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at4rxj
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Posted: 9/30/2009 10:58:13 AM
I'm going to be refinishing a barrel, upper and lower, and possibly a buffer tube. I'm going back and forth between duracoat and cerakote. I've used duracoat before just to refinish a handguard, and had good results from it.

The cerakote looks a little more complicated. There's air cure and oven cure, and I don't know which to look at. What have you guys used as far as cerakote, and for those of you that used both, what are your impressions of them?

Thanks in advance!
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Col 3:23-24
Juicespeare1
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Posted: 9/30/2009 10:22:41 PM
[Last Edit: 10/1/2009 12:23:55 AM by Juicespeare1]
I prefer the air cure Cerakote over the oven cure.

If you have the time and space to use the air cure, 5 days, then that's what I'd recommend. I let mine cure for a full 6 days just to be safe.

I've used both and prefer the air cure.

Here's why.

The oven cure needs to be mixed with hardner and the ratio is important. Once mixed you cannot put the paint back into the bottle from which it came because it has hardner in it. So, if you mix too much, you have to throw it away. With the air cure stuff, you can put any remaining paint back into the original container and use it again. BTW, I keep both my air cure and oven cure in the refrigerator as recommended by the manufacturer, NIC Industries.

Also with the oven cure you have to estimate the amount of paint to use correctly because if you run out mid refinishing session, then the next batch you mix may not exactly match the amount of hardner you put in the previous batch you mixed. Also, you only have about 5 minutes after spraying the item being refinished before you need to put it in the oven. The oven cure stuff does not flash off like the air cure does. The air cure dries to the touch in about 30 minutes. The oven cure stays very tacky and wet for longer than that and is very sensitive to touch.

With the air cure, you can paint using multiple colors easily. With the oven cure you have to flash cure in the oven 30 minutes for each color/coat before painting the next color/coat. What this means is if you use stencils and/or want to paint using multiple colors like a camo pattern you have to flash cure one coat before you can paint the next coat. That's oven time for each color unless you mix multiple colors individually and paint them at approximately the same time.

The oven cure is also very sensitive to the amount of hardner you use with the amount of paint, if you get the ratio off just a slight amount, the paint can go on the surface very rough and grainy if you have too much hardner. If you don't use enough hardner then you have a finish that doesn't hold up after the oven cure.

The one advantage of the oven cure is that it is ready as soon as it cools from the oven. You can use the item right then and there, no waiting for curing.

That's all I have to say about that.

I've never used duracoat so I can't comment on that.

Both the oven cure and air cure Cerakote I've used are quite durable. They will NOT hold up on hard fit surfaces, i.e. metal to metal hard contact points such as frame rails on 1911's or ejection ports on a 1911 if brass hits it constantly. But the Cerakote is very durable for points other than this. It likes to go on very thin, .0005" to .001" is about the thickness you want.

On my 1911 slide I slipped while drifitng the front sight back in the dovetail and the brass punch didn't chip the finish, just flattened the metal under the finish a bit.
at4rxj
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Posted: 9/30/2009 11:28:49 PM
Thanks for the input!
I ordered a few samples of cerakote today. I'm still going back and forth between duracoat and cerakote, but this answered a lot of my questions.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Col 3:23-24
shootsenmeister
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Posted: 10/1/2009 5:32:13 AM
I have used both and plan to never use Duracoat again. Duracoat is more of automotive type paint with a hardener added in. Cereakote is similar to Duracoat as far as mixing it with a hardener and the application goes on thinner, meaning less build up. My experience using both is that Cereakote is much better than Duracoat.

If you are going to refinish the parts to make them look new again I would recommend Norrells molly resin in Black Flat. This color is the best I have seen at duplicating the factory finish of an AR. It goes on the thinnest of any of the finishes I have used and requires no mixing of a hardener. The main issue some people have with Norrells is the fact that it is not a conventional paint and it will not dry until you bake it in the oven at 300 for one hour. When you move the parts from where you sprayed them to the oven it is very important that the parts do not touch anything or it will show in the finish where the parts touched something. I always hang my parts on a wire and it has not been an issue.

