Refinishing a Peacemaker Part 3

Refinishing a Peacemaker Part 3

The pursuit of imperfection

By Dennis Adler

Why save the fame for last? It has more curves and small areas to work around than the rest of the gun and it has the most open surface areas where debris from polishing the surface can get into exposed mechanisms. It’s the blue tape prep job.

This is where we are starting today with the frame still bearing its Umarex weathered finish. You should note that the pitting in the left recoil shield was part of the weathered finish and there is nothing that can be done about that, but, the color case finish I will be applying in Part 4 will help blend that in. Some areas of the frame will still have some dark weathered finish remaining but that again will blend in with the application of bluing and oil mix used to create the faux case colored appearance. You can also see the amount of space behind and in front of the cylinder and frame and this must be sealed off.

Covering all openings

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If you hold the gun up and look at the side you can see all the open spaces that are in front of and behind the cylinder. These open areas need to be sealed off as much as possible, starting with the cylinder, which gets wrapped. You need to tear a strip of blue tape and then tear off the extra width and save it. Put the first piece at the top of the cylinder with an edge protruding past the front, and then with the hammer on half cock rotate the cylinder and press the tape onto the cylinder. Then turn in the front edges. Use the narrow strip of tape you tore off to do the back of the cylinder.

Wrapping the entire cylinder with blue tape is important to keep debris out of the cylinder and other parts of the action. You will note there is a short overlap of the tape at the front of the cylinder. This will be folded over as we continue to wrap the cylinder and block openings to the action.
Here, blue tape has been applied in strips and smaller pieces to completely seal off the cylinder from any openings between the cylinder and frame.

Last, tape the openings of the chambers and then open the loading gate and tape over the back of the exposed chamber with small pieces of tape. You want the cylinder totally isolated from any debris. Take a clean cotton patch and use it to seal off the open space with the hammer left at half cock. I used small pieces of tape to finish off covering the hammer opening into the frame. I am also going to try and preserve the patent dates on the frame with blue tape. Now, it’s time to start polishing out the frame.

I used a cotton patch to fill the space between the hammer at half cock and the frame to prevent any debris from getting into the action. This will also be backed up with a little blue tape to keep the patch in place.
All of the openings have been sealed off as much as possible and a small piece of tape used to protect the white letter patent dates and Rampant Colt emblem.

Working in smaller, tighter places and on smaller surfaces, I have cut the 3M pad into smaller pieces to work in fine, short strokes where needed. In order to get the back of the frame where it meets the grips I removed each panel and taped up the grip frame.

Because so many small areas have to be polished off, I cut one of the 3M pads into smaller pieces to work in tight spots with just a finger tip for working the area.
I ended up removing the grip panels and taping off the grip frame to work on the edges of the frame where it meets the grips, as shown here.

With the lower frame polished out there remains the topstrap, small curves in the frame and the loading gate; both outside and inside of the frame where the loading gate closes. This is a very lightly built part and you need to exercise as light a touch as possible on the gate and support it with your other hand when applying any pressure.

Having removed as much of the weathered finish as possible I have lightly gone over the white lettering to remove some of the finish but not degrade the letters or Colt emblem. You need to be very careful here and work lightly with only the steel wool. While I am uncertain how this will work out with the faux case colors, the lettering and Rampant Colt should remain.
Here I have polished off the topstrap and the sighting channel. This is where the faux case colors will (should) make the frame look very authentic. Also note the left recoil shield has been polished out. Next come the right side and loading gate.
The lower frame was easy to polish off and I am also getting into the right recoil shield. Again notice how well taped off the cylinder is to prevent debris from getting into parts of the firing mechanism like the cylinder ratchet, bolt, and hand.
Working on the loading gate requires a delicate touch as it is a comparatively fragile part of the gun. Applying pressure with your thumb or index finger when polishing helps work off finish in some hard to reach areas. Be sure to use light pressure on the closed gate because it is only anchored to the frame at the bottom edge, and you don’t want to bend the mount or push the gate forward. Light, easy application of the 3M pad, spend more time, use less force.

Going over small areas that have seams is not as critical as flat surfaces, as these small corners would be protected areas and the refinishing with bluing and oil will fill them in nicely. They will come up a little darker as would be on an old, weathered Colt SAA.

And the loading gate and frame are done. Now everything needs another polish.
I got a new piece of 0000 steel wool for the final polish, and then lightly buffed all the surfaces again, using the Dust Off along the way to blow off any debris.

With all areas covered, the gun will get one final rub down with 0000 steel wool before it is checked for function again (remember there is still CO2 in the grip frame) and then it will be ready for a wipe down to remove any remaining oils or debris before starting the bluing process in Part 4.

This is the end of today’s work with the gun completely polished out. At the end I went over it with the Gesswein polishing cloth to get the finish as bright and smooth as possible before starting the bluing application. The Gesswein jeweler’s polishing cloth is the same as used by engraves for polishing guns, so it’s the right choice. You can get them online. Some areas are really hard to reach and remain a little dark, as can be seen, but you can leave them a little dark. Why? This is supposed to be a worn gun that was once factory blued and color casehardened. The finish on western guns that saw a lot of use will vary in wear, and corners, edges, and parts that were not rubbed by holsters, will retain the finish not worn away over time. This will work in your favor when applying the new finish. As for the grips, new white grips will be used and you can leave it at that. I am going to age the grips as a separate part of the final piece in the series.

1 thought on “Refinishing a Peacemaker Part 3”

  1. No tears for taking off the NRA markings . Pyramid should offer a no finish option, with Colt markings. The other possibility would be to have some one recut or laser engravethe barrel markings.. A lot of work , but shaping up to be a nice single action

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