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Bluing hands; copper / brass shavings idea ...

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Watching Leo Vidals video about how to blue hands, at one stage he uses copper / brass shavings to distribute the heat equally to the hands.

Most of the materials, or kinda equivalents thereof, used in this video I already have. Missing were fine copper / brass shavings. I guess for the most of us, not too expensive to get. But if you live in one of the Nordic countries, where the national sport seems to be to make everything as expensive as possible, a small 500gr bag of mixed sizes copper / brass shavings on eBay, including postage, sits around $20, of which the postage takes the biggest part. As mentioned in the video, one has to take care of the possible impurities in those shavings and the finer shavings are better.

Thinking about how to get copper / brass shavings cheaper, the idea came to me to chop up the fine copper-strands inside an electrical lead.


You can cut them as fine/short as you like, as many as you like and they are clean, no factory sweep 😉

One meter yields more than needed;


I do assume that these will work just as well and that they can be re-used .......


Edited by Endeavor
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This is an old thread, but there is a much easier way to consistently, repeatably and controllably blue watch hands, screws and other steelwork compared to the traditional pan of brass shavings over a flame. 

A small metal container of brass shavings, heated over an electric laboratory hotplate is very effective.

You have fine control of the hotplate temperature, and can achieve repeatable and consistent results by keeping records of what temperature was required to reach the desired colour for a certain type of steel. 

Beginners will achieve quality results, consistently, a lot quicker using a hotplate.

The hotplate has other uses too, such as heating an escapement meter for adjusting pallet stones, and more, but that is beyond the scope of the dial restoration forum. 

Best Regards,


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1 hour ago, Mercurial said:

heated over an electric laboratory hotplate is very effective.

That's another (nice) way of bluing.

All the equipment I used, I either had already or made it made it myself; "el-cheapo".

Since this article was written, I blued quite a few hands successfully. It's also a matter of learning the equipment you are using and by doing it more often, you gain experience. For me the "el-cheapo" way works.

But your "system" is nice too 😉


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16 hours ago, Endeavor said:

Since this article was written, I blued quite a few hands successfully. It's also a matter of learning the equipment you are using and by doing it more often, you gain experience. For me the "el-cheapo" way works.

There’s no doubt that the traditional method works, and works well. It has stood the test of time.

It does have a steeper learning curve, but as you say if you do it often enough and gain experience, the method is definitely sound. 

I feel that the cost of a lab hotplate is money well spent because of the other uses it also has.

The following is off topic in terms of bluing but

If you add a Pyrex measuring cup and thermometer you can anneal metals with reliable results.

As mentioned above it is handy for working on pallet stone adjustments, either with an escapement meter or a home made brass block with holes to accommodate fork pivots and guard pins, plus a means of holding the fork still. If using the brass block, precision adjustments to the pallet jewels are accomplished by the use of a reticule eyepiece in a microscope. 

This setup is easily the equal of a Bergeon escapement meter + bergeon heater for the meter, but for the same money you can buy a decent stereomicroscope, a reticule eyepiece and the hotplate, which are capable of doing much more than the escapement meter+heater are. 

Best Regards,



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