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Anvil Finishing

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I bought an anvil recently that has a decent coat of rust on it and probably hasn't been used in a bit. It's a 250# Fisher from 1892, I'll make a post with some pictures when I get a chance.

I have been researching finishes and the consensus seems to be light wire brushing and boiled linseed oil coat for the sides. 

My question is if there is any downsides to taking a wire wheel to the sides to remove the rust before putting a linseed coat on? Aesthetically I prefer the cleaner look but I don't want to hurt the anvil in any way.


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Wire wheel yes, flap disk no.

Oil of any description works.

Automatic transmission fluid for some, lanolin for me, linseed oil, wd40 whatever keeps the moisture at bay. 

The face if you are going to use it needs nothing, just some elbow grease.

And to keep the rust off it, cover it with a piece of heavy canvas, not plastic, and tie a rope around the stump to keep the canvas put. The residual heat from the day, will stay in the anvil and will be enough to keep the night moisture off ... unless you live in Canada or Alaska that is. 

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A non-knotted wire wheel takes more work, but it's less aggressive. Especially important if you don't want to buff away at marks on old wrought iron anvils. (albeit Fishers are cast) Linseed works well, can be tacky for awhile. Most oils work, and you may want to leave an oiled rag on the face if you're not using it too often.

IMPORTANT. If you're not used to linseed, never leave a rag with the oil on it outside of a sealed metal container. They tend to catch fire spontaneously. Some people burn them intentionally after use to get rid of them.

Patinas are easy to take off, hard to put back on. Your anvil, your call.

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Oily rags catch fire because the process of oxidation is exothermic. Hang the rag flat in a ventilated area and it will be impossible for the rag to reach ignition temperature. If it is bunched up in a container and in the sun, guaranteed ignition :)

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