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Reproducing "Lizard Skin" wrinkle paint on steering shroud

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by gcalex, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. gcalex

    gcalex Karting

    Aug 16, 2010
    75
    Has anyone ever had any luck reproducing the unusual wrinkle paint that I have frequently seen (and hence think is original) on the steering-column shroud of Daytonas?

    Here is a picture of what I am referring to:
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    Note that the wrinkle is not uniform across the entire surface; there are lots of little 3-7mm patches where the finish is pretty smooth.

    I've reviews all the "wrinkle paint" threads I could find on FerrariChat, as well as various "how tos" on the web, but despite trying a variety of paint brands (VHT, PlastiKote, PJ1, and Pit Crew (Seymour)), coating thicknesses, and "heating profiles", in all manner of combinations, I always end-up with a wrinkle pattern that is a lot more uniform than the appearance above.

    Have also looked at some samples of "crocodile skin" power coating, but the "scales" are too big, and the areas between the scales lack the fine wrinkle pattern.

    Any tips/hints or pointers to parties known to be able to replicate, would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Back'n'Black

    Back'n'Black Karting

    Aug 8, 2017
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    Roseville, CA
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    Matt
    Not sure if this will be any help to you, but I recently had a project that required the wrinkle finish you're showing and this is what I took away from the experience:

    I used an "over the counter" rattle can brand like you listed above. At first I approached the project like most of us would.....dust the paint on in light coats.

    The last time I used this type of paint, it probably had a different formula (had additional cancer and birth defects added to it back in the day) and the finish immediately did as it should....wrinkled up and looked proper.

    I found that this time around, though, the paint had to be loaded on heavily and took it's time developing the wrinkling effect. It went completely against all my training to just load the paint on.

    I practiced quite a bit ahead of time to get the technique right....but ultimately wasted a whole can just learning the characteristics. The stuff goes pretty quickly.
     
  3. gcalex

    gcalex Karting

    Aug 16, 2010
    75
    Do you recall which brand of paint you used in your recent attempt? Like I said, I tried all the brands I listed in all manner of coating depths, and alas, all gave a much more uniform wrinkle pattern than I think is correct; thicker coats had more effect on the size and nature of the wrinkles, rather than introducing any of the "lizard skin" effect...
     
  4. Back'n'Black

    Back'n'Black Karting

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    #4 Back'n'Black, Apr 22, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
    The brand I used was one that you listed....VHT "Wrinkle Plus".

    You also might try Rustoleum "Hammered Finish" (I went with a dark color...gray or something like that). The "Hammered" won't get you the wrinkled look, but by combining the 2 through alternating coats, you might achieve a texture you want (if the wrinkle finish is TOO wrinkled or uniform and you want to mute it somewhat).

    Another option might be to "knock down" the high spots of the wrinkle finish with some medium-grit sandpaper once it dries (like 400 wet/dry). You might get a more random look after a few coats of the stuff.

    It might all come down to trial and error. Happy accidents have been know to occur.

    Good luck and hope this helps.
     
  5. dflett

    dflett Formula 3

    Jun 24, 2005
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    Seems to me you want 'less wrinkle' than is typical so I would suggest mixing the wrinkle paint with smoother black paint and then heating to see how much wrinkle you get. As with all wrinkle finishes, some experimentation with thickness of application and the amount of heat applied to start the wrinkling will be required to get the desired effect.
     
  6. turbo-joe

    turbo-joe F1 Veteran
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    the mixing is good working, but too much heat is bad for the wrinkle, getting then to "high" and not so filigran
     
  7. swift53

    swift53 F1 Rookie
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    I found a good solution. Emptied a VHT rattle can in a 'Ziploc' then poured the contents in
    a paint gun. Sprayed about 5 coats in one hour, at 10 min intervals. The results were stunning.

    Small grain, very uniform, left out in the sun, then touched up with a heat gun.

    The problem with the VHT can is the spray nozzle, not very uniform or precise, whereas the
    paint gun is infinitely better.

