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I Forge Iron

Wax and Linseed oil

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the mix I use for both wood and iron is 3 parts beeswax 2 parts each boiled linseed oil and 2 parts mineral spirits or turpentine. all by volume.

Shave the wax into the other ingredients and let sit give the mix a shake now and then to get it dissolved. Or if you are in a hurry you can warm the mixture in a double boiler over an electric burner. BE CAREFUL this is a highly flammable mix do NOT use an open flame.

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I prefer to use Safflower oil. High Linoleic Acid safflower oil is a superb drying oil and is used in quality oil paints. It does not tend to mildew or yellow the way linseed can. It does dry slower, but heat just below burning will dry it in minutes. If the nutritional label has Polyunsaturated fat as a much higher number (11 to 2 or so) than Monounsaturated fat then it is the right stuff. The other safflower oil (High Oleic Acid) will have the opposite ratio and will not dry.

Wax does a great job of preserving tools. Beeswax can give a warm luster, but is more likely to pick up grime on a tool. Best for wood shelves and the like. Paraffin is a great preservative and gives a good finish. Great for tools. Carnuba can be swapped into the recipe to make the wax very hard and wear better.

I mix 1 part turpentine to 1 part wax to 1 part safflower. Melt the wax in a double boiler, add the safflower and stir it in. Once clear and melted, add the turpentine. Be ready with a damp towel, and take care not to ignite this. Electric is better than flame for this heating application. This makes a paste. If you reduced the turpentine you can make a bar. If you increase the turpentine you can make a liquid. This does a great job of preventing rust and has a good feel on wood. Drying oils oxidize and become a thick reasonably tough resin. In some cases this resin is not ideal, such as when treating a band saw blade. In these cases it is better to replace the oil with mineral oil. Because I get it on me at times when machining, I use food grade that I buy from a pharmacy. Baby oil works great, it is food grade mineral oil, and leave your equipment smelling baby fresh.

Renaissance Wax is considered the best preservative mix on the market for serious conservation. It is made with microcrystalline wax, a component in paraffin. Microcrystalline wax stays soft, so it is not perhaps as good for working equipment preservation, but it also does the best job of preventing oxidation etc.. Paraffin is a good and inexpensive wax for everyday use and preservation.


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Olive oil, folks, I'm tellin' ya, olive oil! I posted this on another thread, I mix 1:1 olive oil and beeswax. Melt the wax, pour in the oil. It forms a paste that I rub onto the piece, then heat, like curing an iron skillet.

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all very cool information. thanks.
I currently use straight beeswax rubbed on at a low heat (usually after cooling down from the last brushing to remove scale) and let it cool. I have seen a number of times that some of you will coat it then re-heat.
Does this burn things on, create a glaze finish, what??:confused:

just trying to learn.

on a side note, I finally sent in my application to NCABANA, so now I may be able to actually watch somebody who knows what they are doing and learn. maybe even find a "real" anvil

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Or you could try 1 part turps, 1 part linseed oil and 1 part vinegar ...a recipe I heard on the weekend. Trust me it works a treat on wood and may just work on metal, hot or cold. Worth a try but my fires out at the moment.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tinker Tut

I mixed up the beeswax that I got from you at the PBA meet with some linseed oil and turpentine and used it to finish some projects this weekend. Worked great. I enjoyed visiting with you and the the other Nebraska smiths at your meeting.
Thanks again.

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