Garden Art forum: New life to old gazing ball?

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Mar 15, 2013 9:28 PM CST
I have what used to be a solid black gazing ball. Over the years the outer coating has dulled and eroded, primarily on the top side where the sun bakes it. Underneath the coating is a nice shiny reflective base. I am trying to figure out what I could wash it with to remove all of the outer coating, leaving me with a 'new' steel ball. Anyone have any suggestions? Not sure if you can see much from this photo, the shiny part on the left is the base (what I would like it all to look like), the part on the right is the dullness, and you can just barely see the bottom side which is the original reflective black.

Thumb of 2013-03-16/Bonehead/789456
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Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Mar 16, 2013 2:49 AM CST

Moderator

Not sure what you could wash it in Deb but from here it looks beautiful, bright, and shiny. Hurray! Hurray!

Hopefully someone will come along and have an answer for you. Thumbs up
Name: Becky (Boo)
Phoenix, AZ 85022
finding joy one day at a time!
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Boopaints
Mar 17, 2013 8:43 AM CST

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Deb, I'm not sure either . . . there is a product called silver leaf but I don't think it could be used for something outdoors.

My other thought is could you take it to a mirror shop.

Or could you purchases mirror tiles and glue them to the ball? You could have a very cool look that way that would still refect.
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Mar 17, 2013 12:29 PM CST
For the time being, I have simply rotated the ball so the nice shiny side is facing toward the viewer, and will just let the sun/weather do its magic on the parts that need to go away. May take a while. I'd forgotten how cool it is to actually be reflected in the ball, it's been hazy for so long it was just kind of a presence in the garden.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Robin
Pittsburg, MO
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Robynznest
Mar 17, 2013 1:45 PM CST
I believe that Krylon makes a mirror like spray paint that works outside. Might be worth the few minutes to google it or just use 'mirror spray paint' as a search starting point.
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Mar 17, 2013 3:45 PM CST
It's not so much trying to make the ball shiny -- it's trying to get the top coat off to reveal the underneath very shiny base. It appears the ball started out as a very shiny metal, then some sort of black reflective coat was added (which I liked a lot when it was new). That black layer is the one that has oxidized (or whatever) and is now dull and peeling. I'm trying to get to the shiny underneath part. Perhaps I'll try some paint thinner and see what that does to the outside layer...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Robin
Pittsburg, MO
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Robynznest
Mar 17, 2013 7:06 PM CST
Have you tried vinegar?
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Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
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GordonHawk
Mar 20, 2013 12:00 AM CST
a pressure washer might help flake the remaining coating off.. and do the least scratching of the metal underneath...if it's at all flakng underneath it will lift it.. work from the edge > to inside.. a 400 grit sandpaper will give close to a mirror urface... andd I got some cream at a motorcycle show that could polish an aluminum can to a mirror finish...but not withoout a bunch of rubbing...
A big buffing wheel would make the ball shine.. and wear away the remainig coating
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Mar 20, 2013 8:23 AM CST
I'm planning to do some pressure washing this week and will give that a whirl, and I think my husband has some sort of buffing wheel with his car stuff. Good ideas, I'll try those out. And, yes, Robin, I did try vinegar - that's usually my first-try for just about everything.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
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GordonHawk
Mar 20, 2013 8:36 AM CST
oh.. a car buffer is softer than the one I was imagining... it's a wheel which you charge up with a compound.. much more agressive... as I was thinking..... a bit of time in the oven.. on a bit of foil... the paint will melt some... but as it cools at different rate than the ball... after it might flake off easily.. or can be scraped off warm
maybe just some paint remover.. peel it away..
Name: Becky (Boo)
Phoenix, AZ 85022
finding joy one day at a time!
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Art Purslane Garden Ideas: Master Level
Region: Southwest Gardening Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: United States of America Birds Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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Boopaints
Mar 23, 2013 10:25 AM CST

Moderator

one more thing you can try is nail polish remover. Test with a q tip. Green Grin!
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Name: Kate
S Wales UK (Zone 9a)
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Eviesmummy
Mar 28, 2013 5:05 AM CST
Boopaints said:one more thing you can try is nail polish remover. Test with a q tip. Green Grin!


Yes, if it's just a laqured coating acetone should remove it, but you may need to soak it for several hours. Failing that dichloromethane (DCM) or tetrahydrofuran (THF) would do the trick, but I'm not sure if you can buy that comercially.Paint stripper would also be worth a try.
Kate UK
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Mar 28, 2013 3:32 PM CST
Thanks for all the suggestions. I had the pressure washer fired up last weekend, and plum forgot to try that as a first attempt. I will go from less caustic on up and will report which finally does the trick. I will say that the base is extremely reflective and I'm looking forward to a whole new look. The original black was reflective in a much more subdued manner, and has become progressively more dull (and less reflective) over the years.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

MountainBro
Apr 4, 2013 1:20 PM CST
Can it be scraped up with a scouring pad? If it's a coating, you should be able to scrub it using mineral oil or even just a strong cleanser that will loosen things up.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Apr 4, 2013 1:24 PM CST
I'm leery about scratching the underneath surface, although I think my sister scrubbed it down last year with a nylon pad. I still haven't tried pressure washing, need to either wait for a good day or figure out a way to not get soaked with the back spray.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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