A lot happens in a year. Helped the in-laws through a nasty split, lost my mother, now helping a cousin who lost her parents make the transition into adult hood. I guess that’s why they call it life; somehow we muddle through it.
I have been able to hone my metal craft and finally was confident enough to start working on these benches again.
I picked up some 1×2x11gauge rectangle tube at the local metal supply and armed with a basic idea, started cutting
I picked up a Makita abrasive saw which is a heck of a lot easier than the hand cutting I had been doing. But not always; sometimes the abrasive blade decides that instead of cutting it wants to heat the stock until it is red hot.
Once cut, I used my 90 amp Harbor Freight welder to stick the metal together. For the $100 I paid, it has really earned it’s keep. I won’t say I am a welder, but I am pretty handy with a grinder.
Once I got things seamless, smooth and shiny, I started the rusting process. Yes, I am intentionally rusting this piece but I don’t intend to leave it rusty.So rust is often misunderstood; not all rust is the same, and not all rust is bad.
- Red Rust – Fe2o3 – High Moisture, High Oxygen Environment
- Black Rust – Fe3o4 – Low Moisture, Low Oxygen Environment
Black rust is a form of protective finish, any chemists may recognize Fe3o4 as Magnetite and any shooters will understand the bluing process in which a blue/black finish is created. Bluing sounds much better than black rust, but chemically it is identical.So there are a couple approaches I could take to achieve black rust
- Cold Bluing – I’ve read mixed results on how effective this is transforming raw steel
- Hot bluing – Great process but not exactly DIY for very large pieces
- Rusting – Cheap and easy, but time consuming and you will sacrifice a smooth texture.
Rusting for me was the easiest. The red rust is the first layer to form; the black rust comes next, the presence of the red layer creates the low oxygen conditions for the black rust to form. As anyone that has salvage an old tool will know, knocking the flaky rust off will always reveal a beautiful black patina.
I was able to accelerate the red rust with a very nasty 50/50 mixture of Bleach and Vinegar. Which I will caution about as it creates chlorine gas, but it it really effective at making things rust
So now it’s a waiting game; I’ve begun fabrication on the second base, hopefully get that knocked out this weekend.