I've been receiving a lot of compliments and good reviews on a 59' Club Date kit that I restored recently. (see photos below) Mostly what People like is the paint job. It's a two-color Duco finish using Krylon high gloss Hunter Green spray lacquer top and bottom and Metallic Gold (dark) lacquer for the center stripe. What made the results possible was an old turntable I used to spin the drum shells while I painted. You don't have to be a pro to paint a professional looking Duco finish on your old orphans.
I have created a couple of illustrations for you that pretty much covers it all. It's basically a two step process that you will repeat several times. I promise you that if you take your time, and do it carefully, you will be rewarded with mind-blowing results.
1. It's important to properly prep the surface for paint. After a thorough cleaning I will tape out all holes from the inside and carefully tape out the bearing edges. I attach pieces of newspaper to the top and bottom to prevent any over-spray from hitting the inside of the shell. Next comes the Primer.
2. If you're going to use light colors, use a light/white Primer. For dark colors use a dark/grey Primer. Using the appropriate Primer will make the colors you use to really Pop.
3. After Primer, sand everything smooth with 00-00 steel wool pads. One good coat of a quality spray Primer followed by sanding with 00-00 wool should be enough.
4. It is much better to spray several light coats of color sanding with 00-00 steel wool in between coats, than it is to paint one or two heavy coats. Resist the temptation to continue adding paint. Add a light coat, sand, add another light coat, sand, etc. Repeat that a minimum of three times (as many as four or five times) and what you end up with is deep, rich color with a smooth professional finish and look.
5. A high gloss clear coat to seal the paint is recommended but not absolutely necessary. Krylon makes a quality high gloss lacquer. After 3 - 5 coats of it, you don't really need the clear coat. I only recommend it to protect the finish. It is a drum after all and it's going to be moved around and handled.
Of course it goes without saying that you should only work with lacquers in a well ventilated area and you should wear a good face mask. Make sure you're nowhere near open flames of any kind.
The Duco Machine:
The element that makes this possible at all is a simple turntable. I'm sure almost everybody has an old turntable stashed away collecting dust in a closet or basement somewhere. If you don't have one, a quick trip to Good Will or the Second Hand store will turn one up for just a couple of bucks. The point is; you need to be able to spin the drum as you paint. Any kind of Lazy-Susan set up you can create will do. An old turntable is just perfect.
I put my truntable into a plastic trash bag and sealed with tape. I then cut a cross over the plate and tucked the plastic - under the plate. The only thing I left exposed is the top part of the spinning plate. Trim the plastic a little so it doesn't get caught on the spinning post underneath. As long as it spins freely, you're in business.
I left the turntable switch in the 'on' position. Set the speed to 33 1/3 RPM. I also had to tape the tone arm in place close to the plate so that the turntable would automatically start when I give it electricity. I controlled the on and off function by simply plugging or unplugging the power cord from the extension cord. Simple.
I found a big box and I threw a tarp over it. I set the turntable on top of the box. I then taped a thin 24" square of particle board to the turntable plate to act as a base to set the drums on. It's important to make sure that everything is perfectly centered in order to eliminate wobble of the shell as it spins.
I'd like to recommend Krylon high gloss spray lacquers for the job. The colors are deep and rich and the spray nozzle produces a fine mist. The Krylon rattle cans have the best spray nozzles I've seen. This becomes a critical factor when you try to create the fade at the border between the colors.
I've created a couple of illustrations that should make easy to take on board. It's not hard to do and if you have a good eye and a steady hand, you'll be blown away by the really pro looking results. It also has the advantage of being cheaper than paying somebody else to do it. Besides, it gives you some very cool bragging rights!
Step 1 -
I did a little homework before I started the job. I visited quite a few sites that are all about how to do custom fade paint jobs on automobiles. One rule I learned immediately was; always lay down the lighter color first when creating a fade. I just followed the pro's foot prints in the snow. My fade came out great.
Paint the dark while the lighter color center stripe is still wet/tacky. It helps the fade if the paint is wet enough to mix as it dries. Start at the top edge holding the spray can steady and slowly tilt the spray down until it just meets/touches the center stripe, then -STOP spraying-. Allow the drum to continue spinning for another minute before pulling the plug. The spinning and air drying helps spread the paint evenly and cuts down on drying time.
I looked at a dozen or more photos of vintage Duco kits. Consistently, the center stripe is the same width as the Bowtie lugs. So I used the lug holes on my spinning drums to know when to start and stop the colors. As the holes spin, your eye sees an uninterrupted line. Instant visual guide! Easy.
I hope you try this. Practice on some orphans. You may end up with a killer looking orphan kit that's a keeper.
Edited by Purdie Shuffle, 08 February 2011 - 11:45 PM.