Thursday, April 3, 2014

Six Simple Steps to Getting Your Cast Iron Urn Back in Great Shape

A cast iron urn can make a beautiful (not to mention practical) outdoor planter. As any good gardener knows, watering plants regularly is key to their health—but it’s not always the best thing for your cast iron urn. Constant exposure to water and soil, combined with unavoidable elements such as wind, sleet, snow, rain, and humidity, will take a toll on cast iron urns. Over time, the cast iron will begin to rust. Follow these simple steps to get your cast iron urn looking good again.

Please note that this process will take you at least two days, including drying time.

Step 1: Gather your materials.
You will need a hose, steel brush, sandpaper, and a metal file, as well as a cloth, phosphoric acid, and spray paint. Personal safety items such as a mask, eye goggles, and rubber gloves are also highly recommended.

Step 2: Clean the urn.
With the hose on a high pressure setting, spray the cast iron urn thoroughly to remove any built up grit, debris or dirt. Leave the urn to air dry for several hours or overnight.

Step 3: Get rid of the rust.
Rust is the main enemy of your cast iron urn. Use a steel-bristled brush to scrape off as much of the rust as you can. For stubborn patches, you can use a metal file (on straight areas of the cast iron urn) or sandpaper (on the rounded corners). We recommend 80-grit sandpaper for this purpose.

Step 4: Spray the acid.
Spray phosphoric acid on the cast iron urn to dissolve any remaining rust—keeping in mind that the rust may be invisible. Leave the acid to work on the rust for several hours or overnight. Note: when working with phosphoric acid, it is highly recommended that you use tremendous caution. Wear goggles, rubber gloves, and a mask, and do not allow children to play near your work area.

Step 5: Scrub the crust.
The acid will turn any rust on the cast iron urn into an iron phosphate crust, which you can then scrape off using your steel brush.

Step 6: Paint the urn
Using a metal spray paint, paint your cast iron urn. We recommend using a paint that offers some protection from rust. Spraying in a steady back and forth motion, apply three or four light coats of the paint.

There you have it! When you have finished these simple steps, your cast iron urn should be looking a lot less worse for the wear. Protecting it from rust and cleaning it regularly will help to guarantee that your urn looks attractive for years to come.


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