Paint Booth: Paint Queries of the Custom-Challenged

October 19th, 2009

street_trucks_paint_booth_thumbThis month our painting professionals answer questions about the correct paint to use for pin stripes, a carbon-fiber-look paint and paint gun recommendations.

At any given time there is a do-it-yourselfer and even a few paint pros who come across a baffling paint/body problem or mysterious rash question that no one anticipates or can answer.  This is the job of “The Paint Booth.”  The Paint Booth is your custom paint advice column.  (Well actually it is StreetTrucks’, but if you send in your questions, and we answer them, you can delude yourself into thinking the magazine works for you.) So when you have a custom paint emergency, and need your problem fixed immediately…well, you’ll just have to deal with it for now, and in the next issue or so we’ll tell you how you could have saved the job and possibly your paint career. Paint Booth is merely an advice column, all clinical and psychological diagnosis are for entertainment purposes only. The advice in Paint Booth is not to be used for purposes of wagering or medical experiments. The names of those involved have not been changed. They are not innocent, therefore they will not be protected. If you do not want your name mentioned, please do not become upset at the name or speech impediment we will assign to your question. Paint Booth is not responsible for the use of the information given or how it is implemented. For the record, it is possible to create a technically perfect paintjob with all of the right materials and equipment, and still make it ugly enough to give small children learning disorders. Please extinguish all smoking paraphernalia, and put tray tables into their upright and locked position. You have now entered the no orange peel zone.

Paint Booth, Esquire

Wrinkled Stripes
I have heard that you can pinstripe with standard basecoat right off the paint bank.  Is this true?  It would make it a lot easier to clear over the pinstripes.  I’ve  lost track of how many clearcoats I have had wrinkle the striping on enamel pinstripes.
Sneaky Pete

It is true that you can pinstripe with basecoat, it’s just not a good idea.  For one thing, the stuff dries so dang fast, it pulls terribly because of brush dry-out.  Now, before anybody starts yelling slow reducer or retarder, anytime you have to start loading up retarder in your paint, you are asking for problems. Especially when you are striping with a paint that is already under-reduced and over layered.  Pinstripe paint is not just any paint that dries slowly, it also has to have enough pigment, and the right type of binder to allow it to cover, not bleed, and pull cleanly.  I agree that One Shot can be a pain to clear over, but luckily we have House of Kolor’s striping urethanes available that can be cleared over easily. Don’t forget there is also Ronin striping paint, and Alsa even has a new pinstripe urethane line available.

Now, in a pinch, at 3:00 a.m., with the paint stores closed, would I try and pinstripe something with basecoat?  Sure I would, and I have done it, but only in a pinch. Otherwise, I just use the right tool for the right job. Remember, experimentation and innovation is cool, but even MacGyver wouldn’t make a bomb out of a ballpoint pen if he already had a bomb. Keep the good questions coming.

Drifting Paint
Hi Fraser, my name is Alex from Puerto Rico.  I have one question for you. Which is the correct House of Kolor mix for the carbon fiber effect that you used in the 240 SX drift car for the SEMA show?  Also, what candy kolor can I use for a ghost effect in yellow and tangerine candy basecoat?
Alex Rodriguez

The color we used for the carbon fiber effect on the House of Kolor 240SX Drifter was BC-25 black basecoat, with MBC gold diamonds over the top. (This gave it a cool amber/metallic look).  We then used some Rubber Tool box liner for the stencil. After laying the stencil over the areas to be sprayed, I sprayed some pure black basecoat over it, and bingo, instant carbon fiber.  It was very simple and very cool.  If you want a finer effect, you can use my old standby stencil, dry wall repair tape.

To answer your second question: The best candy to use over a yellow or tangerine base to give a ghosted effect would be one in the same color family. I recommend a pagan gold, Spanish gold or lime gold. It really depends on what color shift you are going for. If you want a truly ghosted graphic, then you probably shouldn’t use a candy, but rather a pearl, in which case I would recommend trying a gold or lavender pearl. I used to recommend House of Kolor’s Screamin’ Yellow Pearl, but it was discontinued a few years back.  On a good note for all the Screamin’ Yellow fans out there, House of Kolor is planning on releasing a new pearl pretty soon that is darn close to the original classic. Keep an eye out for it.

Gun of the Month Club
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Do you have any suggestions for a spray gun that can be considered an all-around gun (as much as possible)? One that can be used for basecoats and still do the flames and stuff? One more question: are the Excaliber brushes so much better because they are short?

All About the Benjamin,
No problem Ben. That is one of the most-asked questions about spray guns.  Today’s spray guns are becoming more and more specialized. There are guns for primering, clearcoating, basecoats, candies, flakes, jambs, etc. Probably the best overall gun that we have at our shop is the LPH-400 from Iwata. While it is a bit big for small graphic or candy jobs, it successfully dials down for even candy finesse painting.

If you want to stick with one gun, then you should plan on switching your heads and nozzles to accommodate different uses. The LPH has a range of nozzle/needle sizes from 1.2-2.2mm. The 2.2 would be for something like flake, while the 1.2 would be for something a bit more sensitive towards material transfer like a candy. The nice thing about the LPH series of guns is that from 1.3-1.6 all you have to change is the nozzle. The head and needle remain the same.  This makes for easy changeovers and costs a heck of a lot less.

Just to be fair, another gun that is a contender for the “overall gun award” is the 007 by Durablock. (Yes, they make guns, and they are pretty darn decent!) The 007 is unique because for the price of one gun, you actually get three separate gun heads, and cups that all use the same handle and trigger system. Basically the 007 is the first modular gun system to hit the market.  You can load all three of the different head/cups with paint, then attach them to the pistol/trigger when you need them. The kit comes with a rack for all three and three different size heads.

Well, I gave you two different ones to look into, and I don’t think you will be disappointed by either of them. Just remember, when you focus on having just one gun, it is like having just one type of tape or one type of paint. It may seem to simplify things, but in the long run, you give up the opportunities and quality that different equipment and products provide. If you want to save money, cool, but you should always focus on your artwork, and which equipment will give you the best results. Try as many guns as possible, then let your own experience make the decisions for you.

I almost forgot about your question about the Excaliber pinstripe brushes. They are not better because they are shorter. That is just a different style of brush. They are better because they are put together more precisely.  They are not pre-trimmed, like some people think, they are just so accurately assembled that they do not need much trimming, if any. I use them a lot for small Von Dutch style striping and hot rod stuff, but I still like my Mac 10s for long lines and Kaftkas for my swirling designs. (We’ll talk about different pinstriping brushes in the next installment!)

Well, rookies, I’m afraid that’s about it for this time, we’re outta’ here.  So until next issue, keep your questions coming, and don’t forget, “If the Paint Booth doesn’t know the answer, you’re probably askin’ stupid questions.” Keep it up, and we’re kicking your ass!

Paint to Live, Live to Paint.
Dion Giuliano and Craig Fraser

Version 5.0 of the Paint Booth has been brought to you by Kal Koncepts/ Air Syndicate Kustom Paint of California. Any questions for Fraser or “D-Bob” can be sent to StreetTrucks Magazine, or e-mail directly to Kal Koncepts at You can always cruise their Web site at (http://www NULL.gotpaint


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