Rusting & Pitting Steel How To?

We have an artist friend who is asking us if we have any info
regarding a quick way to achieve a "old looking" rusty pitted steel
look to HR Steel.
I vaguely recall information regarding the use of some or all of the
following, Salt or "ice melt", bleach, water, peroxide? other items?
Any help would be appreciated.
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Having ammonium nitrate on or near the steel piece (cleaned of all grease) should help.
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If you want nice even rusting, clean the steel with an alkaline cleaner (TSP, Tide, dishWASHER soap), very hot water, and a wire brush. Expose it to the fumes from Muriatic Acid (available in home stores and pool stores) just tent the item, put a bowl of the acid in the the bottom. Feed it some zinc every now and then to release the hydrogen. If you want pitting also, spinkle table salt on the the surfaces after the last washing. Usual comments that both the liquid acid and the fumes are NASTY. Let the fumes clear when you open the tent, do it outside, neutalize the acid with baking soda until it stops fizzing.
cheryl179 wrote:
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I remember this guy dissolving copper in muriatic acid (HCl) and then diluting 20:1 with water, see here
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He also has a page discussing how he bends square/round tubing:
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hope that helps.
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Someone else said that "I spray on a mixture of a pint of peroxide, half a cup of vinegar, and a 1/3rd cup of salt. After a couple of hours I rinse off the piece. If you want to speed up the process leave it out in the rain or put a garden hose on mist for a few hours."
I think that there are many recipes. I have no interest in using powerful chemicals, so peroxide, vinegar, and salt sounds good to me.
Your artist friend might want to look into the group, lots of good metal information there. I have hung out on their listsever for years.
cheryl179 wrote:
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Richard Ferguson
Almost as many ways to make it rust as there are ways to prevent rust!!
I just did an ornamental rust job on a 4x8 ft steel sign a couple of weeks ago. Cleaned metal, gave it two spritzer coats of the following at 24 hr intervals. Got a nice mottled surface rust, but no pitting.
1 qt 3% hydrogen peroxide 1/2 cup 30% HCL (masonry cleaning acid)
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Bill Marrs
Solutions probably won't pit low-carbon stuff that much, high-carbon alloys will really pit if left in salt or other corrosives awhile. Some experimentation required. Maybe rock salt left on the surface would do the pitting if kept damp. Cat pee rusts stuff up pretty well, hydrochloric or nitric acid fumes ditto. Might be a combination of coarse sand-blasting followed by a rust treatment would work to give that WWI relic look.
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If it is not too large, pack it in concentrated granular fertilizer, such as Miracle Gro, slightly dampened.
This has the grand advantage that you can easily (and usefully) dispose of the chemistry once you're done with it.
Reply to
Richard J Kinch
If you can check out SAMS for the volume amounts of Vinegar, salt and Baking Soda (to kill the acid)(then wash). I bought HCL from the lumber yard - in the plumbing section.
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH & Endowment Member NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member
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Richard Fergus>
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Reply to
Martin H. Eastburn
Fertilizer does a great job of rusting and pitting things. Unfortuantly, I didn't want the things rusted and pitted the first time I learned this.
Wes S
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remove any passivation or protection from the surface before applying the rusting agent.
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Stealth Pilot
Wear gloves and eye protection.
Wash with soap, rinse.
Spritz on muriatic acid until surface is saturated. Keep wet for 15 minutes. Rinse with water. Allow to dry. Spritz on household bleach until all of surface is saturated. Allow to dry. Rust will be instantaneous.
More cycles of wetting with bleach, then allowing to dry will cause more rust.
For pitting, apply ice cream salt to wet bleach, spritz with bleach as needed to keep wet.
The rust on this six bottle winerack took about two hours to produce on a sunny spring day in Texas.
Reply to
Tom Stovall

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