Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chipped Enamel - NOT fingernails!

Chris from Canada tells how to create this effect on base metal pots
First wash the pot in warm soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Apply 3-4 coats of your choice of finish, making sure each coat is COMPLETELY dry before you add the next, then leave the pot to dry overnight. And yes, I REALLY MEAN OVERNIGHT, as in a minimum of ten (10) hours. The finish will seem to be dry and feel hard to the touch 2-3 hours after the final coat, but appearances are often deceiving, as evidenced by the goopy mess that may result if you choose not to heed warnings from the VOE (voice of experience).

For chips on the flat surfaces, like the sides and bottom, take a dental pick or other sharp pointy tool and gouge a small uneven hole right down to the metal. Next gouge out a shallower area in a ring around the first hole, the less even, the better. Finally scrape away a few tiny bits from just the top layer. It's like filling chips in the porcelain of a stovetop, only in reverse. If you want to soften the edges of the layers, or create a thin area in the enamel caused by stirring or wear from the rings on a gas stove, use a 1/8" wide slice of emery board or a snippet of fine steel wool held in tweezers to gently remove some of the finish. For chips on edges where the pot has been banged against something, just give the area some very controlled whacks with a screwdriver blade, metal knife handle or miniature hammer, mimicking the knock that would cause the damage. A few whacks will cause small cracks to form so that loose bits of the 'enamel' can be carefully pried off with the tip of a craft knife. If you're lucky, they'll even fall off in tiny chunks by themselves for instant mini chips. Of course, Murphy's Law dictates that this will rarely happen with miniature pots when you want them to chip, but will almost always happen if you so much as gently clip a RL size enamel pot on the front edge of an enamelled stovetop. Note: Photos of my RL stovetop (before repairs) and the offending RL enamel
saucepan are available on request. :-)

NOTE: If you do make a mess of one, just fill the cap of a bottle of nail polish remover with the product and place the pot in the cap. Let it soak for a minute or so, then scrub the nail polish off the pot with an old toothbrush dipped in the polish remover. Follow this with a rinse in clear warm water, then a good swish and wiping down with a bit of dish detergent or shampoo in warm water. Rinse well and towel dry and recall the old adage that starts "If at first you don't succeed ......." :-D

I've done this to several sets of base metal pots and lids, some with a nail enamel (Hard As Nails ???) and others with Plaid Gloss Acrylic Enamel. The acrylic paint dried faster but needed an extra coat and didn't crack well. I had to resort to tiny swipes with a craft knife and a bit of scraping and carving to work down to the metal surface before I could use the steel wool or emery board, but the end result looked the same.