Refinishing tin

fandlilJanuary 14, 2008

I have an old milk pail that I bought in an antiques store a long time ago. It is shaped like a cone. The diameter at the bottom is about 18 inches and at the opening at the top about 8 inches. I was told it is made of tin (the handle looks like wrought iron) and that it came from a farm in Maine. When I bought it, it had been nicely finished in a soft satin sheen. But over the years it has become dull and blotchy. I'd like to refinish it, but don't know what kind of agent is right or how big a job it would be.

Any suggestions?

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You could begin by stripping the paint. A good stripper like Zip Strip would do a good job.

Before you repaint it, go to an auto parts store that sells automotive paints and buy some etcher. It's a mild acid that you apply to metals so the paint sticks better. I never paint metal without etching it. You'll have to use a primer for metals that is not water based. After that you can do what you want with spray paint or some decorative techniques.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:20AM
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I guess I didn't explain things right. The pail is not painted, and I don't want to paint it. I want to sort of polish it to a nice soft satin sheen and, if possible apply some kind of clear protective coat that will preserve its appearance.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 10:16AM
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I understand,now. I would try polishing rouge. I would buy the finest one you can find. You could experiment on the bottom of it, first. Other polishes might work too, like chrome brightener, but you'll have to be careful because even fine polishes might show scratching.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:36AM
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Thanks. I hadn't thought about polishing rouge. That's the kind of thing they use on jewelry, gold and silver. It'll probably be slow going, but likely the safest and even the most effective alternative. I'll try it, and let you know how it turned out.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Sears sells polishing rouges in stick form, which is used on polishing wheels, but it might work by hand. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 11:47AM
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Non-woven abrasive in a fine grade will clean it up and leave a nice surface with very fine scratches.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 6:10PM
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