I see many ibles made with black pipe here but rarely do they mention any coatings to prevent rusting. I also often build with rusty items where I need to cover the rust so it won't rub of on clothes etc. but don't want to lose the beauty of the patina. An architect once told me he used linseed oil to preserve rusted iron outdoors. I tried it but the damned stuff never fully dries! I could use polyurethane but the oxidation will continue underneath and it will eventually flake off. I've tried "rust stabilizers" but they turn the rust black so it loses it's color. I finally got turned on to a product from an old timer in a paint store I would probably never have found on my own.

Step 1: Penetrol

He recommended a product called Penetrol normally used as a paint additive to improve flow and adhesion that also seals and stops rust. It can be used alone as a base coat on bare metal and will fix the rust while preserving the appearance. The finish will be darker than dry rust but similar to rust sprayed with water or oil and can be top coated with a polyurethane for a more durable finish.

Pic's of my Kardex from my last post
<p>It is a little dingy looking. ;-) Sometimes a clear coat will brighten things up a little. Try wiping it with a wet cloth to see what a little gloss will do for it. You could also experiment on the back or bottom. If it's rust free, you don't need the Penetrol.</p>
<p>Yes, dingy :'( There is a little rust on the sides but the faces of the drawers are rusty... it looked much nicer covered in grease!! When you say clear coat do you mean petrol? And when you said to try wiping it with a wet cloth, do you mean with water? Sorry, this is new to me. Thus far I have only used kerosene to get rid of rust and oil to prevent but I've been told penetrol is the way. </p>
<p>Hi, </p><p>We have an old viscount caravan that we are wanting to take back to bare metal &amp; leave it for the looks.</p><p>What are you recommendations on keeping the rust away? </p><p>Thanks. </p>
<p>IDK. This thread is about preserving and stabilizing rust. If you have rust free bare metal, any appropriate paint or cleat coat will do. I suggest talking to a good automotive paint store.</p>
<p>I have a mid-century Kardex Remington Rand index file cabinet, I cleaned off the machine shop grease (sadly a bit too much since I saw color running as well) and am looking for suggestions on restoring it, especially the faces of the drawers. I am looking to keep the vintage look but it looks a bit shabby (amazing what 45 years of shop grease can hide). The pic shows one in about the same shape as mine. Thoughts, suggestions?</p>
<p>Hello Brian</p><p>Great topic discussion.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve got an old industrial clock from the 1930s which <br>originally spent its life outside, but has in recent years been living inside, <br>in the dry. (see pics)</p><p>The rust is very old and quite stable, however, the multitude <br>of paint finishes over the years are beginning to flake off in places, which is <br>what I want to try and stop and preserve by applying a clear flat sealer &ndash; No gloss, <br>that stabilizes and locks everything in place. I don&rsquo;t want to add any <br>additional shine or gloss that isn&rsquo;t there already in the original paints. I <br>also want to retain the color of the rust &lsquo;as it is&rsquo; and avoid darkening or <br>blackening it as some rust inhibiters can do.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve narrowed the sealer down to Krylon COVERMAXX&trade; Acrylic <br>Crystal Clear Flat, as it seems to be one of the only true &lsquo;Flat&rsquo; clear sealers <br>available over here in the UK.</p><p>My question is whether &lsquo;Acrylic&rsquo; sealers are compatible to <br>be sprayed on top of Penetrol (or Owatrol Oil, as it is marketed and sold as <br>over here in the UK)? I have read on other forums that xylene based coats <br>(either epoxy or polyurethane/acrylic) are not supposed to be used on top of <br>Penetrol/Owatrol Oil?</p><p>Thanks for any help on this one.</p>
<p>I'm not a paint expert. I don't even know what xylene based coatings are. I only know that I have used spray can polyurethane over the Penetrol many times and have been living with the results successfully for up to 8 years. It's my understanding that acrylic (water based) over oil based coatings is not a good idea.</p><p>Also notice that while the penetrol doesn't change the color (blacken) of rust, it will darken it as if it was wet. If you wipe it with a wet rag, you will see what it will look like after you coat it. If you look at my pictures, you'll see what I mean.</p>
