trimacar

painting car parts with a brush

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OK, this should generate some traffic. On a recent post, someone discussed painting their wheels, and a comment was made about using a brush. A return comment was something like "painting with a brush, now that's lame."

I don't believe it is "lame". In the early days of automotive manufacture, everything was either painted with a brush or, as Ford did fenders, dipped in a vat of paint. An alternate was "daubing" with a rag soaked in paint, evident on a picture I have seen in the Stoddard factory, painting the wood inside seats and backrests.

To me, the method of getting paint on an object is immaterial, it is the result (i.e. how smooth the paint is when dry) that is important.

To accomplish this, one can 1)spray, 2)apply with brush and sand away brush marks (as they did from what, 1895 to 1915?), or 3)apply a high quality paint, with the right consistency, at the right temperature, such that there are no brush marks. I have read an account of wood spoke wheels painted in the sun with Rustoleum, that turned out darn near perfectly, as the heat allowed the paint to flow and dry smooth.

I have used the same technique on a few pieces (mainly mechanical) of the Hupp that I am now restoring, and, if done correctly, you cannot tell it from a spray job. Even if a slight brush mark or two is evident, it is still more original for a 1910 car than a perfect gloss professional paint job. I am sure there is a "doubting Thomas" or two out there now who will laugh at that, but it's true. No offense meant if your name is Thomas!

One example of a product sold that is intended to be brushed, and have smooth results, is the Hirsch engine paint. It has a very aggressive base, however, and will act as paint or primer remover, and is best used over bare metal. Surely I am not the only one who found that out the hard way!

So, how about it, anyone out there using brush techniques in your restoration efforts?

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An old time restorer was looking my 1915 Buick over rather closely at a show last year and said he though it was "Brushed Laquer". It is very hard to tell, but if you look at it in the light just right in several spots on the body, it does appear to have some brush marks.

I have heard that this is the way they were done in the old days, and that it is a "lost art" today.

I helped a friend dismantal a piano built in the 1860's a number of years ago. It had a shine that looked like, if not better than, a clear coat on a modern car. I'm not sure how they done it in 1860, but I was truly impressed.

smile.gif Dandy Dave!

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I agree. With practice, the right paint,brushed can look great, often with no brush marks . I would also add for larger parts the method of roll & tip works very well . I have used this with alkyd enamel,varnish, as well as Awlgrip.

I didn't think it would work too well for the gentleman doing his wheels unless he had a painting partner for the other side . That's how we used to varnish a ships (steering ) wheel .

Ken

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I use brushes quite a bit. They are just another tool in the box and often do a better job than a spray gun. I use them to paint inside doors to get paint down into the corners. I just did the bottom of the Chrysler's top with a brush and rustoleum. Why spray when you could be finished brushing in less time than it would take to mask. Same for inner floors and inside rear 1/4's. Same for engines and trannys. I don't brush when a fine finish is required though.

Let's talk about another dirty little secret. RATTLE CANS. I use them all the time for small things that need a nice quick coat of paint...........Bob

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I've done alot of old furniture for my wife using brushes to apply the urethane or varnish which came out looking like glass. The longer the paint takes to dry, the flatter the finish would be. I also used my share of rattle cans for car parts too. Today you can get about any color or finish in cans.

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My father had an old English painter & decorator working for him back in 1962 and this guy had served his apprenticeship brush painting cars in England for one of the larger coach builders. Probably the best painter I have ever seen. He was a house painter at that time and it was always his job to paint the new house doors, particularly the front one. (because first impessions always count)

My father got him to paint a new plywood speedboat we had built and the finish on it was unbelievable. Painted in enamel and looked a mile deep. His secret, apart from the primer surface being sanded to perfection, was to not thin the paint but to heat it on the stove until it was quite warm and then use a well worn paint brush that was rounded on the end so that he did not get any drag marks. Wish he was around today. He could paint my cars anytime.

David

1923 Metallurgique

1931 Rolls Royce Phantom 2 Continental

1940 Ford Coupe

1947 Mercury Coupe

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Why were you taking apart a piano like that from the 1860's?

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In the early fifies, my father had a maroon Hudson Terraplane sedan that he bought new in 1937. The car badly needed to be painted. Not having money for a professional paint job, he bought some paint called "Nu Enamel - Leaves no Brush Marks". He took his time and brushed in the finish neatly and when finished, it really looked good. After a few months, it looked even better. It also seemed to hold up well, as the car did not rust as much as most cars of that period.

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David i was shown that method of heating the paint back in the sixty's when i was doing my apprenticeship in car painting , the funny thing is my boss was an englishman who also did his time brush painting cars in England .i'll admit it gives a supurb finish , but is a highly dangerous practise, imagine all those highly inflammable fumes around a stove , especially so, back years ago when most if not all the stoves were ether wood or coal fed.

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The Morgan company was still painting some of their cars by brush in the 80s if not later. For some reason they painted the white ones this way even after they bought a spray gun.

A good man with a 3" camel hair brush and old fashioned enamel can do as well as a spray job. It just takes longer.

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I previously posted about my father painting his 1937 Hudson Terraplane with a brush. Prior to that, our family owned the North Side Laundry on Central Avenue in Indianapolis.