My .02
modus
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Posted: 10/5/2009 7:42:49 PM
[Last Edit: 10/5/2009 7:47:45 PM by modus]
No comparison in so far as toughness of finish. Cerakote H is the toughest bar none. It's what most commercial guns are painted with and high end knives like Busse Combat but it's a PITA to get right comparatively. You can go to NIC/Cerakote site to see salt, abrasion and other toughness tests. I have knives coated with it I've chopped trees with, dug holes, banged on rocks etc with no marring whatsoever.

Now comes the PITA with Cerakote -
For prep before painting they like you to blast it a bit after degrease - they also don't like other paints below it even old Cerakote - to paint multiple colors like camo's and airbrushing requires 15 minute oven flashes between coats then a final 2 hours in oven to cure...good luck not touching substrate with all this moving around in the meantime. Then you got to mix it right and waste is inevitable. Cost is higher to do right. Need HVLP (but they have a kit where one is free), a small blasting chamber (harbor freight), and $30 for 4 oz.

Basically to do your first gun will cost $300 and all day.

Duracoat is a not even in the same league so far as toughness - hot solvents will weaken and remove it unlike Cerakote and it does not hold up as well to abrasion. Shouldn't use on barrels but Duraheat instead. That said it's a dream to work with, many more colors and much cheaper. Full kits start at $100.

The better route is really subjective balancing cost, prep, durability and so on. I could make an argument from Kylon to Cerakote depending what you're after.

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phylodog
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Posted: 10/5/2009 7:51:33 PM
Originally Posted By Juicespeare1:
Also, you only have about 5 minutes after spraying the item being refinished before you need to put it in the oven.


I'm curious if you read that somewhere or if that is something you've experienced? As delicate as the bake on stuff is it's certainly beneficial to get it into the oven as quickly as possible so it doesn't get disturbed but that's the first time I've heard of that timeline.

I've been spraying DuraCoat for several years, bake on Cerakote for a couple and just tried the air cure Cerakote two weeks ago for the first time. The air cure definitely gets my vote as far as ease of putting it down. No mixing, no preheating, no baking and it looks fantastic. I haven't had a chance to test it's durability yet but it looks promising. I don't think I'll be buying any more DuraCoat or Norrell's...
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modus
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Posted: 10/5/2009 9:01:47 PM
[Last Edit: 10/5/2009 9:42:44 PM by modus]
Cerakote C is about half as tough as Cerakote H -

eg.

Salt Spray (ASTM B117)
350 hrs vs 1000 hrs

Scratch Hardness (ASTM D3363)
h vs 2H

Adhesion (ASTM D3359 - 09)
4b vs 5B

Impact (ASTM D2794)
80 /20 inch-lbs vs 160 / 160 inch-lbs

most of these firearm finishes don't use internationally recognized ASTM Standards but puffy adjectives to describe their product making comparisons difficult. GunKote uses some ASTM but not others. But since NIC does it makes comparisons pretty easy within their product line.


ETA - Here is Larsons Tactical's view who uses all the main brands (Duracoat, Gunkote, Cerakote)

Duracoat:

DuraCoat is a hard polymer thats self lubricating to a certin extent; extremely hard, oil, solvent, and wear resistant. It resists 100 inch pounds of direct impact and 80 inch pounds of reverse impact. Its pencil hardness runs H to 2H. DuraCoat has passed a 300 hr salt spray test, which far exceeds military requirements for firearms finishes. Major manufacturers such as DSA utilize DuraCoat finishes on their rifles. DuraCoat has proven to hold up extremely well under field conditions. Even on parts such as FAL bolts, which are subject to significant abrasion as the bolt cycles, DuraCoat has held up well and proven to be extremely durable. DuraCoat will dry to the touch in 20 min and can be used after curing 6 - 8 hrs. How ever it will continue to cure for 4 to 6 weeks after application. DuraCoat is not a flash cure application which will become brittle after curing resulting in chipping and flaking. DuraCoat cures slowly so it remains flexible after it cures which contributes to its excellent abrasion and wear resistance. We like to say DuraCoat doesn't wear out, it wears in. DuraCoat can be applied over just about any surface including, metal, plastic, or wood as long as the surface is properly prepared. We have had great success using it on forearm rail covers such as the textured Magpul covers. DuraCoat is available in 55 stock colors and 7 new electric colors. With 3 Mirageflage camo patterns , 2 advanced camo patterns and 11 standard camo patterns available, a color / pattern is available for any terrain.

