When I wasn't around last night, dad carefully painted the spindles without getting any paint on the bushings. While it looks very nice I doubt the T's were delivered this way and I thought I better check to see if he should paint them black with the next coat.
As the whole axle when assembled was 'dipped' in black enamel, during the hight of mass production, the bushings would likely have been painted too.
That said, the brass rings of the exposed bushings look nice to me. And many award winning brass cars have the bushings left un-painted, and don't seem to get point deductions in judging.
Award winning early '09
I would leave them shiny
I've always left my bushing natural.
In book Ford Methods and the Ford Shops, there is an entire chapter on the manufacture of the front axle. Painting is not discussed in detail; however, based on a photograph, the axles were put on a stand and it appears they were painted by hand and not dipped (page 194).
The rear axle assembly was dipped. This is discussed later in the book (page 309).
Thanks everyone. That actually answers several questions I had. I think we'll leave them shiny.
Sorry Larry, but the bushings should be painted. People leave them natural because it it pretty, and some people even smooth out the axle with a grinder and then fill the pits....all wrong!
Here is a photo of the assembly line worker painting the front axle from "Ford Methods and Ford Shops". Note that the front axle assembly is complete and painted and baked, and then painted and baked a second time. While the worker "could" have painted around the spindle bushing, leaving a shiney busing, it is improbable at best.
Hope this helps,
Paint them the way that makes you happy. Ford did that when he built it. Now that you are building it you can do the same.
Ted, the chassis has been done for a week. We're elbow deep into the engine/trans now. Dad (my day-shift worker since he retired) was instructed to paint the bushings black, and did as he was told.