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I Forge Iron

Brandon Ade

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    Cedar Park, Texas

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  1. This is referred to as "brassing" or "plating", and I've heard some even refer to it as "brazing". Use a soft bristled brass or copper brush. A yellow brass brush will give a brighter (more yellow than copper) finish so the piece you posted looks like copper. Get the piece to a dull red heat in the forge and quickly wire brush (steel brush) scale away to clean piece. As the heat comes down and has lost all color at a black heat start brushing on brass. You can apply to taste, anywhere from minor highlights to very heavy. One tip, try to do this in one heat. If you put the piece back in the forge too long the brassing will burn off leaving a black residue. I believe this is the zinc burning away. So best to do it all in one heat. For a complicated shape you could also spot heat with an OA torch. Just be careful with reheats, too high and it will burn away the brassing.
  2. As Dave suggested Rustoleum Auto Body Clear comes in brush-on quarts if you can't use spray, sounds like the best option for metal. While not recommended for metal, my go to clear-coat finish for wood is MinWax Polycrylic, it is water based and comes in gloss, semi, and flat. I have used that on many wood projects. I can't tell you how it would fair on your sculpture and maybe durability is not an issue for this contest, so maybe it's worth a test run? One thing I like about working with it, is that it brushes on semi-opaque white. So if you start to pool too heavy in an area it will show easily and for me it helps me apply evenly. It dries crystal clear. Again, it's recommended as an interior wood finish but it is a glossy clear coat brush-on. I have a 10 year old wooden workbench finished in polycrylic that has held up well.
  3. Thanks again for pointing me to paint and reminding me of KISS. I went with flat black enamel for the underbelly but left the top alone aside from cleaning the mill scale. For fun, here are photos of the finished table. Weighing in at 650#, 37" OAH, 24"x48"x3/4" top, 1/4" plate shelf, 4" sq.tube for legs (sand filled) and 2" sq.tube for support. If anyone is interested in WIP photos or the CAD plans for the table I would be happy to share. The tools that built it now have a new home. Cheers!
  4. Thank you for your time Jonny and Thomas. 5 minutes after I posted I thought "maybe I should just paint the bottom...". The table will remain indoors and roll on casters around the shop. The top I will occasionally tack jigs and such, and it will see hot steel off the anvil and grinding sparks. Black engine enamel paint seems like my likely route for the underside. Any advice on how to best remove the application of BLO/Turp currently protecting it? Thank you sirs.
  5. Hi fellas, I'm looking for some advice on how to protect & finish the weldment areas on a 48"x24"x3/4" mild steel plate table. (see photos) There was quite an impressive layer of mill scale on the 3/4" plate to grind off. After MIG welding 2x2 and 4x4 square tube to the plate I now am concerned with protecting these areas from rust. I do not want the raw steel susceptible to rust while I figure out a solution so for now I have coated with a blend of 50/50 BLO/Turp. I am not a fan of the unfinished raw look, aesthetically I would prefer to darken the grind areas, so the one time in my life someone bends down and looks under the hood they won't laugh. This being my first fabrication table build I was hoping for advice on techniques. I have access to an oxy-fuel torch for heat, but my concern with the 3/4" plate is that I will never be able to get it hot enough in a reasonable time/cost. I've read (on this forum) the idea of shoe polish. My questions would be: If I do nothing to these areas what will happen over time? Is the 50/50 BLO/Turp a "good enough" solution over time? Black shoe polish? Is there a better trick here on how to finish this bottom area of the table? It won't be seen directly so my primary concern is rust protection. Thanks and cheers.
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