Mark Simpson

Color Matching Painter Variables

Mark Simpson
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Duration:   9  mins

Sometimes when restoring a classic car you may need to repaint a panel on your freshly painted ride and suddenly the same paint doesn’t match the rest of the car, even though it’s the same paint and reducer…what went wrong? Helping us make sense of it is professional painter Terry Wright. He explains, “When painting a classic car, several variables can affect the final color and overall quality of the paint job. These variables involve the painter’s skill, the painting environment, and the materials used”. Here are some key painter variables that can influence the color when painting a classic car:

Environmental Conditions: Environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and air circulation can affect how the paint dries and adheres to the car’s surface. Painters often need to adjust their techniques and use specific products to compensate for these conditions.

Technique and Skill: The painter’s level of skill and experience is one of the most significant factors affecting the final color. A skilled painter will be able to apply the paint evenly, avoid drips or runs, and achieve a consistent color tone.

Preparation: Proper surface preparation is crucial. The painter must ensure that the car’s surface is clean, smooth, and free of any contaminants or imperfections. This includes sanding, priming, and filling in any dents or scratches.

Spray Gun and Equipment: The type of spray gun and equipment used by the painter can impact the paint application. Different guns have different nozzle sizes and spray patterns, which can affect how the paint is distributed.

Paint Mixing: The accuracy of paint mixing is vital to achieving the desired color. Automotive paints often require precise mixing ratios and color matching. Any errors in this process can result in a mismatched or inconsistent color.

Paint Quality: The quality of the paint itself is a significant variable. High-quality automotive paints are designed to provide consistent color and durability. Low-quality or old paint may not adhere well or may fade over time.

Paint Thickness: The painter needs to control the thickness of the paint layers. Applying too much or too little paint can affect the color and the overall finish. Multiple thin coats are often preferred to achieve an even and deep color.

Color Matching: Achieving an accurate color match is crucial when repainting a classic car. Painters may use color charts, spectrophotometers, or even their eyes to match the existing color precisely.

Experience with Classic Cars: Classic cars may have unique features or challenges that require specific knowledge and techniques. An experienced classic car painter will be more adept at addressing these issues.

Clear Coat Application: The application of the clear coat, which protects and enhances the color, is another critical step. The painter must ensure that it is applied evenly and without imperfections.

Drying and Curing: Proper drying and curing times and conditions are essential to achieving the final color. Rushing this process can lead to color problems and paint defects.

Quality Control: Regular quality checks during the painting process are crucial. Painters should inspect the car’s surface for any imperfections, color inconsistencies, or defects and make corrections as needed.

Achieving the desired color when painting a classic car is a complex process that involves several variables, from the painter’s skill and technique to the quality of materials and environmental conditions. Attention to detail and experience are essential for a successful and visually appealing paint job or making critical color matches on your classic car.

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