It's a wee crappy here in Stoughton. Just thinking about paint. Have no clue why, just am!
The saying, "black is black" back in the day really wasn't so and definitely isn't today. In trying to in vision what a black era car looked like when it rolls out of the plant could be impossible. The dipping of fenders, hoods, running boards, and whatever else then baking yields one result. While painting with a brush, the front end, yields another. Then, dipping the completed rear end yet another result. Don't forget flowing the bodies, see a pattern?
In order to preform these tasks different processes had taken place. Japan paints using asphalt (baked-very dark colored paints) verses rosin based (air-dried-deep, gloss black color) it's all black, but, must look different.
Yes, I know the most paints I am referring to are varnishes. And, did you know the t's were clear coated? I did not. The last coat of varnish was clear, no pigment. I think this was funny because I am now looking at it in a different way. However, how do you compare it to modern paints? Do you just shoot the entire car PPG's DCC9000 or do you use base/clear coat and again, shoot the entire car? What?
Since the original paints must have looked different. What would they look like today? Was the body shiner than the wheels which were shiner than the frame and/or front end? I do not know!
I have not come across what shade of black varnish the frame was in relation to the front and rear end and body.
If some one knows the difference it could help because a flattening agent PPG's One Choice SU4985 exists and dependent on the differences in the various parts one can achieve a gloss variation.
Contrast is the way to go!
The paint which was flowed on at the factory actually resulted in a shiny finish. The body's paint did not hold its luster for very long for it was not baked on as was the paint on the hood and fenders.
Your post is good John and you are correct. Unfortunately, I've never seen precise documentation pertaining to what you ask. As far as making modern paints appear as they did then, you can to an extent, but a modern urethane clear coat won't appear as a varnish based clear. They are a different animal. There are ways to make coatings close to the original finish, though.
To really determine a lot of what you're asking, you'd need either excellent original or NOS parts to do paint analysis and go from there. This post comes up from time-to-time and I applaud his efforts:
One of the most noticeable things I see on restored cars is the detail is lost on parts that didn't have a high finish. A lot of stamped brackets and such were just stamped and dipped and you could still see the draw marks. Either they erode away over time or heavy handed body work obliterates them. Other heavy parts would have shown mill scale. Trying to duplicate the methods they used will get you close, but it's not as easy as dipping your part in modern paint and expecting the same result, as the paint they used for dipping was tailored to the act of dipping. Even then, the paint formulas changed over time as they continued to try and speed up the process, as paint dry times hampered productivity.
I agree though, contrast is the way to go. On a lot of things it may just take an educated guess unless you have access to a lot of NOS parts. High quality era photos of new cars (like those shown above) are excellent resources, too.
At some point, I donít know when, I understand that Ford used nitrocellulose based paints. It dries very fast and has excellent adhesion. Clear nitrocellulose is still used for conserving some historic artifacts. It is still available ... I use it all the time as itís the basis of all glass negatives up to around 1880 and for tintype and ambrotype processes.
Nitro for automotive use appeared in the mid-20's with DuPont's creation of Duco and my understanding is that using it on the second generation Model A's is why they could offer so many body color options. I have long wondered if the "Improved" Model T's used it as well since they again started offering colors other than black the last couple of years.
Interesting thread by Gary White. He took originality, as far as paints go, fairly far. He did what most would not have. I would like to have seen if he or someone else actually painted their T with Gary's process. However, with that being said, I have no access to vehicles with their original paint. I would like to see ones which were restored properly regarding modern paint. I am concern with, as stated, contrast, as these paints/varnishes must have been different in many ways.
Out of all the knowledge one must acquire in restoring one of these vehicles, modern paint systems, I am most familiar with. As stated, I do not want to shoot the entire T with shiny black paint. At this point, basically looking for frame and front/rear end colors, ie: shades of black.
You know 50 years from now when someone gets a hold of my vehicle they too will wonder how I did this.
