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topic 11807

Dull grey finish on interior furniture


I have several small metal furniture items at home (newspaper rack, cd rack, mirror, etc.) made out of bent and welded 1/4 in steel rod. All have a dull grey finish that certainly does not look like paint or varnish.

One of them, a set of shelves in my bathroom has rusted because of high humidity. I cleaned it with solvent and 0000 steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] but lost the finish as well as the darker spots around welds. The steel now has the silverish sheen of polished steel which I don't like. I don't want to paint the structure although I wanted to apply clear varnish to protect it against rust.

What do you think is the original finish and is it possible to recreate it myself. If not, is there another finish that I could apply that would be similar. If I need specific material for this what is the likeliest place to purchase it.

Jean Audet
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Hi, Jean.

It's hard to tell what the finish is from a verbal description, and might not be much easier even if we had a photo, but my bet is that it's some kind of dull nickel plating. If the damaged area is small, maybe aluminum paint would make it less obvious; but if you want it done right, they probably need to be replated.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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