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Which kind of coating for this


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Hi to all out there,

just making twenty of these steel-roses. However, the more I'm comming to the end of the job, the more I'm asking myself, what kind of coating is the best and how to apply.

I got a very nice beeswax/carnauba mix here. But how should I wipe of excesse material between the petals? Or should I use a lacquer coating. But how to apply this, between the petals to prevent rusting there?

What would you recommend?




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If you get the temperature right you might be able to blow excess off with an air hose. Use GOOD protection, goggles and a face shield, hot wax in your hair isn't a big deal but you don't want it in your eyes, ears or nose. 

How about enamel, not paint, vitrified glass enamel? It's trickier on steel, you need the right kind of enamels and do both sides to prevent warping but petals and leaves are colored on both sides anyway. It'll give you a full pallet of colors as well. Furnace enameling steel isn't trivial though there's a learning curve to climb but it's beautiful.

Your roses are as always lovely. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I'm just spit balling here but, Could you airbrush a thinned mix of BLO and turpentine? I don't know if this would work or if you got it thin enough to spray it would be effective but it might be worth looking into. If it would work it would be pretty easy to apply.


Edited by pnut
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BLO (or some other finishing oil, such as tung oil) thinned with turpentine or mineral spirits would be a good option. I would recommend first wiping a thin coat over everything except the blossoms, then dipping the blossoms into the container of thinned oil, holding them upside down a moment to allow the excess to drip off (perhaps with a quick shake or two), and then turning them upright and setting them to dry. This should give you decent coverage.

If you prefer a wax finish, you could do the same thing with heavily thinned paste wax, encouraged with a hair dryer to melt and flow into the crevices. Allow to dry, and then buff to a nice shine.

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Blo, turps, 50/50 and a lump of beeswax works well.  I use a quart of each and somewhere around a walnut/egg sized piece of beeswax. I heat all in my coal forge in a dedicated old paint can with lid and bale. heat slowly til beeswax melts. If it flashes in the can, put on the lid and use your poker to remove from the heat. 

This mix is a liquid and goes on easy with a rag, small brush, or pour it into the tight places. 

I would put the rose on the top of my coal fire, rotate and bring up to proper temp. The mix should both smoke off and darken your rose, when you are there. Too hot and it will smoke off and leave your rose grey, too cold and you will see a tacky wet look. 

Next and when cool, clean well with alcohol. Dont use mineral spirits here because it will leave a visible film on your work.

Now rub a light coat of a carnuba based furniture polish(Johnson past wax) on your rose. Buff it up and note that this will bring out some very subtle bright highlights that are pretty cool. The more you rub, the less subtle the highlights. 

This will give you a nice matte black finish with anywhere from zero to max highlights.


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Hi to all,


thank you so much for all the good ideas!!!

I think these two last ideas with BLO or WAX aplied to the warmed roses will be, what I´ll try first.

Anvil -

You describe that cleaning with alcohol step. What is the reason for this? Wouldn´t that rub of the coating I have just put on?

And at least, if you say "buffing" you mean buffing by hand with a piece of rag or so and not excessiv work with a buffing wheel?


Greeting Sascha

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8 hours ago, LeMarechal said:

Wouldn´t that rub of the coating I have just put on?

The main reason is to remove all excess finish and grime from the forging. It will keep your clients from getting black smudges on their hands. 

Also when done hot this finish soaks into the iron. So unless you really rub one out, you wont lose your finish. 

This step is where you can develop a "custom" finish. Obviously, the harder you rub here, you will bring out more highlights on your work. The more you rub, the more highlights. These 'high'lights happen on the high points and edges. Its the part of developing finish that I like the best.

And yes, buff with a rag. A wheel is too agressive and too much work. At least for my taste.

P.S. I reread my post, so to be clear, both cleaning with alcohol and buffing the wax can develop these highlights,,, or not, depending on your tastes.


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Lacquer holds up well on musical instruments, and would go on easily. Not sure how you would get a satin finish that a rose has. There may be an additive you can put into the lacquer.

Powder paint is great, BUT it has a hard time with sharp angles like the inside of the petals have. This is due to the Faraday effect that forms and actually repels the paint at those tight intersections. With a high voltage unit it can be minimized.

