Some collectors prefer a glass smooth, imperfection free
finish. Many parts, especially Menominee and GE pancakes are filled with deep
crevices and factory casting imperfections. In order to get a glass smooth
paint job, these imperfections must be dealt with very early on in the
restoration. If attempted with primer later, you could find that you lose some of the details of the fan's ornate castings. The following is a tutorial on how we at White Glove
Fans produce absolutely smooth surfaces prior to applying primer to make the
job easier, cleaner, and to produce a glass-like finish.
- Angle and straight grinder (typically pneumatic and used with an air compressor)
- Carbide Grinding Bits
- Roloc Pads
- Sanding Stones
Step 1: Media blasting and Inspection
After all of the paint is removed from the cast iron by using a carburetor cleaner or Purple Power soak, media blasting it will help ensure every spec of paint is removed. This ensures a thoroughly cleaned part and ensures that pitting corrosion is halted. Once blasted, it’s time for inspection. Look the part over very carefully and note the high spots and factory imperfections. This is not the time to rush as the final paint job will show all of the imperfections missed. Take note of the problem areas on a pad of paper if you need to, whatever will ensure that you don't accidentally miss an area that needs attention.
Step 2: Grinding
I prefer to use a straight grinder when grinding with carbide bits and sanding stones. One could use a Dremel tool for this process if an air compressor isn’t available, it will just take a bit more time. Once the imperfections are found, adjust your air pressure to whatever you are comfortable with (not to exceed 90 psi) and begin grinding the high spots until they become smooth. Be absolutely certain to work the part around its original contour or you’ll end up with a FLAT spot. Round contours are the hardest to work, just move the grinder in a half moon configuration using light pressure; let the tool do the work for you. Once you have accomplished a semi-smooth surface and all of the high spots are eliminated, it is time to move onto filling in the low spots. We will cover this in the next installment of this article tomorrow.