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Old 07-11-2008, 01:06 PM
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Painting a Metallic in pieces

I have always heard to spray a metallic colored car all together at the same time. I have a friend who owns a restoration shop and been doing this type of work for 20 years. He said he did it like that for years. But in the last few years buys enough color to do the job and never had a problem painting in pieces.

This way he sprays all jambs and exterior of vehicle with hood, doors, and deck lid off. Eliminates the possibility of tape lines etc. on jambs.

Give me your thoughts please. Thanks.

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Old 07-11-2008, 02:03 PM
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“Basics of Basics” Paint in pieces or together?
By Brian Martin


One decision that must be made during your cars restoration will be if it should be painted in pieces, with the doors, fenders, trunk lid and hood off the car, or with all the body panels on at once. There are many reasons to do it one way or the other and it should be well thought out prior to laying the paint on.
What is the “best” or the “right” way is very different to most anyone asked. It really depends on your expectations, skills and passions. Do you want the car accurately restored? Do you want the easiest way? Do you want the highest quality result? The “best” is not always the way to accurately restore it. Many times the factory did things that are far from “show quality”. They were simply building a car for the masses, not building a classic. Most ever car built has the doors installed on it when it’s being painted. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, new cars being built have the doors and trunk lids hung on them. In some cases such as sixties GM and Ford cars, not only were the doors and trunk lids installed on them, so were the latches and strikers! Yep, they painted right over the latches, strikers and the bolts that held them on many cars made in those days. This is the practice with many manufacturers up to today with strikers, they do usually leave the latches out though. That is certainly not very “show quality”. Some cars in those days had their front fenders, hood and cowl top (if it used one) painted on a rack out in front of the cars body. I started in the autobody and paint industry in the 1970s and I have to tell you, it was common to see a GM car where the fenders didn’t match the doors because of this practice of painting the body/doors and fenders and hood separate. These were single stage lacquers and a little difference in distance or pressure could change a metallic color pretty fast. There were sometimes bare spots under the lip of a trunk or the bottom of the door inner jamb (especially in the corner up at the hinge area) where the paint and primer was very thin and there would be a minor rust forming when the car was still only a year or two old. So, this is “correct” for restoring many cars, but it certainly isn’t the “best” way to do it.

Most cars today are painted in an interesting way. They are painted with robots, some are painted in a “shower” like booth. It is actually kinda freeky to see them painted. They sort of just “change color” like a computer special effect. They are painted with the doors, trunks, hoods all on as they always have been. But now often they will shoot a base that is similar to the final color. Then they shut the hood (and sometimes the trunk) and paint the outside of the car and door jambs with the final color and clear it. Under the hood, and the trunk in many cases gets no clear or final color! And to throw another odd trivia bit out there, this is interesting. Toyota, probably the most effective manufacturing company in the world paints their cars this way. But after painting the car they remove the doors, for the cars component assemblies to be installed and then the doors are reinstalled as one of the very last steps! Now, if Toyota and all their amazing manufacturing processes do this to ensure that all the parts are the same color, I think it is safe to say painting the car together is a good idea.

Have you ever looked close at the cars you see at shows? Do you see the ones that are painted apart (or at least look like they were) compared to the ones painted together? Do you know the difference? Most of us check out these cars and never even look close enough to see if they are that well detailed. Only you know for sure if you want nothing but the best and are willing to spend the extra time to paint it apart, then do it. If you have seen at shows that cars look good to you even if they have those small tape lines in the jambs, then painting it together may be the way to go.

The benefits to painting it in pieces are there, first off, a super detail job. You can spend all the time you want prepping all those nooks and crannies for a super nice paint job. No tape lines, it just looks awesome, however is it practical for you and your car? Bolting newly painted parts on is pretty taxing. If you do go this route, be sure everything fits first. Read my “Basic of Basics” on trial fitting parts. It is very important that all these parts fit if you are going to paint them off the car. If you have any doubt, any doubt at all, paint it together. I have seen many, many cars where the guy thought the parts fit, he was certain that the parts fit. After the car was painted he had very poor fitting panels when installed. I don’t care if they are NOS, I don’t care if they fit well before the body work on the adjacent panel was done, what ever, you must trial fit them. If you are going to toss the dice and you lose, you lose big. If you want to save the time of trial fitting, just bolt it together and paint it that way.

First, do you have room to shoot it in pieces? Now, this can be a great way to shoot something when you don’t have the room as well, depending on if you are shooting it all at once or in pieces over days or weeks. If you feel that you can paint it in pieces (IF you can will be covered later) this can work out great. You paint your fenders, then put them away somewhere and paint the doors and so on until the car is done. If you plan on painting it all at once while in pieces, than you better have a big booth to spread it all out.

