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Old 11-11-2008, 12:07 PM
Don Halter's Avatar
Don Halter Don Halter is offline
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Parkerizing 101

I was sitting her avoiding real work and thought I'd post some how-to info for how I parkerize blades and such. This is not "THE" way, just "my" way. Always follow the directions on your parkerizing kit with regards to dilution of the concentrate and priming the diluted solution with steel wool and such.

Well, I finally got the parkerizing up and going. I figured since I didn't have it set up at the hammer-in, I'd do a quick how to here.

This is the solution sold at Brownells supplies being used here. I'll be getting a much more concentrated supply next week...since my wife though this was dirty water on the stove and dumped it down the sink shortly after these pics were taken!

EDITED: I got some of the concentrated stuff from CALVAN that sells for ~$12( I think it's up to $20 now) and can make round 5 gallons. This made a great jet black coating, but it just didn't adhere well. I tried several different methods from pre heating parts in distilled water and post-boiling in distilled water, to a variety of oils as well. The finish always seemed very powdery and just rubbed off.

I've used another pre-mix similar to Brownells and have very good results with it, but I threw the original container away and don't remember the brand. It and the Brownell's leave a nice even durable finish. I did one of my Congo-trip knives with an extra heavy finish that left a very coarse textured jet black coating. This has proven to be very durable.


The first pic here is the parts just prior to the parkerizing. I blasted them with 80 grit garnet. I used to use glass beads, but the garnet seems to get a more even finish and produce better finish after parkerizing. It blends in minor rubs and scratches before parkerizing also. The blades were finished to 400 grit before blasting. The FAL muzzle brakes were just blasted.




Next pic is the pot being used. A key element in home chemical use is waiting until your wife steps out for a bit so you can use her good stainless pots. Use only stainless for parkerizing tanks. Find a container your blades will freely move about in.





Next, I pour in the solution, then fire it up over a medium heat. I heat it up to about 160-180*F. Several people have been suprised to see me dunk an entire knife in the solution. G10, micarta and epoxy are stable at parkerizing temps, so as long as you haven't used any non-waterproof materials (paper spacers, leather, wood, ivories, bone, etc), this doesn't hurt the knife and eliminates any scratches and such you might get from handle-finishing a pre-parkerized blade.






After you use the solution a few times, you'll get a "gunk" build up. This will break up and dissolve into the solution and is no big deal.


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Last edited by Don Halter; 05-25-2009 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:17 PM
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Once your solution comes up to temp, it's ready to be used. I heat until it just starts to get a bit of steam coming off. I've never notice any odors or noxious fumes coming off this, but a general rule of thumb is that if it's not air, it's not good to breath, so don't hover with your face right over the pot and use a vent if your stove has one.

I wash the parts using liquid dial soap and warm water right before putting them in. This removes any inadvertant fingerprints and dust that got on them. Do not touch the surfaces to be parkeized with skin between cleaning and parkerizing.

Here you see a muzzle brake getting dipped. I used a coated coat hanger placed so that it didn't touch any visible areas. When dunked, if you're at the right temp, you'll see little bubbles coming off the part as it begins to darken.




This brake was dipped for about five-eight minutes and has a pretty thick smooth finish.
Different steels will react differently. Likewise, the hardened section of a differentially heat treated blade will color lighter than the normalized areas. Here you see the knife getting dipped as well. The solution will start to get cloudy as you use it. This is normal. I slowly agitate the part to make sure the solution is well mixed and an even temp and that any crud floating around doesn't settle in one spot and result in a "spec" in the finish. Don't let your part rest on the bottom of the pan, as there will be hot spots there that result in uneven parkerizing finish as well.




I use a pair of chromed locking pliers to hold the knife. The flats don't leave any marks and are just tight enough to keep it from slipping.




If you need to lift your part out to see how dark it is, DO NOT let it start to dry and then dip it back in. You'll get what looks like water marks in the finsh. Also, DO NOT TOUCH THE FINISH WHILE WET WITH PARKERIZING SOLUTION!!! If you do, it will rub off instantly. When you reach the color/thickness finish you want, take it out and dip in a distilled water bath. Do not use running water, the force of the running water can rinse off some of the finish. Once rinsed in the water bath, allow to dry. The finish is permamnent now. Be sure it's completely dry, then oil with your favorite oil.

You're done now. Be sure to leave a note aplogizing to your wife for the use of her pots and to make sure she knows it's "important" chemicals, not dirty water in the pots. On a serious note, this will slightly roughen the finish on a stainless pot, but nothing steel wool or 1000 grit wet/dry paper can't fix, but keep it in mind before using any "good pots", or you will hear about it later...trust me.

Here's the parts I did today. Up close, you can see the difference in steels and finishes. I'm guessing the brakes are 4140 or similar and the knives are 5160. A close up of the knife shows a nice even finish after being oiled.




Here's the heavy duty coating. This was done at ~180*F for 20 minutes. The steel is 5160.



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Last edited by Don Halter; 05-25-2009 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:41 PM
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TexasJack TexasJack is offline
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A couple of thoughts:

First, I may pass on the next offer of soup at Halter's.

Second, I've been told that you can run some wax down the parts you don't want parkerized (like the inside of a barrel).

Don's parkerizing looked pretty good on the knives we saw at the hammer-in last weekend.


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Old 07-22-2009, 10:57 AM
Will Will is offline
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How durable is it compared to some of the bake on ceramic coatings and such?

Thanks for the tutorial.


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Old 03-25-2014, 09:38 PM
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White Feather White Feather is offline
 
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Old thread but thanks Don. Great tutorial!


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