DuraHeat is available for parts that will be exposed to extreme heat. This high performance coating is capable of with-standing temps of up to 1800 degrees. DuraHeat is an excellent choice for barrels that will see sustained fire such as LMG barrels or full auto rifle barrels When exposed to these types of high temps DuraHeat becomes even harder and more abrasion resistant. It is available in matte black, HK black, woodland brown, woodland green, woodland tan, stainless, & pewter.

DuraBake Enamel is an extremely durable enamel which provides the ultimate in protection. It can be applied to all ferrous metals, alloys, & plastic. It is available in woodland tan, woodland green, woodland brown, matte black, parker, desert mint, desert beige, desert brown, OD green, snow gray, & white.

GunKote:

KG Gun Kote was developed for use on military weapons. The United States Navy Seal Teams were the first units to use this product. There was a need for a material that would hold up under extreme adverse conditions. The coating needed to withstand 500-hour salt spray tests and still meet the military machine gun firing requirements... Gun Kote does this and its application has grown from Firearms to Automotive/Motorcycle and Industrial applications, being used on heads, cases, barrels, oil coolers, radiators and engine blocks.

Gun Kote is a thin hard coating that will give excellent protection from abrasion. It is not easily worn off such as bluing, phosphate or chemically blackened surface treatments, which can leave metal surfaces, bare and unprotected from the elements. Gun Kote does not attract dirt or dust, has excellent impact resistance and can be formulated to be non-reflective. Gun Kote comes in two formulations; 2400 Series which use molybdenum or PTFE as a lubricating base and the 1600 Series which have a high concentration of PTFE.


When Gun Kote is properly applied it will provide:

* Outstanding corrosion protection. Gun Kote will withstand a minimum of 500-hour salt spray tests at 5% salt, however, tests performed for Armscor by the South African Navel Logistics Dept. showed Gun Kote withstanding an equivalent of a 7-year exposure. (Tests were performed on Aluminum in a salt spray chamber with 50/50 on/off time at 35 degrees C.)
* Resistant to chemicals, oils and solvents common to Automotive and Aircraft Industries.
* Helps to cool parts by dissipating heat. Gun Kote will withstand temperatures over 500 degrees F and as low as -320 degrees F.

Gun Kote can be applied to all ferrous and non-ferrous metals, over all types of plating and even some plastics. Available in several colors including: Black, Gray, OD Green, Stainless Steel, Service Brown, Tan and the New Clear Kote. Gun (Colors available are in Flat) .


Cerakote:


CeraKote is our top of the line coating. If you want the very best coating available look no further. CeraKote was developed by NIC Industries, Inc. CeraKote was designed to provide a high quality, long lasting finish, with high corrosion protection and durability. CeraKote is available in two compounds "C" series which is an ambient cure coating & "H" series which is a thermal cure coating. Unlike Teflon based gun coatings the "C" & "H" series of CeraKote offer unparalled levels of hardness and abrasion resistance because of their unique ceramic backbone.

CeraKote is available in 31 standard colors. It provides excellent corrosion protection, outstanding abrasion resistance, extreme hardness, & unmatched durability. CeraKote surpasses Teflon based coatings for wear resistance by well over 60%. CeraKote has self lubricating elements incorporated through out the coatings matrix, this allow firearms to function with little or no fluid lubricants that typically attract abrasive dust particles. CeraKote performs extremely well in automatics with high cyclic rates.

