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Thread: Clear protection for brass and iron

  1. #1
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    Clear protection for brass and iron

    I am finishing up a rebuild of a old Railroad bench that was my Father's. I am rebuilding the benxh with Teak but will reuse the 3 old Iron and brass(?) armrests. The bench will be outside in the elements year rou d and I am looking for a clear coating for the armrests that will protect it from rust, etc. Any ideas, suggestions?
    I will post pictures when I finish up the bench.

    Thanks,
    Jim20200804_192316.jpg20200804_192309.jpg

  2. #2
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    For brass, nitrocellulose lacquer is the traditional protecting finish. I doubt it will hold up long outdoors. Any finish on brass will only slow the oxidation process not stop it. For really bright work regular application of Brasso and elbow grease is the only solution I'm aware of.

    For iron the only solution I've found is a "rusty metal" primer followed by a good metal paint. I tried some of this paint about four years ago and so far so good.

  3. #3
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    Best exterior protectant for any bare metals I have ever found is a product called sharkhide. I don't know what juju is in the stuff but it's worked great for me. Far and away better than any clear film finish.

  4. #4
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    MSDS says xylene, toluene, and modified alkyd resin.

    So whatever the resin is, is the juju. I wonder what it is..

    An enamel, "oil" based paint, of sorts I guess. Not a chemist, but interesting... Old school paint, I believe, that is supposed to be very durable.

    Very interesting. Thanks for the suggestion, Mark. I may try that stuff.
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  5. #5
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    Its been the best stuff Ive found. Ive suggested it to guys for coating brake calipers and auto parts they want to keep raw but clean like new. Salt, snow, road wear, it seems to hold up well. I guess its real popular in the boat/marine world for keeping bare metals clean/bright. I never looked at the MSDS, found the stuff probably 8-10 years ago. Its spendy but its been a one and done thing for me with regards to what I use it for (work similar to what Jim is doing). Stuff that just sees light exterior UV wear and tear my guess is it would last a ridiculously long time. I have no idea with regards to re-application down the road but its super thin so my guess has always been it'd be no big deal.
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  6. #6
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    Thanks for the replies /suggestions. I have also been looking at a product called EverBrite. It is supposedly clear and you can get it in a satin finish. I would prefer that to a gloss. It seems that all of the "good solutions" are rather pricey!
    I will post pictures once I finish this up and let you know what I ended up using.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Tobias View Post
    It seems that all of the "good solutions" are rather pricey!
    Thats been my experience for anything other than rattle can lacquer or enamel that doesnt hold up very well at all.

    Not sure about the everbrite but the sharkhide always feels like it seems to really penetrate into the metal especially if its cast or non-ferrous. Ive used it on a lot of interior work that is 8-10 years old from when I first found it and the stuff looks just like it did when it was installed. I liked that it left the material almost looking raw with little to no change in the finish from how you prepped the parts. I have read some saying that on bright work (like highly polished aluminum) it cuts the high polish down a little which would be expected.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    Thats been my experience for anything other than rattle can lacquer or enamel that doesnt hold up very well at all.

    Not sure about the everbrite but the sharkhide always feels like it seems to really penetrate into the metal especially if its cast or non-ferrous. Ive used it on a lot of interior work that is 8-10 years old from when I first found it and the stuff looks just like it did when it was installed. I liked that it left the material almost looking raw with little to no change in the finish from how you prepped the parts. I have read some saying that on bright work (like highly polished aluminum) it cuts the high polish down a little which would be expected.
    Mark, have you ever tried it on hand tools to protect against rust - hand planes, chisels, backsaws?
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