    Regards, Alberto
     
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  8. Back'n'Black

    Back'n'Black Karting

    Aug 8, 2017
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    That's a great idea. Decanting the VHT into another gun would be the ideal way to go. Somewhat time consuming if you've never done it.....but it IS truly about the nozzle and it's pattern. Gotta give a "thumbs up" on that one.
     
  9. John Vardanian

    John Vardanian F1 Rookie

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    If a smaller grain is the desired look, powder coating produces a very nice and even outcome, and it's durable.

    john
     
  10. swift53

    swift53 F1 Rookie
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    Can complete dashboards be powder coated and achieve the fine wrinkle finish?

    Regards, Alberto
     
  11. TTR

    TTR Formula 3
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    Gentlemen, if I read OP correctly, intention is to achieve larger grain, uneven finish simulating original wrinkles produced by the factory & shown in the OP photo, not the even, small grain created by most efforts available today.
     
  12. gcalex

    gcalex Karting

    Aug 16, 2010
    75
    TTR is correct that small uniform wrinkles (or uniform wrinkles of any sort) are not the goal. Still I appreciate everyone’s suggestions, and it is probably good for the community to have all thoughts about wrinkle finish in the thread.

    In the spirit of that last thought, I can offer the following tidbit:

    1) I actually found that for the fine wrinkles, one does not need to decant paint into a separate sprayer. The instructions to lay on heavy coats don’t seem to actually need to be obeyed; instead of 2-3 heavy coats, 4-6-8 lighter coats behaves about the same, and by the time to average-out the thicknesses across that many coats, the coverage is pretty even.
    2) Heating pretty much universally will make the wrinkles smaller; if you want lots of “parallel” wrinkle folds, you better off using oven heating; an IR lamp tends to give a somewhat more chaotic pattern.
    3) If you use heat, there is a limit to how big a wrinkle size you can get, because the heat gasses-out the paint so fast that it starts to “crinkle” more than “wrinkle”, and the finish can actually start to look a little more like very coarse sandpaper (IR lamps are worse in this regard, compared to ovens). If you cure without heat, you can pretty much get arbitrarily large wrinkles with enough paint coats.
    4) All the paints will continue to wrinkle more as they cure, so if you do use heat, pull the part out well before you let the amount of wrinkle that you are looking for, because you have to anticipate the additional wrinkling that will follow later.
    5) You can powder-coat an entire dash, but not many shops have an oven big enough for an assembly of that size, so they will use IR lamps instead. This is potentially problematic for an irregular surface like a dash, but the claim is that the power-coat are not as sensitive to heating profiles as the paints; i.e., the finish wrinkles about the same under widely varying heat profiles. I’ve not verified this myself, but I’ve had good experiences with my powder-coat guy, and trust what he says.
    6) All the generally-available power-coat wrinkles are too fine-wrinkled, and too uniform; the “crocodile” power-coats are not right either. There is a “whetstone” powder coat that under a maginifying glass has a pattern that is not *too* far off, but the pattern is a miniature version of the original finish pattern; i.e., it is at the wrong “scale” (and to be honest, is still pretty far off).
    7) It is not possible to just “ask for the same power coat pattern, but in a larger pattern”; it is not clear that it can even be done, no matter how hard you try, and in any case, you’d have do start a back-and-forth development engagement with the power coat supplier to figure-out what worked. I suppose one could send your original part to China and as “can you recreate this,” but I would not be that brave, and I imagine you would have to buy a fair amount of the resulting stuff (like 50kgs...).

    It sounds like no one has a “formula,” so perhaps I’ll move on to try and mixing various types of paints.

    Just for the sake of adding an additional picture, here is 6 covering coats (spray can) of VHT heated at 170F; beautifully uniform and fine wrinkles, but nothing like the first photo in the thread... :)

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  13. turbo-joe

    turbo-joe F1 Veteran
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    before I put the wrinkle paint on I paint the material with normal semi gloss black paint. so I not need so much from the wrinkle paint. only 3 layers
    I think your one looks better, more equal
     
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  14. Lowell

    Lowell Formula Junior
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    Ah. You have to live in the right place, 7000 ft in high desert. Do it from May to October. Paint wrinkle left-right, up-down, maybe 45^0 swipes. Thick for heavy wrinkle, thin for fine. Then just put it out in the noonday sun for about an hour. Done.
     