The "C" series ceramic gun coatings were designed as a single component ambient cure system. As higher tempatures are reached the "C" series will flux, becoming harder and more abrasion resistant. After a full cure this coating provides excellent resistance to most cleaning solivents and chemicals. It has a pencil scratch hardness (ASTM D3363) of 7h, exceeded the 5% salt spray test (ASTM B117) with well over 550 hrs, an adheasion cross cut tape (ASTM D3359) of 5B, & has an optimal film thickness of 0.5 to 1.0 mils. It has a heat stability rating in excess of 1200 degrees f for extended periods without failing.

The "H" series was designed as a two part thermal cure system. It provides a very high quality, long lasting finish with high corrosion resistance. It offers unparalled levels of abrasion resistance and hardness because of the two part component system. The "H" series has a viscosity #2 Zahn cup of 13.0 sec, an optimal film thickness of 0.5 to 1.0 mils, passes the 5% salt spray test (ASTM B117) in excess of 2,500 hrs, has a pencil scratch hardness (ASTM D3363) of 7h, the adheasion cross cut tape (ASTM D3359 of 5B, and heat stability of 525 degrees f for extended periods without failing.


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at4rxj
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Posted: 10/5/2009 9:39:00 PM
If I do cerakote (which is the way I'm leaning right now), I won't do the bake on. I have the room to let it hang and dry/cure, but don't care to bake it in the wife's oven... Not worth it.

a couple of questions after the recent responses...

What will happen if I don't blast the surfaces before? If I give them a good degrease with some residue-less stuff and then just hit it with the cerakote, what will happen?

I do plan to do a camo job on a bolt action... What's involved with this using the air cure cerakote?

Also... Has anyone ever tried heating the item with a heat gun prior to spraying any of these finishes? Would it do anything?
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Col 3:23-24
modus
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Posted: 10/5/2009 9:54:45 PM
Originally Posted By at4rxj:
If I do cerakote (which is the way I'm leaning right now), I won't do the bake on. I have the room to let it hang and dry/cure, but don't care to bake it in the wife's oven... Not worth it.

a couple of questions after the recent responses...

What will happen if I don't blast the surfaces before? If I give them a good degrease with some residue-less stuff and then just hit it with the cerakote, what will happen?

I do plan to do a camo job on a bolt action... What's involved with this using the air cure cerakote?

Also... Has anyone ever tried heating the item with a heat gun prior to spraying any of these finishes? Would it do anything?


Depends on surface but they tell you to blast it with aluminum oxide as well...if it's parkerized or pitted I wouldn't worry but all shinny surfaces and plastics need to be hit.

http://www.nicindustries.com/images/techsheets/C-Series%20Firearm%20Application%20Guide.pdf
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at4rxj
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Posted: 10/5/2009 10:11:00 PM
Thanks for the link.

To start I'll be doing a upper/lower receiver, barrel, and possibly buffer tube. Those should be fine degreased really well I think...I'll look for sharp edges and hit it with some alum oxide sandpaper.

Who has done camo with this? How long did you wait to apply the stencils and next coat, and how long did you want to remove the stencils?
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modus
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Posted: 10/5/2009 11:55:13 PM
[Last Edit: 10/5/2009 11:56:23 PM by modus]
I have no experience with Cerakote C... but I forgot to mention the H has a bit of a rough & gritty feel unlike Duracoat....maybe someone who has used C can say if it's gritty too?
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Posted: 10/6/2009 6:44:52 AM
duracoat claim to have flexibility . does cerakote actually use ceramics in its finish? when cerakote finally does wear does it crack or chip off. i have some of my guns done with duracoat,- camo dipped,-black ice coated, and birdsong black tea coated . ive never had one ceracoated. just trying to guage where its best used.
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Posted: 10/6/2009 3:47:39 PM
[Last Edit: 10/6/2009 4:21:44 PM by modus]
Originally Posted By foofoo:
duracoat claim to have flexibility . does cerakote actually use ceramics in its finish? when cerakote finally does wear does it crack or chip off. i have some of my guns done with duracoat,- camo dipped,-black ice coated, and birdsong black tea coated . ive never had one ceracoated. just trying to guage where its best used.