Painting cars in pieces can be a little easier in that you have a number of small projects that are easier to handle. Painting a complete can be overwhelming to a newbe, the many smaller steps make it more manageable. But you must be sure that you are not learning on your car. If you start painting parts as “practice” you will most certainly not be painting the same by the time you get to the last pieces, and they will likely look different. If you have some help putting it together it is not that difficult to do with it painted. It just takes care, lots of it.

If you do paint it in pieces, you must have the parts (especially with a metallic, but with solids colors as well, more on this later) hanging in the same “attitude” as it is on the car. In other words, you don’t lay the doors down on their back to paint them. You want them hanging vertically just as they are on the car.

When you spray them, you need to maintain the exact same distance, pressure, surface/shop temp, solvent temp, amount of coats, reduction, etc. This is very important, the consistency is key when painting a car apart. When spraying a panel off the car you want to “pretend” that the next panel is there and take each pass well off the panel you are painting onto this imaginary panel. This will keep you from stopping right at the end of the panel and creating more or less (depending on exactly your trigger technique) film build at the end than in the middle. This can create a different color in those areas. Metallic colors being different because of air pressure is a given, most understand that. But solid colors can change with a little varying of distance and pressure as well. It is simply because of film build. Today’s lead free paints don’t cover nearly as well as years ago. Where you think a few coats have covered, it may not have. Sure, if you have applied those four coats uniformly over a single color substrate like a completely gray primed door, it is a uniform color. But apply one more coat and you have a different color. Therefore if you don’t run the gun off the panel onto the adjacent imaginary panel, and apply exactly the same amount of coats you could put a little more or less material at the edge creating a different color there. If you do it a little different on the REAL adjacent part, the two won’t match. This is very common on something like the back of the door to the quarter panel. You are painting the quarter totally different because you have the jamb to paint as well. So right at the edge of the quarter you are going to have more material applied being you coat the jamb as well as the quarter with a little overlap at the edge. On the door, you don’t paint it that way because the jamb side is painted from the back. So if you were to stop the gun short right at the edge, you are going to have a little different film build. You could very well have a color that is slightly different from the quarter.

One VERY important thing is that ALL the parts have the exact same primer color. Even colors that cover well are going to have a hard time over a gray primered body and a black urethane bumper! You WILL have different colors when finished. Be sure everthing, including substrate color along with pressure, solvent, distance, etc.

Another very important issue is that you must be sure that you have all the paint you will need. Buy at least 30-50% more than you think, that is my personal target. I want to have a quart or more unreduced paint left over. I’m sorry, when it comes to paint problems, and redos the price of a quart of paint is not a big deal. If you need it, it is priceless. So, buy your paint and get a couple of gallon cans and intermix them. Stir them well, being sure to get everything off the bottom of the can. If you can have the paint store shake them, that’s good too. I like to scrape the bottom of the can with the stir stick and then run the very bottom of the stick on the inner edge of the can and look close to be sure there is not toner on the bottom of the can that isn’t stirred up. Pour the paint back and forth until they are thoroughly intermixed. Let me explain, you have two one-gallon cans, with lets say a gallon and a half of paint, one gallon can full, the other half full. Pour about a quart or so out of the full one into the half full one, then stir it up. Now, pour a quart or so back, then stir that up, do this a few times back and fourth until you are certain to have the cans intermixed. You do this because there may be a slight difference between the two mixes. After all they were mixed by a human being. Now, after using one can you can go to the next knowing they are exactly the same color. If you should run out and go back for another quart, you could find yourself with a much different color! This is a very hard learned lesson, avoid it, simply buy enough and intermix it right from the start. This practice should always be followed, be it painting the car in pieces or not. But it is particularly important if you are.

Another alternative is to do both, paint it together but like the factory with the doors and trunk and maybe even the hood hung. Again, there are lots of choices. Many cars were painted with the hoods hung, hinges and all got painted, you could do the same. I have never actually done this, but seen many painters do so. They open and close the panels (leaving the latches out so they swing freely) with every coat. Painting inside and outside at the same time. You need a lot of room to pull this off, but it can be done.

You can also do things like bolting parts on like fender extensions with washers behind them to space them out so paint gets behind them. This is a favorite trick of mine. That way you jamb behind the extension first, then with it spaced out a quarter inch or so, it gets painted just like it was bolted on. Works like a charm even with a metallic color. The washers are removed after the painting is complete and the extension is bolted on properly.

Now, painting it together, what are the benefits? Well first off, you know the parts fit. You know that it all works and after unmasking you are going to have a nice fun time bolting on all the chrome and trim. Half the work is already done, you are home free. You will have some tape lines, it may not be the ultimate show car, but it still can be darn nice.

