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Next, all loose dust must be brushed from the work and the first coat of paint applied. This first coat is called the “ priming ” and, in all kinds of painting, the priming coat is important, but never so much so as in the case of metal.
It has to serve three purposes. It has to play its part in the protection of the surface from further attacks from the atmosphere, it has to provide a firm foundation or anchorage for later coats and, finally and most important of all, it should possess a positive power to prevent rust.
Much research has been devoted to devising paints having this last-mentioned quality, and there are several for which it is claimed that they are effective, but some of them are still in the experimental stage, and there is a consensus of opinion that, for priming ironwork, there is nothing superior to, if as good as, a red-lead paint.
Red lead certainly does possess the quality of preventing rust. It dries extremely hard, and it also needs less assistance, in the form of added driers, to make it dry. Indeed, a mixture of red lead, either dry or in thick paste form, with boiled linseed oil, needs no added drier at all, but, if raw linseed oil alone is used to thin the paint, a small quantity of drier will require to be added.
The writer personally prefers to use a mixture of raw and boiled linseed oil as a thinner for red-lead priming when used on structural metal, and recommends the following proportions :
With such a mixture no driers will be necessary and the quantity mentioned will cover about 350 square feet of surface, one coat.
Any paint merchant will make up such a paint, but, as red-lead paints are comparatively quick-setting, they should be kept well stirred and should be used as soon as conveniently possible after they are mixed.
How to Apply Red should not be applied too thinly, and care should be taken to brush it well into all hollows or irregularities of surface, particularly at joints or around bolt heads and rivets.
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