Authoritative Answers, Fun, & Aloha -- no cost, no passwords, no popups
(as an eBay Partner & Amazon Affiliate we earn from qualifying purchases)

Home /
Site 🔍
pub     mobile?
Metal finishing Q&As since 1989


How to rust steel on purpose

^- Olivier de Géa pencil sketch on rusted steel
(see Jan. 12, 2010 entry)

^--John Dupree's table
(see Aug. 29, 2008

Q. My company provides high quality doors and windows for custom homes. Being in the mountain / mining region, rusted steel is the preferred finish of choice for many surfaces in the home. My question relates to making new steel look old. What is the best, safest, time efficient way to rust raw steel? Then of course, what is the best way to stop or slow down the process and seal the finish as to not present a problem with peoples clothing, etc., coming in contact with the steel. Then what might the process be for rusting galvanized? Thank you for your help.

Richard C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Telluride, Colorado

A. You're providing high quality doors and windows that rust on purpose? A lot of us are in the business of trying to prevent what you are asking :-)
What kind of warranty can you offer!?
You could paint something to make it look like rust.
You could paint over galvanneal as well.
You could use 588 steel that would weather and seal itself, but it would streak.

If you want something to rust evenly, you may have to sandblast it to remove any scale. Your trick is to keep it rusty but also protect it from rusting away.

Mike Stroia
- Canton, Ohio

"Decorative Designs:
Over 100 Ideas for Painted Interiors, Furniture, and Decorated Objects"

on AbeBooks

or Amazon

(affil links)


Q. After searching extensively on this site as well as general search engines and finding no TRULY USEFUL advice which provides IN LAYMAN'S TERMS an answer to a question MANY PEOPLE ARE ASKING I can only assume that

1. you genuinely don't know how to cause rust, or
2. you don't "get" the question, or
3. you would prefer to "sell something to simulate rust", or
4. I am far too stupid to understand your answer.

Assuming that #4 is correct, could you please dumb it down a few notches and tell us how to make steel rust? Is it acid? Is it alkali? What is the cheapest and most commonly available chemical to accelerate the rusting process? Table salt? vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] to get that Old West look we love out here. Yes, it will eventually rust thru - 50 years or so from now - but in the meantime, we'll enjoy the weathered funky western look.

Nancy F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Tucson, Arizona

thumbs up signI thank you for having this page. I see there are a lot of folks pro or not interested in rusting or antiquing metal.

This old look is just the thing for expensive Santa Fe style art. What we are doing is as valid as figuring out how come 300 series stainless is rusting near a pool.

There are many high grade products for gun bluing or browning out there. As I find their names I will provide them. Thanks once again, Bob

Bob H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Blacksmith - Chandler, Arizona

(you are on the 1st page of the thread)       Next page >

(No "dead threads" here! If this page isn't currently on the Hotline your Q, A, or Comment will restore it)

Q, A, or Comment on THIS thread -or- Start a NEW Thread

Disclaimer: It's not possible to fully diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations might be harmful.

If you are seeking a product or service related to metal finishing, please check these Directories:

Chemicals &
& Software

About/Contact  -  Privacy Policy  -  ©1995-2024, Pine Beach, New Jersey, USA  -  about "affil links"