Watch This Mid-1900s Cast Iron Golfer Get Some Much Needed TLC

Give an old iron golfer ornament a new lease of life with this simple restoration project.
Christopher McFadden

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If you like to paint miniatures or have a penchant for restoring old ornaments, then this restoration project should be right up your street. Follow this simple guide for restoring an old iron, circa the mid-1900s, golfer ornament back its former glory. 

This project is fairly straightforward, so if you are new to this sort of thing, this is the perfect project to sink your teeth into. 

diy vintage golfer restore complete
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

As you can imagine, like any project of this nature, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started. 

Materials and gear needed

With all your parts and tools in hand, it is time to get on with this quick little restoration project. 

Step 1: Make repairs and remove old paint

The first step is to give the piece to be restored a good visual once over. Check, for example, what repairs (if any) will be needed to the piece. 

diy vintage golfer restore original
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

In this case, the vintage iron golfer ornament is in pretty good condition with the exception of its paintwork. 

So, to begin this restoration project, the first step is to remove the old paint. This is a fairly straightforward process.

But, before we do that, you also need to decide if you want the new piece to replicate the old one, or have an entirely new paint job. If the former, make a note (or take pictures) of the colors of the original piece for future reference. 

Once you've decided on your course of action, we can begin to strip off the old paintwork.

Cover the entire piece in paint remover/stripper, and let the product do its magic. The old paint should start to bubble and form a sort of sludge as the remover gets to work on the old paint. 

Work the stripper into the nooks and crannies of the piece using an old paintbrush. Don't forget to remove the paint from the front, rear, and bottom of the piece, as needed. 

diy vintage golfer remove paint
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

An important word of warning here, however. Older paints sometimes contain lead (which is highly toxic). Ensure you wear gloves and a mask and always wash your hands before eating. It may be more advisable to simply give the piece a new coat of paint over the original instead. 

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Once the paint remover/stripper has done its work (about 20 minutes or so), scrub off the old paint using a firmer brush, like a toothbrush. The paint should now look like a kind of sludge and should scrap off fairly easily. 

diy vintage golfer restore remove paint
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

Keep scrubbing off the old paint until you expose the original metal underneath. Depending on the amount of paint added to the original piece, you may need to add some more paint remover/stripper and repeat the process over and over until it is paint-free.

In some circumstances, despite all your efforts, some stubborn paint will remain on the piece. In this case, use mechanical polishing tools to physically remove the remaining paint from the piece. 

diy vintage golfer restore polish
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

You can use something like a Dremel or bench rotary polishing to make short work of this task. Keep working the old ornament until the bare metal is finally exposed on all faces. 

Step 2: Prepare the piece for repainting

With the original paintwork now removed, we can now begin to prepare the piece for its new lick of paint. First, rub the entire piece using pure acetone.

Use an old, clean, rag (or paintbrush) to do this and ensure your work the acetone into all the crevices of the piece. 

diy vintage golfer rub in acetone
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

Let the acetone dry and then we can move on to actually repainting the piece. 

Step 3: Prime the vintage golfer ornament

With the old paint now removed, and the piece prepared for repainting, we can start the actual process of restoring the piece. The first step here, however, is to add a base coat or primer to all surfaces of the vintage iron golfer. 

You can do this by hand or use a spraypaint can -- whichever is easier for you. As this piece will be pretty colorful when finished, undercoat it using a light color, like white. 

diy vintage golfer prime
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

When priming the model, make sure you give the entire piece an even and complete covering. Leave the primer to completely dry before moving on to the next phase.

Step 3: Repaint the vintage iron golfer

With the primer completely dry, we can now move on to actually repainting the piece. Depending on your vision for the new golfer paint scheme, start with the cap of the golfer. 

In this case, the restorer has chosen blue color. Water down the paint slightly, and then paint the entire cap in your chosen color. 

diy vintage golfer restore cap
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

Apply the paint with even coverage, and ensure you paint the particular part in full. For this piece, the golfer's boots will also be painted with the matching blue color, so paint those too. 

If you have thinned down the paint slightly, it should flow nice and easily over the surface of the model. If not, then thin it down a little more. Also, ensure you let each layer of paint dry before beginning on the next one -- they can, and usually will, run into each other and mix at the boundaries. 

With that complete, you can move on to another section of the golfer. Let's do his face.

Choose an appropriate color, and apply the paint in the same fashion as the cap and boots. 

diy vintage golfer restore face
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

Since the face is obviously exposed skin, paint the golfer's other exposed skin areas (like its hands) with the same color. 

With that complete. choose a color for the golfer's jersey, and paint that part of the model using the same technique as the other parts. In this case, the restorer has chosen red, but you can paint it however you'd like.

diy restore vintage golfer paint jersey
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

For the junction or border between different patches of color, cut the paint using a fine detail brush (and a steady hand). Mistakes will happen, so have some tissue paper or cotton bud on standby to clean up the mess. 

With that complete, we can move on to some other details of the piece. In this case, the base has some vegetation details. Paint these whatever color you'd like, but green would probably be a good choice. 

diy restore vintage golfer grass
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

Paint it, and the grass base as needed. With that complete, we can move on to the actual golf club.

As with other parts, you can paint whatever color you want, but in this case, the restorer has chosen black. Paint the entire length of the club with your color of choice. 

diy vintage golfer paint club
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

Since black is a very strong color (usually), be careful when applying it to the model as it can and will run, into other colors (thereby making them darker). Be careful and don't rush it. 

Paint other parts of the golfer that you want to be black too. In this case, the shoes will be painted black. 

Step 4: Finish the new paint job and complete the restoration

With some of the main features of the vintage golfer now repainted, you can continue to paint the other details of the piece. In this case, the golfer's pants are still yet to be painted. 

Choose any color you want, or, as in this case, mix up a tone to your liking. Apply the paint as you have done for all other sections to the golfer prior to this step. 

diy vintage golfer pants
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

The restorer has opted for a cream or biscuit color in this case. With that complete, we can move on to the other remaining parts of the vintage golfer piece. 

In this case, the golf ball and the golfer's hair are still yet to be painted. The restorer has opted, fairly rightly, to keep the golf ball a pure white color. 

Depending on the coverage of your primer, you may need to apply another layer of pure white to the ball. Do so as you have for the other parts of the piece. 

diy vintage golfer restore new paint
Source: Operation Restoration/YouTube

The golfer's hair has also been kept a white color. If needed, apply another layer of white to that part of the model too. 

 With that complete, the main details of the vintage iron golfer ornament are now complete. You can choose to also paint the rear and base of the piece, or leave it pure white. 

The choice, as always, is completely up to you. 

With that, however, your restoration project of an old iron vintage golfer is now complete. Now all that remains, is to find somewhere to display your livingly restored piece. 

Or, alternatively, you give it as a nice present to a golf-maniac friend or family member. 

If you enjoyed this quick and easy restoration project, you may enjoy this guide on turning an old nut into a beautiful ring.  

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