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  1. #1
    Registered User Detrus's Avatar
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    Bare Iron Plate Oxidation

    So I had problems with off-gassing painted plates in a small room where I sleep

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=145640671

    Those plates still smell 5 months after purchase. I'm assuming this is as good as they'll get. I keep them in bags until use. Largely solves the problem of sleeping in the same room. But when taking off the bags for a workout there is a noticeable smell, have to shake the bags off outside. The ritual is getting old. I wonder if this was the best advice I got about dealing with plates:

    Originally Posted by KeithTheSnake View Post
    Cast iron skillets, pans, pots all have one thing in common: New ones have to be seasoned. Granny knew how to do this.

    Given this premise, the first thing that this project requires is the removal of paint from the plates. All of it.

    Next, you'll need some olive oil and a paper towel. You'll rub the olive oil onto the plates.

    Thereafter, place the thing in a 250-degree oven.

    This will season the plates, preventing corrosion. It'll be non-toxic -- except for the caustic chemicals you'd use to remove the paint. You won't have any paint chips get in your eye while you're training, you'll never have to paint your plates again, and your plates will smell like a fajita. Problem solved.
    I thought it was a bit extreme and sarcastic then but what the hell. Thinking I'll try it with some of the plates.

    First what kind of sandpaper or steel wool is best for removing the paint? And how to get them to oxidize to a patina over time without outright rusting? Rub them with olive oil and bake? Is that necessary? They'll be in a climate controlled room for the next few years.
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  2. #2
    Kettlebell Addiction daniel327's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Detrus View Post
    So I had problems with off-gassing painted plates in a small room where I sleep

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=145640671

    Those plates still smell 5 months after purchase. I'm assuming this is as good as they'll get. I keep them in bags until use. Largely solves the problem of sleeping in the same room. But when taking off the bags for a workout there is a noticeable smell, have to shake the bags off outside. The ritual is getting old. I wonder if this was the best advice I got about dealing with plates:



    I thought it was a bit extreme and sarcastic then but what the hell. Thinking I'll try it with some of the plates.

    First what kind of sandpaper or steel wool is best for removing the paint? And how to get them to oxidize to a patina over time without outright rusting? Rub them with olive oil and bake? Is that necessary? They'll be in a climate controlled room for the next few years.
    Keith's advice is great, especially if you intend to use your plates as a BBQ grill.

    Otherwise, you'd be better of to coat them with a quality paint.

    Remove the old paint with a wire wheel in an angle grinder or drill, or you could have them sand blasted if you have that facility available to you.

    Alternatively, you could use paint stripper to remove the paint.

    Refinish them with Rustoleum or another quality spray enamel.
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  3. #3
    Registered you, sir. trimble006's Avatar
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    Don't tell me you're not doing the duct-tape thing anymore!

    I'll side with Daniel here, I'd use a wire wheel and strip the paint before repainting with a quality spray. If you're going to take the paint off, regardless of which method you choose, wouldn't you rather paint on your plates rather than oil?

    If you do go the other route though, be sure to film yourself pulling those sweet, fajita smelling, slippery, hot plates out of the oven. Remember, if you get it on camera, you could get it in cash.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Detrus's Avatar
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    And Rustoleum is going to be better for smell than the fancy paint they have now? I don't even want to know actually.

    In my local gym there are nice patina old York, Hampton plates. There are traces of black paint left over. No fajita smell, no oil. Just bare oxidized iron. I like that option. If I ever move to a large space I could repaint them but meh.

    Would just like to prevent rusting. No rubbing them in oil either. Is that going to happen? Do old patina plates get rusty, then get cleaned to get patina? Or can rust dust be avoided altogether?
    Last edited by Detrus; 12-13-2012 at 11:57 PM. Reason: better for smell
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  5. #5
    Registered User KeithTheSnake's Avatar
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    Well, just let me chime in here. I remember when I made that original post, it seemed a creative option for Detrus with his smelly plate problem. I really thought the off-gassing would have relieved itself since then. Unusual that it has not, and unfortunate.

    He needed some options to get rid of that offensive odor, so I though, "Hey, cast iron seems to last forever when oiled." Seasoning skillets seems to preserve them -- I was just kidding about the "smellls like fajitas" thing -- go smell your cast iron utensils that are seasoned, or go visit your mom's or your grandmother's kitchen and check it out.

