Painting

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WARNING

The products and processes described below should only be used after you have properly understood the risks involved. Some, indeed most, of the chemicals used in paint are be harmful (carcinogenic) if used improperly. Please read all warning labels and follow product use guidelines. Wear appropriate protection equipment such as gloves and proper face masks. When painting, a simple surgical mask is not adequate.


Painting

The most important thing to know about painted pans is that it's important not to apply too much paint to the note surface. At the same time, apply just a basic coat of paint that does not seal the surface will result in the pan rusting over time.

For the note surfaces and the skirts, I use professional grade automotive paints. These are not inexpensive, but generally yield a great looking paint job that is durable and corrosion-resistant. I prefer to use a basecoat/clearcoat application for the note surfaces, and an acrylic enamel for the skirts. Both the clearcoat and the acrylic enamels are required to be mixed with hardeners in order to cure. I use a HVLP spraygun to apply them.

Prior to painting, I thoroughly clean the drum with something like Kleenstrip Prep n Etch. Once the drum is clean, I dry it off, rinse it thoroughly with water, and then dry it again. It should be painted within an hour of doing this; if you let it stand longer than this you should repeat the process.

I use a metallic silver basecoat on the note surface. I dilute this 50-50 with acetone before spraying. It dries pretty much instantly as it goes on especially if the weather is nice. At most its takes 15 minutes to dry, and then only if you put it on too thick. Lots of thin coats is the way to go.

For the clearcoat, I've found that I need about 40ml of clearcoat + 10 ml of hardener PER DRUM. The stuff has a reasonable life inside the gun, easily enough to spray 6 drums if you're organized. I go to the dollar store and in their kitchen area they have measuring cups of all sizes (240 ml, 120 ml, 80 ml, 60 ml, 40 ml etc etc) all on a single plastic keyring. It's a cheap way to get a bunch of measuring sizes. I've also used a Pyrex glass cooking/baking graduated jug to do the measuring. The 50ml/drum always leaves me with a small amount over, but not so much that I feel like I'm wasting the stuff. The clearcoat hardens pretty fast once its on the drums, usually within an hour you can use masking tape on it, but make sure you test this before you try it!

I like to run a small amount of acetone through the spraygun prior to mixing the paint with the hardener. Its a lot easier to fix a clogged gun when you don't have $ 40.00 worth of paint sitting in it hardening steadily.

When you buy the paint, get some conical paper filters at the same time. I always mix the paints in a jug or something, and then pour them into my spraygun through a filter.

Place the drum on a 24"x24" flat piece of hardboard, with the note surface down. Spray a gray etch primer on everything you can see, but be sparing on the underside of the notes.

Once the primer is dry, I turn the drum over and apply the silver basecoat to the note surface. I dont mask anything off because I know I'm going to be painting the skirt a dark color that will go right over the silver. Once the silver is dry, I apply the clearcoat, again not masking anything. I like to get the clearcoat onto the actual drum rim, this is the part of the pan that always takes the most punishment, and I feel that the more paint I get on there the better it will stand up. It helps if you have good lighting in your painting area so that you can see the reflection of the clearcoat. I find that a single-pass application works better here than multiple passes. Find the correct distance and speed and make one pass to apply a glossy clear coat.

Once the clearcoat is dry, I mask off the note surfaces. I apply 2" wide blue painters tape to the inside of the pan, usually in lengths about 18 inches long. If you try using longer pieces it's hard to get them to line up or run parallel to the pan and you end up with crinkles in them that the paint can run down. I let the tape stand proud of the rim of the pan, kind of like a wall around the inside of it. Then I mask off the actual note areas using 23" diameter circles I cut from the foamboard you can get at the dollar store (you have to tape it together to be able to make a 23" circle). The foamboard is nice because it covers the note surfaces in one large, rugged thing thats easy to get in and out.

Once everything is masked, then I mix the paint for the skirt and apply it. I try to do it in one go. What I mean by that is that although there are many passes around the drum, I'm not planning on letting it dry and coming back for a second coat later on. Once I have the paint on the drums, I remove the foamboard and masking tape immediately. This just helps stop the tape bonding to the paint and becoming stuck to the drum when it dries.

Clean drum ready for painting Gray Primer applied Pan flipped and ready for basecoat Basecoat applied.


Clearcoat applied, now starting to mask Masked around the pan. Foamboard in place to prevent overspray Finished!


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