Derek Melton

Ideas for putting a finish on multiple small items?

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I've been working on an order of key-chain 'Shepherds Crooks' for a local Bible college. They contacted me about the idea for a campaign they're running so I sent them a sample and they asked for 150 of them with the possibility for more down the road. I've delivered 20 and they're happy with them so I'm almost done with the remaining 130. I've worked up my tooling and forging steps so that I can turn them out fairly quickly, after all they're just little hooks. ;)  I've soaked them in vinegar and wire-wheeled them and they came out nice and bright. Now I'd like to put a finish on them but the problem I'm running into is how to best go about finishing them in a manner that doesn't take forever to do but still leaves them with a durable finish. I've thought of putting them into an oven, getting them hot and then dumping them into oil but I'm not sure that will really 'take' very well. My primary forge is a small affair, an 8 inch diameter 12 inch deep propane job. In the past, to finish small items I typically hold them in the forge for a few seconds and then dip them in oil, beeswax or a blacksmith goop mixture of paste wax, linseed oil and shoe polish.

If anyone has any good ideas, I'm all ears. =)  I don't necessarily want to shortcut quality, even though they're small simple items, they're coming from me so I want to do my best but I would like to save time if possible too.

Thanks!

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Simple enough I would do them in stainless and forget finishing, save perhaps electropolishing or tumbling.

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I was watching videos about metal detecting from Aquachigger and he does artillery shells and cannon balls ( decommissioned of course) in a heated pot of wax to preserve them. I'd have to refind the video for the specifics but it seemed like a viable option for larger runs.  Of course you'd have to wipe each one down after to remove excess but it might be faster then coating them all one at a time. I'll see if I can find it. In the meantime I'm sure others have had more experience. 

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I use a crock pot, infact on my woodworking/leather working bench I have 3, one with neets foot oil, one with neets foot and bees wax and one with bees wax, linseed oil and turpentine. More than a few steel items have been thrown in the latter. But honestly I cheat and spray paint cast iron hammer finish paint on most things

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Simple enough I would do them in stainless and forget finishing, save perhaps electropolishing or tumbling.

Yeah, if I was starting over, I'd probably do that.  I've got them all forged and wire brushed now.

 

Clear coat?

This is one option that I've thought of a good bit. I may lay them out on a board, spray them, flip them spray them again and call it done.

 

 

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Take and suspend them from a piece of wire going through the hole in the scrolls, get as many on as you can, but leave spaces so you can hit the sides as well. Spray them down, let it dry, and call it good. Avoid creating dust near them while its drying, or it will be embeded into the clear coat. You should be able to do quite a lot at one time, depending on how many you can suspend at a time. 

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Build a tumbler.  After tumbling to knock off scale or burnishing, you can apply oil based finishes with a tumbler by tossing in an oil soaked rag (beware the fire hazard thou).

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150 is a lot of hooks. I would hang them on a wire, maybe in batches of 50. Back and forth with a rattle can of Rustoleum Clear and call it done.

Nice little shepherd crooks too. But I must be missing something ... where does the key go?

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They just have a keyring attached to the bottom, then it goes on your keychain and you can hang them from the edge of your pocket, purse, etc.

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I use a coal forge but this should work if you can turn down the temp in your gas burner.

 

After forging  each one I wire brush at a red

Then I place little things GS on and appropriate sized piece of angle or channel iron long enough to span my fire.

I bring  them all up to a light red, then wire rush again til they hit that illusive black heat that works so well for a hot lol finish and oil them.

When cool, I clean them with alcohol and hand rub/buff with  a bit of carnuba based furniture polish.

 

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Well, I wound up laying them all out on a wooden board and spraying them with a thin coat of a good quality automotive clear coat lacquer. it's not the nice blackened finish I'd normally apply but I did not have the time to individually heat them and treat them with a hand-rubbed finish. Thanks for all the suggestions!

 

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