View Full Version : large scale rust removal - paint type?

Alan Turner
06-01-2005, 6:42 AM
I friend gave me a Knaack tool chest, old and rusty, and I want to clean it up and paint it. It is of the type that one can't readily steal without a fork lift or some such thing, at least when filled with tools. ust be 5' x 3' x 4' tall, slant front.

I have a 6" Milwaukee right angle grinder, 5000 rpm, which was part of an estate I bought, but I have never used it except to see if it worked. Looks like a 5/8" by 11 stud.

I am thinking of a coarse, cup type, knotted wire "wheel". Is this a good approach, or will I grind through it? I am open to suggestions.

So, after most if not all of the rust is gone, what type of paint to I go with? Just rustoleum? Something fancier? A primer? If so, any special type or brand? This is not a living room piece, and I don't intend to carve it. It will live inside of a building. Just want it too look decent, and to secure my more valuable tools when I am not there.

Thanks for the help. If it were dovetailed, I could handle it, but going through a catalog like MSC leaves my head spinning.

John Hart
06-01-2005, 7:02 AM

I've had very good luck with Krylon Rust Tough Enamel Primer. You just knock off the heavy stuff with a wire brush, wipe it down, then spary this on. It converts the rust that remains and never rusts again. Works on wood too. Then just paint over that.

Jeff Sudmeier
06-01-2005, 8:33 AM
As John said, with the good primers, all you have to do is knock off the loose rust. If I was doing large scale rust removal, I would sand blast it. You can get VERY fine sand so that the metal will almost shine when you are done.

I just did a hitch haul carier and it worked great to sand blast off the loose stuff, two coats of primer and then 2 coats of black enamel paint.

Robert Tarr
06-01-2005, 8:40 AM

I used something very similar for an old steel cabinet I used for my bench base. It was a heavy thing that came out of a post office and was a bit rusty and a funky green color (although, I admit to not having finish it yet....needed the bench right away.) the unknotted wire wheels will not do much for you, but the knotted are better. I had better luck with a wheel that you can get at the Borg, that looks a bit like a flap sander (in the flat plane.) It is 3/4 inch or so pieces of Sic sandpaper laid up in a circle on the wheel and cuts much much faster (and cheaper than a new knotted wheel.) and is what most of the metal fabricators use to clean up steel pre-welding/painting. The other choice, which I like the best, was a die grinder using the Roloc wheels. Seemed to just eat the paint right off. I wouldn't worry about all of the paint. If it is sound, just scuff the surface and feather the edges and if it is really rusty, give it some extra attention and pre-prime the area once you are done, with Rustoleum.

Hope that helps.


Jim Becker
06-01-2005, 9:52 AM
'Know anyone with a sand-blaster?? ;) As long as you get off all the loose material, both paint and rust, finishes like Rustoleum will do a nice job as they chemically deal with the rust...supposedly. They also spray well, if you are so inclined, with a little thinning. (I sprayed Rustoleum with my HVLP conversion gun on what was my grandmother's metal patio set a couple years ago with good success)

Todd Burch
06-01-2005, 10:03 AM
Alan, I would have it "soft" blasted, if you can find someone that does that. The difference between soft blasting and sandblasting is that most commercial sandblasters use VERY powerful and heavy duty equipment and if one is not careful, metal can be blasted through quite easily. Look in your yeller pages under sandblasting, and find one that does cars/trucks. They will be attuned to your needs.

Also, regular sandblasting, depending on the media used, could leave large pits and/or a heavy texture, and you probably don't want that. Glass beads are a poor choice for rust/scale removal. Other manufactured media works better. (Sand is not real good either, but the price is right!!)

Also, your car/truck-experienced blaster will most like coat your raw metal with sodium nitrate or some other oxidizer to inhibit rust until you can get it painted.


Todd Burch
06-01-2005, 10:05 AM
As for type of paint, I would use an automotive finish and spray it too. Or, take it a car painting body shop.

Mark Singer
06-01-2005, 10:39 AM
Sandblast and Benjamin Moore....Iron Clad...deep bronze is a great color

If you want to spend more $$ Tenemic

Norman Hitt
06-01-2005, 8:43 PM
Alan, since your toolbox is going to remain "Inside", all the above suggestions will work fine, and unless it has really some Deep Rust, those Knaack boxes are made from heavy enough steel that you don't have to worry about what kind of sandblasting material you use, (if you go that route). If you were gooing to haul it around and expose it to rough treatment and weather, I would suggest doing what I saw a contractor here do with an old one he had. He had a sandblast unit, so he blasted it inside and out, and then took it down to where they spray "Rhino" Linings in Pickup beds, and had them spray that stuff inside and out, and 5 years later, it is in Fantastic shape. I kinda inherited an old one of those myself about 4 month ago, and that method is what I have planned for it, (unless they have gotten ridiculous on the price).

Alan Turner
06-01-2005, 9:03 PM
Thanks, guys. I don't think sand blasting is in the budget and I don't have one of those guys. So it looks like a bit of wire work, and some paint, of which there are several good suggestions here.