Here is a 1932-1934 picture of the fleet of trucks. All were hand-painted with at least 3 coats of while enamel. These were large trucks and always looked spotless, as were washed every morning. Note the little snowman on the side of the trucks. Clean laundry was stored inside the trucks and dirty laundry was put in canvas bags and tied to the top of the trucks. My father is shown to the far left in the picture.

Fred Zwicker

post-48037-14313804796_thumb.jpg

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Why were you taking apart a piano like that from the 1860's? </div></div>

It was breaking my heart but it had to be moved as the new occupants of a house wanted it gone. It first went to an auction house but no one bid on it. I can see why professional piano movers are a thing of the past. I was just a helper and did my duty as asked. frown.gif Dandy Dave!

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I think I read somewhere they used very, very fine bristled brushes for that laquer paint. Makes some sense, the finer the sand paper, the finer the surface. The finer the paint brush hairs, the smoother the application. jim43

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YES! I have had great success with brush using Rustoluem high gloss black to tuch up 41 Lincoln Continental.

Also used their red paint to brush on engines and brake calipurs on Corvette.

I have seen some old timers brush paint an entire large boat and it looked liked it had been sprayed.

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Well, I guess I'm one of the old timers Bruce. I have worked on large yachts painting them with a brush. It was 120' so if you are painting the hull that's 240' when you do both sides . Humor aside, the comment I would like to make is that brushing is making a come back thanks to the EPA. Brushing puts less into the air.

Ken

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Hello everyone,

I'm new to this forum, but just want to add that a number of people are using the roller method with minimal paint each time to do their cars. They put about 5-6 very coats of finish paint on an unsanded, but primed body, and the finishes which I have seen look pretty good. I believe they rub down the car and them wax after they have put 8 coats on the vehicle in total.

If you Google " 50 dollar paint job ", you get this info.

Thanks and good luck.

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I used Interlux Topsider boat paint for my 13 buick. Most of the body is wood, so using boat paint made much more sense. The hard automotive paint used on the first restoration cracked badly from the body flexing over bumps, driveways, etc.

I did spray it on, but I think it would look just as good when applied with a brush. Many of the boat paints are made to be brushed on and have additives to flatten the finish.

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I’m reserecting this old thread to see if anyone knows of a good quality paint (available in U.S.) that would be suitable for brush painting a car.  I’ve tried searching on coach paint, etc. but all I’m able to turn up are references to Rust-Oleum.  Can a catalyzed enamel be brush painted on?  I don’t want to use anything more toxic than that.

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It is expensive to buy but One Shot sign lettering enamel available in good art stores has a variety of colors and if you use a good quality brush that doesn't shed its hair, then the finish will flow out with nearly no signs of brush marks. This is the stuff that sign painters use to letter trucks and pin stripers use to add stripes. Working in a warm area is best, not in direct sunlight. I believe the fellows that restore high wheel bicycles use this to paint the rims of their bicycles as the rims would be difficult to separate from the spokes for painting and then reassembly. I have used it and it works really well if you take your time and do use a quality brush. I have mentioned this product before on another post some time back. It is an enamel and takes some time to cure, you have to have patience.

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Does anyone on here remember that after WWII the craze was " PAINT YOUR CAR WITH A POWDER PUFF" ?

It was a very thin enamel. Most cars were 1930's vintage and pretty shabby so the product had good success!

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I have done some refinishing on a few boats over the years and used petit paints on most.  The lst I did,  I used epifanes paint.  I did end up thinning it quite a bit to do the bottom of the boat on the trailer on a creeper,  but it came out so smooth you would swear it was sprayed,  wet sanded and buffed.  It really does come out that smooth.  No orange peel to worry about this way either.   I used it on my business sign as well and the only complaint would be that without any wax or later polishing and being exposed to 10 hours a day of sun,  it eventually did fade or haze a bit,  but could have been buffed back out easily.   

I would look into this.  It's a marine paint. 

I have always thought of brushing a car and then just wet sanding and buffing out any flaws later,  but bushed paint doesn't always dry as hard as paint that was sprayed.  More or less just so I could see people stand in disbelief that I did it that way. 

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There are English companies that specialize in making auto enamel for brush application. For some reason they kept  brush painting cars after everyone else moved on to spray, there and in Australia.

 

Another good tip is use good quality yacht paint or boat paint. It is made for brush and roller application.

 

Do a search for $50 paint job, this was quite a thing a few years ago. A Canadian Mopar guy started it after he claimed he painted his 69 Charger for $50 bucks using Canadian Tire Tremclad orange paint, a roller and foam brush. The secret is to thin the paint, apply 2 thin coats, wet sand with 800, apply 2 more coats, wet sand with 600, 2 more coats, wet sand with 1000 polish and wax.

 

Many people tried it, the Australians came up with the idea of using marine paint. You could also use ordinary auto enamel as long as it does not have metallic in it. Sanding louses up the metallic effect.

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I have a friend that restored a 1932 Auburn 8-100A boatail speedster. He sandblasted the chassis and painted the entire chassis with 2 coats of satin black Rustoleum . That same car sold a few years ago for over 300K. It looked great!

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The English still do "coach painting" and there are several companies that sell the appropriate paint. As far as I know, it isn't available in the US. I am a long way from painting my Mitchell, but I am seriously considering this as an option as I've no really good place to spray it and it'll be a cold day in h--l that I pay thousands for a paint job.

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