Ideas From Ed: A Sink on the Brink

Ed is a do-it-yourselfer who is happy to share some of his ideas and experiences in this monthly column.

Hello, fellow do-it-yourselfers.  I thought I’d show you this month how I saved a sink that most would have thrown away, and you can do the same thing!  Here’s the patient:

Actually, I did 2 of these, and they were equally bad, so pardon me if I get the pictures mixed up.  You’ll see later why it was so important to save these cute little guys.

Here’s another (before) photo:

In a nutshell, the porcelain was completely ruined in several places, and the cast iron body badly rusted.

Ever do bodywork on a car?  The concept is almost the same.  First, I stopped the rust using a “rust converter”.  Rust converters are more than paint.  They actually make a chemical change to prevent further corrosion. There are many brands.  The one I use is this one (and I’m NOT a paid promoter of any particular brand or product line – this is just what I use):

Sorry for not having a picture to show what happens, but the converters make the surface black once the chemical change has occurred.  Once that’s done, I began doing the “bodywork” as mentioned above.  I like to use any of several very hard-setting compounds, like JB Weld or PC-7.  Either one is satisfactory for this use.  These are both miracle products.  I always keep some JB Weld on hand and use it a LOT (no paid promotion – I’m just sayin’!)

So, I kept building up the damaged area with new material.  I tried to be patient, and work in layers.  I knew that the closer I could get to final shape during application, the less sanding that would be needed.  Here’s how it looked on my project sink after a couple of layers:

I kept applying the JB Weld and sanding (again, just like on a car) until the final surface was satisfactory.  If you’re doing this, don’t sand so much that you scratch the rust-converted surface, or its integrity will be compromised.  I’d suggest something like a 180 or 220-grit sandpaper, and you can get down to the final surface with even less aggressive paper if you want, maybe a 300-grit.

Once I was satisfied with the final contours, I masked off everything that I didn’t want sprayed.  That’s because the next step was to paint the sink using an epoxy spray specially made for this purpose.  Here’s what I used:

And here’s how the sink turned out, of course with new faucets:

Remember I told you why it was so important that the sinks be saved?  Check out the incredible undersides!  (I rescued as much of the old brass plumbing as I could, too!)

I hope all your projects go well.  Thanks for reading, and happy restoring!