To paint or not to paint

Here’s one issue that I hadn’t considered until it came up on a Zenith discussion group: Do I need to paint steel parts that no one will see, like push-pull tubes for flight controls? Surely bare steel will rust, but do I need to go to town on paint or powder coat, or will a simpler solution work?

Three pieces of steel, hanging from a wooden fence.
Painted, left; WD-40, center; control, right.

I’m kind of science-y, so set up an experiment today. I cleaned up three pieces of hot-rolled welder’s stock, painted one with Rust-Oleum enamel, coated one with WD-40 Specialist Corrosion Inhibitor, and left the control piece untreated. They’re hanging on the fence, and we’ll to see over time how the different treatments hold up.

My money’s on WD-40. But no wagering, please.

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Dean Betz

I'm a lifelong journalist and aviation wannabe.