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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 171

PostPosted: Sat 12 Jun, 2021 1:43 am    Post subject: Rustproofing the inside of a breastplate         Reply with quote

Has anybody tried to coat the inside of armour plate with beeswax to keep the inside of armour from rusting due to sweat? I tried the black paint everybody else seems to use, but whatever brand I try it just keeps flaking off due to wear and the dust rubs into my soft kit so I stopped using that. I heard Toby Capwell say beeswax coatings were mentioned in a 15th century manuscript as a way to keep a helmet from ringing like a bell when it is struck but I wonder if the wax gets tacky/sticky/gunky and disgusting when the sun heats up the armour.

I know people use all kinds of modern products for this:

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=131...mp;start=0

... but I'm mainly wondering about people's experiences with pure Beeswax.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 333

PostPosted: Sat 12 Jun, 2021 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd be interested in seeing the reference on that. I've used wax on helmets for rust prevention and it does nothing for ringing. You'd need a huge blob of wax to do that and yeah, it would probably melt and make a mess. I knew someone who said they had a historical recipe for sword oil, I remember it had clove oil, olive oil and beeswax. I don't have the formula but they had the shiniest working blades I've ever seen. Along those lines you can bake oil or grease onto the surface of metal for a durable, repairable corrosion-resistant finish, it's just like how you season cast iron cookware. It also appears quite a bit of brigandine was made with tinned plates. Tinning is a simple and straightforward process that's been used on cookware since antiquity. Of the historically plausible methods the baked-on oil finish is probably the best as it's easy to do in your home oven with ingredients you already have in your kitchen and unlike "wet" oil or wax applications it won't leave any residue on your soft kit.
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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 171

PostPosted: Sat 12 Jun, 2021 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
I'd be interested in seeing the reference on that. I've used wax on helmets for rust prevention and it does nothing for ringing. You'd need a huge blob of wax to do that and yeah, it would probably melt and make a mess. I knew someone who said they had a historical recipe for sword oil, I remember it had clove oil, olive oil and beeswax. I don't have the formula but they had the shiniest working blades I've ever seen. Along those lines you can bake oil or grease onto the surface of metal for a durable, repairable corrosion-resistant finish, it's just like how you season cast iron cookware. It also appears quite a bit of brigandine was made with tinned plates. Tinning is a simple and straightforward process that's been used on cookware since antiquity. Of the historically plausible methods the baked-on oil finish is probably the best as it's easy to do in your home oven with ingredients you already have in your kitchen and unlike "wet" oil or wax applications it won't leave any residue on your soft kit.


Capwell said it in one of his documentaries, also that he had seen a helmet with original beeswax remaining inside of it. I can't remember which documentary he said it in originally but he repeated the statement in this video with Matt Easton:

https://youtu.be/rM3PPzhCwPA?t=156

I tried beewax coating the inside of one of my helmets by heating it up and applying a thin film of beeswax to the inside and spreading it around with a rag, not a thick coat for sound dampening but rather a very thin film for rust prevention. It seems to work well except that I worry that the wax film might melt if the helmet becomes really hot in direct sunlight. I don't want to coat an entire breastplate with wax only to discover it becomes a sticky mess on a really sunny day in Germany next year or whenever the black Covid plague has finally died down and I can attend a 15th century event in the harness I just finished building during Covid lockdown. If that happens with a breastplate the wax will soak into my doublet in which case it would be hell on wheels to get out of the fabric and off the armour. Problem is I can't test this since I live in Iceland, which is called Iceland for a reason. It's now mid June and the temperature outside at noon today was 12 degrees C.
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Daniel Sullivan




Location: California
Joined: 02 Apr 2004
Likes: 11 pages

Posts: 223

PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2021 7:09 pm    Post subject: Rustproofing the inside of a breastplate         Reply with quote

Have a couple of suggestions for you, neither of which I've had the need to try, so be cautious.

First, cold bluing like you would do with a firearm, or browning if you wish. Second is to use a single part epoxy paint. Some epoxy paints tend to be expensive, particularly those designed for industrial applications, .... do shop about.

For both applications the surface should be "squeaky clean" and free of all rust and foreign material. You mentioned flaking, this is usually an indication of improperly prepared surfaces. This is a real chore in some cases, but it does pay off. Surfaces need not be mirror smooth, just clean. Application should be done with a small bush or small foam applicator, and very carefully. These materials are for the long term and not very forgiving.

On the outside, use a good automobile paste wax. For close detail, rivets, buckles, around leather fastenings, etc., a discarded toothbrush works well.

Regards,
Dan
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Peter Lyon
Industry Professional



Location: New Zealand
Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 248

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jun, 2021 10:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've used a beeswax-olive oil mix on my armour in the past (no longer have the white harness) and I wouldn't use anything else. I hate mineral-oil based things (especially WD40 and CRC 556) with a vengeance, they have too many volatiles.

I heat the olive oil and melt in the beeswax, starting about 1 part oil to 2 of wax, then test it. It should be a solid at room temperature, then greasy when you rub a rag on it, and solidify again on the armour or sword. It can be buffed to remove the excess. It doesn't run or form lumps, it doesn't evaporate (can be good for years), and it smells nice.

Still hammering away
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Christian Henry Tobler
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Location: Oxford, CT
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 703

PostPosted: Tue 22 Jun, 2021 4:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Peter!

I have wanted to try this for a long time. Question: after preparing the mixture, what do you store it in? How long does it keep?

All the best,
Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
Order of Selohaar

Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

Author, In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts
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Peter Lyon
Industry Professional



Location: New Zealand
Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 248

PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2021 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
Hello Peter!

I have wanted to try this for a long time. Question: after preparing the mixture, what do you store it in? How long does it keep?

All the best,
Christian


I kept mine in a plastic screw top container, but it doesn't seem to matter as long as it can be sealed up. I had the same lot for several years (it goes a very long way) and it never deteriorated or went rancid. If you left it open I imagine it would dry out over time.

Still hammering away
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Daniel Sullivan




Location: California
Joined: 02 Apr 2004
Likes: 11 pages

Posts: 223

PostPosted: Fri 25 Jun, 2021 12:49 pm    Post subject: Rustproofing the inside of a breastplate         Reply with quote

Kristjan,

Sent you a PM about a week ago concerning your original question.

Dan
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Erik Youn




Location: NYC
Joined: 13 May 2020

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri 25 Jun, 2021 1:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you tried renaissance wax?
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Tue 06 Jul, 2021 6:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If your paint is flaking off, then you're not applying it correctly. I fight in 90 degree F heat with 95% humidity, and my armor gets soaked with sweat. I use black Rustoleum paint that I re-apply to the inside of my armor about every 5 years.

I also use grey Rustoleum paint on my maille aventail, which does a really good job of preventing rust as well.
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