Black Oxide Bolts

Do-It-Yourself Black OxideA couple of weeks ago I was gathering fasteners to send to my friend in Tucson to be zinc plated. I discovered that none of the fender style bolts (self tapping) were zinc plated. Instead they were treated with black oxide. My experience with black oxide is that they tend to start rusting almost immediately. I was checking out my 1929 Model ‘A’ Ford at Christmas and noticed the 15 year old black oxide tail light bolts were solid rust and this car has always been in dry Arizona.
Black oxide is also known as blueing. The original process for hot blueing involves using blueing salts and boiling water. A more timely method, but better looking, is the rust blue process where the steel is coated, placed in boiling water, carded (fancy term for knocking off the roughness), and repeated. I know this because I use to help my Dad blue rifles.
In my hast, I went to the internet to find a way to get my bolts coated with black oxide. I came across Caswell’s website and watched the Youtube video and witnessed how quickly their kit converts steel to black oxide. Within a few minutes, they demonstrated the parts going from raw steel to having the black oxide coating. I decided to give it a try.
It took a week to get the kit and I was anxious to get black oxide on parts. I decided to do the bolts and nuts that fasten the bar that connects the two front spring shackles. I also ordered the rust dissolver (which also works great) but opted to sand blast the parts. After blasting I rinsed the parts with water, swirled around in the black oxide solution for two minutes, rinsed with water again, then dipped in the penetrating sealant. I let the parts dry over night and installed them. I bought black oxide grade eight bolts and the threaded portion is seen in the above picture. Just to the right are the bolts I did. The shade of black is almost identical to the bolts I purchased. I’m very happy with the results and really hope the penetrating sealant inhibits the rust.

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