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pedsot 08-08-2010 08:53 AM

remove paint from old metal chairs
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Having trouble removing paint from metal chairs that my mom gave to me.

I began by using sandpaper...a lot of elbow grease not much paint removal. I then tried a scraper well it was actually a wood chisel :) Again, better but not a lot of progress. I then got out my hand grinder and took the wire wheel off my bench top grinder and used it...lots of flying debris!!!! Still removal was better (not fantastic) but I'm not able to get in the small corners. I do have a rotary tool but the small sandpaper cylinders don't seem to work very well. Maybe once the arms and other long tubular parts are taken apart it will be easier to remove the paint?

I have thought about using a sandblaster (I don't own one, maybe I could borrow?) I've thought about using a chemical but not sure which would be the best bet. I really need to take apart the furniture because the bolts are rusted and have strange square nuts :confused: May end up cutting the bolts off if I can get between the furniture and the nuts.

Anyone have any ideas??? I've attached pics.

kok328 08-08-2010 11:39 AM

I'd start with a chemical stripper and then follow up with a sandblaster.
But before doing any of that I'd test the paint for lead.
Not that should be a show stopper but, just so you know what PPE to use.
Once you get them stripped don't wait long to apply a primer coat or the will start to turn orange with rust.
Rustoleum would be the best bet for primer/paint.

Nestor_Kelebay 08-08-2010 05:35 PM

I expect those chairs were meant to be lawn furniture, and as such were never painted, but were powder coated instead, which explains why you're having a rough time removing the "paint" on them.

If it were me, I would probably take them somewhere to have them sandblasted, which will remove both the powder coating and the rust in one step. Then you can prime them with a metal primer like Rustoleum.

That business of taking a rotary brush off your bench grinder and mounting it in a hand grinder was a pretty dangerous move. Rotary brushes are rated at different speeds depending on the way the bristles are mounted in the brush. Your bench grinder probably doesn't turn at anything more than about 1700 rpm. Your hand grinder spins at closer to 10,000 rpm. I'm hoping you checked the speed rating on the brush beforehand to confirm that it was safe to use in your hand grinder. If you didn't do that, you're lucky that brush didn't fly apart at 10,000 rpm and cause some serious damage to you.

pedsot 08-09-2010 07:39 AM

Wow, I did not realize how dangerous moving the wire wheel to my hand grinder would be. I did check and the benchtop is rated at 3400 rpms and the hand grinder is 11000 rpms. Crazy! Thanks for the advice, I will not be using that wire wheel on my hand grinder ever again.

I appreciate the input and will start looking for someone who know is experienced in using a sandblaster :D or a place I can take them to be sandblasted for a very inexpensive price ;)

I will then use rustoleum to prime/paint the old lawn furniture.

Thanks for the input guys!! Ok, so DIYers really need to have a little knowledge of tools and mixing and matching accessories. I will ask before I just do next time!!!

pedsot 08-09-2010 07:47 AM

Oh yeah, and the wire wheel itself was only suppose to be used at a max of 4500 rpms. The little wires still fly off on my benchtop grinder and hit me in the face. I usually have to wear eye protection and cover my face with a bandana!

Nestor_Kelebay 08-09-2010 09:43 AM


If the wires are starting to come out of the brush, then that's the beginning of the end for that brush. You're better off chucking that brush now rather than having 10,000 sharp and stiff steel wires scattered all around your house and yard that someone in foam sandals or even bare feet could step on.

Go to any welding shop to buy a new rotary brush. They use hand grinders to clean steel prior to welding it, so the rotary steel brushes sold in welding supply places will be rated for (typically) 12,500 rpm for use in a hand grinder. That way, you can use the brush on either your bench or hand grinder.

The "standard" mounting for rotary brushes is a 5/8 inch diameter arbor with 11 threads per inch, typically written as 5/8 - 11. Check to ensure you can mount the brush on both your hand grinder and your bench grinder before you buy it.

john4153 08-10-2010 07:54 PM

I would recommend either media blasting (e.g., sand or crushed glass) or chemical based on the cost. From the look of the chairs, I suspect powder coating was not used when they were manufactured.

For media blasting, companies specializing in that may be listed in your directory. You might also contact an ornamental iron or grave marker company. One grave marker company allowed me to do my own blasting using their equipment. Had to take the items to their place. The price was very nominal.

For chemical stripping, again there may be places that specialize in that in your area. Another alternative is a car restoration shop that does a dip strip. They use a pretty sophisticated electrolytic/chemical method that removes all paint and rust and leaves a phosphate coating, which is like a pre-primer. It will also remove anything that is made of pot metal, so be sure any chromed ornaments and the like are removed. I had a complete machine cabinet, base, and access doors for an older floor model molder done for about $50.

I do not like to use wire brushes for removing paint. Many softer enamels and lacquers will just smear with the heat that is produced.


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