Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Prepare & care for a steel bench block?


#1

Here’s a newbie question for the list… I just bought a new steel
bench block and it arrived coated in a protective oil of some sort,
I’m wondering how best to prepare it for use and how to maintain it?
I was thinking using oil to prevent rust etc might not be a great
idea as it would transfer to the silver and need to be cleaned off
before soldering… Thanks in advance for any advice!

Bruce.


#2
... I just bought a new steel bench block and it arrived coated in
a protective oil of some sort, I'm wondering how best to prepare it
for use and how to maintain it? 

Hello Bruce,

Sounds like the beginning of a joke: there are these two newbie
jewellery makers and one says to the other: how should I oil my steel
block? … Anyway I’m sure you get the idea. Ok, so I’m a newbie too
and what I’ve found is this: it depends. If you’re in a relatively
dry climate with little ambient pollution and you use your block every
day you shouldn’t need to do much with it other than avoid whacking
it with a hammer. But do keep it stored away from other hard,
scratchy, pointed or acidic “tools” so it doesn’t get scored, nicked,
or stained. Also very good idea to wipe it down with a cleaning rag
and a little white spirits, diesel, turps, something-of-that-nature
before putting it away for the day. This helps get the salts and such
from your hands off and reduces the likelihood of rust.

If, like me, you live in quite the opposite climate --lots of
moisture, and pollution, etc-- then you’ll know it PDQ because you’ll
start seeing rust showing up real soon, as in every day or so. This
requires more determined rust prevention and the hands-down best
solution to that that I’ve seen is rust inhibiting oil. (See the
Orchid discussion at
http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/archive/200311/msg00658.htm).

Since I started using this stuff on my tools -that’s hammers, steel
blocks, anvils, forming blocks, dapping tools, rolling mill, pliers,
etc-- I have had zero rust problems. Of course I have to take 20
minutes to clean and oil the tools I use on any given day but there
it is. My rust inhibiting oil was a gift, not once but twice!, from
the gracious folks at Durston. I tried to find this stuff on my own
but the smallest I could buy was a 5 gallon pail which I estimated
would last me about 5000 years, assuming I could convince the Shell
Oil rep to sell it to me which was by no means a sure thing since
they didn’t return my emails.

Cheers and good luck in the War Against Rust,

Trevor F.


#3
I was thinking using oil to prevent rust etc might not be a great
idea as it would transfer to the silver and need to be cleaned off
before soldering.

Well, you do need to clean your silver before soldering in any case;
there’s a lot of oil just on your fingers. I’d just wipe the block
of excess oil, keep wiping till it doesn’t feel greasy, and then just
keep it dry. If it starts to look bad, use an abrasive pad soaked in
your choice of machine oil, scrub, and then wipe to remove excess.

Christine in Littleton, Massachusetts
No one deserves lung cancer.