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How to restore black markings on dials and tools

Discussion in 'MACHINE RESTORATION & WAY SCRAPING' started by tfleming, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. tfleming

    tfleming United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I just acquired a couple of machinist tools that were a bit rusted. They cleaned up nicely, but the scale numbers lost their "black" background. What do you guys use to restore the "black" in the numbers and scale on tools and dials?
     
  2. f350ca

    f350ca Canada Active User Active Member

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    Haven't tried it on a scale YET, about a year ago I made a new engraved dial for the down feed on my shaper. I used chemical cold blueing on it then polished the surface with fine emery paper. The blueing came off the surface but remained in the lines and numbers. Very easy to read and no sign of wear yet.

    Greg
     
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  3. NortonDommi

    NortonDommi New Zealand Active Member Active Member

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    Hi,
    I've just redone the oil level indicator plates on an old mill. I used a technique I learned from my dad some 50 years ago.
    Thin some enamal paint to about spraying consistency and using a bit of wadded rag dip in pait and then wipe across lines/marks ect in one direction only.
    Useing another,(tightly), wadded clean rag wipe across surface quickly and lighty, again in one,(the same as above), direction only.
    The first wipe deposits paint in the mark and the second removes surplus from the surrounding surface.
    This technique is used in 'antiqueing' cheap pot-metal parts and the like.
    If you don't like the result just wipe off the still freash paint and try again.
    I'd post a pick but I just put them back on last night.
     
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  4. tfleming

    tfleming United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks guys, those are right along the lines I was thinking. What I am debating on, is what "paint" to use. Lacquer? Enamel? Dykem? Sharpie? While these won't be expose to solvents, they will be exposed to cutting oil and way oil, etc. I used a light gun oil on all my tools when storing them, so whatever I use should resist oil.
     
  5. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Black urethane spray. We used it as a protective coat on a lab robot and the only way I found to remove it was to scrape it off with a razor blade. Paint stripper, acetone , lacquer thinner, etc. wouldn't touch it.
     
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  6. Dabbler

    Dabbler H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I'll second the urethane spray... I painted my lathe stand and chip tray and none of the cutting fluids or varsol has touched it. That was 35 years ago!
     
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  7. tfleming

    tfleming United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Ok, makes sense on the urethane. So, do they sell it in small touch up sticks or do I have to buy a whole can of it?
     
  8. Hidyn

    Hidyn Canada Active Member Active Member

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    I watched a video of a guy using wax crayon to fill in the selector switch engravings for his rifle. He used white and red and it looked great!

    I haven't tried it myself yet though.
     
  9. Silverbullet

    Silverbullet Active Member Active Member

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    I've used the wax pencil routine for years , it's just rub it in and off the excess. I've used black ink too. Takes a bit of work for that tho. Has to be scrapped off leaving the numbers and lines filled.
     
  10. 4gsr

    4gsr Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    If any of you old timers like me have your old Rapidograph ink pens from doing ink Mylar drawings in the stone age days, a 00 or 000 pen with appropriate ink, if you can still get ink for them, should work good. May have to repolish the OD of the dial to remove the excess.
     
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  11. tfleming

    tfleming United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    thanks! I am going to try a couple of the suggestions
     
  12. Sblack

    Sblack Canada Active Member Active Member

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    If you go to the youtube channel Robrenz (robin renzetti), first you will get to see a true artist at work. This guy deals in 10ths all day long. In one of his earliest videos he regrinds and scrapes in Tom Lipton's old precision level. There are engravings and he restores those by mixing "carbon black" (whatever that is) with epoxy. At least I think it was that - go check it out. He answers comments so if you asked he would get back to you. An amazing channel but you might want to quit after seeing his work. He is a toolmaker's toolmaker.
     
  13. kd4gij

    kd4gij United States Active User Active Member

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