I’ve lost track of the countless times a prospective customer has said to me, after I’ve showed them the custom antique faux’ finishes we specialize in, ” oh…. I’d only want an iron bed in it’s original condition”. First of all it automatically lets me know what little this person really knows about the restoration of antiques. Secondly, and I always let them know what a disservice they’re doing to themselves in thinking that way. They have effectively cut out the widest group of potential iron beds that they may have been attracted to, simply because the color or condition wasn’t what they wanted.
Most of the time I’d try and change their minds with this similar scenario……..What if you had the choice between a beautifully restored Model A car or a Model A that’s been setting outside and is rusted and falling apart. They usually choose the restored option.
Often they counter with…..“…..well I wouldn’t want to effect the value of my bed by changing the original finish“. Here again……their ignorance is showing. Proper restoration to any antique appreciates it’s value.
So having said all this…….where do you start with your bed, once you realize restoration and refinishing can be a good thing.
It is the only way to effectively get the ball rolling. Beds from back in the 1800’s, will have two things you’ll need to deal with before any finish can be considered……..rust and layers of old lead base paint.
Don’t think for one minute that you can hand strip it or wire brush it. You need to get everything off. That way there won’t be any underlying rust, and the new paint will have a sufficient clean surface to bond with.
“Dipping” or “Chemical” stripping is the worse. Simply because once your bed is dipped, you now have a wet liquid inside the tubing. Which means eventual rust from within. Sandblasting is a dry process and leaves no moisture…..the enemy to all beds. It is imperative the surface of your bed is clean and dry…… exactly what sandblasting with do.
Now you’re ready to paint your bed……………
I hope you’ve found this blog informative . I invite you to revisit my website
to answer any and all questions you might have about antique iron beds.
I also invite you to take a look at our company Face Book page for multiple photo albums on Custom Finishes, Canopy Conversions and a comprehensive “Before & After” King Conversions album.