keeping rust away

I have been through most of the posts on rust removal from presses, but have been unable to spot any suggestions on how the nice shinny machined parts are kept rust free after its removal. I have restored one platen press and am about to start on the small Wharfedale which features many unpainted surfaces. I find that a day or two after cleaning off the rust it starts to come back.
I am wondering if wiping these parts over with a rag soaked in new thin oil would stop that from happening? If I do is it likely to be a problem in working clean- particularly around the paper being fed in, or just simply touching these bits and then getting oil on my hands?
I’ve thought of spray silicon or a light clear varnish but don’t want to do something that will only create a cleaning problem later.
Anyone know of a good old fashioned way to keep the rust away as I am not at the press every day with a cleaning rag?

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On those parts that you won’t come in contact with and that paper will not brush up against wiping them down quickly with an oily rag each time you oil the press will keep them clean. Since when oiling the press you should have the oil can in one hand and a rag to wipe away excess or spilled oil anyway, this is a perfect time to do it.

On bare metal parts that you touch regularly or that paper comes in contact with such as the bed of a paper cutter, wipe those areas down with acetone or laquer thinner to remove any oil or grease. Then take a can of paste wax such as Johnson’s or Butcher’s and with a 3M green pad wipe down the surface thoroughly. When the wax is dry buff it out with a cotton cloth. Put the green pad inside the can for the next time. This method not only helps prevent rust but provides a clean, smooth surface to work on. The green pad works well because each time you apply new wax the pad will scrub off the dirt that inevitably gets on the surface and if by chance some rust has started it will clean it right off. Every cabinet shop I’ve ever worked in uses this method for keeping machine surfaces clean and slick.


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

That’s great Rich, exactly what I was after.
I’ll hunt up some wax tomorrow. I had sort of come upon the idea of wiping with an oily rag but had quite worked through which parts are well away from the paper side of the process. I guess i’ll wait until its complete and I see what moves and what doesn’t.
I’ve already started painting and re-assembling the main frame. Pics to follow soon.

Hi Ron,

I live in a marine environment so rust is a constant problem. Rich’s advice is excellent. I might add that automotive products work well, too, such as Turtle Wax. For things that are difficult to wax or to wipe with an oily rag — parts you can’t get to, or parts with lots of nooks and crannies — I use a mixture of mineral spirits and 3-In-One oil, maybe 10% oil. I put the mixture in one of those small spray bottles that eyeglass cleaner comes in, which delivers a very fine mist. I use this on type, too, since even type metal and aluminum corrode at our house.


I’ve been using Butcher’s on my C&P and can attest to its effectiveness.

Barb, your tip about the mix of mineral spirits and 3-in-one is really appreciated. I live (and print) less than a mile from the beach – not a friendly environment for a press. I’ll do this before summer hits!


Thanks Barb and Helen,
All tips are much appreciated and I’ll experiment to see which helps in my set up.
Although I don’t live near the coast I do live in the hills, and we often have days when we are literally in the clouds, so there is lots of moisture getting into everything, including the paper drawers.
I’ve tried Rich’s suggestion of antique wax on a couple of parts - we are being told we will get the moisture and dregs of a tropical cyclone in the next couple of days so that should test it against the parts not coated.