Preparation for painting is the most important part so take your time and do the job properly because if you take any shortcuts now your new paint job will not only look disappointing but it will begin to flake and peel very quickly. Your Ozpig needs to be clean, dry and free of rust and oil to get a good surface for the paint to adhere to. It's also very important to get rid of any old flaking paint. How you go about this is up to you and will also depend on what state your Ozpig is in to start with. If your paint is in good condition with just a few rust spots here and there you may be able to get away with rubbing any rust off with a wire brush and sand paper and repainting just those few spots. But for the purposes of this guide we will assume your Ozpig is very rusty/paint flaked and peeled. There are a number of ways to prepare metal for painting, some better than others, some quicker than others. This will outline a few different ways and then explain the preferred way.
- Molasses Bath: Some people swear by this method of rust removal. It is a very good way to remove rust and recondition old cast iron camp ovens, it will also work on your Opzig, it's very easy but the downside is it takes a little while. You'll need a large container, a large plastic storage container is perfect, it will need to be big enough to submerge your Ozpig in liquid. Then you will need some molasses. Molasses is available at stockfeed/produce stores. it's fairly cheap and most places will be cheaper if you take your own container in. We picked up 20litres for $14 with our own drum supplied. Add water:molasses at a ratio of 10:1 (it's not absolutely crucial but it's a rough guide to the amounts). Simply place your Ozpig and any other rusty parts into the molasses and leave it. You will need to leave it for at least 3 or 4 days, after that check it and give it a bit of a hose off, if it is still rusty put it back in for a couple more days. Even after the molasses bath is finished, chances are you may still need to give your Ozpig a going over with abrasives to remove bits and pieces of rust or paint.
- Abrasive blasting: Sand blasting and bead blasting are just 2 of a number of abrasive blasting methods. If you don't have the necessary equipment to get your Opzig prepped for painting you can pay to have your Ozpig stripped down using this method. It produces great results and can be reasonably cheap compared to buying all the tools and bits and pieces you may use to DIY. You can buy home sandblasting setups these days so is something worth looking into if you have a use for it.
- Paint Stripper: Another quick easy way to get that paint stripped off, can be a bit messy and you will need a good pair of gloves and protective glasses as paint stripper is caustic and can burn the skin and be quite painful. You can get it in brush on or spray on. Just apply a coat and leave to bubble up then scrape or wash off, you may need a couple of coats to get the job done.
- Our favourite method requires a bit more elbow grease but is very cheap as most people have the tools required and will only need a few cheap accessories to get the job done. We prefer this method as it is very quick and we find we can prepare and paint the Ozpig all in 1 day using this method. Start off with a flap disc on a grinder to remove the toughest of rust and paint, be careful as they do remove debris quickly and can mark the surface. Then move to a wire brush on an electric drill, there are a few different styles of brush you can get such as a wheel or cup, they all have their own uses and some are better than others to get into the nooks and crannies, such as the lugs and if you're wanting to give the inside the pig a cleanup. We tend to use the cup brush for the larger areas and the wheel brush to get into the bits around the hinge and BBQ plate lugs and welds. A handheld wire brush is very handy to get into those tight spots also. A good tip for the wire brushes on the drill is after a while the bristles bend in one direction and don't seem to bite in and work as well, simply put the drill into reverse and spin it in the opposite direction so it works against the direction it bent in. Once you have removed all rust and paint and have it back to bare metal finish it all off with some wet and dry sandpaper. Get the hose running very slowly and starting with a rougher grit, continue to sand all over working your way down to a smoother grit using the water to wash the surface and paper down regularly to unclog the paper. This step results in a nice smooth straight out of the box finish after your paint has been applied. Be sure to do this method close to the time you are going to paint as surface rust will begin to reappear very quickly, in a matter of hours and you will have to give it another sand off when you are ready to paint otherwise.
Continue to do this for all of the other painted parts, chimney, door as well as the main body of the Ozpig. We also did the tool rack. You may find the paint on the chimney and tool rack stays pretty sound and doesn't need to be stripped back to bare metal as they don't reach the high temps that the body does.
IMPORTANT: Always use personal protective equipment when working with grinders, drills and wire brushes as very small pieces of wire do fly off at high speeds. We recommend ear muffs and a full face shield at minimum.