Painting the Track

Before I keep adding to the carriage and saw head, I want to get the track painted.  The carriage has to be removed from the track so that the rails on the track frame can be removed to be painted.  The carriage will be able to be painted while it is on the track and I will paint the carriage after I’m further along with its construction.


I set up a temporary track behind the mill which will allow me to push the carriage directly off of the track and onto the temporary track.  I used the pieces of 3×3.25″ angle that I’ve been using throughout the project for temporary bracing.  I elevated the angle on some blocking and I added a pair of jack stands to help stabilize the track as the carriage rolls onto it.


I started pushing the carriage onto the temporary track but stopped after the front wheels were on the track.  What I noticed was the weight of the carriage was causing the angle to roll outward.  I was afraid that if I kept going, the tracks would rotate out from beneath the carriage. I stopped and decided to tack the cross brace where I had previously had it clamped.  I also added a second short brace and I also drove a piece of angle into the ground and tacked it to the rail.


I also clamped a 2×6 between the rails to further keep them from rolling.  I felt much more comfortable with this setup so I pushed the carriage the rest of the way onto the temporary track.


Before moving onto the painting, I wanted to add some bracing to the track frame.  I’m planning to use the center of each end rail as an anchor to winch logs forward and backward on the bed.  For the bracing I used more 2x6x.25″ rectangular tubing that I picked up from the offcuts area at the steel yard.  I found two different lengths so I oriented them differently at the front and back.  The front one are shorter so I ran the tube from close to the center of the front rail to within a few inches of the weld on the second rail.  The braces on the back side run from close to the center directly to the side rail.  These braces should help to distribute the load and keep the end rails from flexing under load.


Next I can start on the pain prep.  I went over all of the welds with a wire wheel and then went over all of the flat surfaces with a cup brush.  This removed any loose rust and dirt.  I also used a leaf blower to get rid of any dirt beneath the mill so as I am cleaning it, more dirt didn’t end up back on the steel.


The steel next gets a degreasing wash.  This degreaser needed to be diluted by at least 1:1 with warm water.  I mixed 1 gallon of degreaser which ended up being plenty more than I needed.  I covered all of the surfaces and let the degreaser soak for a few minutes before washing it off.


The next prep is a metal prep wash.  The paint I’m using is specifically meant to be used over seasoned (rusty) metal.  This etching wash leaves a residue which the paint will stick better to.  The wash gets sprayed on and the steel need to be kept wet with the wash for around a half hour.  The wash can then be rinsed off with water.


The steel needs to be completely dry before it can be painted.  To speed this along, I used a leaf blower to dry most of the surface moisture.


Finally time for paint!  The paint I am using chemically bonds to the steel and creates a barrier so it will not rust.  It is intended for rusty metal but can also be used on new metal with the proper preparation.  Allowing the steel to rust worked out in my favor.  I used a brush to apply paint to the weld areas and a 6″ roller to apply paint to the rest of the frame.


The manufacture indicates that at least two coats of the paint need to be applied, so I applied a second coat.


The paint is fairly durable but doesn’t have any UV resistance so I applied a top coat.  The top coat I used is extremely durable and UV resistant.  It is a two part paint that gets mixed 3:1.


The painted track can be reinstalled onto the frame with 3/8″ bolts with a washer and a lock washer.  I’m leaving these loose so the carriage will pull the rails into alignment.


The blocking supporting the temporary track had compressed or sunk about a quarter inch so the track had to be jacked up and raised before the carriage could be pushed onto the track.


With the carriage back on the real track, the temporary track can be disassembled.  I cut through the welds as much as I could and used s sledge hammer to break the pieces apart.


And now the carriage rolls easier than it did before.  Maybe the paint provides a smoother surface for the wheels to ride on?  Doesn’t really matter I guess.  I’m just excited to keep moving on this project!

Products Used

Metal Circ saw:
Lincoln 225 Welder:

Triton Super Jaws:

Degreasing wash:
Metal prep wash:
POR15 Top Coat:

See All Parts of this Series


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5 Responses

  1. Matt, after you put on your coat and then finished the first coat of paint, when you said “now I can go ahead and apply the second coat, the same way as the first one” I was hoping it would cut to a scene with you wearing two coats, that would have been hilarious! Perhaps you can use that gag in a future outdoor painting situation……Anyway, it’s really coming together and looking really awesome, so keep up the good work!

  2. Greetings from Seattle Matt,

    Nice way to impress the old man, build something big and heavy. Keep up the good work, like everyone else I’m waiting to what happens next before the snow starts flying.

    All the best, Doug Lidz

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