"Raising" a serial number
I purchased an old antique motor scooter (Salsbury Model 85) and although I can read most of the serial number, there are a couple of questionable digits. I have heard that there are techniques to "raise" a serial number on guns, when the number has been ground or sanded off. These digits were not deliberately obliterated, so I am thinking it shouldn't be that hard to "recover" them. Can anyone shed some light on how to approach this? I'm sure this would be of interest to owners of older guns, where the frame has been polished a little too much from re-bluing.
Thanks in advance
Sort-of answered my own question once I discovered the term "Nital". Did a search on the forum here for "Nital" and came across this thread:
I need some ideas of making a S/N readable
We have a mutual friend who has everything you need. He lives about two blocks from me. You sold him an RPC and a rotary table IIRC.
I am reluctant to post how or why serial numbers can be "raised" becasue the manner of obliteration can influence the effectiveness of the technique.
My understanding is the "raising" techniques acid etch the surface creating slight contrast between the base material and the stamped area. The "raised" chairactor is not likely to be exceptionaly durable or easily read. The original chairactor is not "restored" Such techniques are likely to dammage the surface finish of a firearm and are designed for forensic work, not restoration.
The correct etchant will also vary with the type of metal used. Nital (a nitirc acid based solution)is commonly used for steels. Others acids are used with other matirials such as aluminum or zinc.
Unless the missing digits in the serial number on your scooter is critical for locating parts, I would leave it alone.
seems to me the surface would have to be pretty smooth for the acid etch to work.
Raising missing numbers or letters
Find your local supplier for police crime scene supplies. There are chemical agents available to restore missing numbers or letters.
The correct serial number is necessary for obtaining a title. I bought this rusty scooter frame and don't want to begin sinking thousands of dollars into it until I have a title in my hand.
My goal is to use the best components from these two, and make the best scooter I can. I will then sell the remaining parts to another Salsbury enthusiast. Right now, it looks like the rusty, blue scooter may have the best frame. The orange scooter is already titled and licensed, but I just got the blue one this past week and only have a bill-of-sale. I need the serial number to complete the Bill-of-Sale and then I have to get the serial number verified on a separate form by an "authorized" agency.
I have a small motorcycle shop an occasionaly someone will drop off a bike that has no serial numbers . So I call the police and they come out . They use some sort of acid and a q-tipe and brush it over the area that the serial number was . And slowly you can see the serial number come back out due to the number being stamped into the metal . the stamped area is denser and the acid eats away the less dense metal and reveals the serial number. Pretty cool technique. then they run the number for me and let me know if it has been stolen or not.
The correct serial number is the number stamped on the parts.
You do own a set of number stamps, yes?
Here's a few pages of a forensics book which describes several different methods used to recover stamped numbers. Etching is only one of them.
Forensic science: an introduction to ... - Google Books