Tub Feet

I'm making slow progress on restoring the tub. This week I've been working on getting the feet cleaned up.

First, the two that had been sandblasted then left unpainted, having soaked in the rust remover for a couple days each, got a coat of rust inhibitor. This bonds with the surface of the metal and makes a nice base layer for painting.

Clean feet with rust inhibitor sprayed on

Then I took the pair of feet that had rusted and were then painted with latex paint, and I cleaned them off. The Goof-Off graffiti remover is basically just xylene and acetone, so I sprayed it on, waited for the paint to get bubbly, then scrubbed it off with a wire brush. Cleanup is just hosing it off, because the paint is plain latex paint, and the xylene and acetone are volatiles. Needless to say, you do not use this stuff inside without good ventilation. I used it outside.

The wire brush actually took off a lot of the rust, too, once the paint was loosened up. This photo is after paint stripping but before rust cleanup:

Feet with latex paint removed

The feet came out of that cleanup looking pretty good, but still a little rusty, so they went to soak in the rust remover.

Three of the tub feet

After a 24-hour soak in the rust remover, the formerly painted feet looked pretty good. In this photo the two feet on the left are the first two never-painted ones, the one on the right is one of the former painted ones (when I took this the other foot was still soaking in the rust remover).

At this point I was spraying them with a few coats of rust inhibitor and sealer. You can see the ones on the left are nearly black, which is how the rust inhibitor looks when it has cured. This was right after I sprayed the first coat on the foot on the right, so you can still see the metal.

(There's still some paint on there which is pretty well stuck on, so I'm not worrying about it too much.)

One of the issues I had with the tub itself was that the coating of rust inhibitor I put on was not enough, so I've been taking a couple weeks to spray on rust inhibitor, and then leave the legs outside for a while, then if rust shows up again, spray them again. It's been a lot of work, but most of the feet are finally at the stage where they are not blooming with rust, which means they are ready to paint.

Mostly rust protected

You can see in this photo one foot (the one at the top) is still getting a little rust around the bolt slot where it will be attached to the tub. The other three are done.

As for the tub itself, it was starting to get rust all over which is not good, but better now than when it is full of plants. So after a bit of a hunt for paint stripper -- I don't know why there was such a run on paint remover but everything on the safer/less carcinogenic end of the range was sold out all over town -- I was able to cover the whole tub. I'm going to strip it back down to bare metal and apply more coats of rust inhibitor as I did for the feet.

The tub covered in paint stripper

This paint stripper is Smart Strip, which is the next generation of the same stripper as Peel Away (our favourite paint stripper for removing the pink paint). It slathers on easily with a paint brush, then I covered it with waxed paper to protect it and help it do its work. It was already doing great when I was applying the waxed paper, so I expect removing it tomorrow will be fairly straightforward.

I'll probably pressure wash the tub to clean it up, too.

posted by ayse on 04/18/21