Paint jobs !!

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: Paint jobs !!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By harvey cash on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 01:00 pm:

I see a lot of comments about various paint jobs on cars advertised on Ebay, which started me wondering about spray can paint jobs. I'm not talking about chassis but fenders, running boards, splash aprons and even entire bodies. Does anyone have experience both positive and negative on the subject? Just wondering!! Harv.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth from NC on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 01:12 pm:

The can and paint inside really isn't much different from a compressed air rig.

I think if you do all of the same prep work you would for a car that is getting painted professionally, then prime, paint, and clear coat, you can end up with a great finish that's just as good as one sprayed with a professional setup (or maybe no clear coat depending on what you are going for).

However, usually if you're willing to do the work and really get it right, you're going to have it sprayed professionally or have the equipment yourself.

I've cleaned up some parts and then primed and painted and they look fantastic and have held up nicely.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 02:07 pm:

The prep work makes all the difference. There use to be a guy who showed his spray can paint jobs in Hot Rod magazine years ago.
He did a 40 Ford Coupe with black laquer in spray cans and it came out really nice.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Kopsky, Lytle TX on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 03:48 pm:

Depends on your concept of "nice".

Not many spray can paints, if any, contain UV inhibitors. You might as well be using water colors or crayons. I've seen a few cars painted with a brush and house paint. To the owner, it was a show winner. The scale is not the same for everyone.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Poane on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 03:55 pm:

There has been a lot written about this subject with pictures on past forums in 2014 and 2013, probably earlier too.

If you do not get your answers here, try researching with the key word, 'paint.'


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don Booth@ Bay City, Mi on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 04:10 pm:

I can't imagine going through all the bumping, filling, patching and sanding and priming only to use a rattle can to paint it. It doesn't cost that much to do it right. Single stage paint is a better match for a T than base coat, clear coat. A gallon of single stage will cost around 150.00 and a cheap hvlp sprayer adjusted correctly will produce a fabulous long lasting finish. Just my opinion and should mean nothing to anyone else...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 04:41 pm:

Seems to me, the more you do bondo-skimming and wet-sanding with 3,000-paper and all the other prep-work that yields a slick, mirror finish, the further you get from what the original cars must have looked like when Japan-black was "flowed on" and dripped off. -Don't get me wrong—I like a car to look its best (which is why I went with stained & varnished spokes instead of plain, black paint) and given the choice, I'd also go with the nice finish, but one need realize that's not really the way it was done.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Mazza, north adams ma on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 05:42 pm:

I always wondered on how the first modelt and pre t cars were painted and the quality of the finish. To be honest that wonder be the level of finish thst I would find most appealing, especially if it can be done by a hobbyist in a garage.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 05:51 pm:

The owner of a local 14 T painted his own after seeing what he considered the paint jobs that looked like molded plastic after many coats and buffing on the show 'T's at car shows.
I guess it boils down to how far you want to achieve a perfect finish.

I do have to agree with Bob Coiro about painting one past the point of what a Factory T paint job would have looked like.

There are MANY opinions on that.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don Booth@ Bay City, Mi on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 06:48 pm:

I guess the only way to get a original T with original paint is with a time machine...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Kopsky, Lytle TX on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 07:01 pm:

Some of the opinions are only stymied by the refusal to accept facts. Up to 1926, the finish was better than what's found on todays new cars. That's already been proven by factory and public photos of new cars. It didn't last all that long but coming out of the factory, the depth of reflection (DoR) was superb. And the Ford factory had "finish teams" to insure the final varnish coat was flawless. Except for a few drips along the bottom. :-)



(Message edited by ccwken on February 02, 2015)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 09:28 pm:



This is one of my favorites. I had the chance to rub out a set of NOS splash aprons once, about the same era as the car in the above photo, and they were comparable to this. The idea that high quality finishes were something found only on postwar cars is a myth.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By harvey cash on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 10:43 pm:

