Fresh Finish In 5 Steps

1. Scrub
Rub a steel-bristled wire brush over all metal surfaces to get rid of loose paint, flaking metal, and powdery rust.

2. File
On flat surfaces, use a mill bastard (coarse) file or a scraper to grind rough patches of rust down to bare metal. On rounded surfaces, 80-grit sandpaper does the trick. Wipe down the surface with mineral spirits.

3. Neutralize
Spray all exposed metal with phosphoric acid, which converts any rust you've missed or can't reach into a black, inert crust of iron phosphate. Bernard uses a product called Ospho. Be sure to protect your eyes, skin, and lungs from the spray.

4. Prime
Wait a day for the acid to penetrate and react fully with any rust, then brush away any loose flakes. Apply a thick base coat of oil-based metal primer using a disposable bristle brush (aka "chip" brush).

5. Paint
Let the primer dry before putting on the finish coat with a new chip brush. For maximum durability, choose an oil-based metal paint, preferably one made by the same company. Black is the traditional color for ironwork; a glossy sheen lasts longer than a flat one.

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