Stripped bare and pummelled with walnut shells, vintage metal furniture takes on a cool, contemporary look.
Take it off. Take it all off. Metal home or office furnishings dating from the 1950s are hot accent pieces for contemporary interiors, but painted items must be stripped entirely to the raw metal to bring them right up to date.
There are three ways to strip metal furniture. People with the space, time and muscle can use a biodegradable chemical paint remover such as Heirloom Furniture Stripper. Another method is to sand the paint off with an electric sander using a sanding pad specific to metal. Sanding leaves painty skid marks and a distinct pattern, giving the piece a timeworn look.
What A Nutty Idea
The third and easiest alternative is to take it to a furniture or automotive blasting shop. The two common blasting materials are sand and walnut shells. Sandblasted metal looks rough and slightly pitted. Walnut-shell blasting, shown here, gives a satinlike patina. The technique was developed to strip fine automobiles without pitting the metal.
The raw metal can be left to oxidize to a lovely gunmetal colour or sealed with a clear lacquer to retain the silvery newness.
Find Heirloom Furniture Stripper at Home Depot, www.homedepot.ca; walnut-blast-it-yourself ($55 an hour—or less, if you can finish in under that time) or have it done for you at Langley U-Blast in Langley, B.C., 604-530-0866. www.langleyublast.com.
Photo: Clinton Hussey