Restoration of a Hurricane Lantern
What course of action is required for the restoration of storm lamps depends on the condition of the storm lamp and the preference of the restorer.
My course of action is always to keep all my lamps as original as possible. If the storm lamp still has the original paint, it is best to keep it intact. Any rust can be removed using one of the methods below. Even when a storm lamp only has a quarter of the original paint left, I prefer to keep it intact and not do too much to the storm lamp.
Treating rust on hurricane lamps and lanterns
Many old lanterns have rusted out because they have been used intensively or hung in the garden in the rain. The rust can be removed. Depending on how rusty the lantern is, here are some methods.
Treatment when lightly rusted
Remove the rust with fine steel wool, 00 or 000 (available at the better hardware stores). I regularly dip steel wool in Commandant Cleaner 4 for a good result. A brass spark plug brush can also help remove light rust. Afterward, do treat the storm lamp to prevent new rust from forming.
Treatment when heavily rusted
Use an anti-rust agent to remove the rust, for example, HG anti-rust or Rustyco. Depending on the chosen product, this can be applied with a brush or submerged. Afterward, the storm lamp is still post-treat with steel wool and provides an anti-rust coating.
Rust treatment with citric acid
Besides the above methods, it is also possible to use citric acid to remove rust. Citric acid is available as a concentrate; this can be diluted with water to submerge a rusty lamp.
Treating rust when there is still original paint on it
When the original color is on, I recommend leaving it as much as possible and only removing any rust. If the paint is not original, it can be removed with a paint stripper. I have good experiences with Rust-Oleum Green; brush it in, let it soak in for 10 minutes and then go over it with steel wool; repeat if necessary.
Heavy rust treatment with caustic soda
Another way to remove paint is with caustic soda, but this is dangerous, so please don't try this one when you don't have the knowledge to do this safely.
Then oil the lamp to ensure that the lantern does not rust again. When the lantern is used for collectors or decorative purposes, the Caprotech RX5 spray can provide an excellent anti-rust coating. For outdoor applications, it is recommended to brush it with eg, Owatrol.