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Old 07-24-2011, 11:29 PM   #1
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Default Need guidance from the kettle restoration experts

I've read up on some threads about restoring older Weber kettles. I picked this 22.5" up today and I'm wondering where to start with it. Some of you may have seen it already, because I got it from Beerbecue, another member here (thanks again for the great deal, Randy!). He said that when he posted it, folks estimated it to be around 30 years old. I took some pics when I got it home. It's really sturdy still, in pretty good shape. Obviously, I want to clean out the inside of the kettle and lid. What would be best to use on these? What would work best for cleaning up the charcoal grate and grill? I think I've got a good handle on how to spruce up the exterior stuff and I don't think I'll really need to do any touch-up painting. So to those of you who have cleaned up and currently cook on older kettles, what would you do to this one if it was yours?

the inside of the lid:

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Old 07-25-2011, 12:05 AM   #2
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I just got done "restoring" an old kettle as well. Actually, I used it for parts on my UDS. Anyway, I didn't do any research as to the proper methods (maybe I should have ). The kettle I got was in worse shape than yours but appears to be of a similar age (I can't find a code or date on it, or even the name Weber for that matter, but it has the same features as yours and is undoubtedly a Weber). The cooking grate had significant rust on it. I ended up using 100 grit sand paper I had laying around to take the rust off. Then I followed that up with steel wool. I used this technique on the inside and outside of the lid as well. The porcelain paint was not harmed by the sand paper. In fact, I had to use a metal scraper to get some of the filth off the inside of the kettle lid. I only kept the grate and lid for mine, but I did end up putting a fresh coat of high heat paint on the outside of the lid where the porcelain was chipped and rusting.
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:46 AM   #3
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i clean the inside with oven cleaner and a sos pad. i clean the outer part with an sos pad and then polish with 0000 steel wool. you can paint the lower grate black. the charcoal grate looks ok, no need to do anything. the upper grate might need to be tossed. if you want you can get a wire wheel and clean up the grate. just get a flip up grate. i don't paint the bowls. i just treat the rust with pam. i like the grills to carry their caracture or as i call them, their "war wounds".
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:47 AM   #4
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Wow, if 100 grit sandpaper didn't hurt it, the porcelain must be pretty tough!
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:17 AM   #5
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:06 AM   #6
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I am certainly not an expert on restoring Weber kettles but am in the process of restoring an old red one now. I am doing some paint touchup, replacing grates, and buying a new leg kit from Weber. I started to try to clean the legs but for $23 for legs, wheels, and all, I figured I would just replace them. I drilled all the rivets out for the daisy wheel vent on top and the 3 in the bottom. I'm cleaning those up and will replace with stainless machine screws and jam nuts. My wooden handle was broken and I will probably just replace it. If you search Weber restoration there is a lot of good info here from people who have done a lot of these. Good luck and we look forward to seeing the final product.
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:11 AM   #7
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Did someone say kettle restoration?
As far as the inside of the dome and bowl, I have found if you soak them in hot/warm water with some Dawn dish soap, it really does a great job of loosening up the gunk. Be careful with those wood handles, they are riveted on and you don't want to soak them.

Once you have soaked the parts, I use a cheap 5-in-1 paint tool to scrape the crud out. The wide blade has been bent a little to contour with the bowl. After its scraped its just a matter of scrubbing everything with a ScothBrite pad or SOS pads. Both work real well to clean up the vets too.

Sand the handle and treat it with teak oil finish and mostly you should be set.

That is an exceptional kettle for it's age. I have two of that vinatge and yours is in much better condition. That's a heck of a find.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:48 AM   #8
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You're welcome Eddie, I'm glad it went to a good home. Let me know how you liked that homebrew.
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:41 PM   #9
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Will s.o.s. pads damage the porcelain finish on the inside? I'll definitely try milder methods first, but have a feeling I'll need to get a little more aggressive.
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:21 PM   #10
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I use a metal putty knife on the inside with no problem. I've used a worse grill than that for years, just wirebrush it, oil it, and start cooking.
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