NIC tests it and below are results. (H version)//// IMO - CeraKote C should only be used for ease of application or with rapid fire barrels/cans anyway since it's adhesion and impact are much weaker than H. CeraKote H's weakness is heat, cost and difficult application that's it - and the last two arnt even related to finish quality so really it has one weakness - heat. ~575F and failure can occur.

Duraheat is Cerakote C repackaged but again I'm unfamiliar with them practically unlike some members above but both withstand 1200F+ and high heat is where they should be used (or easy application since no mixing or ovens).

Cerakote H is also impervious to hot solvents like acetone, MEK, laquer thinner, etc... I've tried and it it doesn't do shit you have to blast it off and good luck there need 50 grit and about 150 PSI takes forever. Duracoat I can take off with acetone and a coarse scotch bite pad and blasting is easy. I plan to try both Cerakote C and Duraheat soon as I get my orders in though..... As with all these higher end coatings surface prep is the key. I can't stress this enough prep is 95% of job. If not done right might as well use krylon and be done for $10.

Disassemble firearm. (you can reassemble when ready to paint if going for congruent look)
All oils must be removed. (use brass brush to scrub parts)
All surfaces blasted except park and dull anodized.
Heat parts to get residue oils off
Strip oils again IMO and burn off again just to be sure.
Wear rubber gloves from now on since your fingers have oils.

Good luck


http://www.nicindustries.com/images/subpages/Image/nic_flex_dur_PROOF.jpg
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Juicespeare1
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Posted: 10/6/2009 6:19:42 PM

#10 from this document: http://www.nicindustries.com/images/techsheets/H-Series%20Application%20Guide.pdf


Originally Posted By phylodog:
Originally Posted By Juicespeare1:
Also, you only have about 5 minutes after spraying the item being refinished before you need to put it in the oven.


I'm curious if you read that somewhere or if that is something you've experienced? As delicate as the bake on stuff is it's certainly beneficial to get it into the oven as quickly as possible so it doesn't get disturbed but that's the first time I've heard of that timeline.

I've been spraying DuraCoat for several years, bake on Cerakote for a couple and just tried the air cure Cerakote two weeks ago for the first time. The air cure definitely gets my vote as far as ease of putting it down. No mixing, no preheating, no baking and it looks fantastic. I haven't had a chance to test it's durability yet but it looks promising. I don't think I'll be buying any more DuraCoat or Norrell's...


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Posted: 10/6/2009 6:23:47 PM
You really need to blast the surfaces to give them some bite. Sanding won't do this. Also, don't blast with glass media, use aluminum-oxide as recommended.

I've used both 70-80 grit for a really textured finish and also 120 grit for a smooth finish.

Do not heat the item prior to spraying for either type (oven-cure or air-cure).


Originally Posted By at4rxj:
If I do cerakote (which is the way I'm leaning right now), I won't do the bake on. I have the room to let it hang and dry/cure, but don't care to bake it in the wife's oven... Not worth it.

a couple of questions after the recent responses...

What will happen if I don't blast the surfaces before? If I give them a good degrease with some residue-less stuff and then just hit it with the cerakote, what will happen?

I do plan to do a camo job on a bolt action... What's involved with this using the air cure cerakote?

Also... Has anyone ever tried heating the item with a heat gun prior to spraying any of these finishes? Would it do anything?


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Posted: 10/6/2009 6:26:15 PM
[Last Edit: 10/6/2009 6:29:34 PM by Juicespeare1]
Sorry, can't help you with this one per se. But the folks I spoke with at NIC stated at least 30 minutes on the air-cure before removing any stencils/tape. I don't know how long to wait before applying stencils or tape. Best bet is to call NIC directly and ask them.

Please post back here when you find out.

All the items I've painted have been one color. But, I'd like to try some different multicolor patterns at some point.

Originally Posted By at4rxj:
Thanks for the link.

