The next step is to use a heat gun to dry the solution and heat the metal. This opens the pours of the metal and allows the the bluing to hold better. A powdery rust will form all over the water jacket...this is good! This mean the solution is doing its job.

Here we have a dry rusty blued water jacket. I am now preparing to lock in the black finish by spraying down the entire water jacket with WD-40. Regular oil works as well. I like WD-40. Spray a bunch in a bowl and apply it liberally with brushes and let it soak in for a few minutes.






First things first - There are a million ways to apply a blued finish with a million different chemicals and procedures. This is the way I chose to due this (FOR THIS PROJECT) with out the use of expensive chemicals and to un-complicate the procedure. I have had great results and it works good for me. Feel free to go your own way....but remember the cardinal rule when restoring or preserving artifacts "DO NO HARM".


After about 4 or 5 hours of very detailed work, I was able to complete the removal of the paint on the water jacket without damaging the existing finish on the receiver. Its best to work slowly and accurately to preserve the remaining original finish. The Vickers is now ready to begin restoring the blued finish on the water jacket.

The Vickers Project is complete except for the leather strap that attaches just below the ID plate. I need to find a period 1 inch roller buckle that will work for this project, then I will make the strap with harness leather which is what was used by the military back then. I am very pleased with how the gun looks now; and will display very well in public. I have succeeded in restoring the original untouched feel for this weapon, something that museums across the globe strive to accomplish.       D.L. O'Neal

The finish on this Vickers was someones attempt to reproduce the battlefield practice of painting the water jacket olive drab as seen in many vintage WW1 pictures. The problem on this gun is poor research, and the use of the wrong materials and application of paint. The individual who selected this paint appears to have used hobby olive drab spray paint and masked off the areas not to be painted.

The problems when photographing this artifact as shown in the pictures.

1. The water jacket has a new paint job look to it and does not match the age of the weapon.

​2. The finish is obviously spray painted. The paint should have been applied by brush as was common in that era

3. When photographing with a flash, this modern paint reacts by reflecting light

What WW1 Preservation Collection will do to restore this artifact.

1. Chemical strip the modern olive drab paint.

2. Restore the factory bluing on the water jacket

3. Artificially age the water jacket until it matches the rest of the gun

4. Chemical strip post war paint on the tripod 

5. Hand clean all the brass and bronze components

6. Restore factory bluing on tripod and possibly re-paint color matched WW1 color

7. Reproduce leather straps

Now its time to use the steel wool pad. This is where you must be very careful to blend the newly applied finish of the water jacket with the original existing finish on the receiver. The use of the steel wool pad with the WD-40 will allow you to create a worn finish on the high areas and corners. Be advised - Go slow and pay attention to what you are doing. Use common sense in the areas you are blending. Understand where the wear areas would have been. The Idea is to wear off the bluing in the natural areas that would have rubbed over the years. Corners and high points, also areas that where a lot of touching may have ocured. When you think you are done, wipe down the whole water jacket with a clean cloths, get all the WD-40 off. When you are finished wiping you should be able to wipe the water jacket down with a clean dry cloth and it will remain clean and dry. Your final action is to sparingly apply oil or WD-40 to the entire surface to protect it. I like to use Briwax to protect the surface of my metal items. You can order it online. A lot of museums use it for bayonets, helmets, tools etc.


Now that the Vickers Gun is complete, it is now time to work on the Tripod. That will be the next session and I have a good idea of how I will clean that up.

For this project I am using Birchwood Casey "Perma Blue". Its cheap and can be found at most sporting goods stores that have a hunting department. I poured the bluing solution into a small bowl and applied with a disposable chip brush. Apply it liberally a quickly over the entire water jacket, rotating the machine gun as required to access the whole water jacket. Once everything has been it again. This time go slowly working in the chemical to all areas slowly. Saturate the water jacket heavily.

The water jacket has been aged, and I am really satisfied with its appearance. It blends nicely with the receiver and it looks the way it should, not covered by that crappy modern green spray paint.

I always keep some harness leather around so I can manufacture replacement straps when required. I cut my own straps and hand sew them based on period photos or pictures. Ultimately if you have the original drawings is best. I had to order the correct roller buckle to complete my project. I am using a 1 inch solid brass reproduction roller buckle. I chemically blackened the brass to add tarnish, then I buffed some of the blacking off so the brass would show through as wear spots. It comes out looking pretty natural and that is the effect I need.


To prepare the surface for bluing, even out the surface pattern by using a scotchbrite pad. I used it over the entire water jacket in the fore and aft direction. When complete, wipe the entire surface down with a clean lint free cloth soaked with acetone. It is important to remove any oils, dirt, grease from the object you are bluing. From this point on you cannot touch the metal with bare hands, your skin oil will leave marks.



My evaluation of the Vickers tripod is the paint is original, and I want to keep it intact. I will remove the painted on red "drill purpose" bands on the legs. The whole tripod needs to be disassembled and cleaned. The brass components are so tarnished that they are black with grime. This piece of original equipment should be PRESERVED and not restored. This tripod will look great with a lots of work and an eye for detail.

I started using Paint Stripper but it only softened the paint and would not make it bubble up. This was not satisfactory for overall paint removal, however I used it in hard to reach areas. I switched to using soft wire brushes over the majority of the surface area with excellent results.


preserving the past...for the future