Just a guess on my part but I think Henry Ford was interested in only 2 things regarding the paint he used. First he needed a paint that would dry very rapidly and second he needed a paint that would shine leaving the assembly line. I doubt he put much thought into the longevity of the shine, only that it look good in the short term. Most Model Ts up through the mid twenties were bought to use and use hard. The UV protection, metal protecting primers, and hardeners were not part of the business. I may be wrong but I doubt it. Henry ford was a very practical business man and he knew his product had to perform, but I remember reading a quote somewhere where he said that he could give away Model ts and still make money through replacement parts and service. Harv


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Monday, February 02, 2015 - 10:58 pm:

Have you checked the Model T parts book prices? I think they were priced to help sell cars. Modern car parts are priced to make money. My experience is John Deere parts are higher than Lexus parts. I doubt Ford was losing money on Model T parts but he was not making out like a bandit either. The dealer might make money on service, but not Ford. If the dealers mechanics met the repair times in the Model T service manual, he had some very fast mechanics.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - 12:07 am:



This is another favorite. While not a Ford, it proves the point that fine finishes were possible in the era. People hear varnish and brushes and flow painting and they instantly think brush strokes and runs.

The issue of longevity is completely different from capability. Years ago on This Old House they showed a painter using 18th century materials and techniques to paint the front door of a house. It was entirely hand work, rubbed out, and had a lot of depth. The ability to do this is nothing new. Problems with longevity of the finishes was nothing unique to Ford. Era texts on salesmanship of higher end cars encourages the selling of refinish jobs after only a year or two of ownership, so it was a technological limitation of the time. Paints have been constantly evolving through the whole 20th century and still are today.

If someone wants to put a faded and crinkled paint job on their newly restored car and say that's how they looked in the era, it is an issue of interpretation (interpretation in the sense of presentation, not opinion) to say, "here is a typical example of how most cars on the road looked after a few years use", but to try to pass it off as how things looked when they rolled off the line is a bit of an insult to the craftsmanship of the era. Model T's weren't Lincolns, but there are enough photos like those above to prove that when they were new, they were nothing of which to be ashamed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable - Kiama NSW OZ on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - 04:21 am:

From the photo's above one can see that the finish is a lot better than one would imagine.

Off the assembly line to the showroom the Ford had a pretty much perfect gloss. That was the nature of the material used. After the ground color was applied a clear varnish was applied. It flowed out to a flat high gloss finish but the materials used were poor compared to those available now.

In a short time the gloss flattened off especially if exposed to strong sunlight but eventually the main body ended up flat black. The parts which were dipped and baked lasted better such as the fenders and hood.

Its only been in the last 20 -30 years that we have had paints which are far superior to those before them.

When I started painting cars in the 1950's the Body shop did a lot of work repairing smashed vehicles but a good percentage of work was respraying cars because the paint had failed.

How long a cars paint lasted depended on where it was. English cars lasted fared better in their own country because the weather did not get too hot. Bring the car to Australia and it would last months.

Rolls Royces were usually repainted once they landed here before being sold if they were not the owners would be applying for a repaint during the 12 months warranty.

The paint companies in the USA test their new paints in the Florida sunlight. Our paint companies in far north Queensland (hot tropical weather)

Nitro Cellulose lacquers faded and went yellow, Baked enamels lasted better but it was not until the 2 part paints ( paints with a hardener) arrived that any better lasting paint was available especially if someone outside the car maker was to apply it.

Acrylic Lacquer increased the life of the paint but it was the introduction of the Ultra Violet inhibitors into the paint formula that got us to the point today that if you use a good quality automotive finish it is equal to that which the car makers CAN apply (you still see nearly new cars with paint failure)

These paints are expensive but so is labour, why would you spend lots of time rubbing and filling a surface to get a good finish if you used poor products which are going to fail quickly. The paint in spray cans is cheap, thin poor quality (that's why its cheap)

If you want to have your restored vehicle look like it is new, use the top quality products ( which you would expect to be used on your new 2015 vehicle) spend the money to have it done by a professional or take the time to learn how it is done. Its not hard just something you need to practice before attacking.

