Line painter restoration

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6 Mar 2019
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My father in-law has given me this old line painter. Unfortunately it was damaged in a garage fire a few years ago.


I vaguely remember using it to mark out a badminton court many years ago and it's clear how the wheels and the wheel "scraper" go together. I'm a bit less clear on how the handles were. The "MCC Wonder" plate must go between the handles about half way up where there are nuts and bolts. What I can't work out is how the handle would have been.

Father in-law thinks it had two wooden handles facing towards the user. If that was right then I guess the handles must have had a hole down their length for the bolt to fit through. Once I've straightened the handle arms out a bit, it will be clearer.

I'd be really grateful for tips on how to deal with the iron work. I think I'll have to cut the bolts off or drill them out to get it all apart and replace with new. Is it then just a case of wire brush to get the rust off before painting, or should I soak in something?

For the handle arms, should I heat them to straighten them? I only have a blowtorch - will that get it hot enough?




Established Member
24 Aug 2008
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Essex/ Suffolk border
Those bars should be straight, and have a wooden handle across the top, sticking out maybe 6 inches past the uprights each side, rounded ('cos that's where you hold it). Sometimes there was a central wooden handle-post, and a "Tee" handle on top, but generally they were as I described. If it says MCC then it was for painting the boundary line on a cricket field.

You should, I think, be able to straight those bars cold. If you need heat, though, you'll need more than a blow torch.

John Brown

Social media influenza
25 Sep 2008
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Stinchcombe, Gloucestershire
At my old tennis club, the groundsman had about 8 of them. I think he bought a new one every year in preference to cleaning the old one...
These days, they have robotic line painters that know where to paint, apparently.
Sorry, I know this is not helpful.
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just can't decide
24 Jul 2020
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Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
just noticed ur post.......
the metal will be as soft as putty, well fancy steels we're used in making that......
when working away from home I've used all sorts to straighten and modify strip iron....
corner of a trailer, door posts....etc.... but u have a bench.....G clamps of course....
follow the courve and bend just a few degrees at a time moving the metal along.....
after years of practice thats about 5min worth of time....
at home I have a huge Record vice no 35 or 36 bolted to 1/2 ton of fettling bench.....
open the vice allowing a sloppy fit and just tweak the metal the way u want it to go.....AGAIN, just a few degree's.....
u dont have to grip the metal, u just work across the jaw's......
u'll soon get the hang of it......if u lived nearby I'd do it for u....easy.....
up to u but when u put it back together u can buy the same bolt head pattern's but not the thread type in stainless....
I restore all manner of antique tractors, cars and machines....and unless stipulated unstressed parts get bolted back together with st/steel fixings.....
I have on occ had to fabricate exact copies of nuts n bolts etc for oringinality.....
as for the Handles think of wooden file handles...the nice old fashioned ones with a bit o shape....copper or brass furrels...mmmmmm.
prob only available now thru a farm supply store......again if u lived close by I could turn u 2 replacements.....
failing that the top of a heavy hay rake or sythe will have something shaped like u want.....just have to cut it off and make a furrel...copper plumbing pipe is good for that...
for further info and or pictures....there's a garden machinery museum somewhere near the Lancaster, Blackpool area.....
I'm sure he'd help....he has sheds full o stuff like that...
hope this has given u a few ideas.....