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painting a chassis with a brush?


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A couple of years ago, I sent my Indy car chassis to a local paint shop, asked them to paint it Ford tractor light gray, suggested they get the oil-base enamel paint at Tractor Supply.  They did a great job as far as the quality fo the finish, but the color came out too green, for some reason. At the time, I didn’t have the heart to tell them to paint it again, thought I would just live with the color.

 

But, now the car is almost finished, except for painting the body.  I’ve picked a standard GM paint color but will rattle-can paint a shaped piece of aluminum so that we can have a standard to go by.  However, the greenish chassis grates on me more and more. In addition, all the assembly/disassembly I’ve done since the chassis was painted resulted in chips and scratches.  I’m unwilling to completely disassemble the car again to get it down to the bare chassis.  The body does come off easily, but that leaves the black steering box mount, spring hangers, etc.  I’m thinking seriously about buying a couple of high quality natural bristle brushes, masking the other parts, and hand-painting the chassis in the garage. 

 

Anyone have experience doing something like this?  Useful advice?  I know the enamel without hardener will take a couple of days to dry.   I don’t mind painting over the bolt heads. 

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Gary, I've had great luck brush painting the Tractor Supply brand with a brush... but, this is a bit more mess, but since you'll not need much paint to cover the already painted part, have you thought about using a little "air brush" and minimal masking ?

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ask about the "self-leveling" character of the paint, its tendency to not show brush marks.  Not all enamels are the same in this.  The Bill Hirsch engine enamels were good.  It's a chassis - it would not have been wet sanded and buffed.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe they were originally brush painted at the factory.  That includes the bodies, which were left to dry for a couple of weeks, and then hand-rubbed to a gloss finish.

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Do you plan on rubbing it out after the brush paint job. If you think about it, brush painting is just one of a couple of ways to apply paint. So if you plan on color sanding and buffing what's the difference. Give it a try and let us know how you make out. Beautiful Indy car!

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Do some test panels first to get the finish you want.Thin the enamel with penetrol(bought at any big box stores)will help paint flow and lay down.For faster drying,use Japan drier.Good luck and be patient.T.Nugent union painter 35 years.

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1919 Ballot that was brush painted the day before the INDY 500. Perfect restoration required another brush paint job. Not a lot of brush painted cars make it to the Pebble Beach podium. 

 

Bob

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I painted this tractor with TSC tractor paint. It was a warm day so I didn't use hardener and that was a big mistake. The paint was sprayed and came out very glossy. 6 months later it had gone from glossy to totally flat and no amount of buffing or polish will do anything more than temporarily bring back some of the shine. I was later told that this happened because I didn't use hardener as suggested in the instructions. I believe the paint was made for TSC by Valspar. Ford blue and Ford gray.  You might want to check the instructions on the paint before making a decision. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Oil type enamels like Rustoleum and Valspar when sprayed and thinned with things like acetone ,which (is) recomemned on some lables, and is thinned more then the recommended 10% maximum  ( because you or somebody else says it sprays and lays down better,probably because your using the wrong gun tip and pressure) will kill the gloss of the paint and it also results in too thin a film thickness in the end.

Top that mistake  off by spraying out in the sun..

 

If a item is stored 24/7 outside in direct sun and is painted with oil enamel ,the best of them will dull within a few years..but usually can and be brought back little.

 

Edited by Flivverking (see edit history)
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I always finish a brush job with one last jab with the end of the bristles. It makes an obvious imperfection and will help get the geezers past the fault finding quickly.

 

Imagine, writing that on church day.

 

Bernie

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Posted (edited)

Gary.......you scratch built the entire car........do as you please. One in a million people can claim that accomplishment. I have been at this for five decades and have never built a car from scratch, pounded out a body, and fabricated almost 100 percent of the chassis. Let’s face it........race cars even if built and finished as nice as a new car look like crap after a few weeks at the track. I’ll let you in on a secret. Paint it as good as you can with a brush, experiment a bit to figure out what is best. Then paint the chassis........AND NEVER WASH OR WIPE IT DOWN........it will look fine. Track grime and dust will blend everything in and you won’t notice a thing. Spend extra time and effort where you see the main sections of the frame, otherwise just go at it. Winning is the name of the game at the track...........shiny stuff seldom won races. And it certainly wasn’t shiny and clean for long. Best, Ed.

 

PS- nothing is sexier than a pre war car that is showing wear from street or track use. Every ding, scratch, and leak is a testament to driving it........there is NO higher praise. Recently we had a visitor who said it was a shame our JN Dusey was so nice and that it wasn’t driven, I let him know it was a 50 year old paint job, and the car did almost 1000 miles a few weeks before on a tour. Yes, you can drive them and show them also.....it’s just more work. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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I suggest using yacht paint available from boating supply houses such as West Marine and Jamestown Distributors. These paints are designed for brush/roller application and produce a very nice finish. The suggested application is to use a small roller then lightly tip it over with a fine brush. Since they are designed for yachts, they are weatherproof and come in numerous classy tints. There are a few YouTube videos on application.

 

Phil

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If you have successfully brush painted the woodwork in a house with oil based paint you can paint the frame with a brush. I have done thousands of lineal feet of trim over the years with a brush and oil based paint. Once you get the technique down it's easy.

 

Use a good quality paint, don't over thin it, use the hardener recommended, and you will be fine.

 

PLEASE NOTE: The following process is what works for me. There are other methods that people swear by; this is mine.

 

I found the best method for me is:

Sand all surfaces with 220 paper. 

Corners, tight areas, etc get cut with red scotch Brite.

Sweep the floor. Blow off all surfaces in the area.

Blow it off. Wipe it with a clean shop cloth. Blow it off again. Tack it. 

Use a spray bottle to mist the air and lightly spray all surfaces. This brings the dust down to the ground.

Wet the floor.

Wipe again with a clean shop cloth and tack again.

I like to load up my brush and get the paint over a manageable area, working quickly to get it spread evenly

I will brush back and forth in several directions to get an even film thickness.

I will then brush it out in one direction, then tip off by lightly touching the brush to the surface and, using the weight of the brush only moving in one direction, not back and forth.

This step leaves minimal brush strokes.

Continue from the wet edge, tipping the fresh paint into the recent paint.

 

The paint should flow out to an almost sprayed appearance.

 

Again, just what I do.

 

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9 hours ago, edinmass said:

Track grime and dust will blend everything in and you won’t notice a thing.

 

So I was getting out '67 Buick Electra spiffed up to sell back around 1983 before I had the garage built at home. Working on the east side of the house I was under the back where I had just repaired a spot of body mount rust. I looked across the bottom of the car and there was my friend Mike. "Why are you throwing dirt on that fresh paint?" he asked.

 

You know, that car came up for sale a few years later and I almost bought it. I have my limits. He wanted less than he paid me....... but it was more than I paid the first time I bought it. Something about that didn't sit right with me.

 

Just remember, always strive for perfection- but never take yourself too seriously about it.

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