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refinishing a metal coleman cooler...help

Discussion in 'Garage / Workshop' started by derekp, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Sep 24, 2011 at 12:31 PM
    #1
    derekp

    derekp [OP] giddy up!

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    Hey ya'll,

    I am refinishing an old (ish) Coleman cooler. It is metal, textured (not smooth) and a bit rusty. So far I have pulled the lid, hit it with a wire brush to remove the rusty spots and spayed a decent coat of Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer (brown in color). It is currently drying (about 1-2 hours down so far). I can't find "Coleman Green" so I bought with Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel 7733 Dark Hunter Green to apply. I figure it is fairly close. My goal is to spray the green, then sand the green off in a few areas to give it a distressed, or "rat rod" look. I know, it sounds a bit odd to remove the rust then repaint it to look like it is rusted in a few spots.

    A few questions to our paint/refinish gurus:

    Now that the primer is laid, do I need to sand it to even the coat before I spray the top coat (green color)? If so, what grit, etc.

    If I don't need to sand the primer, do I need to wait 24 hrs to spray the top coat or can I lay it a few hours after I lay the primer?

    Also, any other tips would be great! I haven't taken on a project like this before. I figure start small (cooler size) before you go big (refrigerator size)! I can post pics if needed. Thanks again guys!
     
  2. Oct 10, 2011 at 3:56 PM
    #2
    derekp

    derekp [OP] giddy up!

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    80 reads and no feed back...odd

    I am almost finished painting. I decided to add a USAF emblem (like you see on vehicles) to the front and then make it look distressed. I have the final coats of pain on it and will attempt that later this week.

    For the lid, I would like to get different types of beer labels and glue them on and clear coat over them (several coats). Not sure how to tackle that yet...

    Here is what the cooler started out as:

    I'll post pics later this week of the current progress...

    IMG_0378[1].jpg
    IMG_0379[1].jpg
    IMG_0380[1].jpg
    IMG_0381[1].jpg
     
  3. Oct 10, 2011 at 3:58 PM
    #3
    fletch aka

    fletch aka www.BeLikeBrit.org

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    Looks good so far :popcorn:
     
  4. Oct 10, 2011 at 4:10 PM
    #4
    jandrews

    jandrews Carolina Alliance Southwest Region Ambassador

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    First cooler build thread on TW. Sub'd.
     
  5. Oct 10, 2011 at 4:18 PM
    #5
    derekp

    derekp [OP] giddy up!

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    My dad bought it back in the 80's to use on his Alaskan hunting trips. Apparently, the metal coolers hold up to shipping better than the plastic ones. He put it in his shed in '87 and I saved it last year. Those pics are how it looked when I started. Not too bad but rusty. I grabbed my drill and a wire wheel and went to town. Took it down to bare metal and attacked the rust them same way, just more aggressive. I wish I took more pics while I was in process. BTW...you can't get "Coleman Green" anywhere! Well, I couldn't find it! Rustoleum Dark Hunter Green is DAMN close though! Maybe 1 shade off, if that.

    I have Clear Enamel for the lid, but I also have spray Polyurethane as well. Anyone have tips, suggestion on which is better? Either way, I plan to put several coats on the lid b/c I think it will take a beating more than the body and I want a good coating over the beer labels. I will also put 2-3 coats on the body...
     
  6. Oct 10, 2011 at 4:22 PM
    #6
    jandrews

    jandrews Carolina Alliance Southwest Region Ambassador

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    Seriously. Hook that shit up. Black handle mod. Bottle opener mod. Redline lid struts. Magnetic Koozie.

    PIMP this bitch.
     
  7. Oct 10, 2011 at 4:31 PM
    #7
    paintdiddy

    paintdiddy Machine gun shits

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    If the primer dries,you will have to sand it.if it's tacky to touch,spray the paint in really light coats.be careful not to make it too dry so it feels like sand paper and not too wet so it lifts the primer.
     
  8. Oct 10, 2011 at 4:41 PM
    #8
    Texoma

    Texoma Well-Known Member

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    You don't need to sand the primed surface unless you have build up. Also it's a textured surface so it will look better unsanded. You don't need to wait too long for the primer to dry, but if you're not in a rush then give it 24hrs. You should do three light coats of your final paint to get a good finish. If you go too heavy the paint will run and get gunky on your textured surface. As for the beer labels, I have never done anything like that before, but if I did, I would laminate each label indivdually. When you apply them to your cooler top and put the coating on them, they won't wrinkle up from the moisture. I've seen bars n restaurants that have pictures and other stuff under some sort of clear coat or varnish on the tabletops. Might be something to check out or google it. Good luck, and if you're ever up my way I'll fill your cooler wit some brews.
     
