Amen. Nice overview, crash. And so true.Let me throw some cents in here,two or three or so..The hot wax route is a good one,I,ve waxed thousands of traps and trapline implements used in the most demanding conditions,it works. One thing,and a must for wax treatments is that the item must remain in the wax until no more bubbles come off the item and it reaches the temp of the wax,it,s not a dip and yank operation.The hot wax boils any moisture and it leaves the item as vapor,that,s the bubbles you see.The wax must be at a temperature above 212 degrees. When this is done,there,s no moisture left in the item to cause future rust and the wax coating is very thin,almost undetectable,in the pores of the metal so to speak. Seek out information on this,traveler has posted a very good video. Watch it carefully. A video or two on waxing traps and trapline equipment will no doubt help too. One thing about varnish and other applied clear coatings is you are likely to encapsulate moisture in the coated item and it will rust away merrily under the coating.One day flaking off and exposing a rusted surface,unless very careful preparation of removing all moisture before coating is attended to.Just something for you to think of.
Yup, oxygen is the culprit for the rust and I use a light spray of matte clear acrylic spray paint. Seals it nicely but keeps it looking natural. Also, when I did my degree in archaeology we used Renaissance Wax is a brand of microcrystalline wax polish used in antique restoration and museum conservation around the world. Commonly used to polish and conserve metal objects, it is also used on gemstones and such organic materials as wood, ivory, and tortoiseshell.
I came across a 16th century cannon ball rusted as f... and cracked just about ready to fall to bits. Super glue down the cracks, quick sanding down then here is the secret, rubberized blackboard paint. Last forever now, sold on.