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Restoration of License Plate


kingrudy
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I am restoring a license plate and I have hit a road block. The plate is a North Carolina plate from 1940. The plate was in fair condition to start with and so I soaked it in Evapo Rust and that removed the light surface rust and to my surprise what little paint that was left on the plate. I lightly sanded it with 320 wet sandpaper and applied the first coat of primer and that revealed a couple of small blemishes. More wet sanding and another two coats of primer (Rustoleum oil based auto primer) and this started to look pretty good at this point, so I used two coats of silver Rustoleum. Now I want to use a brush to do the numbers and letters, but I can't find an oil based Maroon paint for the lettering. I have tried ebay, Hobby Lobby and Sherwin Williams. Does anyone know where I can obtain this paint? Below is what I started with. 

The first pic is the plate purchased off ebay. I found out that you really don't know what you have until it is cleaned up and primed. Second pic is the plate in Evapo-Rust for 24 hours, next pic is out of the Evapo-Rust (All rust gone and most of paint) Sand some spots with 320 wet. Next three coats of Rustoleum oil based auto primer (slight dent shows up between 4 and 6 and at the top at screw holes, but I'm OK with that. Next to last and last pic are Rustoleum Silver in three coats. That's all for now, I ordered the Maroon One shot and that shoule come this week. 

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Edited by kingrudy (see edit history)
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Your best bet is OneShot enamel, 1SHOT, goes on great, self levels, takes a long time to dry but that allows you to fix mistakes…lettering a plate takes patience, originally it was done with a pad machine which gave great results…

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This product is available on ebay and I was going to go this route, but my question is can you use a regular run of the mill paint thinner, or do you have to use the one shot reducer?

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8 hours ago, nickelroadster said:

Even though it is more expensive you may be avoiding other problems by using the thinner that is matched to the paint.

That's correct, but if you're brush painting, you won't need to thin the paint much if at all.  It does go on a little heavy, but if you're careful that allows you to get a pretty good line on the letters and numbers...have fun!

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I have wondered if a rubber roller (brayer) would work for painting the tops of license plate letters using 1-Shot paint. In principle, many states do not allow repainting of license plates, but who is going to enforce this?

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When I lived in California they allowed plates to be used (YOM) that were in good condition or restored as long as the numbers on the plate were not in use. North Carolina allows you to use any plate as long as you have a NC plate in the car. 

Edited by kingrudy (see edit history)
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I have a plan work on the lettering as soon as the Maroon arrives. I believe that I have seen every post on YouTube regarding the restoration of a license plate. Some are helpful and many show you what not to waste your money on. 

Edited by kingrudy (see edit history)
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Does the Directions of the One-Shot still say use Kerosene? That's all I used back in the 80's. I used it to brush on pinstripes. 

 

One-Shot is available at most real art stores.😉

 

Hmm, SDS of the two One Shot specific reducers show Naptha as the main ingredient. SDS of Kerosene shows Kerosine as the main (100%) ingredient. So, did PPG change the formula for One Shot, or just want to sell a reducer? I'd try a small capful of color with some Kerosene in it. You can tell right away if things are not reducing correctly. As I recall, it just took drops of Kerosene to thin to striping consistency.

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)
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Use what the manufacturer calls for. That said I have found that any solvent I have used works. I have used standard paint thinner rather than reducer on most enamels (on machinery). Laquer thinner with catalized enamel when cold weather spraying. I for one like to experiment. I painted my front door on the house by mistake, mixing an unlabeled pint of enamel and a pint of lacquer, thinning with enamel reducer. What I ended up with was a very pleasing matte finish that has lasted over 10 years without a blemish. Unless you are very careful don't spray lacquer over enamel. I have done it, but you need to be ready for disaster if not done right. Go figure. 

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)
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Pin Stripers use or used to use one shot for pin stripes on cars, wheels, monograms on doors etc. I taught art for over 35 years, had available to me all kinds of assorted paints from water base to lacquer to enamel. I use one shot and am using it now to restore a vintage toy. The biggest "mistake" is using a cheap bristol brush- then you blame the paint because you didn't have a correct flat ( not pointy - round) brush. Something about 3/8 or 1/2 inch work best. No need to thin. It flattens/flows  out and you do not see the brush hair lines. Clean up your brush with a decent thinner. One shot is not cheap! But it is very tough/ durable  and long lasting - ALLOW A LOT OF TIME TO SET/DRY. Double what it says on the can, do not press your finger in it to see if it is dry - you will leave a finger print! !!!!!!  Better to let it dry in a place that does not see a lot of activity so dust then floats around and lands in tacky paint.

