I'm new to this so please bear with me. I see references to "straw". Could someone please explain this term to me so I can better appreciate the info I see. Thanks.
quote:Originally posted by RockinWR
* Welcome to the forum!
* "Straw" refers to the color steel takes on when lightly "case hardened" by heating to a specific temperature range and allowing the part(s) to air cool (quench). The color appears pale yellow to a golden hue. Hence the term "straw" as most descriptive of the color. The case hardening was primarily done to improve the wear durability of the part's surface & retard rust. It also added an attractive visual relief to the pistol's overall blue.
* The depth of the case hardening was quite shallow and over time abrasion, oxidation & the elements(persperation, rain, leather tanning solution, etc.) caused the hardened surface to oxidize/erode on these parts. The straw color would dissapate leaving an oxidized white surface followed by darkened spots (microscopic rust attenuated by cleaning/oil).
* In general, Military (up until approximately mid 1937) and most all Commercial Lugers had 5 small parts strawed. These 5 were the takedown lever, trigger, mag release button, safety lever, and ejector.
* Knowing the Luger model/dates which were to have strawed parts can help reveal pistols which have been re-blued. Many times rebluers will not duplicate the straw hardening process on the small parts due to time, disassembly, knowledge, etc.
* As the "strawing" process is quite simple, requiring about only a home oven, a number of examples today have had their strawed parts redone in an attempt to improve the overall appearance of the pistol. Inconsistency of the bluing wear to the strawed parts wear is usually an indication of this attempt; but, anymore, the calibrated eye to detect such an attempt can only be honed by examining a large number of original examples. Even then, it is not foolproof nor an absolute guarantee of detection.