Yesterday I spent several more hours on the Shaw-Walker. I finished removing as much of the rust as I could and did the final rounds of sanding with the 60 grit and 100 grit sandpaper. I vacuumed away a ton of dust and then gave it a good washing down and did a final sponging of it with some acetone. Then I gave five of the sides a good coat of Rust-o-leum anti-rust primer and sat it to dry for 24 hours.
I got out all the drawers and cleaned and vacuumed them out. Then I removed all the hardware including the filing cabinet rods and file stops, the handles, the name plate frames, and the metal shield on the back of the drawer front that prevents files from coming into contact with the drawer handle bolts. It appears that none of the bolts have ever been removed, so it took some WD-40 and some elbow grease to remove them.
I’ll end up sanding, priming, and painting only the front and edges of each of the drawers, though one or two of the bottom drawers will need some rehabilitation work due to rusting.
Finally I spent a part of the early evening removing the heavy tarnish from the metal fittings. A quick magnet test indicates that they’re all ferrous but they appear to be brass plated. So I mixed up a batch of vinegar, salt, and flour paste (~6:1:4) to scrub off the grime and tarnish. After a quick test on one to confirm the results, I spent some serious scrubbing and polishing to get one set of handle, frame, and rod cleaned up. I finished them off with a polishing cloth and the results aren’t half bad, particularly considering their original condition.
It took some serious work this morning, but I’ve managed to clean off most of the rest of the tarnish on the remaining handles, frames, and filing rods. They look quite nice, though still show some signs of tarnish and patina. I finally gave up on the backs of the handles as they’re so heavily tarnished I’m not sure it’ll ever come off.