02 September 2008

Lawn mower update

A while ago I blogged about a lawn mower left out for the garbage men. It had a bit of rust so I decided to paint the deck. I didn't really do it to increase the selling price of the mower, though I'm sure that helped -- mainly I wanted to practice a technique used to paint cars for about $50.

Normally, a cheap paint job for a car costs $200 and looks terrible. A good paint job costs $2,000 and up, but some clever (or frugal) chap realized that enamel or polyurethane boat paint can actually be rolled onto a car if properly thinned so it becomes self-leveling. Of course, it can take upwards of 10 coats to get full color density, but if you have cheap labor (yourself) you can get results that rival more expensive professional spray jobs. Since I like cheap, and I have three cars that need painted, I decided to experiment on the mower before tackling a bigger project.

It turned out ok. At first I was a perfectionist and it went well but was going to take a really long time; I won't say it's necessarily difficult to get good results painting metal, but your prep work and technique (and patience) are critical. My final result did have a few imperfections as a result of my haste, but I wanted to get this mower out of here so I could work on the Jetta (see previous blogs) so I didn't go back and start over so it could be done perfectly. Still, I ended up with a good four-foot paint job: looks fantastic from four feet away, but you can see a couple of high and low spots if you look more closely.

I ended up accomplishing two things: a better looking mower, and valuable experience for when I take on a car paint job.

I sold the mower today. I was afraid it wouldn't sell at the end of the mowing season, but I got three bites on the Craigslist ad and the first person to show up started it with one pull and they took it.

I still keep an eye out for mowers pushed to the curb before garbage day... there are worse hobbies, I suppose.

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