by "ADC" in Iowa
Run new traps through the dishwasher with the same amount of dishwasher soap you use for really dirty dishes. Be sure to keep the chains up out of any moving parts...
Then dip them in a mixture of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water (redip and turn traps every hour or so)...
Lay them out in the grass and about 7 hours later they have a light coat of rust and are ready to be dyed...
At this point I dye them a dozen at a time with commercial logwood dye by boiling them over a turkey fryer burner. I use one 1lb. bag of dye to 3 1/2 or 4 gal. of water. This will dye 4 to 5 dozen traps before you'd want to add another bag of dye. Boil them about 10-15 minutes on a medium boil then hang them to dry. Then I heat wax in a large stockpot until it is completely melted and starting to smoke (turn the burner down so it doesn't burst into flames and keep the lid handy if it does). Be sure the traps are completely dry before dipping them or the wax will boil violently! I dip each trap in the wax one at a time using a stiff piece of #9 wire with a hook on the end to lower the trap in the wax. I leave it in the wax until the "sizzling" stops (about 30 seconds to 1 min.). The trap needs to be heated to the same temperature as the wax for it to coat correctly without too thick a coating. Then I pull the trap out, shake off the excess wax and hang it to dry. As soon as it is cool it can be set, but hang them up outside until you are ready to use them.
Be extremely careful when waxing traps. The wax is flammable and should not be overheated.
The dye and wax is available through most any trapping supply company.
For used traps I take them to a car wash and power wash off all the dirt and loose rust then skip the dishwasher and vinegar and go right to dying and waxing.
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