I've been reading archived messages about painting for the past couple
of days. None of them have answered a few simple questions I have so I
figured I'd ask some of the finishing experts here if they could help
me out. I'd appreciate any wisdom you have to offer.
I've been restoring an old video arcade machine. The cabinet is wood,
which I've primed and painted with an oil based enamel. I've done a
lot of sanding in between coats and have wet-sanded the latest coat of
paint with 1500 grit paper. I have a glass smooth surface with some
minor scratching from the sanding. I need one final coat of paint
before painting some stencils and will then clear coat.
So on to my questions. After the final base coat, should I rub that
coat with 0000 steel wool or just leave it alone? I can spray a good
finish without rubbing it but since I plan to clear coat I would assume
I should rub it first. Should I wait until the stenciled graphics are
painted on and then rub the whole thing with steel wool before clear
coating? What should I clear coat with? Would clear coating cover any
minor dulling/scratching caused by the 0000 steel wool?
I'm going for a clean, glossy finish. I'm using an HVLP setup and have
finally figured out how to get a perfect coat of paint out of it. I'm
just not sure how to finish up the paint before clear coating.
I'm doing the same types of restoration. Can't answer your core
questions, but based on what I know:
- you are restoring original art (via the stencil)? Frankly, the
original paint jobs were probably nowhere near as nice as what you are
doing. A perfectly smooth (glass) job will be far better than the
original. That also means that a 'rougher' texture is also original
- for a clear coat, I've been told that an automotive clear coat is
ideal. It is thin and hard. You might stop by an auto paint supply
store or paint shop and see what they suggest. I would think that you
want the clear coat over the restored art - thus the last coat you put
on the cabinet.
- On the HVLP side, what equipment to you use? Care to share any tips?
I'm researching HVLP units and trying to decide on which unit is best
for this type of work.
- you might also check with Brian at rgvac.com - restoration is his
I know the finish will turn out better than the original. It's hard to
duplicate the original so I figured I'd do it up better. This is a
Williams cab so they were glossy and covered with lacquer or poly. Not
sure which. I'm just not sure if the scratches left by 0000 steel wool
on paint will be covered up with a clear coat. I've never clear coated
so I'd hate to see that it just enhanced scratches on the paint.
I'm using a cheap Chicago Electric setup from Harbor Freight. It's the
same one woodcraft sells (see link below). I got mine at a Harbor
Freight sale for $69 and it's worth the price. Like any spray
equipment, the key is learning to use it right. The media has to be
thinned out significantly, like with most sprayers. The manuals
usually recommend the consistency of cream but I thin it more like
milk. That gives it perfect atomization and the flow rate I like. No
large spots or spatters. I also find that using Penetrol helps paint
even out on the piece. It seems to eliminate orange peel when it's
Before anyone flames my cheap sprayer, let me say that I know it's not
top of the line and may lack the durability and longevity of a more
expensive setup. It works well for me and it's what I could afford for
now. I've used it enough that I can get an excellent finish from it.
That's what really counts. My only other option was to put up at least
$500 for a more expensive turbine setup or a compressed air solution.
Brian hooked me up with stencils. I guess I'm not the only woodworker
who also restores arcade machines. I'm ready to work on a couple of
wood projects for the winder. An armoire and a cabinet bar.
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