Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finishing up the outdoor steel rocking chair

So when I last posted about my $2.37 outdoor steel rocking chair project, it looked like this...

The three holes in the seat are there for drainage and look like they've always been there

Pretty solid but several old layers of paint had to come off, and I had to sand and patch some spots where there were rust holes.

Now you might think that this would require welding a patch on or worse, cutting out the bad spots and welding in a new section of pipe.  Nah, too much work for a $2.37 chair.

So I used something that I've used around old cars before.  It's a product called POR 15 patch.  POR 15 (POR stands for Paint Over Rust) is a paint product that you can brush onto rust and it will harden to an almost plastic epoxy finish.  It's sandable and it really sticks.  You have to wear gloves and old clothes because if you get this stuff on your skin, it will stay there for days.

I remember brushing this stuff on the underside of an old car I was working on, and when I got done my face had lots of tiny black dots that I had to scrub repeatedly before I got rid of them.  POR 15 reacts with oxygen and hardens pretty fast.  You can get the paint on variety in small pint sized cans, but you really need to use it up because the lid will actually harden to the edges of the can if you're not careful, and I've had half a can go to waste because I didn't get a good seal on the lid and the liquid became rock hard.  (By the way, I've used this with pretty good success on wrought iron railings that had rust issues too.)

So anyway, I had a tube of POR 15 patch (it's a paste, much thicker than the paint, so better as a filler) and used a popsicle stick to smear the paste onto the rusty areas on the chair.  I tried to use some scrap aluminum mesh from an old screen door to give the paste something else to adhere to, but I couldn't get it to stay formed around the curve of the pipe so I gave up.

In this shot you can kinda see the black areas where I used the POR 15 Patch

As it turned out, after the paste hardened it was enough to fill in most of the rust holes.  I sanded those areas down and where I needed it I added some additional paste and let that set up.  Then I sanded the patched spots again, and wiped the whole chair down with mineral spirits before using a gray primer over everything.

I love how primer will make ugly bare metal look almost new.  

By the way, a little tip for painting.  Paint the bottom of your project first, then when that dries, turn the project up to paint the top parts so you don't have to lay your freshly primed top parts down on the ground or on anything that could mess up your fresh primer in areas where the finished product will be viewed the most.  Same goes for finish painting.  If you have a small thing to paint, try to rig up something to hang the object from and again, paint the bottom parts first, then hang the item so you can paint the top parts.

Also, wear a proper ventilated breathing mask and goggles when you're working with spray paints.

So after I hit it with a couple coats of sandable primer, I let the chair sit for a week or two and finally got back to it last week.  I had been pondering a color choice, and lately I have a thing for red, so red it is!

Now that it looks this nice, I don't want to leave it sitting outside, so the chair is going to live on the tiki screened porch.


  1. Great job, hard to believe it's the same chair.

  2. WOOOWWWZZAA Well someone is a miracle worker!! *lol*
    Your chair is now amazing. And I am liking that bright red.

  3. You've done a great job as always Uncle!!

  4. OMG!!! AH-MAZING!!!! The chair looks really fantastic now, I can't believe the difference! Now, do you want to come do mine??? :)

  5. Zweeet Zwow! It looks brand new! You are the king of old junk restoration!

  6. It really did turn out well, thanks for the kudos everyone - now Sara and everybody else, get on out there and rescue yourself a metal chair and fix 'er up. You can do it with a little effort.