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Ok thank you, that makes things clearer.

Lacquer is a fine thing, but the most products I know become very hard after drying what makes it very possible to get spallings and scratches. Another problem what I'm seeing with lacquer is that the most lacquers need minimum rounded edges, to cover them well. On sharp edges like at the rose petals, lacquer will flow away a little, so that maybe a door for rust... ok, probably not the biggest problem for interiors:)

But this scratch and spalling thing is ugly, even on clear coatings. Think the good old oil/wax- method has its advantages here...

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I have pics here, but I'm not sure how you find them.

Heres one that shows the finish pretty well, but not with the burnished(highlighted) edges. I do believe that the highlights on the lobes of the flower petals are burnished as above. You can see the effect pretty well on the lobes on the lower right,, just right of the stem.

2016-03-08 20.49.28.jpg

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Hi Anvil,


thank you for answering.

I tried it out now and yes I got a nice dark brown/black colour. But I also got a thick glossy film on the surface, not sticky but hard like laquer.

I´m sure I that I applied to much of the BLO/Turp Mix. Therefore I tried it out once more today. I attempted to wipe only thin layers on the metal and that seemed to produce better results. But this rubbing with denaturated alcohol didn´t change anything. Am I yet to hot(not me but the metal :) ) during I´m applying the liquid? Or is it still to thick?

1000 Questions I know :)

Greetings Sascha

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HI Anvil, you're absolutely right :)

Yesterday I found that I got a problem to hold the right temperature. On the stem of the roses everything works fine, because the material is still longer at "blackening-temperature", because of its big amount of material. The stem was matte black and not sticky as you discribed above. Oki doki so far...

 However the petals are from 1,5mmm sheet metal and thus they have only a little mass. It doesn't  matter how hot I'm starting, it seemed that everything cools down faster than the blackening effect occurs. If I heated up the petals again , carefully with my torch with a very low flame, I ended up with a crusty glancy finish looks like plastic :( 

May it be, that blackening is not the best choice for this project :)

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although you have to be careful, I use my coal forge for a situation like yours. 

I can bring all the petals up to a consistent heat a bit hotter than I need. Then with a rag I can dribble the finish from outside to inside. It will smoke off, but keep applying finish just until it is starting to stay "wet" on the inside, but still at a lower black heat. Then when cool, clean as above. 

There is a fine temp line between an even finish and a yucky brown when it's just too cool. It takes some learning to get it right. Especially something comex like your rose petals with all the hard to get places.

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Hi Anvil,

First of all I like to thank you for your endless patience for answering all these details.

I guess you're right. I just have to get more experience with this technique particularly with such tricky items like these roses petals.

As I posted earlier, with simple objects everthing works easy and fine.

What I also really wanted to ask, if you clean up your pieces with alcohol,  do you have any "dirt" in your cleaning rag?  When I put alcohol on a new and clean piece of some rag and rubb the piece the rag still stays clean. Shouldn't I have at least a little black stuff in my cloth?


Greetings and once more thanks :D

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Lol, the rag I use to clean with alcohol is usually not the most pristine! 

The best answer is this. If you make a nice towel bar for a fancy bathroom, you can bet that when the lady of the house hangs those luxurious white towels on your fine work,,,,. 

I'll leave it there.

Here's a suggestion to learn this finish. Make something say 2'-3' long from half" square bar. Simply champfer the edges hot. Apply a hot oil finish. Try for consistency of color like in my pic.

This will take more than one heat. The problem areas are the transitions from one heat to another. You burn off some of what's done, some beyond that changes color, some will be a brown, some grey, some as above. Do this finish including applying the final paste wax and experiment with bringing out the highlights.

It takes a bit of learning even to get a nice consistent finish on something as simple as a straight bar.

Oh, and clean it as well with alcohol and notice if you get any grime. ;)

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I've somehow missed this thread.  Finishing is something I have only done a little bit of and haven't quite gotten the hang of yet. It's all mysterious to me.  Sounds simple until I try it.  I'd like to be able to make something, for example, like the "towel bar" Anvil has suggested and not have it stain or damage white towels.  But so far, every Wax, BLO and Turpentine mixture I try still marks things black.

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