Refinishing a Stinky Cigar Ashtray

Drew Estate

If you’re like me, you have several Stinky Cigar ashtrays around your house.  I love them.  They are deep, can hold a lot of cigar butts and ash, and are well built.  I bought one of the new more decorative versions last year that came out recently.  I choose the antique hammered copper because, well, it looked really cool.  After several months of using it, the inside started to rust really badly.  It formed some thick rusty crust all around the inside of the ashtray, especially near the bottom of the bowl.  This ashtray stays in my man cave so it isn’t exposed to the elements, so I can only guess the acidity of the ash rusted it out.  I had to do something.  Now, I’m a nerd and I’m not a very good handy man.  I can build you a high availability supercomputing cluster, but I couldn’t build you a picnic table.  Nevertheless, I figured I would give it a shot.  If I screwed it up, I would just throw it away and buy a new one…..the original stainless steel version.  Here is what you will need:

  • 1 Coarse sanding sponge
  • 1 Medium sanding sponge
  • Dremel tool
  • Wire brush disc attachment for Dremel tool
  • Blue paint tape
  • Hammered Copper Rustoleum spray paint
  • Wide sheet of paper (newspaper would do the trick)

Here is what mine looked like before I started to work on it.  As you can see, it was quite rusty.

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I figured the best way to tackle this was to go at it with some sandpaper and a wire brush.  So off I went to Lowe’s to buy two sanding sponges, which are basically sandpaper wrapped around some heavy foam.  I got both coarse and medium grit sanding sponges because I figured it would be easiest with those since I had so much curved area to sand.

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It was a huge task.  I sanded and sanded, but not all the rust would come out because of the dents in the ashtray to mimic the “hammered” look.  That’s when I remembered my Dremel tool.  I have a wire brush disc tool for it that would be perfect for this.  I attached the cable extention to my dremel tool and then put on the wire brush disc.  The wire brush disc did the trick as it got in all the small indentions and areas under the cigar holders and around the bolt head holding on the bottle of the ashtray.

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After about 20-30 minutes, I had the inside shining bright again and ready for a coating of paint.  While I was at Lowe’s, I picked up a can of Rustoleum “Hammered Copper” Exterior spray paint which was perfect for the inside of the ashtray.  I wiped the dust and broken off wire bristles from the inside of the ashtray and readied it for painting.  I took some blue painters tape, taped up all the cigar holders so they wouldn’t get paint on them and laid down some thick paper to protect my drive way.

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After a few shots of the spray paint, it looked really good.  I did 2 more coats to make sure I covered it well and I was really pleased with the outcome.

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If you have one of these ashtrays and its rusting on you like mine was, don’t give up on it.  Try to refinish it like I did.  I think it looks better than it did before and I think it’s more wear resistant as well.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.