Old farm wagons have become something of a tradition for many homeowners when it comes to rustic yard decorations, but they can also be used for special events like birthday parties, on movie sets, for play productions and other recreational activities. Restoring an old farm wagon is a task that you can do on your own over an extended period of time, or it is something you can work on with family and friends. Depending on the condition of the wagon, the project could take a few hours, or it could span several weeks or months.
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Inspect the condition of the wood prior to making any purchases when it comes to old farm wagons. The wood is the most critical part of older wagons, as many of the metal pieces can be fabricated out of sheet metal or other materials. Rotten wood cannot be replaced, and an old farm wagon with most of the wood rotted out is probably not going to be worth your time unless personal preference dictates otherwise.
Inspect the axles, undercarriage, wheel rims, brakes and any other metal pieces if you intend on using the wagon for anything other than a display. The metal needs to be in good condition to work safely. Replace any rusted metal and weld on new metal, or completely replace the parts, if necessary.
Replace any wooden planks that are rotted out. Loosen the metal bands holding the planks of wood together (the tools required for this will depend on the style of wagon, but most often wrenches and sockets will be needed). Slide out the old wood to replace it with new wood.
Strip off any old paint by using a wire brush and paint thinner, taking it back down to the original wood before repainting with any new colour. Use an angle grinder or a wire brush to prep any metal parts for paint, removing all of the old paint or enamel first. Grease any working parts if you plan on using the wagon for practical purposes.
Tips and warnings
- A full restoration project requires a fully stocked garage of tools as well as access to specialised knowledge in order to use any tools that may be required during the restoration process. While simple fixes can be done by anyone with a few hand tools, a full restoration project is reserved for those with the tools and knowledge on how to use them. Always wear safety gear when working with power tools.
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