Sorry if this seems like a lecture but remember I was a teacher! Be a good lad or lassy and listen to your teacher! ( or you will have to start over, there is no quick fix if you goof up)  Experiment on a scrap piece to see how well the paint flows ( best practice piece is a piece of masonite, primed , sanded. then use the one shot on it as the surface will be as about as close to what you want and will paint.

You don't need a huge can of paint. Buy smallest or medium size then if you need more buy more. Go to a quality art store for ART SUPPLIES not some children's craft store - they will not have it. This is not a kids paint, ( fumes etc) so it will not be in the 'craft project of the week' section.

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2 hours ago, Walt G said:

but it is very tough/ durable  and long lasting - ALLOW A LOT OF TIME TO SET/DRY. Double what it says on the can

I agree with this, it's great paint but takes a long time to dry.  Impatience is not a virtue with 1SHOT....

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11 hours ago, JFranklin said:

Use what the manufacturer calls for.

I agree. Back in the late 80s the One Shot can said to use Kerosene. That's why I wondered what PPG changed when they bought them in 2012.

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On 6/11/2022 at 12:59 AM, Frank DuVal said:

Does the Directions of the One-Shot still say use Kerosene? That's all I used back in the 80's. I used it to brush on pinstripes. 

 

One-Shot is available at most real art stores.😉

 

Hmm, SDS of the two One Shot specific reducers show Naptha as the main ingredient. SDS of Kerosene shows Kerosine as the main (100%) ingredient. So, did PPG change the formula for One Shot, or just want to sell a reducer? I'd try a small capful of color with some Kerosene in it. You can tell right away if things are not reducing correctly. As I recall, it just took drops of Kerosene to thin to striping consistency.

No mention of what to use for the reducer on the label, but warning label of quite thorough. I will try the kerosene with a very small amount. Monday will be a trip to the art store for brushes.  

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20 hours ago, Walt G said:

Pin Stripers use or used to use one shot for pin stripes on cars, wheels, monograms on doors etc. I taught art for over 35 years, had available to me all kinds of assorted paints from water base to lacquer to enamel. I use one shot and am using it now to restore a vintage toy. The biggest "mistake" is using a cheap bristol brush- then you blame the paint because you didn't have a correct flat ( not pointy - round) brush. Something about 3/8 or 1/2 inch work best. No need to thin. It flattens/flows  out and you do not see the brush hair lines. Clean up your brush with a decent thinner. One shot is not cheap! But it is very tough/ durable  and long lasting - ALLOW A LOT OF TIME TO SET/DRY. Double what it says on the can, do not press your finger in it to see if it is dry - you will leave a finger print! !!!!!!  Better to let it dry in a place that does not see a lot of activity so dust then floats around and lands in tacky paint.

Sorry if this seems like a lecture but remember I was a teacher! Be a good lad or lassy and listen to your teacher! ( or you will have to start over, there is no quick fix if you goof up)  Experiment on a scrap piece to see how well the paint flows ( best practice piece is a piece of masonite, primed , sanded. then use the one shot on it as the surface will be as about as close to what you want and will paint.

You don't need a huge can of paint. Buy smallest or medium size then if you need more buy more. Go to a quality art store for ART SUPPLIES not some children's craft store - they will not have it. This is not a kids paint, ( fumes etc) so it will not be in the 'craft project of the week' section.

Thanks for the information, I will try it on another (scrap) plate and stay away from the reducer to begin with. 

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Mike

Like anything what you paint will come out great if the surface you are working on is perfect, just like of you were restoring a fender on a car. It is all in the preparation. It will take a while to get used to how much paint to put on to flow correctly and see the brush hair marks disappear and not put to much on and then it "puddles" and will crack in the center of that puddle when totally dry. Yes, experiment .

I am always happy to share how or what with most everyone - be it something like this, sung a spray gun to paint lacquer, share a period image or photo etc. we all are a bunch of guys and gals who just take great satisfaction in history and preservation and the eye appeal of fine objects.

Walt

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