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Finishing of Antique Cast Iron Book Press


I am an antique collector and I recently acquired a 19th century cast iron book press for my wife who is an artist and art book maker. I have cleaned the dirt and surface rust off the device and want to apply a finish that stabilizes the surface but still leaves a patina. I don't want to apply any paint or lacquer. I have heard that rubbing bees wax onto the surface will work. Can anyone confirm that or are there any other suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Andy J [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Chicago, Illinois


I just finished "restoring" a similar press - combination of steel plate and turned steel (circa 1910?). It too was rusty and dirty. I cleaned the entire press, ground off some horrible welds (an unsympathetic modification) and then attempted to repair the finish. I left the painted surfaces "as is". Some of the bare areas I left if the rust was solid and not loose. The bare areas where there are moving parts or the rust was loose I cleaned it up with 240 grit and scotchbrite. Then I cleaned the areas with a degreaser and applied tool black. You need to flood and brush the surface until you achieve a good level of blackening. Use rubber protective glovesamazoninfo, gogglesamazoninfo and good ventilation. Rinse with fresh water, dry and then seal with wax. Any wax will do. There are furniture waxes which are a combination of beeswax and turpentine. These are easy to apply but pure beeswax or even paraffin will do. Just rub it on and then work into the surface with a soft cloth. It will seal the black-oxide and provide some protection. It also give a nice, appropriate lustre.

Tim H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Vancouver, B.C., Canada


March 12, 2008

I am looking to buy an antique hand book press 19th century. What should I expect to pay. Anybody know places to get one?


john kline
- chapel hill, North Carolina

March 12, 2008

Hi, John. This site is about metal finishing, which includes the finishing of book presses -- but we don't get involved with valuations, hallmarking, or buying and selling presses or components. E-bay is, of course, one good place to look. Good luck.

Ted Mooney   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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