The following is the most descriptive written paper on the basics of weapon refinishing ever offered to the consumer. It is designed to answer 95 percent of the questions you might have about what we do.
First, we do industrial Chroming. Not Harley Davidson Bright, nor any of the softer flow coverings. You have all seen them chip and peel after time or turn color. Actually a precision firearm done that way could be dangerous to the shooter. This is alchemy whereas the finish bonds with the metal, it just doesn’t lie on top.
We have taken great pains to explain why we are different and offer more than just metal plating. It also serves to save you money and time. Few companies tell you what they really do, we have no reluctance to keep you informed. We feel we offer the best bang for the buck.
Honesty and being up front is what APWCOGAN is all about.
Just to let you know, we appreciate conversation but phone calls cost us both. We are a highly skilled, labor intensive business and the telephone is the number one distraction. On the other hand it is better than email if you have many questions. If we had to hire additional staff to answer questions we would have to raise the price of doing business.
In addition, we have very highly skilled technicians who have to produce a certain volume for us to stay competitive. We can’t be working on your gun if we are on the phone with you. We welcome your calls but we try to maintain a fast turnaround in a market that changes daily.
Again, our business is unique. We do not do bumpers, motorcycle parts, faucets or other household items… with the exception of and occasionally we’ll do golf clubs for custom putter builders, that’s our other downfall, we like to play once in a while and golfers like shooters have a favorite something they own and use and won’t part with.
Your guns final appearance is based on two factors. The surface treatment it receives and then the exterior top-coat or plating. These exterior coatings are either “Plated” or “Applied” finishes. Plated finishes are just that. Metallic particles applied through electricity to bond to the basic metal or alloy of the firearm. Applied finishes are sprayed above a pre-bonding layer onto the firearm and cured or hardened by heat. It’s that simple….sure if you’re an alchemist. And we are the only ones equipped to do it this way. This is not kitchen oven refinishing.
All of our plated finishes, are available in three levels of surface texturing, or luster. They are: “AS-IS” Matte, Matte, Brushed. Due to the tight tolerances of firearms, we must prepare the part prior to plating to the level of polish we want after the plating is applied. Our plate will look similar to the finish below. The Brushed Chrome is exaggerated for explanative purposes.
Matte finish looks almost like the background of the page you are looking at if you own a MAC. Obviously all computer screens cannot duplicate the exact pictures we are trying to show you but this should give you the simple differences you can expect to see.
Plated finishes of any kind offer the greatest wear resistance and a very high degree of corrosion resistance. The finish is the final covering of metal that resides on the surface of the firearm or golf club. What ever the metal surface looks like before plating, when plated, it looks the same. So we first create a surface, like matte or brushed or high polish and then we plate and the plate takes on he characteristics of the metal.
Most plated finishes have hardness ratings greater than the base metal they are applied to. And offer superb corrosion resistance in the 100 salt test level. Preparation: We use both chemical, stuff you don’t normally find in your garage and manual methods such as buffing and sanding to prepare the metal for finishing.
We have to remove the old finish and make sure the surface is properly prepared to accept and bond to the new finish. The plated finishes like chrome easily restore the dimensions lost from the removal to insure proper function.
Proper preparation includes the texture, acidity, or neutralization, cleanliness, flaw removal, parts fit, and a hundred other things….
First we strip off the old finish. Our normal procedure is to remove flaws prior to final blasting. We use a mixture of fine and medium glass beads for our matte finishes which adds to the otherwise flat look of bead blasting.
In other words, you cannot plate firearms as you would plate a bumper. Bumpers are dip-dunked plated using multiple-layers of soft plate to fill the flaws which cuts down on the hand labor involved in getting to your final finish.
Our standard Matte finish is used on certain areas of guns for glare reduction as with the top of the slide on a .45. Also it is very popular on smaller concealed weapons. It’s very durable, just not as pretty as the brushed look.
The most common surface finish is Matte since we get a lot of older functioning but not pretty rusted or blued guns looking for an uplift and back into service.
While we can tape off the flat surfaces of most slides perfectly it is next to impossible to accomplish on a frame do to all the curved areas.
Brushed finishes are skillfully created by the application of a 400 greaseless grit and buffer wheel combination applied by the technician. If you were to look at it under a powerful magnification, it would appear similar to the picture.
Only our most skilled technicians do the brush finishes. It is our most popular. Most of the actual gun pictures on this site are the brushed chrome look. There are combinations available of some surfaces brushed and other parts of the same piece matted.
Brushed finishes have a brighter sheen but are not as reflective as you might think. Brushed finishes are applied after flaw removal and preparatory bead blasting have been performed and has a subdued luster.
The firearms manufacturers do this by clamping a padded frame to each side of the frame being textured with the blaster. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of having extra frames available for all the different firearms manufactured. Even 1911 Colt Style pistols vary in configuration of sections of the frame from manufacturer to manufacturer.
So at AP&W, we will matte the top and rear of the slide and the top rear of frame only. This gives the shooter a totally non-reflective sighting surface.
“BRIGHT POLISH DISCONTINUED”
Master finishes were handled by Bob Cogan and our shop foreman only and were fairly labor intense operations. To retain the sharp lines and angles of the piece being worked on you need a pristine touch and an artists feel for the tools.
We see many that come here that have been worked on by others, that have lost the appeal and original shape of the weapon or firearm and it’s almost impossible to bring that back.
There are alterations we might do to save the piece from a butcher job and make it useful. (Stippling, Flattening, Checkering, Resurfacing, Flat finishing, Milling etc.) Any Firearm not listed will be quoted individually by phone or email.
Jan 28, 2010, 10:52 AM