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To have commercially painted or not?

Durant Mike

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This has probably been covered before, but I'll ask for everyone's opinion again. I'm restoring my Durant, and planning on showing it in competition at AACA meets etc. I'm trying to decide to have the body, fenders etc sent out and have done commercially at a restoration shop, if I can find a good one, or doing the painting myself. I will do the frame and running gear myself. I have never painted an entire car before, and I understand that most of the work is in the prep work. Can an amateur, if he gets some of the learning videos and books, do a good quality job that would be able to pass the judges view OK. I'd be painting in a two car garage. I'd like to do as much work on the car as I can without farming things out, not only to cut costs but to have the experience.

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I would find a friend that needs a car painted and offer to do it at cost so you can get an idea of your skills and will know if you want to do your car. you will also get needed practice. even when I want to paint my car I find something else to paint just for the refresher practice. the 1936 Chevy I painted outdoors in the driveway about 30 years ago and the truck was painted in my garage. neither was polished but the truck had a few spots I did have to colorsand due to my errors but came out fine. these were both done with single stage catalized paint.



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Guest palosfv3

There are so many variables that enter into a question like yours, that it is almost next to impossible to answer. Your skills , attention to detail ,your expectations are undefined to those of us on the forum. The best suggestion that can be made is to try repairing and refinishing a large sample panel to see if you can accomplish what you desire. Materials and professional time are costly and many "Amatures " have produced show winning quality finishes at home. For some the learning curve is short and for others its a never ending nightmare. What type of time frame and budget are you trying to stay within? This is one of the first questions you need to answer to start setting the direction for yourself.


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Guest simplyconnected

Let's start with the basics:

Do you have a good spray booth, with proper filtering/air flow? (Dirt is your most bitter enemy.)

Can you match or exceed the quality of spray guns that professionals use?

I know you don't paint every day, but professionals do. THAT is hard to beat. There is a learning curve, and technique developed, with every spray painter. The rythem and swipe they do for various parts (like under and between doors) looks very easy, but so does Michael Jordan - shooting hoops. (Now, you try it.)

Even so, you can paint a car, panel by panel. It won't look as good because all the conditions are mis-matched, and it may look like patchwork. Eg; It's not exactly the same paint, the humidity and temp may be different, the parts may not be hung at the same angle when sprayed (especially for all metalflake), etc. When you paint the whole car, all those conditions match and the whole car looks beautiful when finished.

I am not a painter, but I spray primer. If you can get paint at a decent price, buy it, or hire a professional to paint your car in his booth. He can get a better discount on paint and materials, and can do it as a 'side' job. He may paint your car right after doing another, keeping his costs down.

IMHO, you may do it yourself, but I seriously doubt you will save any money or get a better job. You want the guy who has sprayed lots of cars. He will probably guarantee his work, too.

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Painting ain't brain surgery. Your first efforts most likely won't be so good but the learning curve is steep and jobs improve fast. It helps a LOT if you can find an experianced painter to help with advise and information.

One of the most common questions I'm asked at shows is if I painted the car myself. It's seen as the ultimate test of restoration skill and is a source of pride if you can say "yes I did". Go for it..........Bob

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  • 3 weeks later...

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Can an amateur, if he gets some of the learning videos and books, do a good quality job that would be able to pass the judges view OK</div></div> <span style="font-weight: bold">YES YOU CAN!!!</span> If you don't like how it turns out, do it over. At $50-$75 an hour shop rates, you can afford to try it over many times. Besides, you care about your car. A painter only cares about your money. Between First Junior awards, Senior awards, First Grand National, Senior Grand National awards, Preservation Awards, and Repeat Preservation Awards, we've won over 30 awards through AACA, been nominated for an award, and we've done 4 restorations in our barn.

<span style="font-weight: bold">YES YOU CAN!!!</span> If we can do it, you can do it.

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You don't necessarily need a high priced restoration shop but you do need a good painter.

Try to find someone you can work with and do as much work yourself as you can. By that I mean bodywork sanding and prep work.

On a car that old it will probably be best to paint it in pieces and assemble it afterward. The body would be painted on the frame then the fenders running boards and hood bolted on.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">On a car that old it will probably be best to paint it in pieces and assemble it afterward. The body would be painted on the frame then the fenders running boards and hood bolted on.</div></div>yes I agree to some point. Painting one piece at a time is the best way to do it.

As for the body, I'd paint it off the frame so that you don't get overspray on the frame.

Another thing not mentioned is don't mix brands of primers and paints. In simpler terms, don't prime the body with PPG primer and paint the car with Dupont paint.

Another valuable tool is don't go through an entire gallon of paint and then go with another one. Before you completely use up a gallon of paint, mix part of it with the next gallon. If you don't, they might be a little off and it will be noticible. This is especially the case with Red paint.

Good luck with your project.

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When I painted my first car in a small garage, I got as drunk as a skunk on the fumes.

I have since been painting all my life and now due to having to spend all my time in the office, I have my painter do the deed. He is much better at it, as paints have changed so much, I don't even know how to mix it any more, let alone the new techniques to spray them.

Do the prep. yourself and let a good painter spend a couple of hours laying down a good finish.

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Do the prep yourself and work with the person/shop that will be spraying the paint to be sure you are using the right materials. Compatibility is critical. Many commercial shops won't allow customers to do the prep simply because they can't control the results--if your work fails, how do they warranty theirs? You may have to find an individual painter willing to work with you and/or paint the car after hours.

I'm also going to respectfully disagree with the others about painting the car in pieces. It is far more preferable to paint the car as fully assembled as you can get it, or at least all the pieces at the same time using the same batch(es) of paint. If you go the disassembly route, make sure that the parts are hanging the same way they will be hanging on the car--don't paint fenders lying flat on their backs, hang them vertically as they would be on the car. If you don't want to do a full assembly, at least mock-up the body parts in their positions on the car temporarily.

Metallics in particular are VERY picky about both of these. If the paint you're using has any metallic in it at all, paint the car assembled otherwise it just won't match. Even the best painters can have difficulties getting it right by doing it in stages. Best of all, when you paint it assembled, you don't have to worry about any additional batches matching. Most guns will hold enough to lay down a coat on everything, so you don't have to worry about one part not matching another. If you do run out and have to change batches in the middle, do it somewhere other than on a body seam or part line. Blend them in the middle of a panel so the transition isn't abrupt as it would be on a seam. They eye has a harder time picking that out than a fender and door that don't match.

I recently saw a '41 Packard Darrin that had obviously been painted in pieces. The front fenders were a distinctly different shade of red than the rest of the car. This was at a concours (the Glenmoor Gathering, which is coming up this weekend by the way) and was clearly a high-end restoration. If the pros at that level have problems, why take the chance?

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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Do it yourself. Learn a new resoration skill and you'll enjoy the finished product more. When it's done, you'll get these

3 questions in this order:

What year is it? Easy to answer

What's it worth? Usually not an answered question.

Who restored it? This is where the checkbook restorations

are exposed. It's real nice to be able to say "I Did"

is priceless.

Don't be afraid to ask questions or even go watch a really

good painter at work. I've always found that craftsmen are

willing to share their knowledge with interested parties.

If you can paint the chassis and components, you can paint eh body piece by piece.

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