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What Paint to use on a 1931 Honey Comb Radiator

Mark Gregory

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Black barbecue paint is tough, durable and disperses heat well. You can get spray cans at any hardware store. Give your radiator 2 or 3 thin wet coats. The first coat should barely color, you want to build up coats to complete coverage to make sure the paint is on evenly. Stop as soon as you have complete coverage, if it looks thin or patchy give it one more thin coat.

A coat of paint will not make much difference. Black, semi gloss is said to be the best at dispersing heat but, if your rad is of adequate size, you could paint it gloss white and it would still cool.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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If I was doing the job I would hang the radiator by a wire or chain, in such a way that it could not come loose. Then spray on one thin coat while turning the radiator this way and that, and spraying from different angles.

Let it dry for a few minutes then give it another coat, trying to hit the thin areas and coming at it from different angles.

Let it dry for a few more minutes, if it looks good go in the house and leave it to dry for a few hours. If it looks sketchy or patchy, give it one more thin coat. Do not look at it too close, step back and get the overall effect. When it looks good, stop painting and leave it to dry, don't touch it until the next day or until you are sure it is completely dry.

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Eastwood sells a radiator paint, very thin. Regular enamel will block heat flow. I'm not sure about barbeque paint, it's surely not the same application as a radiator. You want to make sure that there's heat transfer from the water in the radiator to the metal of the radiator then to the air flowing through the radiator. Any thick enamel coating will block that heat transfer.

I know it's called a "radiator", but automobile radiators dissipate the majority of heat by convection to the air flowing through it, NOT through radiation of heat.

In the '60's my radiator man gave me black paint that was thinned with gasoline, and a light coat sprayed on radiator.

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