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Old 23rd September 2007, 06:32 AM   #1
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Default Really OT question about paint

I collect old General Radio Corp. test equipment, mostly bridges. From around the '30s to the '60s or early '70s, they used a painted finish that had a large texture, sort of like embossed leather. It may be called alligator in the paint trade. Typically, they'd paint a rack panel, then engrave just through the paint, to do the labels and lettering. Early units were black, later ones dark grey, but the same finish. In the '70s they went to a smooth light grey finish.

I've asked people that worked there. I've asked paint people. Nobody can tell me what process is used to get this finish. I don't want wrinkle or crackle or hammertone. How about the brain trust here? Is it an additive? Is it a multiple coat spray trick? Or did they have some kind of textured sheet that they actually pressed into the partially dry paint? How could something that was done for 30 or more years, be so obscure? Anybody?
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Old 23rd September 2007, 06:50 PM   #2
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Hi,
is it a paint finish or a plastic coating?
Plastic may have been difficult to get a smooth even coat and they chose to disguise the imperfections by embossing a random design into the soft surface.
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Old 24th September 2007, 05:43 AM   #3
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Such paints are readily available. Once u apply them, they turn textured when dried.

Gajanan Phadte
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Old 24th September 2007, 08:49 PM   #4
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Hi Conrad,

It sounds to me like your describing what is called "wrinkle finish". You use a paint designed for the purpose, then after its applied you heat it up (we used a propane torch way back in my school shop class). Once done, it is a very durable finish.

Casey
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Old 25th September 2007, 03:39 AM   #5
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Sorry for the delay in getting back to this. In this case, I think a picture is called for. Can any of the techniques you have in mind give this kind of finish? If so, can you be more specific on where to get such a thing?

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 25th September 2007, 05:32 AM   #6
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It is a readily available paint but u may not be able to buy the same end design product.

Gajanan Phadte
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Old 25th September 2007, 08:31 PM   #7
RDL2004 is offline RDL2004  United States
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In the furniture business that is called "crackle lacquer". It is applied over a basecoat layer and then sealed with one or more layers of clearcoat (because the crackle layer is not too durable by itself).

Usually the basecoat and crackle coat are different colors which is why the topcoat is clear. With an opaque topcoat it would be all the same color but you would still get the texture effect I suppose.
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Old 26th September 2007, 12:32 AM   #8
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RDL- you've given me the right phrase to search for, and now I've found all sorts of stuff. Whether this will duplicate the exact finish remains to be seen, but I'll bet I can come close. I did find one comment from a very knowledgeable chemist saying the finishes used in the '30s and '40s may be difficult or impossible to duplicate, as the materials were no longer available due to EPA regs, and the the finishes were baked in gas ovens having a strong carbon monoxide atmosphere that interacted with the finish. Still, you've got me on the right trail- thanks!
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Old 26th September 2007, 06:24 AM   #9
jlsem is offline jlsem  United States
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I used this type of finish on this project (yes, I wanted that old GenRad look, too). It doesn't show up that well in the picture.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...750#post348750

I used Mohawk brand black crackle lacquer over their black lacquer. You spray the gloss black over the metal primer and then the second it is dry, you spray on a fairly heavy coat of the crackle finish as evenly as possible. To get the crackle right, you have to bake it immediately at 200 or so degrees F. Much experimentation was needed to get it right. I don't think I'll do it again because of the difficulty in getting consistent results. Later, the local Mohawk rep told me it is easier to get an even finish by using a roller to apply the crackle finish coat instead of a spray gun. I then shot the whole thing with satin or matte pre-catalyzed lacquer to get the right sheen and for added durability.

John
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Old 26th September 2007, 03:37 PM   #10
RDL2004 is offline RDL2004  United States
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I formulate OEM wood finishes for a living, and I can confirm that getting the crackle effect to work correctly and consistently can be difficult. Two things that are important are:

1. How much wet film you apply of the crackle lacquer.

2. What basecoat you apply it over.
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