Suet Feeder Bracket Painting

The 4 inch column on the rear patio holds a bracket, probably intended for a welcoming sign or some such, which keeps the suet feeder mostly out of reach. It desperately wanted a coat of black paint to match the railing, so I stripped the old paint and applied Evapo-Rust:

Suet Feeder Bracket Hardware - Evapo-Rust bath
Suet Feeder Bracket Hardware – Evapo-Rust bath

The dark areas are iron oxide being converted to loose iron sulfide, which is what Evapo-Rust does for a living.

One could, of course, simply buy new eye screws & nuts, but we’re deep into historical preservation around here.

An hour of soaking and a few minutes of wire-wheeling got everything down to bare metal, ready for some rattle-can primer and black paint action:

Suet Feeder Bracket Hardware - installed
Suet Feeder Bracket Hardware – installed

It’s a version of what Eks calls a “used car finish”: high shine over deep pits.

Discussion of why one should not paint threaded parts will be unavailing; in this case, paint serves as permanent threadlock. I re-spritzed the eyescrews & nuts after getting everything aligned, so as to produce a lovely two-coat over-all finish.

The birds won’t care one way or the other and, as long as the paint lasts, neither will we.

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  1. #1 by RCPete on 2019-09-28 - 12:47

    I’ve got some repainting to do as soon as practical. Bunion surgery recovery was supposed to take 8 weeks, but the X-ray said “healing”, not “healed”. So, 12 weeks before a recheck and (I hope) release from inactivity*.

    The best that I can do is to plan the Gotta-Do projects. Repainting the angle-iron bracket for the garage solar panel is one; rattle-can red paint doesn’t do well on a south facing wall at our elevation. I also have overhead trim for the barn doors. I think I’ll try the roller extension.

    () No driving because right foot, and very little walking. Fall chores will be *interesting until I get in better shape.

    • #2 by Ed on 2019-09-28 - 18:57

      I really want a ground-level solar installation some day (for a house with plenty of southern sky), so I may as well wish for stainless steel struts, too.

      • #3 by RCPete on 2019-09-29 - 10:43

        Dealing with the first touch of Almost-Winter, with 3/4″ of Gorebull Warming covering all surfaces. That’s early, even for us! I think I should get out to the pumphouse and switch to mains power for a few days. NOAA’s climate people say the next year is going to be well above average temps for the Pacific NW. I’m a bit skeptical.

        With respect to ground mounts, the system I used for the pumphouse solar works well, though it wasn’t cheap. 3″ galvanized pipe, 6 posts (due to funky soil conditions and wind requirements, the nominal 5′ hole turned into an 8′ hole), and 3″ pipe horizontals. Standard pipe is a 21′ length, just perfect for 4 columns of panels. The actual struts and mounting hardware came from Iron Ridge. They have roof mount and ground mount hardware, and three grades of rails. (Heaviest for this application.)

        Costs were non-trivial for the 3600W array, though.

        Permits (site, structural and electrical) $610
        Engineering (PE review of Iron Ridge design, with rework for local wind and soil conditions) $260
        3″ galvanized pipe $2000
        Iron Ridge rails and mounting hardware $1000
        12 300W panels (on sale, closeout of this model) $2400
        Contractor charge to drill the holes and set the posts (concrete included) $5200.

        A roof mount system is a lot less expensive, but a) I don’t like them, and b) I don’t have the roof space at the pumphouse. OTOH, this would have taken $7200 out of the cost, with an smallish change in the mounting hardware costs. Might get away with lighter rails, too.

        FWIW, I got the panels and hardware from Platt Electric. The electronics are Outback Power and MidNite Solar, sold from an outfit in Arizona. Batteries I got locally, Trojan T-105s are popular for local offgrid solar systems, though the larger ones have twice the amp-hours, but have to be shipped in.

        • #4 by Ed on 2019-09-29 - 18:26

          Ain’t it weird how ironmongery costs more than PV panels? Even full price panels wouldn’t be that much more expensive than dumb steel supports!

          Maybe for our next house …

          • #5 by RCPete on 2019-09-30 - 12:41

            The single-panel system for the garage uses stainless Z-clips to connect the aluminum frame of the panel to the painted steel Ell framing. It’s a lot trickier when I’ve got 240 square feet of sail in a windy environment. The Iron Ridge rails are heavy extrusions, and the bits to mount the horizontal pipe to the posts are aluminum castings.

            There are a few other ways to do ground-mounts. I’ve seen 2″ pipe (needed too many uprights for the big system, but it works fine in my portable system), and one outfit did a system that used a bunch of the light 1.125″ tubing. Never seen one with 6 x 6 treated wood posts, but it might be possible.

            Roof mount systems save a bunch of money, but I’m not fond of the penetrations, and it makes firefighting a bit lot more challenging. The emergency cutoff system I have turns off the PV power at the combiner, but the panels are still connected*. The connector-related fires with the Solar City installations are also nervous-making. These were supposed to be standard Amphenol connectors, but it’s either a bad batch, or there was a bad installation onto the panels. I’ve never seen a failure analysis, but SC is supposed to be changing the connectors on a bunch of panels.

            Note: there may be other cutoff systems that disconnect the panels at the interconnect level. It wasn’t necessary for the ground mount.

            • #6 by RCPete on 2019-09-30 - 12:48

              Addendum: Paraphrasing Jerry Pournelle’s line: “Silicon is cheap, while iron is expensive.” IIRC, full priced panels are running $300 for 300W from reputable manufacturers.

            • #7 by Ed on 2019-09-30 - 15:00

              Watching a catastrophic fire at ground level sure beats seeing your shingles get all melty!

              One could add a spec to the contract: “All fires must occur at night.”

  2. #8 by Vedran on 2019-09-30 - 11:05

    Evapo rust is so ridiculously expensive around here I deploy it only for machined surfaces and complicated shapes. I cry when I see Keith Rucker videos where he uses his tub with enough stuff for school kids to swim in :)

    Electrolysis seems like a way to go cheap and still retain precision, it’s just not as convenient as Evapo rust.

    • #9 by Ed on 2019-09-30 - 14:58

      The electrolysis bath blew the crud off our cast-iron skillet, but I didn’t even think of it for the hardware.

      Being a cheapskate, I decanted the used Evapo-Rust into the bottle for the next adventure. It’s supposed to be good for a long time and it’ll surely let me know when it’s all tired out.

      • #10 by Vedran on 2019-10-02 - 10:18

        I reuse it as well, I just call it Eco-awarenes :)
        Long, however, is a relative term here. My 1 liter bottle quit after some 10 sessions, call it 5-10kg of lightly rusted metal. It turned completely black and stop doing anything useful. Other bottle from the same batch is still fine so it’s a usage based deterioration, not a shelf life issue.

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