Tips On Spray Painting , You May Need
Rod & Custom’s Pat Ganahl still marvels at the guy who covered his ’40 Ford with a near-professional paint job using nothing more than three cases of spray cans and a well-calloused index finger.
I remember the mother of my old race car partner putting a can of spray paint in a boiling pot of water to milk it for that last squirt. Once immersed, it took off like the space shuttle and left a hole in her ceiling. Obviously, it’s not a good idea to put some real heat to these pressurized containers.
Yet there isn’t a professional painter or rod builder around who doesn’t have a locker full of squirt bombs thanks to today’s gigantic selection of high-quality, extremely versatile, long-lasting, propellant-powered paint.
For instance, a rodder can now obtain paint and rust removers, etching compounds, rust inhibitors, primers, paints, and clear coats. These container-applied materials are available as acrylic lacquers, straight enamels, urethanes, and epoxies. Their finish can be anything from flat and wrinkled to high-gloss metal flakes, candies, and pearls.
Tips On Spray Painting
After all, why not take advantage of a huge painting industry dedicated to manufacturing and supplying the rod enthusiast with an ever-increasing, non-toxic, environment-friendly variety of fast-drying, easy-to-apply, aerosol-activated coatings? So the point of this two-page overview is to provide the reader with an inkling of what’s on the shelves at his or her local automotive paint outlet, parts house, or hardware store, and in what manner these various materials can be applied to add that elusive “creative touch” to an otherwise case of the visual blahs.
Spray cans were designed to be used for small jobs, accents, or detailing–such as shocks, brackets, rocker covers, rearend housings, brake drums, water pumps, cylinder blocks and heads, oil-filter cans, pulleys, and even interior restoration or paint and rust removal.
Automotive paint dealer Stan Betz (Betz Speed & Color) has this rule of forefinger: use enamels on engine blocks because the material remains flexible; use acrylic enamels on exterior or chassis components because they are more durable; use lacquers to touch up interior parts because they are fast drying and can be rubbed out. Shake the can until the ball is loose and the material is fully atomized so the correct color is achieved. Once finished, the can should be inverted and the nozzle cleared for three seconds.
There are also chip-resistant epoxy or urethane-like coatings available in a number of finishes designed to mimic everything from exterior and interior bright work to body color. These are not true two-part paint systems because there is no provision to add a catalytic agent, as is used in real epoxies and urethanes.Nothing looks worse than rusty exhaust manifolds or headers. VHT offers a wide variety of heat-resistant paints (up to 1500 degrees) and colors (grays, blacks, and colors) that visually clean up an exposed exhaust system. The header surface should be sandblasted prior to painting.
Plasti-Kote’s “Super Lacquer” three-element system–featuring a non-sanding gray metal primer, fast-drying hot rod black, and a high-gloss clearcoat–provides an extremely rich finish for areas not subject to high heat or harsh environments. Heat causes lacquer to become brittle and lose its luster.
Why Remove Rust Before Spray Painting
Rust and paint removers are designed to be used on small parts, such as this rocker cover, prior to painting. Final coatings can run the gamut from wrinkle or splatter to stock-type semi-gloss or custom-style high-gloss surfaces. Fish oil-based materials, such as Rust-Oleum, won’t mix with petroleum-based paints, so you must use their entire matched system of primers and paints.
Finned aluminum pans can be “detailed” by masking off everything except the fins, painting the exposed surface with an engine block or contrasting color, then quickly wiping off the top of the fins with a towel lightly soaked with thinner. This will add color to the bottom of the engine.
Metal boxes or containers, such as this voltage regulator shell, can be brought back to life with a flat silver or tool box-like hammer-tone gray paint. Hammer tones are also an attractive alternative to chrome.
There is a current trend in hot rodding of returning to painted steel wheels. Top choices are a gold mag, bodycolor, or a contrasting hue. These add new sparkle to the lower part of a rod.
Splatter and metalflakes are available, too, but should be used sparingly. Krylon’s “Raz-L, Daz-L” webbing spray is strictly for accent, but can be sprayed on shoes, skateboards, and bikes as well. Clearcoating will glue down and richen the webbing.
Chrome-like coatings can be applied to exterior hardware, such as grilles and light bezels, or to interior components, such as knobs and the underside of an armrest. From a short distance, this “plating” spray looks almost real.
Undercoating is another way to detail the inside of a car’s fenderwells, trunk, or fenders; it also protects the metal surface from rust and rock chips. This material acts as a sound deadener as well.
Instead of carrying around a bottle and brush of body touch-up paint, automotive paint dealers, like Betz, will custom-fill a spray can (that already contains a universal reducer and an aerosol compound) with the same paint that went on the car. They will even custom-mix and fill spray cans with catalyzed urethanes and epoxies. However, they must be used within six hours after mixing or the paint will harden inside the can.
Instead of applying semi- or high-gloss paint to cylinder blocks, heads, rearend housings, or brake drums, Krylon’s Cast Magic provides a new, bare cast-iron look to those surfaces. And engines without a lot of high-gloss paint on the surface of the block tend to run cooler.
Spray painting is an easy and cost-effective way to apply accents and detailing to an automobile’s paint job. Tips on spray painting are presented and discussed.