Q. I have tubular metal garden chairs that I bought some years ago. They are attractive chairs with strap-on soft backs and seat covers. They have been out in all weather and all of them have patches of rust with paint peeling off. The design is too detailed to allow removal of all the paint by hand. I tried paint remover on one section and it wasn't very effective. The paint has an enamel texture and it would take a lifetime to remove it by this means. Is there a process available where those chairs could be immersed and the paint removed or do you know of some new preparation which would solve this problem. If I had them stripped down it would be my intention to apply Hammerite or something similar. Your advice would be appreciated.


A. You have several options. You could have them sand blasted - assuming there is enough steel in them, and that the metal is not, or has not become too thin to take the sand blasting which can be a bit on the rough side. If you decide to check out this possibility, look up sand blasting in the Golden pages. If you do sand blast them, you need to treat / coat them immediately, (for details please see below.)


If they were my chairs, I would treat with my ever-faithful friend Owatrol oil and ordinary oil based paint. (Hammerite is not oil based to my knowledge ) If you sand blast them, you would need to coat them thoroughly immediately with Owatrol oil. It creeps in everywhere and it is the most amazing stuff I've ever seen for treating or  preventing rust. Depending on which colour paint you choose for the chairs, you could tint your Owatrol oil with about 10% of the colour you plan to use as your first coat. Then reverse the ratio, add in about 10% or more on a cool / cold day, into your paint and apply. I would also suggest you inject all tube extremities and joints, welds etc with the Owatrol to seal them against rust from the inside. Finally, if you would be happy to simply stabilise them, all you have to do is wire brush the loose bits of rust. Leave anything 'tight' alone. Then apply a coat of Owatrol by itself or tinted as above. Finally apply a coat (or two) of oil based paint with about 10 -20% of Owatrol oil mixed in. It is very easy to paint them using this method. The last option may hide some of the detail but you will have a long lasting rust free job. Owatrol is usually available in the main trade paint outlets. (not the big DIY stores) You could phone the Owatrol Dublin rep Jimmy Mohan on 087 812 3997 and he can inform you where to get it.


Useful TIP:

Help guard your valuables.

You never know when or if some ‘individual’ breaks into your home and steals your personal things like family heirlooms etc. One idea that might help would be to take photos of everything and log them. A digital camera would be best I think. In the event that your home was broken into and stuff stolen, you could at least provide photographs to the Gardai or for the Crimeline programme etc. Also consider insurance and most importantly a burglar alarm. Fit one now if you’ve not got one and don’t do what many people do – fit one the next week after their home is burgled!