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topic 10433

Blackening steel for decorative use

Q. I am using metal automotive brake tubing for the arms of a wood body chandelier. I wish to blacken these using Jax iron and steel blackener.

1. How should I clean the metal before applying the chemical? Does it need a solvent bath? Do I need to dip it in some form of acid to completely clean the metal?

2. How long should I immerse the metal in the Jax solution to achieve the desired effect?

Herman V.
- St. Marys, Ontario, Canada

A. The metal should be as clean as possible, Herman. If you are doing only a few pieces, you can scrub with Pumice [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and a household cleaner like Mr. Clean, and rinse well. Immediately go into an acid activator like diluted Muriatic Acid [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], and rinse well, then try your Jax or whatever blackener according to the instructions.

You may find our FAQ on black oxide and cold blackening helpful. Good luck.

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

November 18, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I have a large piece of hot rolled steel I intend to use as a fireplace surround. After fabricating, there are greasy fingerprints and smudges along the edges / sides that I haven't been able to remove. we used lacquer thinner, which cleaned it up nicely, except for the greasy smudges. I intend to put a clear-coat finish after I get it cleaned. Please advise.

Anne Larson
- Victor Idaho

November 19, 2012

A. Hi Anne.

Powdered pumice in water, with a bit of detergent and a scrub brush is the safe and sure way. Good luck.


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

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