Wouldn't it be funny if my T had the original paint. This would be a hoot! I'll have to have a club member come take a look because I have not got a clue.
My contrast is black satin Rustoleum for the engine and other chassis parts, and glossy appliance epoxy enamel for wheels and body parts. I tried a gloss finish on an engine and despised it, so I went back to satin. Much better. The glossy appliance enamel I've been using was Ace, but they're switching over to Krylon. We'll see how that goes.
Satin engine & chassis
Glossy wheels (with a little road dust).
That was an interesting thread. Unfortunately he never got back to report on the effect the sun. Somehow I doubt that the finish would hold up over time. Not saying that it would break down, just that the shine would fade quickly. That seems to be the prevailing opinion as to what happened to the factory finish. How much different is the look of this from a single stage modern paint?
It's different. The color shift can't be replicated with single stage (that I have seen). I had some black-era NOS aprons that I rubbed out. Ancient finish and it came up well. Exposure is what kills it. The way we use our cars today, you would probably get long life out of it, particularly with better prep materials underneath.
Yes, Gary did not get back to the sun issue. Doesn't matter, maybe you paint using his test process and put a modern clear coat, PPG's 2021, over his process. This would avoid the sun exposure because the outer layer of the clear is the UV protection.
Agreed, durability of his process and in addition the compatibility of the clear could possibly be an issue.
Yes sir, the early paint/varnishes had their problems. There must be a way with modern paints to replicate a reasonable original looking paint job even though Ford used 30 different black paints at any one particular time. However, some combination of the old and new could be meld together. Just don't know how since I never seen a black era Ford roll off the assembly line. If I could, just have a paint representative use one of those cameras which would give you a paint formula.
Walter. I guess you are right that we care for our cars a lot better than they were originally. Also I guess that when the finish got dull it could just be rubbed out.
The common misunderstanding about those spectophotometers (PPG calls theirs a Prophet) is that if you take a snapshot of the paint, it will cough out a custom formula. All a Prophet does is take the information and match it against the closest existing color in their database. Even then there are a number of things that affect its accuracy.
The problem with what you're proposing is you have to take into account how light interacts with the coating. Even if you take a single color from PPG and they have a formula for it in base-clear and acrylic urethane, when you do a sprayout and put them side-by-side, they will look different. If you want to accurately replicate the look of the paints that were used, you need to use the paints that were used. There is more to all of this stuff than just "color".
I think we are spending way to much time trying to match black. I own a body shop and know first hand that there are a lot of shades of black. If someone did come up with the right shade of black, half of the people here would say it was wrong.
You are right Walter. Get me some of that original color and I will use it to paint my T. As for now all that is available to our community is this technology for good or bad. Still, the problem is obtaining original usable color to match.
As stated, in original post, "black is black" back in the day really wasn't so and definitely isn't today. Ford used 30 different blacks and they all potentially were different.
You will never duplicate the past regarding paints. All you can do is a best guess scenario using technology regardless who would say it is wrong.
Dean, also in the original thread, I asked regarding shooting the entire vehicle with (doesn't matter if it is single stage or base coat clear coat) but, I said DCC9000. Basically, because the entire vehicle is black, not a look I would prefer. You as the owner of a body shop would cringe, I presume. Not knowing the particulars of your body shop repairing modern vehicles through insurance, a restoration shop or a combination of the two. When you restore a vehicle, if you do, you most likely contrast the paint scheme, just like Steve's pictures suggest and most probably do. My question to you is what does the T community request when and if they bring a T to your shop for restoration and what do you convey to them? My guess would be contrasting colors. Further, what colors would you use? What color and product line would you paint the frame, the front and rear ends and body. I know your thinking, "black".
The reason why I ask this is because I need the advise of experts in this topic. This is why I started this thread to obtain knowledge. And, yes, Dean I do paint and have worked on multiple vehicle restorations. I rely on experts and I ain't one of them. For all I know my T has its original paint, as stated above.