<p>I also wouldn't get too hung up on who has the flattest flat. I can see in your photo that there is a little low level gloss in the old paint The difference from flat or matte or egg shell won't be noticed once it's finished and hanging on the wall.</p>
<p>Brian, many thanks for your feedback.</p><p>Thanks for the confirmation of the resulting darkness of the <br>rust following the &lsquo;Penetrol/Owatrol Oil&rsquo; application. The only other consideration <br>is whether the &lsquo;Penetrol/Owatrol Oil&rsquo; has a tendency to get under the good <br>paint and lift it off as I know some rust neutralising products can do this. If <br>the &lsquo;Penetrol/Owatrol Oil&rsquo; stays in one place and does not creep around and <br>spread under the good paint, then it should be perfect for the job.</p><p>Your observation about the low level gloss in the old paint <br>got me thinking as to whether using a Flat <br>clear sealer was the correct thing to do as it may artificially Flatten the <br>slight gloss that the paint already has? Ideally I need a clear sealer that <br>adds nothing to the original paint gloss level underneath it &ndash; no artificial <br>glossing up or flattening down of what the sealer is covering. Finding a completely <br>neutral clear sealer will be a challenge as they all tend to add something of <br>their own to the final look and finish.</p><p>Also thanks for pointing out the Acrylic paint on top of &lsquo;Penetrol/Owatrol <br>Oil&rsquo; having a compatibility issue. It&rsquo;s strange because the Krylon clear <br>acrylic states that you need mineral spirits for clean-up and not just simple <br>soap and water, which you would expect if it really is a water based acrylic paint?</p><p>I&rsquo;m going to have a further look around for a completely neutral <br>clear sealer that is also compatible with being applied over the &lsquo;Penetrol/Owatrol <br>Oil&rsquo;.</p><p>Many thanks again and will let you know how I get on.</p>
<p>Gloss/flatness is a condition of how light reflects or diffuses off of the surface. It will not be possible for the gloss level of an underlying layer to come through at the surface. Don't waste your time stressing over this. Just chose a flat or satin finish and test it in the back if you want to be sure how it looks.</p><p>It doesn't look like the old paint is very flakey so I doubt the Penetrol would loosen it. Since the Penetrol has hardeners, I'd think it would seal the old surface up nicely.</p>
<p>Hi, am hoping you can help me with a specific recommendation because I am getting confused reading about this online. I have several tables with steel hairpin legs. The legs have started to rust. I read that I can remove the rust with steel wool. I have read pros and cons about various products and am unclear regarding what to do next to protect them from rusting again. I would want a clear coating so that the raw steel shows through. These tables are indoors, on carpet. Thank you!</p>
If you like the look of the rust, and want to preserve that, You can follow what I did here. <br><br>If you want to remove the rust, you would use naval jelly or some kind of rust remover. If you use steel wool with it, it might change the surface like sand paper but I'm not sure. You can test a small area inside, close to the table top so it won't show if you don't like the results. If you use a rust remover and remove all the rust, you can then just use a clear coat without any Penetrol.<br><br>The steel wool by itself won't remove the rust completely so you would then still need something like Penetrol to neutralize the rust before using a clear coat.
<p>Thank you! I had not read about naval jelly. I see that is the way to go, since I would prefer to completely remove the rust and I don't want to affect the surface, which is matte gray steel. Can you specify exactly what I should use as a clear coat? Brand name would be helpful if you can give one. </p>
<p>So a for an outdoors metal business sign, say a coating of black gloss protective enamel finished with a good coating of this Penetrol would hold up for quite some time? </p><p>Thanks, </p><p>Ryan.</p>
There is no point in using Penetrol on top of paint. <br><br>This whole instructable is about clear coating to preserve the look of rusted steel or iron, not hiding it. Painting metal is not what we're discussing. Any paint shop can give you better advice on this than I can.
