After degreasing, disassembling and degreasing some more, the shocking blue colour of the lathe becomes more and more grating! I don’t think I want to look at that colour for the rest of the time that I own the lathe (hopefully a long time). I did a bit of colour comparison in the paint aisle of the hardware shop and found a colourbond colour called “Wilderness” that was as close as I was going to get to the original Hercus green. They didn’t have it in stock, so I had them make some up. I was happy with my choice already, but I was extra relieved to find that one of the Hercus experts (Mal again, from Australian Metalworking Hobbyists) had also decided, after spending a bit on different paints, that this wilderness colour is about as close as we can get. There is no perfect match, because the original paints actually varied. I have some original pale green paint on the half-nuts I bought though, and I used that, and photographs as my reference.

lathe-apron-repainting-01 Before I can get new paint on there, I have to strip the old. I used old fashioned poisonous and stinky paint stripper. I also used wire brushes, and the tip of a punch (just pushed by hand like a small pointed chisel) to get into the tight spots.

lathe-apron-repainting-02 The colours involved. Here are the lead screw half nuts with what I believe is original hercus paint on them. It’s also wearing through to the casting, but that’s not a problem, it gives me a good idea of what’s needed. The card is the dulux colour match card for the “Wilderness” shade. The strip of tape across the card shows that a gloss finish, which I’ve chosen for protection, will show up slightly darker than the matt finish. So overall, it’ll look right.

lathe-apron-repainting-03 An important part of the process, is polishing all the tarnished and oxidised handwheels, knobs and levers up to a bright shine again. Once they’re shiny, a quick wipe with some car wax should keep them shiny. The one on the right, the feed change lever, looked exactly like the two to the left (attached to the gearbox). I used a coarse buffing wheel with black compound, and then a stitched medium buffing wheel with green compound for a finer shine.

lathe-apron-repainting-04 Here are some of the parts so far. Still a bunch of gears to clean up and lube, and then to reassemble!

lathe-apron-repainting-05 The inside of the apron looks lovely now! No slime, grunge, sludge, grease, grime, chips, swarf. Just clean oiled gears and freshly painted castings.

lathe-apron-repainting-06 The outside doesn’t look too bad either.