Paint Booth: Paint Queries of the Custom-Challenged

October 19th, 2009

street_trucks_paint_booth_thumbAt 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.”

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

Tape Time
When laying out flames or graphics, which is the best tape to use?  I have seen you guys at Kal Koncepts using blue vinyl tape. What is the advantage of the vinyl over the paper tape?  Are there tapes that you should avoid for automotive custom painting?  Thanks for your help.

Oh, Danny Boy,
Excellent question, I just got finished answering a similar one at a workshop I recently gave in Florida.  It appears that a number of painters are questioning their current brands of tape, or they are just looking for the right one to get started with.  When I have painters ask me if I like blue fine-line, green vinyl, Pro-band, crepe, or Japanese 3m yellow, the answer is simple:  Yes.  You see, it is one of those “right tool for the right job” types of answers.  There are so many different applications for tape nowadays, that you should never limit yourself to just one brand.  I mean really, I don’t throw away a hammer, because I just bought the best screwdriver in the world!  I literally collect tapes, paints and airbrushes the same way I collect custom paint techniques.  You never know when you might need them for a certain job, and the more unusual, the more the paintjob or technique will stand out in the crowd.

Now, in all honesty, I used to use a heck of a lot more Blue fine-line in the past (3M), they have changed their tape in the last few years, and I am not as happy with it.  It tends to leave glue behind.  Normally I would just wipe it up with a little pre-cleaner, but that can damage your underlying paintwork if you are not careful.

While I gravitate towards Kosmoski’s good ol’ 233 tan crepe a lot lately, you still cannot beat a good vinyl tape to cut its way through a thick catalyzed candy graphic, leaving a perfect edge.  I don’t like the new green crepe for? or larger work, but the 1/8th is okay in my book. It sticks better then the tan, but still leaves no glue residue.

Pro-bond is similar to the 3M blue, costs less, comes with more on a roll, and it leaves less glue. But it also sticks less and has issues in humidity. What about green fine-line? I use it, but not for spraying. I like the way it can work as an excellent finger guide for pinstriping.

So you see, there is the right tape for the right job, the right climate, even the right painter.  Don’t forget personal preference in the mix.  I have told you what I use, now for what is best for you? Go out there and try some.  You will never have an educated opinion of a product without a little Research and Development of your own.

The Candy Blues
How do you deal with candy bleeders?  I have a customer that wants a certain dark blue candy in his paintjob, but I have experienced, and heard about the problems with these candies.  I’m not mentioning any names of the company, because I have noticed the problem with this color in other systems.  Is there a trick to shooting it?  Or is there a company that makes a stable blue candy? Thanks for the help.
Anonymous Candyman

The question of the century! I have always wondered if everybody likes cobalt blue because it is a bitchin color (it is), or because it is a nightmare to deal with, and has fallen into the list of forbidden colors.  We have been dealing with the unstable nature of cobalt blue for over a decade.  Notice I say nature, because the issues with it are literally its second nature.  I have tried just about every company’s version of it, and while some are better than others, they pretty much all have issues.

Enough complaining though, let’s see what we can do about it.  As far as these issues go, there are differing degrees.  I have found that the UK version from House of Kolor is much more stable, because it is a catalyzed candy that has an inherent lock down property. (By the way, just because I used the name cobalt, does not mean I was picking on HoK. Exotic, Alsa, SEM, Dupont, etc., all have issues with this particular dye.)  While the UK-05 catalyzed version is pretty good, you can still have bleeds if you don’t topcoat it with a catalyzed clear, before spraying any graphics over it.  And never add any KK candy concentrate to the UK. Otherwise it will become binder poor, and not lock down the additional dye.

One thing you can always count on with HoK is for them to come out with a fix, or at least a Band-Aid for the bullet hole. Their fix was the Bleed Check sealer you could spray over the cobalt blue if you are doing a masked graphic, and then layer your graphic over it.  It is called SBS-10.  It works pretty well as an undercoat.  Just don’t use this fix as an excuse to go crazy with the KK-05, or you will find that a fix can only go so far.

I do not recommend using the KK-05 candy concentrate in murals because of its bleed properties, and the inability to incorporate the required sealer into a freehand mural. You should also avoid the color Burple, because it has the cobalt blue in it as well.

For all you cobalt blue psychos that just love the color, try this.  Combine equal, or close to equal parts of KK-17 and KK-04 then mix with SG-100, and guess what?  Pretty dern close copy of cobalt blue without any bleed issues. Just be sure to never add more then 20 percent of any concentrated dye, (No matter what system you use) to your binder. All dyes have a tendency to bleed when over concentrated. Keep an eye out for one of our project vehicles at SEMA this year.  Can’t tell you too much about it except for we will be using cobalt blue as the main color.  Why?  Because we are nuts, the color is bad ass, and we like to live on the edge!

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 Or you can always cruise their web site at (http://www NULL.gotpaint


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