Friday, November 27, 2009

November's Open Books

Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet (great!)

Wax Finish

I did my first batch of wax finish today and it came out great!  I was nervous at first, as was my wife, considering all these heavy wax and turpentine fumes were consuming the front part of the house, but she was gracious and even let me use her glass measuring bowl and some other essentials!

Despite my initial worries centering around burning down the house and spontaneous combustion, it all turned out all right!  I used Doug Merkel's recipe below from the ABANA website faithfully, except for I skipped the Japan Dryer since I did not have any.  Many thanks Doug!

Doug's recipe (which first appeared in the March 1996 Appalachian Area Blacksmith Assn. Newsletter) is as follows:

Wax for All Seasons, by Doug Merkel

A significant portion of my work deals with the repairs and reproduction of antique ironwork. Most of my customers want a natural finish that looks old, protects the metal and which can be touched up if needed without lots of work or fancy chemicals. To meet their needs I have modified a few formulas that have been around for sometime into one that works for me and my customers. For some of the larger jobs, I leave a small container of the wax for use by the customer. It wears well inside and does quite well outside, if applied correctly. I have a piece of ironwork with this finish that has been out in the elements for over a year without rusting.

1 cup Johnson's Paste Wax
1 cup Boiled Linseed Oil
1 cup Turpentine
1/2 cup Shaved/pieces of Beeswax
2 tbsp. Japan Dryer

The first three ingredients can be obtained at most any hardware store, such as Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. The Japan Dryer is used by artists to speed the drying time for their oil paints, so is available at many art supply stores. The beeswax can be obtained from a local beekeeper, beekeeper supply shops, or blacksmith supply companies.

Mixing The Ingredients
Put all the ingredients into a glass quart jar, put the lid on with the retaining ring very loose. A metal can may be used, but it needs a tightly fitting cover. Either set up a double boiler or set next to your forge to get the mixture to melt. Do not put directly on the heat source and watch out for open flames. Once the ingredients are melted, tighten the lid ring and shake like crazy until all the wax is dissolved and is a homogenous mix. As it cools, it will become a soft paste. Keep the lid on when not in use.

Metal Preparation
Remove all scale with a power wire brush or by hand. if you want a dark finish, remove the scale at a dull red and let the metal air cool until you can just handle it with your bare hands. For a brighter finish, use a power wire brush and remove all the scale while the metal is cold, then apply enough heat until you can just hold it in your hand.

Apply the mixture with a brush, your fingers, or with a small rag. The heat will melt the mix and it will run into every nook and cranny. Let it cool and buff out with a rag. If you let the excess mix stay on the iron, it will eventually harden, but every place that has excess will show up as a bright spot. A second coat can be added to heighten the luster while the metal is cold Just remember to buff off the excess with a cloth.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Claude Moore Colonial Farm 2010 Market Fair Dates

Please join me and my family at the next Claude Moore Colonial Farm Market Fair!  It will be great to see you all there the 3rd full weekend of May and July.

The actual dates are:
    May 15 and 16, 2010
    July 17 and 18, 2010

You can see additional details at