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topic 6915

Removal of Rust from vintage fan


I have always wanted a vintage electric fan, but could not find any that weren't outrageous. For Christmas, my boyfriend bought me two, the only problem is that they need to be restored, and I don't know what to use that won't hurt it.

Paige Dickinson
- Conway, Arkansas



Had you ever thought of painting it?

I don't think you'd like to go to the trouble of removing the rust, which might damage the blades if the fans are that antiquated.

How about using good ole TREMCLAD? Maybe a spray bomb of theirs (if available in spray bombs) as they do have some colours ... e.g., Ford Black and silver, maybe others, too.

Consider the wheel balance. If you paint it (with a brush), you might affect the balance by having too much paint on a blade whereas with spray you'd get a more even coating.

No, I don't work for Tremclad. Never have. Never will. But their paints do bond to & hide rust.

In essence, use the K.I.S.S. principle. Simplicity is always the keynote to success.

Cheers !

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).



You did not mention what parts or composition, but this is what I do on automobile steel part restorations. If you can disassemble parts, the better the end result. For rust on steel, I start out with wet sanding. I do this until the "pits" are visible or the rust actually disappears.

Next you need to acid treat the "pits". I prefer hydrochloric acid (muriatic) full strength, but this is dangerous and needs to be done outdoors. DO NOT BREATHE THE FUMES! I use a new, cheap paint brush to apply. Also, watch any splashes that get on skin, especially the eyes. BE CAREFUL HERE!

A somewhat safer way is to use a phosphoric acid product like Naval Jelly [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. Less fumes. but still dangerous.

With hydrochloric, I apply as small amount as possible just to cover the "pit". If it turns yellow, there is still rust there. Wash the area and apply fresh acid. As soon as it stays clear, the rust is gone. Wash the parts thoroughly with clean water. I add a little baking soda [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] to help neutralize the acid. the wash water will turn green. If you treat last with phosphoric acid based products and wash thoroughly, you need not neutralize. The place cleaned gets a slight yellowish cast which generally helps paint adhesion. Sometimes I use a hairdryer to dry small parts or and oven at about 250-300 degrees to dry parts. These parts will rust immediately, especially in high humidity, so be prepared to paint ASAP.

As for paint, you will have to experiment with different products to get the correct colors. I would prime any exposed metal and wet sand to match surrounding area. Once dry and completely grease free, spray all the parts that require it.

You can find high fill sandable primers in spray cans in the automotive sections of large department stores or an automobile parts store like NAPA. Sanding primers tend to hold water so be certain the part is completely dried before finish coating. Baking in an oven will not hurt. I have used 200-250 degrees for 30-60 minutes to remove trapped water. Once dried keep out of contact with water, fingerprints or whatever until the finish coat is applied.

Goood luck!

Ron Mlejnek
- Hastings, NE

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