If you bought your antique iron bed earlier than 1977, you can count on on it having been painted with lead based paint. Back in the 1800 s, when these beauties were being made, lead based paint was being used on all furniture and pretty much all iron beds of that period. Lead was added to paint to help the speed of drying, enhance durability, keep a crisp appearance, and resist moisture which causes rust.
The United States Government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lead paint in 1977, Code 16 of Federal Regulations CFR 1303). So you don’t need to be concerned about anyone refinishing your antique iron bed today using anything other than environmentally safe paints. It’s a good idea to use water based paints because of their potential to mix much better with other colors.
So what’s the most efficient way to eliminate these hazardous lead base coatings? How about a chemical stripper…….. sure if you would like to offer up a week of your life and still have a bed with reminants of previous finishes. It’s a dirty, time consuming, inefficient way. How about dipping at any of the “antique refinishing” dipping tanks. The difficulty using any kind of dipping tank, is the liquid involved. Yes…….it will get all the old paint off and is an exceptional way of removing layers of paint off wooden furniture. But afterwards the caustic compounds have to be washed out and flushed off. With wooden funiture, this isn’t a problem. But with metal, it becomes a whole distinct issue. Guess what they use to wash off all the chemical stripper …. water . There is no greater way to start the rusting process on iron, than to introduce water to it. So how should you get all those layers of old lead based paint, rust, and corrosion off your iron bed?
Sandblasting ……. It’s dry and does the absolute best job at eradicating all the old layers of paint and every little thing on the iron castings and tubing. As soon as the bed has been absolutely sandblasted……….. and I can’t emphasis this strongly enough, immediately , apply a coat of metal primer. If you let it set over night , you’ve already given the iron an opportunity to begin to rust . As soon as that starts, it’s only a matter of time until you’ll be starting this method all over again.
Now you’re ready to determine which “finish” you wish to apply for the look you desire.
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.