STEEL is a refined kind of iron, formed by heating bars of iron with charcoal ashes covered with clay. It is raised to white heat, which renders it finer and whiter, and makes it capable of taking a high polish. After this it is "tempered," that is, while white hot it is plunged immediately into cold water, which makes the steel extremely hard and brittle, and yet preserves its flexibility.
Steel should be kept in good condition by being daily rubbed with a chamois leather, and perfectly secured from damp.
1. Warm a little mutton suet and rub it all over the fire-irons and grate; then dust them with unslaked lime tied up in muslin. Mutton fat is the best form of grease. Dripping or oil does not answer the purpose, the former probably containing some salt, and the latter so much water that it would not form a coating.
2. Rub the steel over with paste made of fresh lime and water, which will keep out the rust for many months.
If the rust has been allowed to remain for any length of time on the steel its removal is a difficult matter, because the rust actually eats into the surface of the metal. Fine emery-paper, sprinkled with paraffin, is the easiest treatment; but care must be taken to rub only one way, as otherwise a scratched appearance is the result.
1. Scrape some bathbrick finely into a saucer.
2. Make it into a paste with equal parts of methylated spirit and water.
3. Rub this on with a flannel, and off with an old duster.
4. Polish with a leather.
5. Use a burnisher if convenient.
BURNISHERS can be purchased at the "6 1/2d. shops," and give great brilliance to any rounded parts (such as handles of fire-irons), where they can be rubbed up and down briskly.
CROCUS powder is admirable for steel. It is mixed with pure salad oil, and put on the metal overnight; next morning it should be rubbed off, and the steel cleaned with equal parts of crocus powder and crushed bathbrick.
Rub the steel with a flannel dipped in paraffin; then polish with a dry cloth dipped in bathbrick or emery powder.
2 ozs. rotten stone; 1 oz. fine brickdust; 2 ozs. soft soap; 1 1/2 oz. turpentine.
Mix the dry ingredients well together, then work in the soft soap. After amalgamating these three, add the turpentine gradually : keep in a tin with a tightly fitting cover. Rub a little of this on the steel with a soft cloth, remove it with another cloth, then polish and burnish.
EMERY-PAPER is most useful for steel bars of grates. A rag dipped in fine ashes is a cheap and satisfactory polish for steel.