C&P restoration

I’m currently restoring my C&P. Things have been going well so far but lately it seems to be turning “white”. I’m not sure if this is just a residue left by the kerosene (with fine grade sandpaper) or if it is something else that I should be concerned by.
Thoughts? Should I be using something else? Any suggestions/ advice is always greatly appreciated thank you.


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G’day Beth;

I can’t comment on the ‘white’ thing, but I may have a suggestion or two in general. I restored a C&P 8x12 a couple of years ago that appears to have been worse off than yours in some ways. I had it pretty much apart, but no more than I had to. I used a brass wire wheel on a hand drill for quite a bit of it. As well, I found the little sponge ‘sanding’ blocks to be really good, especially when used along with WD 40 which I bought a can of and filled and refilled a spray bottle with. I wouldn’t recommend the WD40 for keeping rust away, but it was good for rust and grime removal. I didn’t use real sandpaper as I was a little concerned about the possibility of the grit getting into moving parts and eventually causing wear. Anyway, that’s my two cents worth. Good luck……db

Thanks David. Am reassured to hear someone has restored one worse than this.

Does the white stuff wipe off? It could be residue of the fine sanding process — when it dries the mixture of grit and metal removed would turn white because the particles are very fine.


It does Bob but then it’s comes back. Yesterday I rubbed over all of it with a rag and kerosene but was there again once the kero evaporated. It’s not all over the press so that’s why I’m not sure whether its the kero or not.
I was thinking of wiping over it all today with WD40 instead to see if that clears it up.


If you have some fine steel wool try rubbing a test area of the white stuff firmly with the dry steel wool, and then wipe it clean with a dry cloth. I am still suspicious that it’s an optical effect of the fine granulated texture of the metal or the residue — it’s why virtually all fine powders look white regardless of the color of the material in larger pieces.

By the way can you help me with a little additional contact info for the people in Australia with hand presses that you posted about?


Coast to Coast, U. S. A. Dearest price for DIESEL appears to be $ 4.22 per Gallon or less, up to a point, forget, kerosene, W.D. 40 etc >> TRY, 1/4 of a gallon of ordinary Auto Diesel,<< with the obligatory cotton waste rag, Cleaner, Soaking rusty machine parts, Anti Sieze Agent, very light lubricant, (via squirt oil can, as mist, into the bowels of you machine, if necessary!!) does not evaporate, Can be stored, indefinately!!! Fraction of the price of all the proprietary alternatives, very little smell, very little fumes. One drawback!! not acceptable as Garnish to the Cheese and Pickle Sarnies!!! Check out with well informed Auto Mechanic/Fitter/Engineer etc how many millions of miles your Auto,s,>Cars and Trucks, will do, running on diesel, the diesel acting as cleaner/lubricant within the injector pump and injectors. For a few cents!!! Try It???


It’s the kerosene. I’m not sure what the residue is composed of but I get the same thing when I use it. Varsol cleans it up.

Interesting, further reading says that the white residue might be caused by high sulphur content in the kerosene.

Oh thank you! I was so concerned it was some sort of corrosion. The high sulphur = white residue makes sense though.
I’ve actually rubbed it down with diesel today and worked on it with the steel wool, it’s looking really lovely :)

Also, do I need to take the whole thing back to bare metal/ 100% no rust, no old paint/ ink if I want to repaint it?

Beth, I’ve had the white residue appear on painted surfaces as well, it’s definitely not corrosion.

As for painting, it all depends on your free time and ability. I like to strip down to bare castings using an electrolytic de-rusting setup, prime and paint. It’s a lot of work. Others will tape off any bare metal surfaces and give the machine a quick spray with a rattle can, usually before selling a broken down machine on eBay!

I wouldn’t go overboard trying to get down to bare metal, lots of old castings had holes and voids filled with a tarry black filler that’s near impossible to remove. I’ve also heard that it doesn’t play well with modern paints.

One more thing: you might run into problems painting over a surface cleaned with diesel. Diesel leaves an oily residue. I would clean it with mineral spirits just before painting.

I wasn’t sure whether to use a rust removal liquid/ spray or just stick with the kero/ sandpaper/ elbow grease.
I wondered about the black and whether it was something I’d have to remove. Are you saying that I don’t have to repaint it? I thought I would have to as a protection against future rust.
I knew I’d need to go over it again after the diesel if I wanted to paint it but thanks for the advice on that anyway.

The only really effective rust remover liquid is Evaporust, but you have to fully immerse stuff in it, it cant be sprayed on.

I don’t mean to confuse black filler with black paint; you’ll only find the filler in spot applications. If what you’re really interested in doing is rust-proofing exposed metal, then a quick coat of spray paint, or oil based enamel paint would suffice.

Keelan, you can cover the rust with paper-towels soaked in Evaporust (I use the blue shop towels, strength makes them easier to remove later) and then plastic to keep them from drying, not quite as good as soaking parts, but it works.


I believe the white residue is from surface filler applied during manufacture. There is an account on the web somewhere where a press rebuilt for a museum is discussed in detail. They analyzed the fillers and paint. Because of the roughness of the casting process, and to save the time that would otherwise be required to grind the metal smooth, they used to apply a surface filler made up of a slurry of slate. When sanding into the surface, past the paint, it will turn white.

Thank you Hugo. I’m glad to hear that.
Both ideas suggest its not any type of corrosion.
Living on the coast always raises the concern of corrosion!

corrosion is rust and you can see on your press what that is ,you only get white from alloys like zinc ,lead and aluminium . a good point reference the difficulty of overpainting the old filler used to smoothe the finish of the original castings . I do know this is a problem as i have encountered this before and the surface coats begin to craze . I stopped the problem with red lead oxide paint used to coat first as an undercoat .
i have no idea if you can get it in the states but in the uk you find it lurking in the corner of boatyards .
Obviously as the name suggests its a nasty substance but pretty harmless unless you overdo the sanding down ,best done with a medium wet and dry sheet using white spirit as wet rather than water , never do the rub down of oxide primers dry or you risk inhaling the dust which is not so healthy .

Thanks Peter.
FYI, I’m in Oz :)