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A Simple Protective Coating For Steel, Indoors

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Nigel Graham 221/03/2019 22:52:31
2133 forum posts
29 photos

Looking for a way to protect bare steel from all that hungry oxygen about, but in a way that is a bit cleaner and less dust-attracting than mineral grease or oil, including petroleum jelly ("Vaseline", I found aerosol furniture-polish very effective.

I applied a liberal spray, with just the lightest rub with a soft cloth to soften the worst accumulations.

I doubt it's tough enough for outdoor protection, but indoors it's fine.. I am not sure, but I think it contains silicone.

It kept the un-painted parts of my part-built Hemingway-kit tool-grinder rust-free through its four days in the marquee annexe at last year's Midlands ME Exhibition, and that and a boring-bars set (also Hemingway kit) have over-wintered in my house - which is no dessicator - since with only the merest touch of rust here and there.

Another very good steel protective, and kind to the hands, is straight Lanolin ("wool fat", though I am not sure how obtainable this is now.

For owners of miniature traction-engines fitted with full winding-gear, lanolin solution in white spirit or meths (I forget which, perhaps both) was an old, well-tried way to protect small-diameter steel-wire rope. The solvent eventually evaporates, but not before transporting the wool-fat well into the rope. You can buy spray-on cable-grease but it's pretty unpleasant stuff and possibly no better than ordinary grease or heavy oil for most of our applications. I first encountered this use for lanolin, in protecting the wire stiles of caving ladders, where you are very likely to get some of the grease on your clothes and hands.

Nigel Graham 221/03/2019 22:56:26
2133 forum posts
29 photos

Why have those wink symbols appeared? I did not try to use them, and they and don't add or mean anything here! They seem to have been created by what was meant as normal punctuation: a pair of parentheses and quote-marks.

Sometimes the Inter-web can be too clever for its own good!

David Standing 121/03/2019 23:02:20
1297 forum posts
50 photos

Leave a space between the parentheses and the quote marks, or they create a wink emoji.

Nigel Graham 221/03/2019 23:15:33
2133 forum posts
29 photos

Thank you _ I'll try to remember that!

Some discussion sites let you re-open your post after sending it, to correct errors, but I don't think this one does.

Bazyle21/03/2019 23:30:24
6324 forum posts
222 photos

Don't use furniture polish in the workshop if you can avoid it as it mostly contains silicone which is the enemy of painting. use a pure beeswax polish on things you are going to handle, including parts of the lathe.
Lanolin is available on ebay as "pro-tect, Lanolin based Rust inhibitor liquid 250Ml trial offer price " but also various pots and tubs.
For steel stock and lots of other things in the workshop use clear Waxoyle diluted down with white spirit. Put it on outside of course after degreasing and derusting. It dries to a tacky feel like post-it glue.
You can also rub down sheet stock with a candle and smooth it around with a rag when warm but it is difficult to get a full coverage. This is good for an anvil or vice that is taking some wear.

John Reese21/03/2019 23:31:46
1035 forum posts

When my brother was working as a carpenter he coated his tools with Future floor coating. It is probably named something else in the UK.

When I was doing geotechnical testing I ued it to coat my sample tubes. It protected them from rust during storage. It even kept the bore rust free with a moist soil sample inside.

I don't think it should be used on precision tools because of the thickness built up.

peak422/03/2019 00:09:41
1713 forum posts
183 photos

Motorex 645, now improved and renamed Motorex Protect and Shine, is pretty good stuff for keeping the rust worms at bay.

It's a fine clear spray, much regarded by motorcyclists, and less tacky than the even better ACF50, which is more suited to outdoor use.

It works well on both hand tools and steel stock as well as motorbikes, and even protects paintwork and rubber/plastics.

Camellia oil is much favoured amongst knife and sword collectors for preserving the finest of blades and works well on woodwork tools such as chisels, saws etc..


Edited By peak4 on 22/03/2019 00:10:53

Hopper22/03/2019 01:40:09
6397 forum posts
334 photos

I just use common a garden WD40. It works here -- in our 8 feet a year of monsoonal rain. But you do end up with a nice layer of oily dust accumulated on everything sprayed. I've stored motorbikes for 20 years with a coating of WD40 and after a wash down they come out like new.

+1 on silicone causing painting problems. You get "fisheyes" where it bubbles up through the applied paint and stops the paint sticking to the job. Common on cars/bikes polished with silicone polish instead of proper wax. A painter told me you can buy "fisheye eliminator" to add to your paint before spraying/brushing to overcome it. Never tried it though.

Danny M2Z22/03/2019 05:15:15
963 forum posts
2 photos
Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 21/03/2019 22:52:31:

Another very good steel protective, and kind to the hands, is straight Lanolin ("wool fat", though I am not sure how obtainable this is now.

Nigel, I have used this to preserve my machinery for over ten years now, no rust whatsoever Inox MX3 I am not sure about the availability in the UK though. It's also great as a cutting fluid for Aluminium when I run out of kerosine.

This is very similar to what you were referring to Lanox MX4 A friend uses it on the metal fittings on his very expensive ocean racing yacht.

* Danny M *

Plasma22/03/2019 05:30:29
443 forum posts
1 photos

I use Renaissance micro crystalline wax polish.

Available on line in small tins it last for ever as you use it very sparingly.

The British museum uses it to conserve all manner of artifacts so it must be good.

Stops finger acid damaging polished parts.

Well worth using on any surface to protect it long term.

John Paton 122/03/2019 09:42:11
324 forum posts
20 photos

A wipe over with Leather Genie Balsam is also good - on sale at many country fair type events and excellent for leather walking boots, bonnet strap on our classic car etc as it is water repellant. Beeswax based so non silicone.

I use it for polished wooden furniture and the unpainted metalwork on model steam engines as, once 'polished up', it doesn't cause dust to collect too badly.

It is pricey but a little goes a very long way.

Andrew Johnston22/03/2019 09:53:47
6602 forum posts
701 photos

We used lanolin to protect, and lubricate, the steel control cables in aircraft. i don't remember it having a solvent, I think we just heated it gently until it went runny.


Ian S C22/03/2019 10:37:49
7468 forum posts
230 photos

A bit of an unusual odour for the workshop, aerosol hair spray. Not too durable, but OK on stuff thats sitting on the shelf.

Ian S C

mechman4822/03/2019 11:13:56
2947 forum posts
468 photos

I tend to use WD40 spray on the small tote bins that have my short bits of steel plus some light 32 grade oil for my slide ways on my lathe / mill


Nigel Graham 222/03/2019 13:40:20
2133 forum posts
29 photos

A good number if interesting suggestions for which as originator I am pleased and grateful - and I note the warning about silicone for work that is to be painted - but I had meant protection for metalwork where and when mineral oils (including ones like WD-40) are not wanted.

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