<p>hi. i'm wondering if i can apply acrylic spray paint on top of a coat of penetrol? it will be a stenciled image on steel. thanks!</p>
<p>I'm not sure but I think the rule of thumb is that you can apply water based over oil based paints but not the other way around. Anyone in the paint department should be able to tell you.</p>
<p>Actually it's the opposite.You can apply a oil based paint over a water based paint, but not visa versa. Oil based paints never completely dry, they continue to dry over their lifetime.So if you apply a water based paint over a oil paint the water based paint will seal the surface not allowing the oil paint to continue it's drying process.This can cause major problems over time.</p>
<p>Thanks, I've only heard the rule but never the reason. Now that I know the reason I'll be able to keep it straight. Contrary to what people seem to think, I'm not a paint expert. I'm just a DIY guy who happened to talk to the right old timer in a small town paint store who knew his stuff.</p>
<p>And by the way thank you for this wonderful thread, I do a lot of artwork with welded metal and have been looking for a protect to preserve,inhibit, and seal the rusted metal look!</p>
<p>Hey! I'm I've been trying to find a cool and original look for my car. I want to to a bare metal look. Would this Penetrol work for this use? Thanks!</p>
I have no idea, but it sounds like it should (as long as you put on a clear powder coat finish
I've wanted to do the same thing to my bike. If you do this, let us know how it works. I'll do the same
<p>This is an awesome method for working with steel! I stripped the rust off of a few pieces of railroad and left the rust on a few others, then sealed them all with the Penetrol. My only concern is that the pieces never really seem to dry. They're still a bit sticky. Do you think that will go away with the polyurithane? Have you run into the stickiness problem before?</p>
I have not had that issue with Penetrol. I'd check with the company or with a GOOD local paint store.
Awesome read, what kind of matte cleae can i use that will stick to the penetrol? Would a two part automotive clear be more durable?
I believe any oil based coating should work with penetrol. I know nothing about 2 part automotive paints. I'm not a paint expert. You should check with a paint supplier.
<p>And thanks for the info on the penetrol!</p>
<p>Through my &quot;unfortunate&quot; experience with my 1937 house -- old oil based paint will chip off of old varnish (leading me to curse whomever painted the beautiful varnished woodwork in the first place!), oil based paint will go over latex, latex will peel off of oil based. There are some good primers on the market now that effectively allow latex over oil, simple paint with primer will not really cut it -- prep and priming are key!!! </p>
Hi Brian,<br><br>I just installed some oil blackened iron hardware on a chest and was looking to seal the hardware so that i dont have to wash my hands every time i pick it up. Is the Penetrol still a viable option in your opinion?
It there's no rust, you don't need it. It's not a hard and durable finish on it's own. If you're hands are getting dirty you should clean the parts with something like paint thinner. The corner braces can be easily coated with polyurethane. I might try waxing the part that have to move.<br>
<p>Hi Brian,</p><p>I have a raw milled steel countertop that I have not yet sealed. From what I've read here, it sounds like the wax paste is recommended for a countertop. I do have some water rings on the surface now - is there a way I might be able to remove these before I wax it? Thanks so much for sharing your advice!</p>
BTW, Feel free to post pictures here to show us what you're talking about.
Hi Brian, This is in a retail use, not a kitchen use. the water rings are not rusty (although there is a bit of scale in the one photo, that is not my main concern, i like that better than the water rings), just a discoloration left behind from setting a sweaty cup on the counter. I'm hoping I can eliminate them before protecting the counter. Instead of the wax, should I just use a clear coat? I would like to use a crushable, clear satin product, I think I read that the Minwax products could also be used on metal. Do you have a best recommendation for a product to use to help protect it from future discoloration?<br><br>Thank-you!
