Friday, February 29, 2008

Sand blasting is a blast

Today I disassembled the small art deco era hanging light fixture that I purchased on eBay. Here is what it looked like before I attacked it with a screwdriver and pair of Channel Lock pliers.

It appears that someone removed the original paint and then decided to make it 'better' by painting it black, purple, and teal green. Some portions of the fixture are solid brass, the majority of the body of the fixture is cast iron, and the chain links are steel.

The ceiling canopy was left unpainted but the lacquer was peeling and there was paint splatter around the edge. It appears that this light hung in a room that was painted a shade of calamine lotion pink. At one time the interior of 'The Gear' was painted that same color. Pink must have been very popular in the 40's and 50's because I have read other house blogs that mention that same color.

The canopy was also out of round and had several dents. I used a wooden dowel that was rounded off on the end to push out the dents. The edge of the dowel was used to straighten out the rim of the canopy. The canopy was placed on it's side on the table and I rolled the dowel along the interior edge until the canopy was round again.

I am pointing to the dent in the photo above. The dent actually shows up better in the first photo. Below is a what it looked like after I fixed the dent and sandblasted it.
I snapped photos as I disassembled the fixture just in case I didn't have time to reassemble it this evening. Notice that I put the screws back into the holes. There are two reasons for this. Number one....it keeps me from losing the screws. Number two....it keeps sand out of the holes and allows me to sandblast the screw head at the same time. I lied.....that's three reasons.

Sandblasting is a time saver. I could have used stripper and a brush to remove the paint or maybe boiled it overnight. But in the end, the total time from start to finish was 1 hour and 45 minutes to disassemble, remove dents, sand blast, and then reassemble.

Here is a photo of the fixture reassembled. I will wait to paint this fixture at the same time I paint the wrought iron lantern for the foyer. I am waiting on the canopy I bought for the lantern which will also need sand blasting and painting. I will then rewire both light fixtures.

Here's a few sand blasting tips.

If you keep getting shocked because of static electricity make sure your ground wire is firmly attached. Standing on a rubber mat may also help with this problem.

Always wear glasses even though the sand is inside a cabinet. Be aware that sand is on the parts and will get on your hands when handling the parts. Keep your hands away from your eyes.

You may want to wear cloth gloves to handle bare metal pieces. This will keep moisture from getting on parts that will be painted. Also freshly sandblasted cast iron will start to rust if left exposed to moist air. During summer months it may be necessary to immediately prime or clear coat raw cast iron to prevent surface rust.

Always allow the cabinet air to settle before opening the door. This will keep sand from becoming airborne and inhaled.

Use compressed air to clean sand off parts. Some cabinets have a nozzle inside the cabinet for cleaning sand off of parts after sand blasting. You can also use a new clean dry paint brush to brush off sand. Never aim compressed air at exposed unprotected skin. Never use compressed air to clean sand, sawdust, etc. off your clothes. I know we all do it, but it's a big NO NO. Doing so is a sure fire way to get a particle embedded in your eye. OUCH!!!!

Metal isn't the only material that can be sand blasted. You can etch glass with a sand blaster. Use vinyl contact paper to protect the areas that you wish to remain clear. You can achieve various degrees of etching by sand blasting some areas twice and some areas only once. The only limitation is your imagination.

Sand blasting is a blast. Try it.