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Squashed Ducks & Steel

I like complex, interesting, and historically important food. You might call me a foodie. You might also be wondering what that has to do with metalworking. Well, recently we’ve had a customer bring in a couple of pieces of very specialized cooking equipment, and there is possibly nothing in the world I like more than very specialized cooking equipment.

This is a duck press:

The duck press before refinishing.

A duck press is used to create a dish called, interestingly enough, Pressed Duck. Basically you remove the legs and breasts of a duck (to be cooked elsewhere), then put everything else inside the duck press. Turn the big wheel and you get, for lack of a better term, duck juice.

This juice is thickened and seasoned, then plated with the duck legs and breast cooked elsewhere and viola!

Caneton Rouennaise à la Presse, or Pressed Duck in Rouennaise Sauce. Yum.

Now lets talk about refinishing.

When this duck press was brought to us, we immediately discovered it was steel. We don’t work with steel very much at Progressive Bronze, as it’s a harder metal than bronze and brass and therefore more difficult to polish. There are also many different steel alloys. Some polish well but others are very difficult to bring to a shine and we don’t know which kind we’ve got until we try it.

With that in mind, we started working on the duck press by testing a part to see if it would polish. Here’s that picture of the duck press again before it was refinished, can you see what part we tested?

As you can see the steel polished well, so we went ahead with refinishing the entire duck press. Here is how it turned out:

The duck press after refinishing.

Pretty nice, eh?

One final note: We usually lacquer what we polish, but in this case we left it off. The reason being that the lacquer formulation, though non-toxic and probably ok, is not food-rated. We can’t be positive that you won’t grow a third arm if you eat off it enough.

Because the duck press is not lacquered, it will rust unless it’s cared for properly. It should be treated the same as a nice steel knife, immediately cleaned and dried after every use.

If you’ve got a weird piece of kitchen hardware that needs repair or refinishing, please email me immediately. Or if you have any other comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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