Spraying Metal Question

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Blog entry by miles125 posted 12-21-2008 07:16 PM 1443 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few months back a customer had this cartridge laying out in her back yard and saw me admiring it and told me to take it. I had no idea what i’d do with it but i knew it was too unusual to pass up.

So i made me a shell for it out of a chunk of mahogany the other day. Heres what i’m wondering. Can i spray this shell cartridge with my grey lacquer undercoater followed by my matte black lacquer? I’m just not sure how a non automotive type lacquer adheres to metal. Anybody with any experience at attempting this?

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

17 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4123 days

#1 posted 12-21-2008 07:29 PM

My first instinct is to say that you need to get an appropriate primer.

I rely heavily upon the pro support that I get at any of the supply stores like Sherwin or Pittsburgh paint.

I know to spray a clear coat on aluminum, bronze, or copper I had to use an acrylic. Typical woodworking clear coatings would not be gauranteed.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3898 days

#2 posted 12-21-2008 07:32 PM

I don’t have a real answer, but this might work … I used to do a lot of oil painting, and art oil paints don’t stick to metal. When I wanted to paint on metal, I used boiled linseed oil as a primer. The BLO sticks to the metal and the oils stick to the BLO.

Let us know what you decide to try. I look forward to seeing the results.

-- -- --

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3787 days

#3 posted 12-21-2008 07:59 PM

Sherwin-Williams sells a product called DTM ( direct to metal ) paint. It’s easy to use because it is a latex and doesn’t require a primer. We use it for painting residential and industrial exterior doors, handrailing, etc. A 1” X 4” nap roller works excellent for applying.

View lew's profile


12100 posts in 3779 days

#4 posted 12-21-2008 08:01 PM

Unless you really want to do it all yourself, I’d take it to a local collision repair shop and have them at least spray primer on it.

In the “old” days, everyone sprayed gray primer. Today, primers are tinted to match the top coat. A body shop might have some extra they could spray at the same time they are doing a body prep. Probably they would do it for very little expense-or free (if you showed up with one of those big Dunkin Doughnuts coffee cartons). Then you could finish it yourself.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4123 days

#5 posted 12-21-2008 08:08 PM

For some local LJ info, I would suggest that you ask Stevareno.

Stevareno’s background is specifically in painting and finishes with many years of experience. I would hire him myself based on the knowledge that he exhibits, I have no doubt his skill is likewise.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4123 days

#6 posted 12-21-2008 08:10 PM

Lew has another great idea and I have used the DTM paint that WoodChuck has mentioned. These are both viable options.

The benefit of Lew’s suggestion is that you will not have leftover material.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3768 days

#7 posted 12-21-2008 09:46 PM

Go down to AutoZone and get one of those shake up cans of primer/sealer and a can of black and go to town.
Wipe down the casing with some lacquer thinner before you start.

View Dr_Unix's profile


49 posts in 4145 days

#8 posted 12-21-2008 09:47 PM

This is one of those situations when the engineer in me comes out….You have to ask what the use of the piece will be to judge how much effort should you put into it. My guess is that you’re significant other won’t let this beauty get out of the workshop. So use whatever you have on hand.

What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe it starts to peal in 3 years. Well, you can try something different then…if you’re still interested in preserving it.

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4029 days

#9 posted 12-21-2008 09:59 PM

Dr Unix you have a point. I think i’ll give it a shot with what i have just for the experimental value. Be easy enough to strip down and start over should it start peeling and flaking. I’m all about being more concerned with projects for other people than i am my own stuff…hehe

Thanks for the responses!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4151 days

#10 posted 12-21-2008 10:01 PM

I refinish a lot of metal found objects in my rustic crafts business.
Some of the objects that I am currently refinishing include:
milk cans, barrel hoops, patio furniture, etc.

For off-the-shelf metal finishing products, I use Rustoleum primers and finishes.

Check out the Rustoleum website for more info.

Be sure to correctly identify the type of metal you are refinishing, prep it properly and follow the instructions for the finish you will be applying.

-- 温故知新

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 3809 days

#11 posted 12-21-2008 10:05 PM

I have used a clear coat of 500 degree made for auto engines….has not peeled off yet I use it on many things.
And have great results, although I do etch the metal with a etching souluion of vinegar and water to clear any contaminates from the metal.
Good luck and I like the shell also, I wouldnt have passed it up

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4123 days

#12 posted 12-21-2008 11:25 PM

I have etched metal surfaces with vinegar before as Jimthecarver suggests. This also helps.

I think that there are several good suggestions. Hmmm – how to chose?

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3746 days

#13 posted 12-22-2008 12:39 AM

What type of metal is the shell? I have a set of 5” shells form a Navy Destoryer that looked like crap when I started, but the shells are actually brass and shines up really nice. It required a lot of sanding and polishing and there were several times I thought of painting them, but I think they look better shiny.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3787 days

#14 posted 12-22-2008 01:01 AM

Good point Brian, I was thinking that Miles shell caseing looked like it was aluminum. A coat of spray laquer would preserve the shine after buffing.

View Tom Adamski's profile

Tom Adamski

306 posts in 3794 days

#15 posted 12-22-2008 01:07 AM

If it is aluminum, you will need to prime it with zinc chromate…


-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsman can hide his mistakes.

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