Repainting Cast Iron

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
6 Apr 2015
Reaction score
Not strictly metalworking but I’ve just bought a few vices (Record and Craftsman) from a local market. They’re in good working order and the moving parts are fine but the paint has seen better days.

I’m going to strip them back and repaint completely. I understand I’ll need an etching primer. I’ll want a specific colour - either Record Power green to match my CL3 lathe, or I might be tempted to repaint the lathe a different colour too as it has its share of flaky paint.

I was wondering if I could just prime, find a spray can colour to match (Montana have a good range) and apply the strongest clear coat I can find on top.

Is this a good idea or do I need a specific paint, or even powder coating?
Last edited:
The ones I did I did not use etching primmer.
They were de-rusted, attacked with a wire brush.
Then a Zinc rich primer applied in thin multiple layers.

Then a few coats of Rust preventing paint, applied in a few layers.

The holes for the slat fixings were opened to 7.5mm, so a M6 bolt would fall in, this means the paint would not be damaged.

When the top coats were fully dry a few coats of bee's/linseed oil mix applied.


Don't scrimp on the fixings.
I don't bother priming cast any more. Primer is to provide a key for the topcoat to stick to, cast is rough already and doesn't need it. 2 or 3 coats of a good brush applied enamel - like paragon, does the job spot on.
I haven't repainted a Record vice, but I've done a few Record planes.
Hammerite dark blue is a very close match to the original Record colour. It used to be available in tins as well as spray cans.

I always prime/etch prime as primers/undercoats have some gap filling properties (and old habits die hard).

Cheers, Vann.
Vices- after cleaning off rust and any flaking paint and giving a light wire brush, I just give a single coat of brush applied oil paint (self-mixed to preferred colour) - leaves all details visible, easy to remove if nec in the future and lasts quite well - eg 20 years in a dampish basement workshop for my Record 74 - the non-painted bits get a wipe every now and then with an oily rag or anything similar that's handy.

Garden furniture - different story if it lives outside, but I have found that even slats (inc teak) that get some oiling need replacing before the cast iron has problems (the steel screw fixings go first).
Last edited:
Here's my most recent restoration, it actually took 4 coats because the colour was quite patchy. Just paragon enamel and a wipe of boiled linseed on the bare metal parts. I was lucky with this one, it only needed one screw making. My current project is a different kettle of fish, literally every single part needs something major - welding/brazing/machining. Some bits are totally gone and need making from scratch as well!
brill - my kind of resto

can see the history of the vice, but it's now ready for its second century or so

and like the colour - like a faded version of the bright red (?) original
Seconded re not needing primer on CI: Personally I like Hammerite (even the "new, improved" version)! Available in brushable (but you DO need the special thinners as well), or rattle can. And it's purely personal, but FWIW, provided all the rust and gunk has been carefully cleared away, I like the "this tool has a history" look.