One thing to do when painting the jambs first and the body complete is to be sure that all the body work and priming is done before you do the jambs. There is nothing that will send the quality of your work going down the drain faster than painting the jambs and then having to apply primer on the panels and mess build up more of a line, get overspray on the jambs, etc. Do all the blocking, all the priming, all the panel and trim fitting before you paint the jambs.

When painting the jambs, mask off the surrounding outer panel. Don’t let the overspray fall out onto the panel thinking you are going to be sanding it anyway, what is the harm? There are a number of reasons why you don’t want to do this. First, you want the body do have a uniform substrate color. Second, it will take a lot of sanding to feather this out and you can damage the blocking you did to get the body straight. Third, if you don’t feather it out completely you have a very thin film there at the edge of the overspray where solvents when you paint the outside can get under and lift it. To avoid a lot of problems, just don’t let the overspray out onto the outside. Mask it right up almost to the corner of the outer panel, leave about a sixteenth inch of primer around the corner into the jamb.

After painting and assembling the panels back on the car, when you are sanding the car for paint, pay close attention to those edges of the paint in the jambs at the primer on the outside. For detailed tips on this read the “Basics of Basics” on taping jambs. Basically, you want to carefully sand those edges away. Mask the jambs off by back taping to allow the paint to fall over the edge onto the painted jamb about an eighth inch or so. That means that only about a sixteenth inch or so of the paint in the jamb is exposed when masked. That little edge can be sanded and buffed out leaving an almost invisible seam.

To the guy who wants to make his car as flawless as humanly possible and paints his car apart to the guy who paints it together and gets out on the road with a smile on his face driving it, you have my respect. It is your car after all, make the decision with as much information you can get on the subject. Don’t take it lightly, it is an important decision to make on the restoration of your car.

And last but most certainly least, One VERY important thing is that ALL the parts have the exact same primer color. Even colors that cover well are going to have a hard time over multiple color primered parts. You WILL have different colors when finished. Be sure everthing, including substrate color along with pressure, solvent, distance, etc.

So either have the every single part primed in the same color, ready to paint. Or, seal the every single part in the same sealer before printing. But you must have all parts the same color prior to painting. Even when applying many coats, it would blow you away how much the substrate color (the color you are painting on top of) can change the final color. You don’t want to “ask the paint to do to much”. If you have all the panels the same color prior to painting, you have a MUCH better change that all the panels will be the same color when you are through.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:30 PM
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WoW, gonna take me awhile to absorb all of this. After all I am Polish.
Thanks Brian, appreciate your help.
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:28 PM
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It depends on the hue of the metallic, some like the color I used did extremely well painting in pieces.

Vince
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:23 PM
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You basically said it all initally.
"He's been painting for 20 years."
Yes,It can be done depending on the paint involved and keeping everything "the same" as far as mix,gun,psi,conditions,coverage.
Light colors and especally Silver is best shot together. Darker colors are more forgiving and experience plays a BIG part in it coming out right.
Opaque type bases get to a point of thats all ter is,and no more. You can spray 5 coats and end up with the same color. Lighter bases have a tendancy to be poor in coverage and thats when you get into trouble.
Jambing and such can come out OK but when it comes to the complete outside of the vehicle,It WILL be together.
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:33 PM
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I remember one particular job of mine years ago where this front fender was different the rest of the car.

But honestly, next time you are at a show look around, you will see it A LOT on cars. The real shame is where they run out of color and by more, holly crap can that stand out! And the real sad part is, sometimes they are simply stuck, that is the way it stays. If for instance you are painting a 65 Mustang and fender and quarter extensions don't get painted and you run out of paint for them. There are a LOT of variables where the color may simply not be attainable. Between the toners being goofballed up, the body not having enough paint on it, the toners being out dated and replaced with a different one (they are now lead free, if he mixes it off an old bank and runs out of the leaded toner....) LOTS of variables can really mess you up.

Look around cars at shows, they are OFTEN all different colors. Avoiding this comes with experiance.

Brian
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Old 07-12-2008, 06:37 PM
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Very interesting,thanks.

SoIve decided to paint my car all at one time but apart.

How do i hang the doors?

Fromthe ceiling with chains?

TIA,keith
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Old 07-12-2008, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 427v8

How do i hang the doors?

Fromthe ceiling with chains?

TIA,keith
You could, but that is not the best way. Hung by chains they will move away from you and sway as you hit them with spray, could make for uneven distribution of paint and clear. The best way is to build a support structure to hang them on that won't allow them to move.

Vince
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:14 PM
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This is an interesting question, and to tell the truth....I would think it better to paint all the larger surfaces at the same time.....That said...I am getting ready to paint my 1933 Tudor sedan (all steel) and it will be painted in several sections, why????? Here's why.