  9. Oct 10, 2011 at 5:10 PM
    #9
    derekp

    derekp [OP] giddy up!

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    I let the coats dry anywhere from 4-5 hours to over 24 hours. I put light coats on the corners b/c I wanted to give it a weathered look. It looks so-so. (I'm not sure if I want to put another coat of green in select spots or not.) After the green paint dried, (at least overnight) I hit it with 00000 steel wool to 'weather' the corners and edges. Once I did that I had to lightly rub the entire thing because of the haze it caused. Pics to come...

    I tried the beer labels on a piece of scrap metal (the edge of my garage-pub CPU case). I sprayed some clear enamel, applied the beer label, then put several coats of clear enamel over them. Not too bad but one of the corners dog-eared on me and would NOT lay down. I might try an internet search but not sure if there are many beer label coolers out there (now, I'll probably find 2 billion sites :facepalm:) I'm not sure if enamel is the best route or polyurethane.

    Where in PA are you? I get up to Ft Indiantown Gap at least once a year for a month of exercises.
     
  10. Oct 10, 2011 at 5:21 PM
    #10
    Texoma

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  11. Oct 11, 2011 at 5:20 AM
    #11
    derekp

    derekp [OP] giddy up!

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    If anyone is thinking of trying the beer label idea, I will be trying this:
    http://www.beerblitz.com/Fun_Stuff.html
    Might look cool on a beer fridge.
    For an additional step; Once the glue is applied and the label is placed, I will use something to smooth out the surface (squeegee type idea) and then spray several coats of clear coat over the top. Hopefully it works!
     
  12. Oct 11, 2011 at 5:48 AM
    #12
    theredofshaw

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  13. Oct 11, 2011 at 4:32 PM
    #13
    derekp

    derekp [OP] giddy up!

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    Here are a few pics I took today. One pic is a bit washed out, but I hope you can see the 'weathered' or 'worn' look in all of them. I think I am at the stopping point for paint. Time to apply clear to most of it, except where I want beer labels. The USAF insignia didn't come out exactly how I wanted but I think I can live with it.

    I had several bottles soaking most of the evening to help release the glue. Sierra Nevada seems to be the easiest. Flying Dog, however, uses the same adhesive NASA uses to keep the tiles on the Shuttle!

    IMG_0389.jpg
    IMG_0390.jpg
    IMG_0391.jpg
     
  14. Oct 11, 2011 at 6:45 PM
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    Texoma

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    When you're done you oughta strap that puppie on the back of a GOV and snap some pics, preferably an F-15. If you could locate an A-10 or an F-4, that would be even sweeter. A HUMVEE or a stryker would suffice as well.
     
  15. Oct 11, 2011 at 6:52 PM
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    jandrews

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  16. Oct 12, 2011 at 12:05 AM
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    Tigahshark

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    X2, they still sell metal coolers and i think their the bomb, make the motha cherry!
     
  17. Oct 27, 2011 at 11:51 AM
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    mknipp

    mknipp Well-Known Member

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    Man nice job on the cooler! I work for Coleman and its nice to see someone take care of a product that can last forever. Some of those old metal coolers are actually collectibles.
     
  18. Oct 27, 2011 at 5:45 PM
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    derekp

    derekp [OP] giddy up!

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    Wow! Thanks for the compliment! I doubt this one is considered a "collectible". It isn't all metal, but I sure like it.

    One thing missing is the sticker that said "Coleman - Steelbelted". I had to take it off to refinish it. Not sure where to find one. Here are few new pics. Clear coat is on the lower portion, a few labels are laid out on the lid for an idea of what I'm going for. I'm going to put in some time emptying some bottles this weekend for more labels. Tough work! I think we are going for a full coverage collage.

    IMG_0394.jpg
    IMG_0395.jpg
     
  19. Oct 27, 2011 at 7:51 PM
    #19
    Texoma

    Texoma Well-Known Member

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    Cooler looks effin' sweet! By the way, I have consumed all the beers from the labels you have. If you are interested in a Yeungling label, PM an address and I'll have plenty after saturday nite for ya.
     
  20. Oct 27, 2011 at 7:57 PM
    #20
    fletch aka

    fletch aka www.BeLikeBrit.org

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    Hey Derek, I'm thinking less is better. It's looking really good, but it might look cluttered with to many beer decals. A couple of vintage travel decals might be nice, Grand Canyon or something like that.

    Very nice job so far.
     
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