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I Forge Iron

Good black finish?

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I'm going to be making some holdfasts for some woodworkers and I was wondering if you had any input on the best finish, or the best way to black the steel.

I've been leaving mine unfinished, but I think my friends would like them a little prettier.

Whatever finish I use can't leave the steel slick as it needs to be able to "bite" into the holes in the top of a wooden workbench.

Thanks in advance,
Pat Rock

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I suggest soaking the holdfasts in vinegar overnight, or maybe longer, to remove all the scale. The vinegar is a mild acid and will leave an ideal surface to hold whatever finish you apply. Be sure to rinse the piece off with something to neutralize the vinegar: 409, TSP, ammonia, Baking Soda dissolved in water, etc. Heat the piece back up to about 500 degrees and wipe it down with beeswax or mineral oil as it cools. Keep doing this until the piece stops smoking. Just like seasoning cast iron.

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One other thing. My projects have funny oily looking places on them. Is that some kind of residual finish from the steel factory on the rods?

And also I keep getting tempering colors on the metal right above the highest level of water in my final quench...

Is there any way around these two issues?

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