How to Restore an Antique Metal Glider

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Metal patio gliders and lawn chairs were first manufactured after World War II. These pieces were popular with families who were looking to strengthen family bonds by spending time socializing on their porches. Today, there are few of the vintage gliders left that were manufactured in the 1940s through 1960s. Restore your vintage glider to its original splendor to enjoy patio time with your family today and to pass this heirloom down to future generations.

Things You'll Need

  • Pressure washer
  • Cleaning bucket
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Degreaser
  • Rough sponge
  • Metal can
  • Wide paintbrush
  • Artist's-size paintbrush
  • Putty knife or scraper
  • Smooth sponge
  • Steel wool
  • Oil-based metal primer
  • Exterior latex metal paint
  • Spray your glider with a pressure washer. Start at the back and work toward the seat. Prepare a cleaning solution of 2 tbsp. degreaser to 1 gallon of hot water. Scrub the antique glider firmly with a rough sponge dampened with the cleaning solution. Rinse the glider with the pressure washer on high pressure, taking care to get the underside and in between the runner.

  • Pour some paint remover into a clean metal can. Dab this paint remover onto the glider, starting with the back. Work back and forth to make sure that all areas of the glider are covered. If your piece has holes in it that are a natural part of the design, you may need to get into these areas with a small artist's paintbrush. Let the paint remover sit on the glider for around 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Use a putty knife or scraper to gently remove the loosened paint. Start working at the back and move from side to side as you did when covering the glider with paint remover. Remove as much paint as you can with the scraper.

  • Rinse the antique glider with the high-powered pressure washer. Wash the piece down with a clean bucket of cleanser and water, using a soft sponge or cloth.

  • Turn the glider over and apply paint remover to all areas. Use a smaller paint brush to get into the intricate detailing from the back side. Make sure that the underneath side of the arms is saturated with remover. Allow the remover to sit for 20 to 30 minutes to loosen the paint.

  • Use a putty knife to remove the loosened paint. Rinse the glider lightly with the pressure washer. Scrub the back with a piece of steel wool. Rinse the piece on high pressure with the pressure washer.

  • Prime the antique glider with an oil-based metal primer. Stir the primer thoroughly, then begin covering at the top of the glider, working from side to side. Cover the glider evenly with the primer, taking care not to leave any runs or streaks.

  • Paint the glider with a rust-resistant paint designed for steel. Use a light pastel, such as eggshell blue or lemon yellow to give the antique glider a more original look. Paint the squared sections of the back and seat first if you would like them to be a different color than the rest of the glider. After these sections have dried, tape the square areas and paint the rest of the glider the desired color.

  • Allow all paint to dry for at least 24 hours before sitting in the glider.

Tips & Warnings

  • Milk-based paint may require a special paint remover.
  • Wear rubber gloves and safety goggles when applying paint remover.
  • Work outside or in a well-ventilated area to prevent breathing fumes and damage from chemicals.
  • Dispose of all chemicals and toxic rinse water in accordance with federal, state and local regulations.
  • Do not dig deeply into the finish with the putty knife as you may scratch the delicate metal.

References

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