How to rust-proof Hamilton Galleys?

I just stripped the rust off about 75 Hamilton galleys by soaking them in vinegar and scrubbing with steel wool. What is the best thing to treat them with to prevent a return of the rust. Kerosene and WD40 have been suggested. Wondering if there is anything better. Thanks!

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You could wax them with a light coating of cabinet wax.

HavenPress, would that be enough to stop the rusting? Would this product be the one to try:

It seemed as if something now blackish had coated the galleys and was stripped off along with the rust. Maybe that was wax?

Instead of looking at wood products, why don’t you look at auto paste-wax which would work better on metal. Any wax coating will have to be renewed regularly, but you can get protection for a while. The only thing that will keep metal from rusting for a long period of time is a coating - plating or painting - neither of which will survive the kind of scraping that galleys regularly get, which is why you don’t see painted galleys. There are black colored galleys, called Black Beauties that probably have a plating treatment, but they rust over time as well. Just be careful about getting a build-up of wax, because it can get into type and make a mess.


Half the gallies I own are rusty, I wipe them down with press wash, spray them with silicone. Keeping them in a heated space helps keep them from rusting. I kinda like the brownish color.

You’re a little rusty around the edges Dick, but you keep holding type just fine.

Well, this may sound a bit off, but has worked for me. Directly after removal of the rust, coat the items thoroughly with vegetable oil. Then place them in a warm oven until the metal is hot, but no so hot as to burn you. Then wipe again with the oil and back into the oven, again until it is as hot as you can safely handle. Once out of the oven wipe off all excess oil. This is similar to seasoning an iron frying pan. With the number of galleys you have, try some different methods, like those contributed by the others, and see which best fits your desired outcome. Let us know how it goes!


I would need a bigger oven for my gallies, I have about 1100, most have type or cuts on them, I find the rust helps keep the type from sliding off. Paul, i’m starting to rust all over, sometimes I can’t hold type without making pi. Pie, now i’m hungry.

While you have them in the oven with vegetable oil on you might as well make a pie. Must tell the wife we have a large selection of baking trays

Hi Bill,

I live in a marine environment, so rust is a serious problem. (This is what happens here in a matter of weeks).

So I painted my galleys with POR-15 (see this photo and the comments). It’s been well over two years since I did this, and the galleys are still completely rust-free.

POR-15 is extremely tough. It doesn’t just coat the metal, it actually bonds to it. So I haven’t had any problem with it scraping off, or even scratching, with use.


Barbara, is POR-15 a clear coating?

Yes, Bill, it comes in clear. But you can also get it in black, silver, or gray, and maybe other colors by now. You can top-coat it with any other paint you want, but you don’t have to. It can be sprayed as well as brushed on, though you may have to add a thinner. I didn’t pay too much attention to the spraying instructions since I didn’t have the equipment to do it that way. If I were doing it again, and had more than my 50 galleys, I think it would be worthwhile to rent spraying equipment. Here’s their website:


Thanks you all for the help with this!

I know many people who use crisco rubbed on with a soft cloth to clean the press and keep the rust down. They have a lot of success with this method and it is non toxic. Kind of like the vegetable oil mentioned above….

I use a product called PROLAN it is an oil made from sheep wool and is made in New Zealand [email protected]. It is a drying oil and dries clear absolutly the best. It is very expensive about $20 for 16oz but goes along ways. I have used it for several years. I found it at an industrial paint supply store.

Pica12point, wouldn’t PROLAN be something like linseed oil in its effect?

The fact that it is a drying oil is the main similarity Prolan is an animal base and linseed is vegetable base although it probably doesn’t make much difference when applied to a metal tray. I have never done a linseed, Prolan (lanolin)comparison test. I have used Prolan (lanolin) on several gallies/trays and it is very effective. They have dried clear with no stickeyness. Just a note linseed and flax are the same thing lin is latin for flax. The other option is keep them inside in a controlled atmosphere with low humidity. Let us know what you use, good talking to you just Dave

Dave, thanks for your help with this.

I had a talk with Fritz Klinke at a NA Graphics. He suggested some sort of machine oil. I had a gallon of WD40 on hand and went with that before the galleys had any further chance to rust. Just wiped them all down liberally with a rag.

I have worked with linseed oil quite a bit on painting projects and it dries with some tack. Glad to hear that Prolan does not. I would like to experiment with Prolan on future galleys I derust. Thanks!

The Black Beauties are great! I wish I had more of them.
However I do have a cabinet containing 100 empty galleys (rusted) I’d like to sell for $100.00. Look in Classifieds

you could use crystal clear in a spray paint can, a light coat will usually do, and barely looks like it is on there

What is crystal clear? Is it a varnish or a

I’m curious since it’s been been a year- what did you decide to do Bill, and how is it working?

Has anyone tried food grade mineral oil- like they make for cutting boards- on galleys/type to prevent corrosion and rust?

I use automobile wax. Two coats.
Oil will work. Why go to food grade oil? Use cooking oil or motor oil if you wish to use oil. It will inhibit new rust. It will also collect dust.

try your local gun store.gun owners are fanatics about rust prevention. here is a lengthy thread but read down. gets into rust prevention.

Thanks Inky- So contact with automobile wax (like turtle wax) doesn’t negatively affect lead type in your experience? No adverse chemical reactions? I was considering food grade mineral oil since the warning on 3-and-1 oil says to avoid all prolonged contact with skin. My space is very small and not well ventilated so I try to minimize the hazardous chemicals I use.

Thanks ericm- I’ll look at that thread. Another gun forum I was looking at said WD40 (my first thought) was terrible to use for rust prevention because it gets sticky and attracts dust over time.

I’ll look more into the sprays and paints mentioned by others above when Spring comes around again and the weather gets warm.

I just read a woodworking magazine article about rust proofing. They took pieces of tables saw and steel plate, putting different rust prevention formulas on each piece then spraying them with water. I can’t remember the number one chemical-based solution but the more natural one was called Moovit. I was expecting the waxes to win but that wasn’t the case. Interesting.

You take a bees wax toilet bowl ring. (make sure it is a natural wax) Cut it up into pieces into a plastic bucket. Break it down into a cream with paint thinner.
Apply the cream to the metal and the thinner will evaporate leaving the wax in a thin film.
I use this on my wood working tools and they are 30 yrs old and look like the day I bought them.
I keep a jar of this paste in the shop and give everything an occasional wipe down with it.

I live in the Pacific NW and have a couple of Galley Trays. I have found that after they are clean a metal wadding polish works great. Also Used Bounce Dryer sheets. I don’t know what the chemical situation is but they work great for polishing steel. Also as a bonus they keep rodents out of the garage!!!

For those of you who use equipment in outdoor sheds with little or no heat, I would suggest a product called Fluid-Film. It’s made naturally from wool, mostly lanolin. It’s primarily used to keep farm machinery stored outside rust free. I use it to rust proof my truck. The biggest value to using this, it is not Toxic and cleans off easy with soap and water. It can be left on the legs of the machine even over the paint. It also is a great lubricant for galley trays sliding in and out.