I choose to paint this project with HOK (House of Kolor) Cobalt Blue Metallic Candy, over Orion Silver, over metallic sealers. The deal is the process takes to long to complete for me to spray all the pieces at the same time. After the sealers is applied, which will also be a silver metallic to help overall effect, the paints have to be applied in successive coats, and at the right times. These makes it imposable to paint the whole project in one shot. From the time I start the base coat, I have to spray all coats. Their Will be 3 base coats, 4-6 candy coats and then the clear will take another 3-4 coats. I'll spray a coat and wait for the reducer to flash, or evaporate, you have to spray the next coat while the preceding coat is still tacky, not dry. If you let it go to long and it drys, then I have to wait at least 12 hours, and sand everything down and start over, not the way I want to go here. So, I'll adjust my reducer to match the temps and probably have only 3-4 minuets to wait between coats. Because of this, I don't have time to paint more area. My fist paint will go on the bottom half of the body , front and rear fenders. Next will come the top portion of the car and roll cage, then the last painting session will cover all that is left. Each session will take approximately 8-12 hours. Would I rather paint everything at once, YES, but i can't do it.
I will take my time and record the actual make-up of each batch of paint, so I might be able to reproduce the subsequent batches with precision. I am also using some HOK koncentrate in the candies, an will monitor that use as will. koncentrates are simply highly concentrated amounts of that color, you add them to the paint, to alter the outcome of the finished project.
I'll post my results late when I paint it in the early fall.

Interrested in the progress of Project COBRA'33, which is the above car to be painted? How about a project that takes a flathead and moderizes it with EFI and Twin Turbos? Modular Engines your thing, we cover them completely and offer large amounts of information. Tune in to www.proweldperformanceparts.com and follow all these great stories.
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:16 PM
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yknot, good luck. If you can make all those candy panels match perfectly my hat is off to you for sure. I've seen people get results deemed as an acceptable match but never perfect. The more candy that's applied the less touchy it is.
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:26 PM
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I have seen it WAY TOO MANY times to count, cars painted candy apart are a patchwork quilt of different shades. Painting a candy in pieces is like hitting a grand slam in the world series. Yep, it has happened, however not many times.

There is no way I would shoot it any different than this, the fenders cool, shoot them all at different times. They aren't bolted right up next to something that is at the same angle, no problem. The body, doors and hood, there is no way in hell I would paint them apart, no way.

I am not candy painter, done it only a few times. But even in painting a metallic let a lone a candy what you are asking is an awful lot.

Brian

P.S. I just realizing reading the post again, it's an AD for God's sake! It is a slick post almost looking like he has interest in this topic, great job.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
P.S. I just realizing reading the post again, it's an AD for God's sake! It is a slick post almost looking like he has interest in this topic, great job.
Yeah, shades of the monkeyboys -- "Tune in to [...]" -- or maybe that should be shades of PowerTV and the "Big-time car girl". Just another spammer.
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:19 PM
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Good GOD how can this be an ADD?? We simply record the events of our build, for others to follow along. This allows them to not only see what all is involved in the project but to learn from it as well. We do not have sponsors, nor do we push any products, we simply record what is happening for other to enjoy. I invest at least 20 hours every week just so others can follow along with us, please do not Damien my work.....I am simply a fellow Hot Rodders that likes to share his work with others.
Like the article states, because of certain time restraints, I will have to paint the project in sections. I will paint the main body, and the doors in the first section. I am working on a stand that will allow me to hang the front and rear fenders in there final resting position. If this works out, then I will be able to also paint the fenders in the first painting section. There are 4 primary colors involved in this project, and yes they will have to be sprayed individually. If the stand works out great, if not then I have no problem spraying the fenders separately. I simply have to record my paint mix and duplicate it again late, as well as my style of painting.
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Old 08-01-2008, 07:30 PM
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Don't matter "how" good you "think" you are my friend.
"YOU CAN NOT PANEL PAINT KANDY!!!"
Been there,tried it,done it,SCREWED IT.SEVERAL times.
Go right ahead and you'll SEE for yourself.Serrious waste of material.
I don't make these statements lightly.I've painted mostly kandy's and "everyway" possiable. JUST WON'T HAPPEN.
"IF" you can line them up IN order and spray CONSISTANTLY,You have a good chance,See my project journal shooting a dragster body,ALL lined up on stands and shot "walking the length". Not "together" but shot at the same time walking the line.
The Silver base is one thing but the Kandy is CRITICAL shooting it at one time cause even the "slightest" variance in coverage WILL show.
Later,Mikey.

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Old 08-01-2008, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by yknot
Good GOD how can this be an ADD?? .
What in the heck are you talking about, the ENTIRE site other than maybe the painting link (I didn't even go to it) is a commertial site selling parts!

That is the only reason 99.9% "how to" articles are put on sites like that is to draw people there to BUY stuff.

Brian
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