John St John

Brush painting cars

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A discussion on hand painting intrigued me.  I've hand painted in the past an historic truck. I heated the paint pot in a bucket of hot water, kept it in he hot water and it the job came out smooth. Very smooth. I'm about to start on my 1916 Model T speedster.  I'll use the same method. Saves heating on a burner.

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I hand painted my 57 DeSoto with a gallon of black porch and deck enamel and a 4” brush. The pair cost was around $4 and looked ok from 10 feet away. That was 57 years ago and I was 17! 
Have fun

Dave S 

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I have seen a few brush painted cars that were very presentable and a few where they should have bought a new broom first before starting.

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I suggest trying yacht paint which is designed for roller application which is then "tipped" lightly by brush. These paints are formulated to lay flat and, being used on boats, are resistant to the elements. Two I've tried: Epifanes is a simple, one-part enamel, while Alexseal is a 3-part high-tech finish. They only come in pre-mixed (though attractive) colors, and are both pretty pricey. You can find some YouTube videos on the process. Another cheaper paint that lays down quite nicely is regular Rustoleum. 

 

https://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/search_subCategory.do?categoryName=Topside+Paint&category=34&refine=1&page=GRID#/perpage:16

 

https://www.alexseal.com/

 

Phil

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35 minutes ago, SC38DLS said:

I hand painted my 57 DeSoto with a gallon of black porch and deck enamel and a 4” brush. The pair cost was around $4 and looked ok from 10 feet away. That was 57 years ago and I was 17! 
Have fun

Dave S 

 Were you trying to turn it into a Porsche?  😁

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Always leave an obvious brush mark or run so the self-appointed judge can find it quickly.  Then another, out of sight, so you can point out one spot they missed.

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1 hour ago, MochetVelo said:

I suggest trying yacht paint which is designed for roller application which is then "tipped" lightly by brush

I spray painted two of my wood body cars with single stage boat paint purchased at my local marine supply store.  Wood bodies expand and contract with variations in temperature and humidity and they flex more when going over driveway aprons, etc.  Boat paint is made for wood applications and will last much longer than most of the automotive paints that cure much harder and will eventually crack or chip when applied over a more  flexible wood body.  (Those who insist on perfect paint on wood bodied cars usually prepare the wood by applying polymers to stiffen the wood to prevent flexing).  Although the finish is not the same, I believe boat paint gives my cars a more authentic appearance than many of the over-restored collector cars I often see at car shows.  Since I do not frequent car shows & I regularly drive all of my cars, I have no need to use automotive paints on wood, but I do use them on steel fenders and other components.

Wood body Buicks shown below:

 

12 Buick Roadster at the top of The Old Spiral Highway.jpg

13 Buick at Pearson.jpg

Edited by Mark Shaw (see edit history)
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I painted my 1950 Meteor by brush back in the 70's. It looked ok from 10 feet. Should've used a roller.

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There was someone on here within the last year that had a cool early 1920's Hudson (speedster or speedway 6 or something?) who had pointed out that it was correct to brush paint the body. The fenders on the other hand were sprayed nice and shiny black - they called this  "Japanned" back in the day. I wonder how many other cars of that period should have a brushed body to be truly authentic? 

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Brush painting was standard practice especially on expensive custom built cars up to the twenties. The English Morgans were brush painted, at least some colors up into the 1980s.

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Twenty or so years ago, I roller painted the fiberglass hull of a 20 ft. Shamrock Pilot House motor boat with Awlgrip, which is a two part polyester urethane paint.  Luckily, there was another bloke in the boat yard painting his boat, and he  knew what he was doing with Awlgrip.  I had planned on rolling the paint on and "brush tipping" (smoothing) the paint, which was the common non-spray application technique at the time, but he showed me how to "roller tip" the paint.  We used what were called "cigar rollers" which were of a fairly high density foam and were approximately 1 inch diameter and 4 inches long.  It was exacting work, but once I got the hang of it, it went on quite well and I was pleased with the results.  Of course one must do the usual "prep" stuff between coats such as wet sanding etc., but it did result in  a finish that, even upon close inspection, looked like a spray job.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, in high school, I had a friend who had a '47 Ford sedan that we used to paint with whatever paint we could scrounge ( even though the statute of limitations has run, no details of the "scrounging" missions will be available on this forum) using rags, mops, or even (gasp) brushes.  The reason why we did this is unclear all these 55 years later, but it had something to do with football season and pep rallies.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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If you have a friend helping, make sure they're on the same page !

Silver Linings-Clark.jpg

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5 hours ago, 8E45E said:

Start here--------->  https://www.craftmasterpaints.co.uk/

 

They still make a line of cellulose paint that is designed to be applied by brush.

 

Craig

 

Unfortunately, where it concerns people on our side of the pond, they won't ship to us.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Ed Luddy said:

I painted my 1950 Meteor by brush back in the 70's. It looked ok from 10 feet. Should've used a roller.

