Painting/ Dying Galvanized Mail in Discussion Posted May 4 · Report reply Please understand that any finish you put on mail will eventually wear off with use, the only thing that will really last is, as Konstantin mentioned, to just polish it and wax or oil it. Your first step to getting any type of nice looking finish on your armor should be to strip the zinc off of it. The second step is to tumble or acid etch the metal to a uniform matte finish so that any further coatings will adhere well. Based on your preferences I think you should go with a black oxide conversion coating as it will be one of the longest lasting finishes and also historically accurate. You'd create a russet finish by flash rusting the piece, historically this is done by storing it in damp sawdust with urine, but you can substitute bleach or vinegar. Shake it around to make sure the rusting is even and once you have a uniform coating apply tannic acid, if you're going the historical route, or a commercial rust converter to chemically change the coating into black iron oxide. After that you just seal the coating with wax and you're done, you can use the more historical beeswax but I highly recommend using Renaissance wax instead.