If anyone painted their Model T this year with the proper automotive paint and then garaged it as one should it will outlast them in this world.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - 07:52 am:

Jim Patrick did an experiment with some pieces of steel and spray paint. I forget what all the different samples were now, but they involved leaving some outdoors and some stored indoors and various things like that. After a few months, as I recall, they were not holding up real well. There is a reason, automotive paint costs so much more than hardware store paint. A few years ago, when antique tractors were all the rage, you could buy all the popular manufacturers colors at your local farm store for not a lot of money, but the tractors painted with those paints faded quickly and turned chalky. A good automotive finish will last for years and years exposed to the elements and decades stored indoors.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By harvey cash on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - 07:57 am:

Some excellent comments here on the value of a professional paint job as well as on using spray cans which brings me back to my original question. Does anyone have first hand experience using a spray can to paint major components or the entire car? I'm just curious. I used an automotive paint with a gun to paint the T components I just finished and it turned out OK but not perfect. Since I only painted the Hood, front fenders and running boards ( all the rest being wood) I wondered if I could have gotten just a good a look with 4 or 5 coats of a good quality spray paint covered with a clear coat. Just wondering. Harv. paint


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Wrenn on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - 08:44 am:

OK, here I go again touting my "favorite small job paint"!! Wouldn't hesitate to use it again on fenders, running boards. If I had a barn-find "driver" that I was willing to experiment with I'd probably try an entire car too! Craig (oh crap, there I go again, forgot the last name--sorry Craig!! :-)) painted an entire car green I do believe and it looks great. JMHO Crap, sorry the can is sideways..it was upright in my file folder!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Landry, Hudson, NH on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - 04:18 pm:

For those of you that know paint, what about the basecoat/clearcoat in rattle cans from places like automotivetouchup.com? This is supposedly the same stuff they sell in larger cans. Is this like "real" automotive paint?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable - Kiama NSW OZ on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - 05:05 pm:

Chris, short answer, NO


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - 08:26 pm:

If you're trying to achieve professional results with spray cans, even if it is a quality special packaged product, it will cost a fortune as compared to buying it by the gallon if you're trying to achieve any appreciable amount of film thickness.

All the major manufacturers sell roll-on primers. Their real intent is for spot repairs on the shop floor when you don't want to tie up the booth for something small. It keeps from making a mess with an overspray cloud in the shop and it's not legal for a business to spray outside of a filtered booth anymore.

If you want to do some heavy priming with quality products, investigate roll-on primers. It should go without saying that you still need to wear an appropriate respirator, preferably fresh air supplied.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ed in California on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - 09:24 pm:

Frankly, its silly to use spray cans for large projects. I know a lot of guys are hesitant to attempt to paint large areas with proper automotive paint, but do not be. I know, because I once was in that camp. Decent automotive urethane paint can be purchased online, and sprayed through cheap harbor freight spray guns with excellent results. Its not that hard. Prep is 90 percent of the paint job. Mix the auto paint and harder in proper ratio, adjust the spray pattern, and go to town.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Thomas on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - 10:23 pm:

First is what it looks like when it is done. Second is how long it will last. Third is the individual you have to satisfy.

With those three variables, I would say that there are several million possible outcomes. So it becomes almost pointless to discuss what is best.

But paint is the one thing everyone sees, and the biggest factor in protecting your investment. Every car is for sale at some time, and in order for you or your heirs to get the biggest return on your investment, you might want to consider protecting it with the best paint you can afford.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Wednesday, February 04, 2015 - 05:10 pm:

Think this fender looks ok?



The body painted in 1985 with Du Pont Centari.

