Clausing Drill Press: Stripping and Painting

I suppose the difference between a restoration and a repair is fixing the things that don’t require fixing.  For the drill press, this means repainting.  Sure, the paint doesn’t make it function any better but with new paint it’ll look almost new!  To do it correctly I first need to remove the old paint.  This is a time consuming process and there are lots of ways to go about it.  I chose to use an angle grinder with a wire cup.  The wire cup can remove paint easily while being gentle to the surface below.  Most of the parts on the drill press are cast iron or steel but some of it is Aluminum.  The wire cup could scar or damage the Aluminum parts.  So, care and a light touch must be used.  What is an angle grinder and wire cup?  This is:

This is my cheap Harbor Freight angle grinder.  It lasted through all the stripping though the guard vibrated to pieces.

The idea with the wire cup is to move it on the surface with enough pressure to remove the paint but not scar the surface below.  With the steel and cast iron parts this is pretty easy and you can use more pressure for stubborn paint.  So, after a couple nights of constant wire cup use I was left with the parts bare as shown below.  As you know from a previous post, I didn’t use the wire cup on the pulley parts.  The bottom center three pieces are Aluminum.

Next up was the belt guard piece.  Unlike the other parts, the paint on this part really wanted to stay where it was.   I used some of the paint stripper seen below but can’t say it did to much.  It might have softened the paint a little bit.  Either way cleaning this up took me a night and a half.

In the end, I was able to get all the paint removed.  I decided not to clean the inside of it though.  The paint in there was in pretty good shape and it had taken enough time to do the outside.  Besides, no one is going to see the inside.  Here it is bare, ready to be primed, and then painted.

Between rust, paint, and some mystery gunk, the base had the most stuff to be removed.  Using the wire cup again and a wire wheel for the tight spaces I was able to get it cleaned up in a couple of hours.  Here it is before.

Here it is after the wire wheel and cup.  You can see that the flat parts on top still have some rust and staining on them.  So, I used some 220 and 320 grit wet-dry sandpaper to clean them us some.  The results of this are shown in the picture after this one.

Below is the finished base.  From the picture above I did a little more cleaning and then wiped it down with paint thinner to clean the surface of any grease and oil.  Once it had flashed off I primed it.  I used Rustoleum Professional Primer which works on clean and lightly rusty surfaces.  The can says you can either paint (topcoat) immediately after priming within an hour or after two days.  I chose to wait the two days.  I used these steps on all the other parts as well.  I think it turned out pretty well.

The post is bare metal and had no paint to remove.  Instead it had a nice layer of rust on it.  If I had a way to use electrolysis on this I probably would have.  I just didn’t want to spend the money to make a tank for it which probably wouldn’t get used on anything else.  So, back to the wire cup.  Here is is before hand.

Below is a pic of the post after I cleaned it up.  It still has rust staining but is free of rust and smooth to the touch.  I’ve seen some fancy setups online for cleaning posts but the wire cup worked well without requiring time spent to make jigs to hold the post.  I also wanted to make sure I didn’t take much material off which would have been the cost to get it back to being shiny.  I lightly sanded it with wet-dry sandpaper and gave it a good coat of wax.

I fashioned some hangers out of wire and individually took the parts outside to prime and paint.  As before, I primed them, waited two days, and painted them.  The piece in the center is still in the priming stage.  Here’s a recommendation, get a primer that isn’t almost the same color as your top coat.  Below all the stockings….I mean light weight parts are hung with care to dry.

Here’s some of the bigger parts at the priming stage.  I masked off and taped over the areas I didn’t want to get paint on.

Here is the head casting after being top coated.

Next up, reassembly!


Be sure to check out my other posts on restoring the Clausing drill press! Ups and Downs  Small Parts  Reassembly

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2 Responses to Clausing Drill Press: Stripping and Painting

  1. bRIAN. says:

    What did you use for your final color?

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