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Suitable finish for polished forged mild steel sculpture?

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November 9, 2021

Q. Hi everyone.
I have been building for 25 years, mainly in mild steel and have always used epoxy/ powder coat/ lacquer finishes. With that said, I have built a piece in hot & cold-rolled forged mild steel, a high-end gallery piece, that requires a finish that isn't out of place in the gallery, that can be maintained, and that offers a timeless look. I would really appreciate your insights.


I have polished and cleaned the piece and rinsed with acetone. I am hoping that it is kept indoors, and as such I am (at this stage) resistant to a clear powder coat or clear epoxy coat -- hoping to discover a miraculous museum / gallery secret sealer. I was hoping to treat this more as a sculpture and I would love to maintain the sheen, but I am sure the piece will have people sitting in it from time to time.

The piece has many nooks and crannies that could collect moisture, many, many edges and uneven surfaces. I have thought about penetrating oil and wax, but have very little experience in these, always opting for more industrial finishes in the past. This is an important piece to me, and would thus like to seal it appropriately. Any advice and thoughts would be welcome.
Thanks in advance

Clint McLean
- Los Angeles, California

Microcrystalline "Museum Wax"

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November 2021

A. Hi. As I'm sure you know, bare steel has no resistance to rusting. On the other hand, I'm confident that most museums are controlled atmospheres with low corrosivity. If you don't want to change the look I think you're limited to wax or clear coat. Clear coats are available in matte or satin as well as sheen. One of our supporting advertisers offers their Everbrite [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] and their Protectaclear from Everbrite [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] coatings.

Maybe you can polish a piece of scrap of the same materials and wax or clear coat it to make sure you like the look before committing to it.

Luck & Regards,

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

November 16, 2021

A. Try Dinitrol 4010.Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

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