Painting Fabricated Carbon Steel


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Q. I have built a log splitter from carbon steel. What is the easiest way for me to prepare the steel for painting with zinc oxide primer and implement paint? I would like to do this myself and I do not have a sand blaster. The steel has rust, pickling, some oil spots and paint from the steel mill. I do have access to hydrochloric acid if that will work. E.D.


A. There is no easy way! This sounds like a home project. Although Painting Clinic does not usually address them, yours is of universal interest to our readers. That said, I must add this caveat. CAUTION! Don't even think about using the hydrochloric acid unless you really know how to handle it! It's too dangerous to use by the untrained.

You must degrease to remove all the oily soils, rust, and particulate matter in that order before painting. It is important that you perform the metal pretreatment in the following order:

  1. Degrease the surface using a warm aqueous detergent solution.
  2. Remove all surface rust using sand paper, wire brush or steel wool.
  3. Remove particulates by wiping using mineral spirits.
  4. Paint immediately after solvent wiping.


As far as painting, I suspect by "implement paint," you mean outdoor machinery paint. Furthermore, you should use a zinc chromate primer instead of a zinc oxide primer. 

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