<p>Personally, I rather like the look with the rings. They give a casual appearance and lend a sense of history to the material. If there's no rust, you can use a few coats of clear polyurethane to seal the surface. Wax will work too but you should re-wax it periodically. As for cleaning the rings, have you tried windex or solvents?</p>
I don't have any experience with the paste wax on a high wear surface like a countertop but I wouldn't use it for that myself. If you do it should probably be relaxed periodically. (2-4 times a year?) I also don't think you should trust it with hot pans etc. I've been using the bathroom counters I featured here for 4 years now. I did have a careless house guest that left items sitting in wet soapy water on the guest bath counter top for a week and that penetrated the surface and started some rust. In our bathroom however, where we're more careful, the surface has performed flawlessly so far. Soap is deadly for almost all coatings, even the baked epoxy coatings used to refinish tubs and sinks.<br><br>Once you have rust rings started on raw steel you'll never remove the evidence without sanding the original surface off. You can remove the rust with naval jelly, but you'd still see pitting or scaring where the rust was. The rust remover might also change the original surface. You might consider leaving or even enhancing the rings and considering them as &quot;history&quot; or patina that makes the material more interesting or even tells a story or records an event.
<p>I used steel <br>wool to clean rusted steel and the Penetrol... I wiped it on with a cotton <br>cloth. I love the look how it is. I'm going to use it as a desktop &ndash; so it will <br>need to be more durable. This is my third try on getting the finish I want. <br>When I used polyurethane it came out too dark and shiny. Tried matte <br>polyurethane and it was streaky and cloudy. Has anyone tried a wax?</p>
<p>You can use the wax on bare metal if it's clean &amp; smooth but if it's pitted, you won't be able to buff the wax smooth in the low spots and you'll have the white residue showing. I don't think wax would be good over the penetrol. If you like the look with the penetrol, adding polyurethane top coats won't darken the surface any further. I'd use the spray on a nice flat surface like this. The brush on always leaves some visible brush marks.Try a flat or a satin on the back to see how you like the finish then put down at least 3 coats, more if you have the time and patience. Desks get a fair amount of abuse.</p>
<p>it looks like Penetrol is exactly what I need to lock in some rusted metal I want to use in a project. The only problem is, I can't buy it in California. I can't get anyone to ship it to me either. I can get the non-oil-based replacement, Flotrol. However, I don't know if this will work the same. Does it? Is there anything else I can use in California that will produce similar results?</p>
Thanks, I have learned the hard way to always read between the lines and to pay attention also to what is NOT said. It's easy to read what I want to hear if I'm not careful.
<p>The Flotrol is made by the same company 'Flood' and is the same product in that as Penetrol is for oil-based, Flotrol is for latex-based paint. BUT if you're just using it as a clear top coat (not over any paint) I bet it would work the same. Here is a link to the product description, but of course what BrianJewett(author)'s Instructable is about is how to use it 'off-label'. I'm going to try the Flotrol too, because it is a lot cheaper than its cousin ;-) I hope this helped a little.</p><p>http://www.flood.com/paint-additive-solutions</p>
Do you know if Flotrol is a rust inhibitor like Penetrol? The primary function of Penetrol is really to be a leveling agent in paint, making it &quot;flow&quot; better to remove brush marks. If you want to use it like I do in this ible, it needs to be more than a leveling agent, it needs to penetrate and stop the rust.<br>
I am far from being an expert :-) but from what more I have read from my prior post, it is to be considered the 'same' as Penetrol when it come to extended the life of <em>paint</em> only. It does not seem to be a rust inhibitor, so other than using as an additive to latex paint (&amp; water based paints) I don't think it would work the same as Penetrol. The site says it makes latex and other water based paints behave like oil paints. I guess this is an experiment in the making...thanks for keepin' me on my toes!
<p>bettina-sisr: Thanks for the response. Please let me know how Flotrol works if you try it. I'll do the same.</p>
<p>I don't know anything about Flotrol. You should check with the manufacturer or at least with a good paint guy where you buy it if one exists.</p>
Thanks!! Can't wait to use this on this piece to keep it looking like I found it!
<p>Holy-Moly I LOVE that! As a metal worker I gotta say hats-off to whoever made this, and to you, ebehab for giving it some well deserved attention!</p>
<p>Not to be a complete idiot but can you give me a brand name for the polyurethane top coat? I'd be using them on rusty old concrete nails and railroad spikes. Thanks! And I LOVE your towel rack!! &hearts;</p>

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