Graduation Present

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago (which was a while ago, sorry), My son graduated from Old Dominion University last weekend.

College graduation is a big deal in our family because relatively few of us have attained it.  I’ve only completed an Associates Degree myself.  I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 grade point average, but it took me ten years to do it.

My son is not a gifted student.  He’s always had to work very hard to maintain his grades and he’s always done so.  I’m very proud of his Cum Laude honors and the effort it took for him to maintain that level of excellence while, at the same time, working full time, going to school full time and supporting his wife and child.

But I digress.  The point of this post is the project I was working on for his graduation gift.  I wanted to give him something significant and meaningful, but didn’t have a bunch of money to spend…so I decided to use something I already had as a base for the gift and just put in the time to make it special.

He had gotten his concealed handgun permit as soon as he turned 21, but has never had the money to buy a gun to carry.  I happened to have a couple of “spare” CZ-82’s which are great little guns for concealed carry and are pretty much ideal for lefties (which he inherited from me), so I decided to do a complete rehab and refinish on one and give him that for a graduation gift.

As with my carry gun, I did a detail strip, sandblasted the major parts and parkerized it, lightened the magazine catch spring, did a basic trigger job and put a 16 lb Wolff recoil spring in it.

I’m very happy with the way it turned out and he was very happy with receiving it.  It’s not as high speed-low drag as many other handgun models out there, but I’ve found them to be reliable and accurate and I hope that the work I put into it will give it some sentimental value to him someday.


I didn’t have the money to buy new grips for it yet, but that will be in its future (maybe Christmas or a birthday?)


After refinishing the metal, I repainted the sights and protected the new paint with clear nail polish.

The only thing I’m unhappy about is that it actually came out better than the one I parkerized for myself.


Although I’m happy with mine and the finish has proven durable and lasting (I’ve been carrying mine daily for over a year now), the finish came out a bit lighter green than I was expecting.

I re-used the same parkerizing solution to do his and his came out more of the dark Charcoal gray that I expected with mine.

Either his gun ( a bit newer than mine based on the serial number) is made of a different alloy, or, more likely, the parkerizing solution just needed a bit more seasoning to get that full, deep color.

Now I’m considering re-doing mine to get it the color that I want.

One thing that was different about his is that the mainspring plug and lanyard loop is made of aluminum rather than steel so I couldn’t parkerize it.  I didn’t realize this until I was in the middle of sandblasting it so I already had it stripped.  I just used Birchwood Casey’s Aluminum Black on it to protect and match the finish as well as possible.  In the future, I’ll know to check that before I start going crazy with the sand blaster.

Here is a picture of all three of the CZ-82’s in my collection.

The top left one is the one that I haven’t refinished yet.  Its original finish is in the best shape of the three and I may leave it stock.

The middle one had the worst finish to start out with.  It was very beat up  when I got it.  That’s the first one I refinished and is the gun that I carry every day.

And the bottom right one is the one now residing in my Son’s gun safe and that I hope he will be carrying regularly from here on out.

I’m very satisfied with how it came out and I hope he’s as pleased with his as I am with mine.

BTW:  No, the serial numbers have not been filed off.  I used Gimp photo editing software to smudge them out in the pictures.


14 thoughts on “Graduation Present

  1. Curt,

    That is an awesome gift to give to your son. I'm sure it will be remember long after any laptop had been trashed or a tie had been lost.

    Congrats to your son (and to his parents) for getting through college. It isn't easy and the fact that he graduated with honors is outstanding.

  2. Very, very nice – want to adopt me? (grin)

    Congratulations to your son and to you for raising what is obviously a fine and dedicated young man!


  3. Congrats on the Graduation! And very nice job on the gun(s).

    I've had CZ82s on my get-list forever, but never seem to get around to picking one up. My hot-weather carry is a Polish P64 in the same caliber (9mm Makarov), and it seems like the CZ82, though larger, would be a lot more pleasant to shoot.

    I'll have to get off the stump and get one. From what I've heard they are a great value for the money.

  4. A fine gift, for a fine son on his graduation all the best of everything to him and his family and their future, God Bless.

  5. Superb. Like father, like son! You are both fortunate. Everytime I see your park work, I want to do the same to my CZ82!

  6. Thanks everyone.

    Anon 1:57,

    Parkerizing takes some time and care, but it isn't technically difficult and doesn't require a bunch of specialized equipment. That's the beauty of choosing that finish over other options. You can make just as good a quality of finish in your garage as the big companies can do in their multi-million dollar facilities.

  7. As a fellow leftie and 82 user my compliments to you and your son.

    They're great little guns and a real pleasure to shoot. There's also plenty of hollowpoints avaliable for them.

    Kudos on the parkerizing, beautiful work.

  8. I read somewhere that what makes parkerizing greenish is very gradual reaction to the lanolin in cosmoline.

    The park should be zinc, not manganese.

    I could be mistaken.

  9. You are correct that the lighter parkerizing (specifically the zinc phosphate) does turn green as a reaction to oils.

    In fact, my CZ was a light gray when it first came out of the parkerizing solution and didn't turn that greenish color until I'd soaked it in Water displacing oil overnight.

    The strange thing is that I didn't use zinc phosphate, I specifically used manganese phosphate because I wanted it to be darker (and manganese creates a deeper and more effective finish).

    One of the steps, however, in preparing the parkerizing solution is to "season" it by putting a pad of steel wool in it for 30 minutes before first use.

    I did that, but I'm thinking that wasn't sufficient and the solution wasn't properly seasoned before I used it the first time.

    After doing the first gun in it, letting it cool and age for a while, and then heating it back up for the second gun, I think it was better seasoned and that's why the second gun came out so much darker and looked the way I was expecting the first gun to look.

    So…my advice would be when starting out with a fresh batch of solution, use several steel wool pads in the solution for 30 minutes or maybe even an hour, then let the solution cool down overnight and heat it back up to temp the next day to do your park job.

    I'm thinking that would season it better and make a better, darker finish the first time its used, rather than the second, like I ended up with.

    BTW: The darker finishes tend to get a greenish hue over time as well as it absorbs oils, it's just less obvious with the darker finish.

  10. Concealed Carry or Gun Holsters are not at all expensive as thought tout to be. You can get one for as low as $29.95 at

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