To start I'll be doing a upper/lower receiver, barrel, and possibly buffer tube. Those should be fine degreased really well I think...I'll look for sharp edges and hit it with some alum oxide sandpaper.

Who has done camo with this? How long did you wait to apply the stencils and next coat, and how long did you want to remove the stencils?


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Posted: 10/6/2009 6:27:36 PM
[Last Edit: 10/6/2009 6:30:06 PM by Juicespeare1]
The C I used was definitely not gritty like the H I've used. Same color, too.

The C was very smooth and somewhat satin finish. The H was very matte finish and a bit gritty.

Originally Posted By modus:
I have no experience with Cerakote C... but I forgot to mention the H has a bit of a rough & gritty feel unlike Duracoat....maybe someone who has used C can say if it's gritty too?


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Posted: 10/6/2009 6:30:42 PM
Originally Posted By Juicespeare1:

#10 from this document: http://www.nicindustries.com/images/techsheets/H-Series%20Application%20Guide.pdf


Originally Posted By phylodog:
Originally Posted By Juicespeare1:
Also, you only have about 5 minutes after spraying the item being refinished before you need to put it in the oven.


I'm curious if you read that somewhere or if that is something you've experienced? As delicate as the bake on stuff is it's certainly beneficial to get it into the oven as quickly as possible so it doesn't get disturbed but that's the first time I've heard of that timeline.

I've been spraying DuraCoat for several years, bake on Cerakote for a couple and just tried the air cure Cerakote two weeks ago for the first time. The air cure definitely gets my vote as far as ease of putting it down. No mixing, no preheating, no baking and it looks fantastic. I haven't had a chance to test it's durability yet but it looks promising. I don't think I'll be buying any more DuraCoat or Norrell's...




"Allow to air-dry for 5-10 minutes (coating is still wet to the touch at this point – do not touch or bump parts). For optimal cure, place the coated pieces in a 250°F oven and cure for 2 hours. For a quick cure, 1 hour at 300°F is sufficient. If the substrate material is heat-sensitive (such as plastic or wood) then a 200°F cure for 2 hours is adequate."

I took that to mean that you should wait at least 5-10 minutes before putting it in the oven rather than waiting no more than 5-10 minutes. I can see where it could be interpreted either way.

FWIW I've gone much longer than 10 minutes from when I sprayed an item to getting it into the oven with no ill effects.
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modus
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Posted: 10/6/2009 7:03:14 PM
[Last Edit: 10/6/2009 7:03:59 PM by modus]
All they mean is wait at least 5 min. This gives it a chance to settle and fill at microscopic level before drying in oven. Now they have told me an hour is too long though but out 45 minutes is no problem.

If you don't wait and go stright from spray gun to oven it dries(called flash) almost as soon as substrate reaches ~200F failing to give proper fill.
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Posted: 10/6/2009 7:09:15 PM
[Last Edit: 10/6/2009 7:11:48 PM by modus]
Originally Posted By Juicespeare1:
The C I used was definitely not gritty like the H I've used. Same color, too.

The C was very smooth and somewhat satin finish. The H was very matte finish and a bit gritty.

Originally Posted By modus:
I have no experience with Cerakote C... but I forgot to mention the H has a bit of a rough & gritty feel unlike Duracoat....maybe someone who has used C can say if it's gritty too?




Interesting. What color?

I'll do some scratch and bump tests between C & H when I get product in. If C holds up anywhere near as well as H I'm swaping since it's a dream to apply and it's heat prperties. I have an M16 & can I don't know what to coat with ATM... I heard can makers use C product but mine is BYO..
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Posted: 10/7/2009 11:03:48 PM
[Last Edit: 10/7/2009 11:05:41 PM by Juicespeare1]
O.D. Green in both cases.

Not the Milspec O.D. green, just the regular O.D. Green that Brownells sells.

The C (air-cure) does handle heat better than the H (oven-cure) according to NIC's specs.

I really like the C better as it's just that much easier to use and you never have to throw away unused amounts like the H.