blacksmith's finish question

I have a friend who is a beekeeper. He just gave me about a quart of beeswax as it is collected from the hive. I'm refining it and want
to make up one of those traditional blacksmith finishes. I saw one recipe which called for linseed oil, beeswax, and bullseye shellac. I would like to know from someone who has actually made this stuff what kind of bullseye shellac they used. I mean, is it already liquid, or is it shellac in flake form?
It's amazing what places you wind up when you embark on a metalworking hobby! Now I'm in my kitchen dissolving honey from a whole bunch of little grains of beeswax mixed in with some insect bodies and sawdust and stuff. Hopefully soon I'll have a whole big chunk of nice clear beeswax.
Grant
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Grant Erwin wrote:

Can't help with the shellac issue, but beeswax I know too well.
Get yourself a coffe can (something disposable) and fire the wax into it withh a couple cups of water. Place it on low heat till all is melted, set it aside to cool. Once the wax has cooled, it will shrink away from the sides of the can enough to remove it fairy easilly. The wax will form a cake on top, The honey will dissolve into the water (mead, anyone?) and the bug bits generally sink to the bottom of the tin (knowledge best kept from the squeamish potential drinkers of the mead).
I had fifty hives for a while. After a really bad winter, I had five live hives, and forty-five hives full of wax, crystalized honey, and dead bees. I managed to salvage most of it. I made a wax cooker out of a 5 gallon steel bucket with a 110v water heater element in it that worked great. A gallon or two of water, bring to a boil, let cool overnight. I would get a cake of antwher from 5 to 25 pounds, depending on what I was processing.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Bullseye is a brand of premixed shellac in a can. Shellac users generally prefer flakes, as the stuff degrades once mixed, and the cans can be quite old when you buy them "new". Stuff you mixed up a month ago is almost definitely fresher than anything you'll find at the store premixed.
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Grant Erwin wrote:

Can't help you on the shellac, but beeswax and linseed oil, roughly 1:1 and melted together, then applied to hot metal (just hot enough so it smokes, not hot enough to caramelize) makes a fairly durable INSIDE finish.
I've been using it for 40-odd years on everything from fireplace implements to BBQ tools. Doubtless, somebody will inform you that linseed oil is poison - but evidently it is either rendered harmless by the heat, neutralized by the beeswax, or there's simply not enough of it to hurt anybody because I ain't dead yet. (g)
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Tom Stovall wrote:

I recall reading that there is a big difference between boiled and raw in this regard. IIRC, it's the raw that's a problem. If I'm right, that would tie in with your statement re heat.
Ted
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Actually, boiled linseed oil isn't boiled - it has metallic driers added to speed the drying time (yes, I realise that is implied in the description, but...).
As such, it is boiled linseed oil that is hazardous. Don't just take my word for it however, try googling for the stuff to see what the differences are.
HTH
Peter
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snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Peter) wrote:

There is at least one place that is making it by boiling, so no heavy metals in that. But most is made "boiled" by putting in heavy metals.
http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com /
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Good grief! I hadn't realised anyone was still doing that.
Thanks for the heads up.
Peter
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A woodworking friend claims Tung oil stands up to weather better than linseed oil. Anyone tried it on iron/steel?
Ted
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On Thu, 13 Nov 2003 12:20:59 GMT, Ecnerwal

"Boiling" may be several things. It can be a long low-temperature cooking to cause polymerisation, it can be a boiling of a commercial "dried" oil with marble chips to improve it, or it can be high temperature cooking with either lead or manganese compounds. These compounds may also be boiled seperately to make a liquid drier, which is then added cold (or more usually, a low temperature heating).
A chemist called Bill Knight has a very useful pamphlet out (try gunshops) on gunsmithing and stock finishing techniques for 18th-19th century Pennsylvania rifles. This is by far the best reference I've found on the subject of oil driers, especially in the historical sense.
My project for the next few days is to make some lead-dried boiled-oil oilcloth, according to the traditional recipe.
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That sounds interesting. Are you referring to US or UK gunshops? I don't think I've seen anything similar in my local gunshops, but one is primarily a box-shifter, the other a 12 bore stockist.

Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one in this country who engages in slightly oddball projects <G> Somedays it feels like it, though.
Peter
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Hi, I'm sorry I can't give you an answer if I have done "mix" you mentioned, but another way also is also usable; when making the surface treatment for example for knife handle is to use 50/50 linseed oil and turpentine + also add some tar into "mix".
BR, Ismo

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I keep my own bees also, and use their wax for my metalwork. Depending on what you are going to use the wax for, what kind of finish, you may not need to do anything at all to it. I use my beeswax straight as it comes from my hive for my iron roses. I have a big pot that I keep full of wax that I heat until melted, then preheat the rose, or other item, and dip it into the wax until fully submerged for only a moment. Then pull it out and let it drip into the pot until nothing more will drip from it. If the rose has the right temperature going into the wax, and it is drawn out quickly enough, it will still retain enough heat to drain off very completely, leaving only a thin coating that will buff up beautifully with a cotton cloth. If you find the retained wax is too thick on the item that was dipped, and didn't drain sufficiently, passing the flame of a hand held propane torch over it briefly will drain it easily and quickly.
This is a good treatment for things that will remain indoors in a room temperature environment where the wax will not become brittle. Also, be sure your metal isn't so hot that the wax burns or smokes if you want retain temper coloring or brass highlights in the metal.
Ron
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