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How to restore finish on turn of century black cast iron drafting table base

I have an antique drafting table with a cast iron base. The original finish is black. In many places, it is rusted through to the bare metal. How can I restore the original finish? Thanks for any help.

Brent Williams
Hobbyist - Dallas, Texas
April 5, 2008

First of two simultaneous responses -- May 2, 2008

We have no way to know what the black finish was originally. If paint, then wire brush, prime and paint.

It could have been oiled with a drying oil (such as linseed), it could have been rubbed with graphite, it could have aged naturally to black.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Second of two simultaneous responses --

You can remove rust with 5 % ammonium citrate solution(50 gm citric acid [on eBay or Amazon affil links] /1 lit water+some ammonia,pH must be 3,5).If you want to use old style technology try 20 % shellac and some black pigment or you can use Hammerite Rust Cap [affil links] paints. You must remove old paint (with paint stripper or hot air gun).Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia
May 5, 2008

Before painting you can use 20 gm tannic acid [on eBay or Amazon affil links] /15 ml phosphoric acid/1 lit water solution-simple do it yourself rust converter [on eBay or Amazon affil links] .Instead that you can use very strong tea or oak bark(or chestnut or any astringent tasted plant)decoction.Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia
May 9, 2008

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