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  • Linseed oil finish - how to?

    I have a found a few threads discussing using boiled linseed oil as a finish for steel. I cannot find any specific directions though.

    Do you have to get rid of all the mill scale first or can you leave that on? I am looking to get a raw, bare natural looking finish. Don't mind some scale though.


    It looked like one poster brushed linseed oil on the metal then heated it - till it smokes? Turns black?? Then do you buff it? Is it sticky??

    So many questions!

    Les Hall, DFW
    Last edited by Les Hall; 05-05-2010, 04:25 PM.

  • #2
    What kind of material? Black iron (like wrought iron) or plate or sheet. Plate and sheet comes HRPO, HRPD.
    So little time...So many machine tools.........
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    • #3
      Originally posted by SidecarFlip View Post
      What kind of material? Black iron (like wrought iron) or plate or sheet. Plate and sheet comes HRPO, HRPD.
      It's just plain hot-rolled steel. I'm building a table base out of 1.5" sq tube. Sorry I don't know what HRPO etc. means.

      Thanks Les.

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      • #4
        I usually warm the piece up a bit first, apply oil, heat until it smokes, you can apply a bit more oil for a darker look. It will be sticky unless you keep heating it until the oil is all smoked off. Too hot and the oil burns completely off and you get to start again. Just use a small propane torch and try it, it is not difficult.
        Walker
        Chief slag chipper & floor sweeper
        Ironwood Artistic

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        • #5
          Originally posted by walker View Post
          It will be sticky unless you keep heating it until the oil is all smoked off. Too hot and the oil burns completely off and you get to start again.
          Thanks Walker.

          As it is a table I don't want it to be sticky. How can you tell when all the oil is smoked off? It stops smoking I suppose ?!

          Is the initial heating to drive any moisture out of the steel?

          Les

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          • #6
            If its sticky just reheat a bit then see. The oil seems to flow into crevices better hot. It'll work either way, I've just had a bit better luck heating it first.
            Walker
            Chief slag chipper & floor sweeper
            Ironwood Artistic

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            • #7
              Thanks Walker I'll check it out.

              Les

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              • #8
                Hey walker,
                I'm also interested in trying that technique as I have a large door frame fixture I made for work that I brought home to my shop since our company is closing. The owner still wants to do a bit of side-contracting & asked me if I wanted to sub some work. I have to keep it outside & covered & would the linseed oil help keep it rust-free? Thanks....

                Denny
                Complete weld/mach./fab shop
                Mobile unit

                "A man's word is his honor...without honor, there is nothing."

                "Words are like bullets.... once they leave your muzzle, you cannot get them back."

                "I have no hesitation to kill nor reservation to die for the American Flag & the US Constitution."

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                • #9
                  First -- hotfoot is the Master of Linseed Oil -- if you look around at
                  his posts you'll find a bunch of how-tos.

                  Second -- I've done a little of it. It takes practice. Work on scrap
                  a bunch until you get it "just right" and then do it "for real"

                  Third -- you do want the steel to be as clean as possible. Shiny,
                  in fact. One of the nice effects is to get the shiny steel underneath
                  to reflect light back through the oil coat -- the piece glows. If you
                  don't do that, the flat/icky mill scale doesn't reflect much light and it
                  really does not look all that great.

                  Fourth -- if you mix in a bit of "Japan Drier", you get a better finish. You
                  don't need much. I think that one of Hotfoot's posts gives some suggested
                  proportions (and the exact amount is not critical). (Japan Drier is available
                  at home depot)

                  Fifth -- you do need a lot of heat. I did some small stuff and used a
                  Bernzomatic propane torch. It was an, um, labor of love... Some
                  folks recommend the big weed burners that you attach to the
                  20# gas grill tanks.

                  Sixth -- you heat the oil until you get the color you want. As it heats,
                  it goes from a light amber to a dark black. Then let it cool. Also,
                  remember that metal conducts heat, so you could be heating up
                  over here, and it's starting to turn color over there... Getting it
                  smoking hot is not needed -- just get it to the color you want/like.

                  Seventh -- I don't know that it's necessary to heat the material (or the
                  oil) before coating -- i found it runny enough to begin with, that it
                  seems to get everyplace adequately.

                  Denny - a linseed oil coating (with heating) ought to help protect
                  stuff. I've got some treated things outside exposed here to New England
                  weather. They've been out for a few years and are just starting to show
                  a bit of surface rust - not enough for me to worry about yet.
                  From what I've read, the coating doesn't last forever. If the piece
                  you're talking about will ever need a different coating (paint, powder
                  coat, ...) then you'd have to get all of the linseed oil off -- which could
                  be an "interesting" job ... Also, if there are moving parts, etc,
                  the coating would wear away at the joints.

                  Frank

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Frank & Walker for the really good instructions.

                    Les

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                    • #11
                      I'll just add that you can paint over the dried Linseed Oil finish with "Oil Based" paint, as that is the same oil...so its compatible....I mix up the oil and various enamel colors on some of my pieces, putting paint on first, during, and after for different effects.

                      The other point is to let it dry...here in the South Texas sun, two days will cook it dry, but indoors, it can take over a week to lose its tackiness...just like a very slow drying paint!

                      I think a small propane torch will prove frustrating...a weed burner does a good job, but, like any tool , takes some skill and attention, so as to not over/under 'cook' it.
                      "Good Enough Never Is"

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                      • #12
                        A little nomenclature...

                        HRPO is Hot rolled Pickled and Oiled, what most of the material that people weld with and/or make stuff from is.

                        HRPD is Hot Rolled Pickle Dry. HRPD also comes in what's called 'Dry Lube'. It's a talc like coating that allows the steel to release from the die.

                        CR is cold rolled. Cold rolled sheet is dimensionally tighter.

                        Normally galvanized is either electro galv or hot dip. Both galv coatings are applied to pre-prepared coils or as we refer to them in the industry, from Hot rolled steel bands.

                        The shapes and flats you buy to make stuff is mostly hot rolled but not pickled and oiled or pickled only, hence the name 'black iron'. It's black because the scale is still on it. The scale is removed by 'pickleing' Pickled steel is run through a bath of hydrochloric acid. The acid strips the scale off the black iron. The removed scale becomes ferric oxide when it reacts with the acid and the acid, or 'pickle liquor' as it's referred to, when it becomes loaded with ferric oxide to the point where it will no longer strip the scale from the black iron is referred to a 'spent'. Some picklers distill the acid and reuse it. Some have the acid hauled away and distilled off site.

                        The ferrick oxide that is distilled from the spent pickle liquor is then used as an additive in sewage plants. The ferric oxide is used to precipitate heavy sludge from liquid effluent.

                        Then there is AKDQ which is Aluminum Killed Drawing Quality and that comes in various industry grades from 20X to 100X with 50X being the norm for deep drawing.

                        Of course there is whats referred to as Stretcher Levelled Sheet, Highh Strength, Low Carbon and so on, but for most folks here, the terminology is all about black iron. It's not really black, more like dark grey.
                        So little time...So many machine tools.........
                        www.flipmeisters.com

                        Miller, Hobart & Lincoln TIG/MIG/-
                        Hypertherm Plasma (Thanks Jim)
                        Plasma-Cam DHC (coming shortly)
                        Harris OA
                        Too many motorcycles.............-
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A little technical info about linseed and tung oils:

                          http://prorestorers.org/notes/LinseedTungOil.htm
                          --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

                          Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.
                          -------------------------

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