Repainting a Tabletop Press

I have a Kelsey Excelsior tabletop press that I bought partially restored. It has been sand-blasted to remove rust, and is down to bare metal. What kind of paint is best?

My current plan is to paint it with Rustoleum Primer followed by a finish coat of Rustoleum. If any anyone has any tips, tricks or pointers, it would be much appreciated! I am especially curious if there is an alternative to Rustoleum that I should consider.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi Fernbrake,

I restored my Kelsey last summer and actually used Linseed Oil. Not sure if it was what people would recommend but it worked great for me!! You just have to make sure it completely dries and it will give a hard coat over your metal. I used this because I wanted the nice metal look, not a color. If you go this route, you will want each piece to dry completely before re-assembling the press. (assuming you are taking the press apart to paint, I would recommend that) The reason I recommend taking it apart is because you are going to want to make sure you cover every speck of metal with what ever you end up painting it. Any uncovered spots will probably rust and defeat the purpose of painting.

You can probably use the Rustoleum just fine but note, it will probably chip pretty easy or you may have to do it again in a year. (but maybe not, I just haven’t had great luck with that paint on other projects not related to letterpress)

Hope this helps!

Once primed keep away from moisture ,primers dont protect bare metal they just prep for finish coat and can actually cause rust to develop beneath the paint if not kept in a dry environment between coats .

I have found a paint made my Martin Senour called “Quick Dry Enamel” which can be brushed or sprayed. I’ve used it for press projects for the past 10 years and have no complaints. Much more durable paint than big box spray cans. I’m sure I rub someone the wrong way by saying this, but unless you live on the sea shore or on a houseboat you really don’t need a primer, two coats per mfg. specs should be fine. Make sure the surface is clean and oil free. Good luck.

Chuck , we are on the coast and have to suffer what is known as “The Fret ” here , its a wet mist that turns my platen red in a week , i spend longer eliminating rust marks than make ready , slowly my machines are being coated with petrol resistant lacquer on all its bare steel parts as rust is my nightmare regardless of how hard i try to keep the old girls clean .I have varieties of metal protectors meant for keeping fount solutions used in litho from rotting steel parts but even that struggles against the mists we get .