    Some people oil their vintage plates with petroleum-based oils, but I thought that the petroleum might produce an offensive odor in this small enclosed space that Detrus was using. Plus, WD-40 and light machine oil can't be that healthy to be breathing all the time. Olive oil isn't harmful -- you can eat it.

    Funny thing about forums is that they give people the opportunity to share creative solutions. I know I've picked up a lot of great ideas from the experiences of others here. Maybe my offering wasn't the best solution, but I'm glad to see it was given some thought. You never know until you try.
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  6. #6
    Registered User KBKB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Detrus View Post
    Would just like to prevent rusting. No rubbing them in oil either. Is that going to happen? Do old patina plates get rusty, then get cleaned to get patina? Or can rust dust be avoided altogether?
    I could be wrong, but I think the patina you refer to is a type of oxidation that ends up protecting the underlying metal. On steel, I gather that it's held in check by constant use and the slight oiling that occurs when skin oil is transferred from the hands to the bar or plate each time it is handled. I would think that bare portions that never get this handling would need to be treated in some fashion to prevent rust.

    I agree with Daniel. I think that paint is the way to go to keep them from getting rusty. If you can somehow figure out how to "season" them or otherwise apply a patina, that's great, but I think it'll require the use of oil in some form. Otherwise, you'll just end up with powdery rust.
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  7. #7
    Registered User weisgarb's Avatar
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    As I recall, you were having problems with both Cap plates as well as a set of Ivanko revolvers. Are both brands of plates giving you a problem, or just the Caps?
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  8. #8
    Kettlebell Addiction daniel327's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Detrus View Post

    And Rustoleum is going to be better for smell than the fancy paint they have now? I don't even want to know actually.
    You don't have to use Rustoleum. I only mentioned Rustoleum because it is widely available, and has a solid reputation.

    I just painted some micro plates with White Knight brand metallic blue enamel. Only 48 hours later, and they don't smell at all.

    (They do look great though).
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  9. #9
    Home gym 'til I die. ProtienandIron's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KBKB View Post
    I could be wrong, but I think the patina you refer to is a type of oxidation that ends up protecting the underlying metal. On steel, I gather that it's held in check by constant use and the slight oiling that occurs when skin oil is transferred from the hands to the bar or plate each time it is handled. I would think that bare portions that never get this handling would need to be treated in some fashion to prevent rust.

    I agree with Daniel. I think that paint is the way to go to keep them from getting rusty. If you can somehow figure out how to "season" them or otherwise apply a patina, that's great, but I think it'll require the use of oil in some form. Otherwise, you'll just end up with powdery rust.
    All of this ^^^. Its also an old plasterers trick, rubbing your carbon steel trowel on your forehead and fingers before you put it away, just for that reason.

    You can get away with bare plates in a high use environment, but they will look a mess from just personal use (at least in my climate it would). I love patina, and rust, and was very tempted to strip my plates down and leave as is but the practicality of it is just not worth it. Oiling all your plates on a regular basis will get annoying very quick, not to mention that everytime you load a bar you end up with residue on your fingers. Theres ways around that, and a little oil from time to time is good even on non bare plates, but I would hate to HAVE TO do it all the time.
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  10. #10
    York Man AttyGuy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ProtienandIron View Post
    Oiling all your plates on a regular basis will get annoying very quick, not to mention that everytime you load a bar you end up with residue on your fingers.
    What? What are we talking about?
    You need a rack, bench and 300-lb. Oly set. Now, what was your question?

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    Home gym 'til I die. ProtienandIron's Avatar
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    Stinky plates dude, not c**k lizards.
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    Originally Posted by AttyGuy View Post
    What? What are we talking about?
    Jelquing.

    What, you missed it? You'd better get busy, the other guys are way ahead of you.....










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    Originally Posted by ProtienandIron View Post
    All of this ^^^. Its also an old plasterers trick, rubbing your carbon steel trowel on your forehead and fingers before you put it away, just for that reason.

