Cooking Oil

This might be very interesting to others using mild steel. The life expectancy of 1.5mm steel left out in all weathers is of the order of 30 years or so. It has a long been the practice of engineers to reduce the rate of corrosion by dressing the steel with mineral oil, which is messy and smells. I decided to use vegetable cooking oil and the effect has been wonderful. The colours are greatly enhanced and the edges sharpened. Further the oil “dries": (probably an oxidative process) to a leathery, semi-gloss coat which is very tactile. Even better, it only takes a few seconds to apply the oil; use a 1:3 dilution of oil in water with a drop of washing up liquid. This shakes down to a fine, milky emulsion which can be sprayed on (both inside and out) using an ordinary garden sprayer (used for weed killer etc). The result is very water repellant and lasts few months. I suspect that 2 or 3 applications a year will prolong the life of the sculpture almost indefinitely. Even better, when sticky, all airborne material – dust, flies, pollen, seeds etc adhere to the surface and become incorporated in a kind of biological patina, which is attractive to look at and touch. It dries after a few weeks depending on the weather. Try it.