Got the fenders this summer from buddy, these rears were about NOS, some scratches, some very light bubbled rust spots only in brief patches. Sandpapered and then wiped with thinner.

And......scroll down.......

Then.....look what I used to paint both of these rear fenders!






Think they match the old body paint good, and nice shine. Just used a single wet coat.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By doug hauge upstate NY stittville 13469 on Wednesday, February 04, 2015 - 06:10 pm:

I had all the BLACK on my 17 touring powder coated. the body is professionally painted in a spray booth.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By doug hauge upstate NY stittville 13469 on Wednesday, February 04, 2015 - 06:13 pm:

the body is RED the rest of the car is powder coated BLACK


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Floyd Voie - Chehalis, Washington on Wednesday, February 04, 2015 - 06:25 pm:

Tim Wrenn,
It's Craig Anderson from Wisconsin who you were trying to think of. Yes, he had a helper paint the whole car with Valspar, I think.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Wrenn on Wednesday, February 04, 2015 - 07:05 pm:

Thanks Floyd!! Dang I gotta write his name down!!! LOL...I sure hope he doesn't get upset if he sees I can't ever remember his name. Heck, I can't remember what I had for supper last night! :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don Booth@ Bay City, Mi on Thursday, February 05, 2015 - 04:45 am:

Harvey, it is your car do what you want. However, if you decide to use a HVLP gun, don't spend a lot of money for one. Harbor Freight has a cheap (less than 20.00) gun that works just fine. The trick is to open all the fluid adjustments as wide open as possible. Adjust the pressure of your compressor to 65lbs and then adjust the spray pattern. You will get the same results of a gun that costs 20 times more. I use the Harbor Freight guns about 8-10 times and then replace it with a new one. Just my 2 cents on the subject, but the result of setting the gun up this way makes for a very nice finish.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Thursday, February 05, 2015 - 07:38 am:

I've never used an HVLP gun, but I thought the LP in HVLP was Low Pressure. It's been a while, but it seems like I used to use only 45 psi on my conventional spray gun. Does an HVLP gun really use 65 psi?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don Booth@ Bay City, Mi on Thursday, February 05, 2015 - 09:18 am:

Yes Hal, but if you read the thread all the other settings are wide open. I was told to use the guns this way by a fella that is contracted to troubleshoot paint problems for GM and Chrysler. So I tried it out and the difference was incredible. I won't shoot paint any other way from now on... Be aware I'm shooting single stage paint.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By harvey cash on Thursday, February 05, 2015 - 11:13 am:

I probably should have read the instructions more fully on the gun I used. It is a CH siphon-feed spray gun and I'm sure a very inexpensive one. The directions state that the compressor must be at least 7gallon. Mine is only 6 gallon. Perhaps that is why the job didn't turn out all that well ( We don't need no stinking instructions ). I also have to plan my painting days because I have to paint outdoors in the pasture due to lack of paint booth. I'm still not sure what direction I'll go next time, but I have sure enjoyed and benefitted from this thread. Plenty of top quality advise both ways. Harv.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Pat Kelly Montana on Thursday, February 05, 2015 - 03:15 pm:

Don Booth, what's the thinking on the HVLP gun settings? I've painted several tractors and truck frames with mine and I have a T coming up. Just interested. PK


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don Booth@ Bay City, Mi on Thursday, February 05, 2015 - 04:09 pm:

Pat, I had explained to the paint pro that I was having problems with texture. I was getting uneven textures and also uneven thickness when spraying. He then told me to open up the adjustments on the gun and up the pressure to apply more paint. He had painted over 300 show quality cars and said he used the Harbor Freight guns also. They had tested the Harbor Freight gun with the $400-600 range guns and their was no noticeable difference. I found I had very little orange peel after doing it his way also. On the coupe I restored I put 3 coats of single stage allowing it to flash between coats. It was a huge improvement with much much less wet sanding. I also have a home made cooler set up for spraying and several water filters inline...


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