Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Old Rusty

To paint, or not to paint: that is the question.

Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the pits and flakes of outrageous corrosion.Or take up spray gun, and by opposing end them.

So who wouldn’t want a tractor that looks, and probably runs, better than it did when it rolled off the assembly line half a century or more ago.

For the hardcore collector this kind of dithering isn’t an option. Nor is a good night's sleep as he lies awake, listening for the  unmistakable ping of a rust flake separating from base metal emanating from the tractor shed. Every atom of rust must be sand blasted and wire brushed into oblivion.

The thing is, at a show I always find myself being drawn to the unrestored exhibits. They have an air of history that gets removed along with the rust and grease and peeling paint. At the end of a total restore what you have is a new old tractor and wasn’t that history what attracted you in the first place? It is a dilemma.

There is however, a third path; midway between the untouched and total restoration. You could embrace the rust and make it your friend.

In the Rat Rod community rust is considered to be a precious metal and a patina like the one on Old Rusty is to die for.

The debate about how to best preserve your rust rages on bulletin boards and in chat rooms. Is clear coat the way to go or not? How about oil and what kind works best? Boiled linseed oil has a large and loyal following. So what is Ole Rusty’s secret? My guess would be lots of elbow grease followed by plain old car wax but what do I know? If you are privy to the inside skinny, or just have a favorite secret formula you want to share, please leave a comment.

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