Functional Art

I’m in love with the cast grille we found

… But it needed some work before the install. It’s going in the wall between the hall and the air handler unit in the little bedroom as a return grill. It’s copper plated and we considered trying to restore the finish but in the end decided to paint to match the light fixtures. First I sanded and cleaned it, then used a spray metal primer. Technically the operable louvers should detach from the decorative grille but the screws refused to budge. This made the painting steps more difficult but not impossible.

Priming in the alley, view from the 2nd floor. Also primed unistrut at the same time:

Once the primer dried I moved to the basement workshop. Here’s the back with the adjustable louvers, which we wanted to be flat black (to prevent seeing anything behind the open decorative grille once installed). This step was the hardest because the louvers only turn 90 degrees and spray paint cans don’t like being turned at crazy angles.

Once that dried, I used a utility knife to make sure every last opening was free of paint and crisp:

Then I stuck newspaper behind the grille and sprayed the final grille color:

This needs 1 more coat of bronze and probably some minor touchups on the black louvers with a brush, prior to installation.

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