Someone recently asked if I put anything on my sculptures to prevent rust. I said that I didn’t.
“But they’ll rust!” she said.
“They might,” I shrugged, and considered taking them all out and hanging them from trees in my back yard and letting them rust even faster.
The truth is that some of them have developed small rust spots over the years. When they’re hanging and you’re standing on the floor looking up at them, the wire just looks black. But up close, there’s a bit of this sort of thing going on:
After some investigation, I decided to give Rust-Oleum’s Rust Reformer a try. The local stores only had it in spray form, and I wanted to brush it on, so I ended up having to special-order it.
The bottle carried the usual warnings about not getting it on your skin or in your eyes, which I am sure is a good idea. It didn’t smell horribly toxic, which I realize doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t give you eyeball cancer, but I like that it won’t stink up the studio. Straight out of the bottle, it was pale gray, chalky, and not too thick. When I started brushing it on, it developed a pale bluish-green tint and I worried that I had made a mistake, but 5 minutes later it looked like this:
I had a hard time getting a good photograph of it, but the rust is now black, black, black. Preventing rust is something I still probably won’t put much (or any) effort into, so it’s good to know there’s something I can do about it when it shows up.
(Rust-Oleum did not pay me to write about their product. I’m writing because I tried it and was pleased with the results. If you have a slightly rusty steel object, and you want it to not be rusty anymore, I’d say that Rust Reformer is probably worth trying.)