    You can get away with bare plates in a high use environment, but they will look a mess from just personal use (at least in my climate it would). I love patina, and rust, and was very tempted to strip my plates down and leave as is but the practicality of it is just not worth it. Oiling all your plates on a regular basis will get annoying very quick, not to mention that everytime you load a bar you end up with residue on your fingers. Theres ways around that, and a little oil from time to time is good even on non bare plates, but I would hate to HAVE TO do it all the time.
    I can tell you as someone who uses cast iron skillets regularly that you can't just season them once and be done with it. You have to season them every so often, or they will rust over. I like the thought of trying to season them, but unfortunately it won't work as a long-term solution, unless you live in a desert or some other really low-humidity environment.
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    Home gym 'til I die. ProtienandIron's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rlundregan View Post
    I can tell you as someone who uses cast iron skillets regularly that you can't just season them once and be done with it. You have to season them every so often, or they will rust over. I like the thought of trying to season them, but unfortunately it won't work as a long-term solution, unless you live in a desert or some other really low-humidity environment.
    Lol, I think you quoted the wrong post mate, I would personally never add olive oil, salt and basil to my plates.
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    Originally Posted by ProtienandIron View Post
    Lol, I think you quoted the wrong post mate, I would personally never add olive oil, salt and basil to my plates.
    I have cast iron skillet too, and here's the instructions from the manufacturer's website (Lodge Manufacturing):

    "Seasoning—It isn't Salt and Pepper
    “Seasoning” is vegetable oil baked onto the iron at a high temperature: not a chemical non-stick coating.
    Seasoning creates the natural, easy-release properties. The more you cook, the better it gets.
    Because you create, maintain, and even repair the “seasoning”, your cookware can last 100 years or more. Chemical non-stick coating cannot be repaired, limiting lifespan."

    And here's the instructions from the same website for seasoning your cast iron "plates" (didn't say Olympic or standards, so use your best judgement )

    Refurbish Your Finish
    While maintaining the seasoning should keep your Cast Iron and Carbon Steel in good condition, at some point you may need to re-season your cookware. If food sticks to the surface, or you notice a dull, gray color, repeat the seasoning process:
    * Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It is okay to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the cookware).
    * Rinse and dry completely.
    * Apply a very thin, even coating of MELTED solid vegetable shortening (or cooking oil of your choice) to the cookware inside and out. Too much oil will result in a sticky finish.
    * Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drips.
    * Set oven temperature to 350 – 400 degrees F.
    * Place cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven to prevent pooling.
    * Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven.
    * Store the cookware uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.
    * Repeat as necessary.

    I haven't done this to my skillet, and the thing only weighs like 25 lbs. Imagining repeating these steps for all your 45 lbs. plates. Also, the manufacturer uses soy bean oil, not olive
    Here's the link to the original: http://www.lodgemfg.com/useandcare/seasoned-cast-iron
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    Originally Posted by ProtienandIron View Post
    Lol, I think you quoted the wrong post mate, I would personally never add olive oil, salt and basil to my plates.
    D'Oh! (head slap)

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    Well reading a bunch of rust prevention results from tools forums

    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...storage/page2&

    Plenty of good suggestions above but remember, moisture is the issue. Once you coat the surface in whatever you will be using, covering the surface to prevent air movement over it will prevent moisture in the air from condensing on the metal. A plastic wrap should work well for the purpose of stopping air movement. Changes in air pressure will cause the air under the wrap to cycle a little but if you keep the air pocket small or as suggested above press the plastic directly to the surface to get out the air pockets you should be fine.
    I once asked a corrosion engineer (Nace doesn't make corrosion engineers anymore, the highest level I believe is CP specialist) a question related to preventing corrosion on cast iron surfaces. He told me to just cover the tablesaw in dry sawdust which will act as a dessicant to wick moisture away from the tablesaw surface. I've left my lathe covered in dry sawdust and noticed no corrosion yet so I'm still toying around with his dessicant idea.

    So we all might be overthinking this way too much and covering the saw in a thick layer of dry sawdust may in fact insulate the saw and prevent moisture buildup on the surface...
    There are a lot of results using various sprays and waxes, which would be a no go for me. But just keeping bare iron covered up is fine.

    I have various spot tests on a plate that has rust spots on one side from direct prolonged water exposure. There are spots where the paint is completely removed and it they have not oxidized or rusted. This plate is stored in a plastic bag.

    Another option is to induce oxidation without a stove. Some suggestions here http://www.wkfinetools.com/tRestore/...tePatina-1.asp

    I'd like to find some method with water and drying http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/20...ron-seasoning/

    I just did a small test on an old skillet. Here’s what I did:

    1. Stripped the cooking surface to bare iron
    2. Let the naked surface rust over for a day
    3. Boiled a few cups of water in the pan itself for about 1/2 hour
    4. Repeated step 3
    5. Applied a thin coat of oil

    The result was a nice coat of black rust up to the water line, about half way up the pan.

