I know this sounds really frou-frou to a lot of you out there, but doing a ground up on my car has really brought out the archaeologist in me. It's become a challenge to bring the car as closely as possible to what it looked like the day it left the factory. Of course the body paint will be quite different due to materials available now but this is the general plan.
It is not possible to have the steel blackening kits shipped here from the States and the one I found in UK was enough to set up a full scale factory. Finally found a place locally where they will do the blackening process on my T's hardware. Before I take everything in, I would like to confirm exactly what was raven finished on the 1927 Model T Roadster so I don't have to piece meal this work.
As I understand it all nuts, bolts, screws and washers were raven finish from the factory excepting:
- Screws on dashboard
- Windshield panel adjusting nuts
- Head bolts
- The six domed bolts on water inlet/outlet and front crankcase clamp
- Demountable rim attaching hardware
- Steering wheel nut
- Running board bolt heads
- Wood wheel hub bolts & nuts
- Radiator apron screw
Painted body color
-Door sill bolts
- Brake rod clevis & pin
- Clutch clevis & pin
- Low speed adjusting screw
- Top saddle mounting studs
- Spring clips
I'm probably forgetting something blatantly obvious so, what else do I need to throw in the "blackening pile"?
I'm not sure that's entirely accurate for US made cars. Many nuts and bolts were unfinished and painted black after assembly on the production line. The same held true for rods and clips. Anything that was installed and bare on the chassis was daubed with black paint. Some, on occasion, were missed or lightly coated but chassis parts were black.
Don't they have gun shops in Spain? You can get blackening and/or bluing chemicals, in small bottles, there.
Even though it's called gun "bluing," the finish is pretty much a satin black. I have a friend who is a gunsmith here, and he "blues" Model T parts for me.
You have left out a critical piece of information. Processes changed over the 19 year production run. What year was your car made?
The cost to have it done is quite reasonable, about 15 Dollars for the 11 lbs of hardware I have ready to go. That includes: degrease, strip any zinc off of more modern hardware, prep and blacken. I don't think I could even buy a kit for that much and then I'd still have all the prep to do.
Well, even if I have something blackened and it's supposed to be painted, I can always apply paint over the new finish.
Trent, it's a 27 Roadster. I hid this info in the middle of the text somewhere.
I don't know if it is correct (others here will), but you might consider having some of the tools in your tool kit refinished (Ford wrenches and such).
I suspect all the clips used to hold the wiring looms in place were raven finished.
Allan from down under.
Add to the nickel plated
- 4 manifold bolts
- 2 valve cover bolts
Wayne, good idea. They must have been raven when new and it just wore off as they were used. The pin which holds the spiral nut on the adjustable wrench doesn't look like it was ever treated, but I don't think I'd go so far as to disassemble them before putting them through the blackening process.
Allan, I bought new clips which came in raven. The original ones are quite deformed and some are missing but I'll have them refinished just in case.
Thanks for your input.
For your interest folks. When last at my plater's shop I discovered some black plating. As cadmium is no longer used, they have developed zinc plating in different colours. There's silver like T rims and wheel bolts and nuts, yellow, which mimics the old Cadmium, black and now army green!!!! They do some defence work and when I mentioned the army drab green colour of my new roadster, he pulled out some samples of the army green they had been doing.
I live and learn.
allan from down under.
It looks like Eric has a good service ready to do what he wants, but for those who want to try gun bluing here's a sample.
As Mike says, it's actually satin black. Available and inexpensive at any gun shop.
We know that paint will flake off modern cad plated hardware. My solution for that is a dip in muriatic (hydrochloric) acid. It will quickly strip off the plating. Just be careful not to breathe the fumes. After stripping and rinsing, I give the parts a bath in metal prep (phosphoric acid) which etches the metal for paint adhesion and fights rust.
Look at some factory photos of late T's after or during assembly. The raven finished bolts and other parts don't show up the same in the photos, and are easily identified.
I'm not sure all of it is supposed to be raven, but today I dropped off 37 lbs of Model T hardware, tools, spark plugs (thanks for the idea Steve) and other miscellaneous parts to have the blackened finish applied. Some pieces will be painted afterwards but this way they are better protected from rust and the paint has a better base onto which to stick. Cost is around a buck a pound which includes stripping any zinc, paint or corrosion before the hot bath.
Black oxide is the only metal treatment this company does so there is obviously a demand for it. I saw tubs of what looked like rivets and rows of large brackets formed from strap metal.
I'll post some pics of the finished product.
Within the last two weeks, I purchased NOS 1/4-20 square nuts, 1/2" across the flats, and NOS side curtain clips, all raven finished. With a little rubbing with a soft cotton cloth, they get a nice satin glow after all these years.
Larry, could you post a picture of the side curtain clips?
Are side curtain and top clips and hardware raven?
Eric, I don't believe they used the clips I have in '26. They did use the square nuts however, but you can't see them. They are definitely raven finished.
The hardware used to attach my side curtains:
I "borrowed" the images from internet so the lengths may vary, but you get the idea.
The side curtains were purchased many moons ago and are made of cobra grain which I think is not correct for my car so the hardware may not be correct either.
I have a new top to install but haven't looked to see if any hardware was included. If any of it's supposed to be raven I would like to know before installing any of it.
The fasteners, Lift the Dot style were used on '26-'27, along with a special push button style finger grip fastener. All were nickel plated in those years.
Looking at original photos of these T's you can see the glint of plated parts.
used for small rear gypsy side curtains, up the rear iron bow, and on the body side panel for touring cars.
Here are pics of the before and after:
Here is the table in the middle of sorting. I took pictures of everything beforehand and made notes of the size and type of hardware used on the car.
The tools appear here. Everything is still pretty shiny, the oil treatment is still quite wet. It dries if absorbed with a little towling and the look becomes more satin.
I'm very happy with the outcome.
I did learn some things about hot blackening of steel and iron:
The cleaning process previous to the plating will remove surface rust, zinc plating and oil. It does not remove paint, carbon, nickel plating or heavy rust. Parts painted in black lacquer did however plate quite well... don't know why.
Brass parts come out shining like new, some were mixed in by mistake.
Just as with painting, the surface preparation will affect the final outcome. Pitted surfaces continue to be pitted with a nice black finish over them. If the surface is smooth then the finish is smooth and if the surface is polished the finish is beautiful. I saw a tray of hardened steel drill chucks that looked like pieces of art.
Aluminum, I was told, will be eaten up in the cleaning treatment. I wanted to have the choke rod done but don't know how to remove the knob.
Anyone know how to remove the 26-27 choke/mixture rod knob?
I don't think you can. The brass knobs on the earlier rods are separate, but I believe the aluminum knobs of all years are formed on the rods.
I was afraid of that Steve.
I could try heating it and dropping it in oil but the aluminum knob may not like that much heat right next to it (that's the area that needs the treatment).
Looks like I may have to get a cold blueing solution after all.
The only time the rod next to the knob is visible is when you pull it out to choke. Why bother? For that little bit I'd just shoot a little Rustoleum on it.
Man that stuff is pretty!
AND ideas about gun bluing?
Such a cool thread!
I was treating some rust on the timer rod with 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water, and forgot it for four days. The part exposed to the liquid came out in a dark grey color, almost like a weak blackening treatment.
Now I have my choke/mixture rod in it. We'll see what happens...