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"Metal Finishing/Conditioning of Emmert Vise"


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Q. A friend recently gave me an Emmert vise (#1 Turtle back, type 4).
I have removed all the rust using an electrolysis process for most of the parts and using Evapo-rust on some others. I followed up either process with a phosphoric acid wash to inhibit rust and condition the metal.

The friend that gave me the vise suggests painting as the final treatment for long lasting protection (POR-15 by name). I love the hardened, blackened color and texture that it is now but I know that it will not last long (the resulting thin phosphate layer not providing much long term protection).

While attending a "Woodworking in the 18th Century" conference last year, I purchased a striking tool made at the blacksmith's shop. The color and texture of the vise is now very similar to the striking tool. However, I've had the striking tool for 6 months now and it shows no sign of rust or even of beginning to.

Here is my question: Rather than paint this vise, is there a process or product that I can employ that will provide protection from rust and impact that will enhance rather than cover up it's well worn appearance?

I have a combination hand tool / power tool shop and when possible, I like to do things in as traditional way as is possible and practical. Before I slap a coat of paint on this wonderful vise, (and make it look "attempting to be quasi new") I want to see if there is a way to retain it's character and protect it at the same time.

Thanks in advance for any and all help you can provide.

David Wolfe
David Wolfe Designs, Inc. - Greensboro, North Carolina


A. If it's in a relatively non humid area in a dry environment, and you keep it well oiled it ought not rust. Few people today would have the patience to apply oil with one tenth the frequency it was probably applied in the 18th century. Maybe synthetic whale oil is what you need.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


thumbs up signThanks for the info.
I'm running a test with pure Tung Oil [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] to see how that will work. On one piece I put straight oil and on another 50/50 oil with turpentine. After 24 hrs, the mixed part is dry and I'll probably put at least another coat or two on it. The straight oil piece will just need another day or so to cure.
Not having direct access to synthetic whale oil, I just decided to see if tung oil would work. Looks like it might. It's at least a drying oil that builds up on wood, so I thought it might build up on metal as well. Plus, being a drying oil, it doesn't have that 'rub off on your hands/work' effect. That was the reason I didn't want to use a petroleum based oil.

Thanks again for the idea.
- dw

David Wolfe [returning]
- Greensboro, North Carolina USA


Q. How is the tung oil test going. I would think that tung would do a good job, and it would be real easy to touch up the vice as well. Is this an inside object or is it sitting out in the rain. ?



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