    It seems to me that “bluing” cast iron this way may be easier than you think!
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    Originally Posted by Detrus View Post

    Another option is to induce oxidation without a stove.
    I thought the idea was to inhibit rust, not induce it.
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    I just remembered that another (past) forum regular here, keyboardworkout, used Oxpho-Blue for his solid axle project. I have no idea if there's an odor when you're done, etc, but it's something to look into.
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    Home gym 'til I die. ProtienandIron's Avatar
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    I just had an idea that may work, but I would try it out on a small test plate first. How about using yaught varnish on them? That way you'll preserve the paint colour, stop any oxidisation, and hopefully lock in the smell. Hould save a load of work stripping the plates and repainting.
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    Ahoy, mateys! After a good jelq session nothing keeps the lizard fresh like a coat of yacht varnish!
    You need a rack, bench and 300-lb. Oly set. Now, what was your question?

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    http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question...1190253AAe2nUM

    I don't think so, yatch varnish is made only for that purpose and is water resistant but at the same time if you walk over it you'll ruin the finish of the floor, the varnish for floors has a hardener agent specially made for that task..
    Similar idea to various waxes and anti-rust potions for tools. The thing about anti rust sprays for tools is you don't use a lot because there's not much metal there.

    And the thing about spot tests and trying various paints that supposedly don't smell is with small surface areas they probably don't. I can't smell my 1.25 and 2.5 lb plates. Is it because the paintjob is different? Was it easier to apply?

    I'd have to use a lot of whatever paint, varnish, anti-rust potion to check if the scent really dissipates. I think at least 2 25lb plates, varnished or painted, kept in a bag, then check bag for smell over a month.

    I wonder about the claims of no smell whatsoever months after painting. You probably can't smell it by just sniffing it and in a gym that's saturated by the same smells already you won't notice.

    Put a few plates in plastic bags for a week, then open up the bags and take a whiff. That's how you know if the paint is still off-gassing.

    Originally Posted by daniel327 View Post
    I thought the idea was to inhibit rust, not induce it.
    The idea is to inhibit dusty rust that flies all over the place. Patina is a type of rust/oxidation that acts as a protective coating and prevents annoying dusty rust from forming. Various iron cookware and tool seasoning tricks create a patina layer. It's just hard to apply heat to large heavy objects without an industrial stove.
    Last edited by Detrus; 12-15-2012 at 12:51 PM.
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    The quote you linked to is talking about wood floors. They may be right about that, but when applied to cast iron/paint on cast iron, it works well. I know this because my kettlebells are coated in it from the manufacturer.

    http://www.intensefitness.co.uk/kettlebellproducts.html

    The ones on the left are coated in nothing but yaught varnish direct to metal. The two on the right were painted with hammerite (uk equivilent to rustolium) and then coated with yaught varnish. I didn't like the colour so I painted them black.



    Yaught varnish, aka Lizard Lube, can be found in most hardware stores.
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    Nice pair there, mate! Shiny too. . . .
    You need a rack, bench and 300-lb. Oly set. Now, what was your question?

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    And there's no smell from the varnish ever? The varnished ones look oxidized. Did they arrive that way?

    In one of those patina tool results some lacquer was recommended for patina. But you'd remove it in a few days.
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    Why dont you just sell your plates and buy new ones from CL.

    Ive seen hundreds of metal plates and none have ever smelled, this thread is bizarre, people talking about seasoning plates and baking them in the oven, its like the twilight zone.

    Just buy new used plates on CL they are like 65c/lb used or something...then you can sell your current plates for the same price you paid for the new used ones...
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    Originally Posted by Detrus View Post
    And there's no smell from the varnish ever?
    I would say that all of the paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, spar urethane, etc that I've used over the years doesn't have a smell once it's dry. Or at least not one I can detect from a few feet away. But your nose is probably more sensitive than mine. You may be able to detect odors that I can't.

    I think it makes sense to either repaint your plates or use some kind of sealant over the existing paint. You might visit your local hardware store and get a can of spray paint or spray sealant. Do one plate at a time with different products until you find one that works well for you.
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    I agree with the recommendation to wire brush off the (offensive) original paint and repaint.

    I don't know much about cookware but I think that sort of seasoning isn't the best way to protect metal that's not used in cooking. I just think it's used since the better ways of protecting metal aren't food safe or won't withstand the temperatures of cooking.

    I'm basing this on what I know of antique tools and knives....

