remove all the previouse grit marks. Keep on going down the grits till you reach about 1200 or crocus paper. By this time you should have an almost perfect finish with no large scratches, this is the stage to start polishing with a decent metal polish or just have the gun re blued at that.
    Half the polishing jobs I see that are part done are buggered because the owner hasnt worked down through the grits properly.
    Going from something like 240 to a polishing mop will do nothing but polish the edges of the scratches leaving a poor finish.
    Polishing is all about hard work and putting a lot of time into getting what you want, there are no easy answers.

    Cheers Kevin
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  11. engraver

    engraver Keyboard Hero

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    Sorry Im just interested why you suggest draw filing along the length of a cylinder?

    Surely any emry should be used in the line of the orginal cylinder marks, ie turned finish, by draw filing you are putting in long full length lines into the cylinder.

    I know by going through the grades you will get them out eventually, but you have to take the same amount from the entire cylinder doing it that way, I would always go with the original line of the turned finish, that's just my own opinion, the only place I would draw file is around dove tails.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  12. mattyts

    mattyts Donator

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    Draw filing seems a little harsh,surely it can't be that bad :eek:
     
  13. darklord

    darklord Can’t beat a tx200 at 30m

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    I got mine media blasted and primed then sprayed. Cause I wanted it to be like original. They weren't meant to be blued 1 point unless you like pain a bigger spring won't do anything for power. The correct o ring will. It makes the difference between 9 - 11.5. I tried a Titan. Pain to get back together and kicked awful.
     
  14. kgambrell

    kgambrell Donator

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    Hi Engraver.
    Draw filing can be a very accurate way to work, removing only a few of thou is easily done with a good sharp file and some care. Draw filing a cylinder after machining will produce good results and certainly better than working emery around the cylinder. What you are doing draw filing is removing the last vestages of the helix formed by the lathe tool. Yes if your not carefull you can produce a series of long flats or a 50p piece rather than a cylinder, but blending the flats is part of the draw filing .
    If you have a cylinder with rust spots that are too deep to remove with emery on its own using the file helps to prevent ripples building up along the cylinder from using the emery.
    One of the jobs I do on a semi regular basis is making plug cocks steam and water tight. A plug cock uses a gunmetal plug that has a shallow taper that fits inside anothe taper of the same angle. Over time these start to pass steam or water due to wear maks around the plugs diameter. These can be re-machined but they never seal afterwards, the only way to get them to fit and seal is to draw file them along the length of the taper. In an un-filed state its suprising how wavey the surface finnish can be, and this causes the leaks.
    Thats a bit of an over simplification, I left out the hours with engineers blue and a smoke lamp.
    My point is if you want a close to perfect finish the draw file method works better than just using cloth or paper. It does take time and it is a lot of elbow brease but it works.
    On the flintlock plains rifle I built 15 plus years ago the barrel was draw filed and then emery clothed. The job took me a good few hours but I was always proud of the end result.

    Cheers Kevin
     
  15. engraver

    engraver Keyboard Hero

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    I understand Kevin, Ive spent 15 yrs on a vice draw filing myself.

    Usually mating two bottle mould halfs together and leaving a 0.04 slip gauge in the middle so draw file flat, then create the 0.04 hollow mill by file. and check with a slip gauge until its just biting the 0.04 slip gauge, it was heavy work bedding down as some of the moulds were 50kg.

    Before that I was a Holland and Holland shotgun actioner apprentice, so I filed and mated parts together using blacking lamps, and made all my own tools as all apprentices did, they had to be perfect or they went in the bin and you started again.

    In fact the very first interview at 18yrs old I was asked to do what you have explained but in miniature, I had to taper a round steel plug by file into a hole to fit tight then a square one, in my shirt and tie:D I had just completed my nvq level 3 in bench fitting by then back home so it wasn't a big deal, it was just the nerves of being in London as I had never even been to London and my dad drove me down rollocking me all the way down:D anyway they checked my excersises with engineering blue for witness signs all way around, and I was through to the next interview process,

    It took a full year and more interviews to actually be successful for the job, and the same for me to return back to Yorkshire as I hated living alone in London, but I got an engraver/bench fitting job back home on double the money so it was a no brainer but you lives and learns, Ive regretted it ever since.

    Only reason I questioned you method was after a long conversation with Colin malloy once at Manchester airguns, and he was running me through what he did with the rusty old HWs and BSAs to get them down to bare steel, he explained he just went the circumference of a barrel or action by hand and kept everything round, although Im sure on badly pitted guns he may have to draw file a few in his time, because obviously you can draw file first and round off afterwards before going down the grits.



    ATB Elliot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  16. zippy1

    zippy1 Donator

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    "although Im sure on badly pitted guns he may have to draw file a few in his time, because obviously you can draw file first and round off afterwards before going down the grits."

    Like Engraver says in post #15

    Using a "drawfile the lot" method removes alot of material unnecessarily. With a cylinder and barrel you might as well put it in the lathe and skim it all. It will be quicker and rounder (and just as undersized). better to draw file the damaged areas, feather it out, then go down the grit grades, then polish/blue or paint.

    This way the gun remains well finished and the correct size. ;)
     

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