Time to get cracking on this beast. It’s easily in the worst shape of the four Hales grenades. Not only is it pitted from excessive rusting it has also been painted…. even the brass is painted. I have no idea why someone would do this, but don’t paint your grenades. The caveat to that is if you have to use JB weld or some filler that is not going to take to blueing. I have no idea what kind of paint this is, hopefully it comes off easily. Since it is so pitted I’m worried about getting paint out of the pits. I’m trying to decide how to go about this. I could try electrolysis, it worked fairly well at removing the little bit of paint that was on Hales 3. I could try a gel paint remover. I could toss it into a fire, but I’m not sure if the brass parts could with stand that level of heat. It’ll probably be a combination of things to get it cleaned up.
Disassembly wasn’t too bad, as far as getting the pin out and the collar off. The windvane offered some resistance but it came free after some wiggling back and forth. It was a surprise to see the condition after getting the collar and windvane off. I’m starting to think the neck was on a grenade that had exploded. You can see that paint line, it become pretty obvious next to real brass.
I could not get the two side pins to come out, they are what is keeping the firing pin from being removed. I tried using a metal rod and tapping the firing pin from the flat side to push the two little pins out, it’s worked before, but not this time. They look pretty corroded and partially covered in paint. I decided to go ahead with the paint stripper and hope it might help dislodge whatever is keeping the pins from being removed.
- Paint stripper gel
- Washing soda for Electrolysis
- 1 inch wire wheels
- 1.5 inch wire wheels
- Birchwood Casey Super Blue
- Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black
- Steel wool
- Flex Shaft Rotary tool
It’s the next day and the paint stripper hasn’t done much of anything for the brass, but the paint on the steel is coming off. I’m starting to think that it’s not paint, but it is very odd looking. I’ve also got to figure out how to deal with the blackened top of the neck. But for now I’m going to start electrolysis on the frag body because there is some rust on the inside and it should help remove any residual paint on the surface.
Not much came off of this hales during the electrolysis, which is surprising. I guess it makes sense, you would want to remove the rust before painting, and whoever did it, did a pretty good job. After drying it off I did the usual wire wheel treatment.
I then turned my attention back to the neck. I seriously thought it was paint but Chris (aka teecrooz) pointed out it might be bead blasted, and he was right. I was able to confirm that it was by putting some aluminum black on one of the parts not used for a lightsaber, and it took. Everyone give him a high five for figuring that out.
Those side pins would not come free, and I still had some paint stripper gel in the crevices, so I put it in a cup of super hot water and dish soap to sit over night. The next morning I was able to pop the pins out by putting a steel rod in the end and tapping it on the ground.
You can see where the neck is dark at the top and lighter at the bottom, which happens to be the exact opposite of what we want, so I had to figure out how to get that dark stuff off. Turns out the wire wheel is the greatest bit for everything. It took it off but not easily. I was worried that it would mar the brass, but it didn’t. It did make it look super shiny.
Now we are in a good place. I used aluminum black to darken the bottom of the neck and windvane like I usually do. And then give it a light rub down with steel wool.
The final touch to the neck is to age the brass since I polished the top while getting whatever that dark stuff was off. To do this I fill a cup with a little bit of ammonia, I take this another smaller cup that is barely big enough to fit the neck base in and set the neck base in it, and then the whole thing in the ammonia cup. Then cover it with plastic wrap to trap the fumes. If it doesn’t make sense maybe this pic will help and you can always watch the video.
Now with the neck finished, I move back to the frag body to apply the blueing. I did the usual two treatments, but it took longer to polish because of all of the pits in the metal.
We have to protect it from rust so I gave it a hose down of Barricade.
Thank you Ian (aka The Ninja) for sending these to me to work on, it’s been fun and a learning experience.