    (1) mineral oil is usually used to protect the metal surfaces. You just put a little of the oil on a rag and then wipe down the metal surfaces with the damp rag. Don't glug glug it over everything. Yes, mineral oil is the stuff in the laxative section of your local drug store. Mineral oil is most often recommended since it is inexpensive, food safe (sometimes important for knives), and easy to remove. It needs to be used regularly. Some fancy and more expensive alternatives are camelia oil, jojoba oil and the popular Hoppes 3 in 1 oil.

    --> For obvious reasons, oil isn't a good choice for weights... unless you enjoy danger.

    (2) Strict antique aficionados won't use paste wax, but it offers relatively long term protection of metal surfaces. There are commercial products like Renaissance Wax that are expensive but neutral shoe polish comes close to it. Chisels and plane blades are sometimes coated with paraffin wax.

    --> Do you really want to wax your weights?

    (3) Painting an antique is a major alteration and doesn't work for knives and some tools. But it's definitely going to offer a more durable long term protection against rust.

    --> I agree with the popular opinion. I think this is the best route for your weights.

    Hope that helps a little.
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    Originally Posted by morebarbell View Post
    I agree with the recommendation to wire brush off the (offensive) original paint and repaint.

    --> For obvious reasons, oil isn't a good choice for weights... unless you enjoy danger.
    --> Do you really want to wax your weights?

    (3) Painting an antique is a major alteration and doesn't work for knives and some tools. But it's definitely going to offer a more durable long term protection against rust.

    --> I agree with the popular opinion. I think this is the best route for your weights.
    And the repainting won't be offensive? There are no obvious offensive odors unless I whiff the bags I store them in. I don't want to wax or paint anything. Maybe oil it once a year. Some oils induce oxidation which is fine for me - http://straightrazorplace.com/razors...revention.html just need to find the right recipe

    All newish plates probably smell, it's just that most people make a proper space for them and never notice. There's no noticeable smell from these plates unless I'm handling them. Even then, usually don't notice. But when I whiff the bags I store them in, there it is.

    So the real test of wether plates smell or off-gas is putting them in a bag for a week then taking a whiff. If you notice anything that means the plates still off-gas and you can't have that in a small room with questionable ventilation. So in bags they stay.

    But maybe I could upgrade to blankets if there was no paint. Could be enough to prevent rust, it's not a garage.
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    I repainted York roundhead dumbbells with Rust-oleum Rust Reformer Primer/Paint. The fresh paint had a faint smell but the smell went away quickly. I don't remember how long before it was completely unnoticeable-- A few days maybe. I did leave them in the garage for a couple of days. If you are really sensitive, you might wait a couple of weeks to make sure the fresh paint smell goes away. It's been a few months since I painted and they don't smell at all... at least to my nose. The interior walls of most buildings are painted. If that doesn't bother you, I think you'll be able to find a satisfactory paint.

    The recipe in your link is a combination of oil and wax, essentially a paste wax (2). Oil and wax prevent rust by creating a barrier to oxygen and water. It works well for long term storage of blades and tools that are just sitting around collecting dust. For Oly plates that are going to be used, it won't be as effective since it will wear off. Wax is a better solution than oil though.

    I'm not sure that a patina is necessarily your answer. If you cut an apple with a brand new knife with a 1095 carbon steel blade, the blade will stink. The more you use the blade, the smell will eventually lessen. But it definitely smells. I'm not sure but I'd guess that oxidation of cast iron won't smell very good either. Probably not better than paint.

    Both "patina" and "rust" are iron oxides. "Patina" or black rust is Fe3O4 whereas red rust is Fe2O3. Some people think that a "patina" is protective against rust but I've seen lots of antiques with both patina and rust.

    Originally Posted by Detrus View Post
    And the repainting won't be offensive? There are no obvious offensive odors unless I whiff the bags I store them in. I don't want to wax or paint anything. Maybe oil it once a year. Some oils induce oxidation which is fine for me - http://straightrazorplace.com/razors...revention.html just need to find the right recipe

    All newish plates probably smell, it's just that most people make a proper space for them and never notice. There's no noticeable smell from these plates unless I'm handling them. Even then, usually don't notice. But when I whiff the bags I store them in, there it is.

    So the real test of wether plates smell or off-gas is putting them in a bag for a week then taking a whiff. If you notice anything that means the plates still off-gas and you can't have that in a small room with questionable ventilation. So in bags they stay.

    But maybe I could upgrade to blankets if there was no paint. Could be enough to prevent rust, it's not a garage.
    Last edited by morebarbell; 12-15-2012 at 10:16 PM.
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