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topic 1928

Stripping and clear-coating old steel furniture


I'm trying to strip an old steel piece of furniture of its paint and finish it in a clear (powder coat?) coating to reveal the burnished surface of the metal.

I stripped the paint easily enough with chemical stripper (3M), and took off almost all of the rust spots with Naval Jelly [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] and a finishing pad. However, I have two problems. First, some of the rust spots are pitted and little black spots remain. And second, there's a milky white wash on the surface from the naval jelly I think, that doesn't rub out.

Any suggestions?

Terry McMahon


I'm also in the process of stripping and sanding an old steel cabinet and have run into the same problems you describe. I've found that using #2 0000 steel wool [affil. link to info/product at Rockler] w/ naval jelly and lots of elbow grease removes the majority of the black spots. Where the pitting was extremely bad, I used the steel wool first, followed by sanding with an electric sander using 150 or 180 grit Sandpaper [affil. link to info/product at Rockler].

To get rid of the white residue that remains after using the naval jelly I found that using wet/dry sandpaper (180 grit) dipped in soapy water and again, elbow grease removes the residue.

I too, am now looking for a clear finish I can apply that will protect the metal from rust/corrosion yet let the burnished finish show through. Any ideas?

Sariah Gearheart
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