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  1. Wax finishes for forged metal. You can use bees wax uncut if you warm the metal either in the fire or with a propane torch and rub the block on. You can get it on almost clear for armour bright steel if you keep the temperature low; you can get a black wax finish if you get the metal hot enough to make the beeswax smoke. The disadvantage of beeswax is that it has a low melting point and remains sticky even at room temperature and then attracts dust. It can also contain organic compounds that break down and form acidic corrosion If you want the best performing wax finish it would be Renaissance Wax. Unfortunately it is fossil fuel derived but as it is extremely thinly applied does have economies of quantity! You can buy it ready made from a company called Picreator (very very expensive) or make it up yourself (very very cheap). The one I make is a blend of Microcrystalline and polythene “A” wax melted together and poured into White Spirit, about 10 or 15 times as much White Spirit as wax off the top of my head. I make it so thin that you can put it on with a paint brush and then buff when dry. It is much harder and has a higher melting point than beeswax (85ºC versus 60ºC) so you don’t get the stickiness or dust sticking to it. It still has a bit of creep to repair abraded areas, though not as much creep as beeswax. I use it on everything from copper, brass, stainless steel to leather, furniture and wooden and tiled floors. It works great on the aluminium shower curtain pole as a lubricant...positively glides along! Having said all that any wax will do as an interior metal finish. Furniture polish or car wax for instance. We have a very elegant mirror made by my friend Peter Parkinson who used shoe polish. That one was black but you can use green or blue to give some really subtle patinas on forged metal. I used red shoe polish on a forged copper sculpture recently. It was Peter who gave me the Renaissance recipe and told me about the museum supplies place where I bought my initial wax supplies. The recipe for our Renaissance wax is four parts Microcrystalline to one part Polythene “A” wax. The “A” wax has a higher melting point (+/-100ºC) so that should be melted first and then the microcrystalline (MP86ºC) added to it bit by bit. I melt it in an old pressure cooker on top of a Rayburn hot plate. When all melted and mixed it is poured into white spirit (taking precautions against fire risk, I do this outdoors) stirring vigorously until mixed to a smooth paste. I decant it into screw top glass jars. I use between 10 to 15 litres of white spirit per 1kg batch of combined wax. 2 or 3 gallons per 2lbs. I bought my lifetimes supply of wax (25kg of microcrystalline) @ £3.56 per kilo plus carriage and tax back in 1995 from Poth Hille. They have moved but are still in business with a good website and product information. I bought their Microcrystalline wax type 3749 in slab form and the “A” wax as powder. They had a fairly high minimum order so I asked how much wax I could have for the minimum invoice! Alan
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