200A and 202 reproduction
frames back
in stock.

First I want to thank everyone for the welcome I've received here on the forum...I'm fairly new to working with these old Coleman lanterns, and really do appreciate all the assistance I've received in the short time I've been a part of the group.

I have several lanterns I want to renovate that are from the late 20s through the mid 30s (QL / 327 / 427)...I've been studying posts here on the forum and have learned quite a bit, but I'm still puzzled about how to finish the lantern frames and similar metal parts.  I plan to use an Evaporust dip to take care of the rust on the frame, but what should I do to finish the frame so that it will not quickly oxidize again with the heat of use?  Surely I need some protection on the metal.

I've thought about using one of the plating kits from Caswell Plating...maybe their "Zinc Nickel" or "Copy Cad & Zinc" solution...I think that would look much like the plating that Coleman applied to the steel frames at the factory...has anybody tried this?

One thing I want to avoid is an "over restoration"...I'm a bit concerned if I go the plating route I might fall in the over-restoration trap.

Interested to see how others have successfully addressed this dilemma...

1-Lanterns on workbench....jpg 
Cliff Ward
Cary, North Carolina
ICCC #1955
Wanted: USFS lanterns with embossed fount...complete lantern or just the fount.
those look good already IMHO you will find some are in better shape than others , those are the NICER ones . in a citric dipper , then oiled steel wool n rub till it wont get any better .
[DrSteve2]    Steve , Keeper of the Light !!!
Ridge Runner

After de-rusting things like frames, bails and other steel bits I coat all the bare parts liberally with CLP. It’s a cleaner, lubricant, preservative that’s typically found with gun-cleaning supplies. I’ll let it sit on the parts for a bit, sometimes a few minutes, sometimes days, then wipe off any excess with a cloth rag.

Some folks use a spray satin clear (high heat rated?) to seal their parts. It could be stripped down the road if need be. I haven’t tried that approach yet, though.

— L.J.
Looking for 10/2015 & 1/2020 B-Day Lanterns
I love the smell of naphtha in the morning!
"Ain’t no need to watch where I’m goin’; just need to know where I’ve been" -Tow Mater

On my frames with very little plating left I usually go through my derusting process and then use VHT clear to keep from rusting again. If they have the majority of the plating still intact I just derust and spot coat it (usually the bottom of 220/228 frames) yours look pretty good to me
Toby Garner
ICCC #1939
Hot Diggity
My process is pretty close to the others.  Citric dip, steel wool and a wipe with Ballistol.  I live on the Coast, a terrible environment for bare metal, but I have had no issues while using Ballistol.
Chuck, 3/61, ICCC 1689
Milspec Syndicate #510
Coleman 275 Appreciation Syndicate #0510
Coleman Quick Lite Crew #12
BernzOmatic Appreciation Club #510
Coleman Slant Saver #510
Frank Appreciation Syndicate Member #2
Tinker, Toy maker, Trash picker, Wickie, Lamp loon
Your best bet is to dry parts off as quickly as possible after rinsing whatever chemical you use (Evaporust, citric acid) to prevent flash rust.  After that, to keep 'em preserved, store in a climate controlled environment, meaning indoors, and not out in a shed.  I'm a purist myself and wouldn't paint or even apply clear coat unless it's something I care little about.  As a result, I wouldn't purchase something repainted or clear coated, unless I thought I could remove it without further damage.

Steve is right, they already look good.


Flammable liquids, open flame, what could go wrong?

There is a very fine line between hobby and mental illness. - Dave Barry
All good advice above, Cliff; sometimes you'll find that you need to try a few different things and see what works best for you.
ICCC #1012
logoballistol logo 1a.png

I am liking the natural steel look of those old frames nowadays.

I de-rust then hit them with clear engine enamel and the top rim with VHT Clear. I'm not good at re-oiling each of them once per year. One and done if I can.
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24
Eye-SEE-C-C Member #1333 -- MilSpecOps #003
"Michigan - from the Ojibwa word “meicigama,” meaning “great water.”
A big thank you to everyone that responded...good to see a general consensus of technique for cleaning and maintaining....obvious variations among folks, but the general trend helps tell me what direction to go.  I'll stay away from considering any re-plating of metalwork for the time being and use a clean and maintain approach.
Cliff Ward
Cary, North Carolina
ICCC #1955
Wanted: USFS lanterns with embossed fount...complete lantern or just the fount.
Welcome to the forum, Cliff! Nice collection of oldies you have there!

I don't have any of my lanterns of that era with me at the shop, but as I recall, the earliest were nickel-plate over steel, later were tin--electroplate or hot-dip--and then galvanized (zinc plated).

First step, if you want to try plating (and I recommend it!) is to determine what the original plating was. Nickel will still take a pretty good shine (where present) and has a slightly warm luster to it. Tin electroplating will be very flat gray, but will take a shine, just not a hard one like nickel. Hot-dipped tin will show some runs and drips. Zinc galvanizing will react with a mild acid, like citric, phos or vinegar and foam--test in a spot that can't be seen.

If you do want to try your hand at plating, buy a large tub of elbow grease. The trick to nice-looking electroplating is to have the metal at a high polish before plating, and polishing between plating steps. Lots of work, but worth it.

I just took a look at those Caswell's plating kits. I've had pretty good results with nickel, tin and copper plating. I use a computer power supply and chemicals I either make up myself or buy from Amazon. I get my anodes from Azon, too. I have well less than $200 invested in all my plating gear and supplies.

Here's my biggest project so far, a 500 stove that I nickel-plated everything but the fount, as it was good already:


Feel free to ask if you have questions!
It's priceless until someone puts a price on it.
Walk a mile in a man's shoes before you criticize him--then you're a mile away, and he has no shoes.
Texan's last words: "Y'all--hold my beer--I wanta' try sumptin'."
Timm--Middle of nowhere, near the end of the road, Oregon.

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