 

There was something circulating online about this a couple of years ago. People were taking Rustoleum non-spray paint that you could buy in gallon or quart cans and adding just the right amount of thinner so that it could be applied in thin layers (with a small roller) then letting the paint dry sufficiently between coats to lightly wet sand before the next coat was applied. Hot Rod magazine even had an article on it, and some guy in a foreign country made a youtube video with pretty impressive results, though he only did a relatively small component (fender or something) rather than a whole car. The paint had to be Rustoleum, for some reason, though I think you could use those paint pads instead of rollers if you wanted.

 

I think the good final product was a result of a lot of labor intensive effort and attention to detail. I'm not sure most of us would have the patience to get those kind of results, but it did show that there was more than one way to skin a cat...even in painting. Probably can't get show quality results, though, and if, in fact, you can only use Rustoleum, that would severely limit the color options for automotive applications. I doubt that metallic colors are available, but I could be wrong.

 

I should mention that there were also other people online who did this...and got really crappy results. Came down to the effort you put into it.

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)
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My dad always painted wheels, frames, and other components that required a strong paint covering by brush. He was meticulous about it, and had some older brushes which he guarded carefully, and cleaned meticulously. He told me when I was a young boy watching that the quality of the brushes was critical. I don't recall ever noticing brush marks in his work...but this was well over 50 years ago, and I was not yet driving age. 

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In the 1970s I used Dupont straight enamel and a bristle brush to paint several cars that turned out decent. Dupont even offered a black automotive enamel that had it written on the can that it was suitable for brushing.

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49 minutes ago, lump said:

My dad always painted wheels, frames, and other components that required a strong paint covering by brush. He was meticulous about it, and had some older brushes which he guarded carefully, and cleaned meticulously. He told me when I was a young boy watching that the quality of the brushes was critical. I don't recall ever noticing brush marks in his work...but this was well over 50 years ago, and I was not yet driving age. 

I still paint steel wheels with a brush.  Classic or daily driver doesn’t matter.  Don’t do car shows and at 60 mph at midnight who’s gonna know.

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I have seen quite a few restoration paint jobs that were sprayed on, but appeared to have a brush finish!

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As Rusty has correctly pointed out, brush painting was the standard practice right into the 20s. Fenders, if they were black, we sometimes dipped but the spray painting we are all familiar with is a 20s invention. Technically, if we are going to use the word "restoration" literally, no brass car should be sprayed. The real problem is that the paint isn't made any more except in the UK although the suggestion that yacht paint is appropriate is especially welcome. I'd never thought of that but it makes a lot of sense. I am years from painting my car but I have no place where I could spray it even if I wanted to so I've been looking into the brush painting techniques used in the brass era. Since I travel to the UK just about every year I was even thinking of bringing some back with me.

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My painter said:

 

"Excuse me. I don't think there's anything wrong with the action of that brush."

 

Ray.thumb.jpg.e39205c7924273502d8197f6c258b89a.jpg

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POR15 & KBS paints self level, easy to get a very smooth finish with a brush.

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The guy who started the Rustoleum paint fad was a Canadian. He had a restored 1969 Charger that was ready to go except for the paint job when he ran out of money. With a choice between painting it himself or waiting a year or two to drive the car while he saved up $5000 for a pro paint job, he decided to do it himself for $50.

 

This was not the first time he did this, he had already painted a couple of VWs this way. He said it was the only way he could paint a car at home in his suburban garage, spray painting was out of the question.

 

He used Tremclad enamel (Canadian Rustoleum) thinned down and applied with one of those small white rollers then tipped with a foam brush to remove bubbles. Two thin coats, wet sand with 600 paper, two more coats, wet sand with 800, two more coats, wet sand with 1000 then polish and wax.

 

When he published this on a Mopar restoration forum it stirred up quite a storm of controversy. But others tried it and it worked. It was the Australians who came up with the idea of using yacht enamel.

 

The harrowing details are probably still on the internet if you feel like doing a search.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Used Rustolium to roller paint the old plow truck, the paint went on smooth, but had more of a sheen than a shine. The plow blade got sprayed with thinned down Rustolium it shined good, dried quick and still looked good come spring.

 

We learned from the truck and when we painted the figure 8 car we mixed in some thick kind of slimy no brush mark stuff for oil base paint in with the Rustolium and slapped it on with a couple of 4" brushes. Honestly don't remember what the stuff was called, but when it dried to the touch it shined like a new dime and looked like a spray job. Did take a couple of months to fully harden and we left a lot of paint on the cars that rubbed us in the corners.

 

 

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19 hours ago, capngrog said:

 

 

At the other end of the spectrum, in high school, I had a friend who had a '47 Ford sedan that we used to paint with whatever paint we could scrounge .  The reason why we did this is unclear all these 55 years later, but it had something to do with football season and pep rallies.

 

Cheers,

Grog

 

 A friend of mine would re primmer his Corvette a different color every time he outran the cops!😲

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