  15. turbo-joe

    turbo-joe F1 Veteran
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    and what about the wind? from east or from west? noon is ok, but then you have to rotate the painted thing to get sun on all sides. also be carefull of coming up some clouds

    that is absolutely right :)

    but good also is if the parts you are painting are not too warm. otherwise the wrinkle paint works to fast and it will get large wrinkles, but if too cold the color will drop down. it needs some experience to do it right
     
  16. Back'n'Black

    Back'n'Black Karting

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    #16 Back'n'Black, Apr 28, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
    The OP's posted photo of the "after" result is beautiful....but, I get it. It's not what was originally laid down on that column.

    Not to be Debbie Downer here....but I think the only way that croc skin pattern can be done is by pros. If it was easily replicated, somebody would have come forward with an easy-breezy solution by now.

    A home-made powdercoating operation will be nothing but trial and error at first....bake at 350, rotate and turn, reduce heat to a rolling boil, on and on. It can he done...but be prepared for hair pulling and loud cussing.

    Most home-made powdercoating ops I've seen involve a cast-off Harvest Gold oven from 1973 tucked into the corner of a well used garage and can barely fit a set of valve covers.

    I'm not trying to put down all the great advice given here....I'm just thinking the finish your looking for will probably be best left to pros....very select pros.

    My background in painting is with bodyshops and movie props (sorry for the rhyme) so "trial and error" was how we arrived at the end result (movie props....not auto painting. THAT'S straightforward). Movie props are where Bob Ross and his "happy accidents" would come into play.

    I do hope you find a solution that isn't too elusive. Your "final" photo looks great, but there has to be a way to replicate what you're looking for. It can't be some long lost art that only the Ancients knew.

    P.S. .....maybe PM davehelms here on the site (has a thread called "Barn find....today" here in the Vintage section). Wasn't he involved w/ powdercoating at one point? Perhaps he can lead you to the light.
     
  17. TTR

    TTR Formula 3
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    Of course it's not, but due to variety of reasons (cost/environment/health/legal/etc...) many chemical and material compositions or their application techniques used 45+ years ago in automotive and other large scale manufacturing have become obsolete and some, while still perhaps reproducible today, may not be anywhere near cost effective to do so for single or small scale needs.
     
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  18. Lowell

    Lowell Formula Junior
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    I forgot to say that you paint inside.
     
  19. Wheels1

    Wheels1 Formula 3

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  20. Back'n'Black

    Back'n'Black Karting

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    Ah, yes. With enough fumes inhaled, all KINDS of "magic" can happen, heh, heh.
     
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  21. swift53

    swift53 F1 Rookie
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    Only Daytona had that heavy 'crocodile' look? To me. it is a peculiar look, to the extent that
    I was fooled into believing that the PO wanted the 'fine grain'.

    Personally, I like the 'fine look' but that, is another concept altogether.

    Regards, Alberto
     
  22. gcalex

    gcalex Karting

    Aug 16, 2010
    75
    I also believe that the original finish on things like 330 GTCs was the same, ditto (not surprisingly) Dinos, 365 GTC/4s, early 308 Dinos, etc...

    Having never had the financial wherewithal to consider the purchase of something like a 275, etc..., I've never looked too closely at those, but I have seen some original-looking early valve covers that had a very similar finish.

    I think that with so many early cars having gone through restorations, it is hard to see an original finish anymore; one sees it a lot on Daytona steering shrouds simply because so many were made that there are still a tangible number that have not gone through a complete restoration; or at least not a restoration that got around to refinishing the steering shroud... ;)
     
  23. gcalex

    gcalex Karting

    Aug 16, 2010
    75
    If someone could point me at a pro that they have seen replicate the finish, I'd happily contact them at this point.

    Happy to pay for expertise, but I'm not in a position to pay for 40-hours of experimentation...

    I had been hoping that someone would say "my guy managed to do it...", or that someone would say "my shop can do that"; so far, "no joy"...

    I'll try contacting Dave. My power-coat guy was not of the opinion that the finish could be replicated with any off-the-shelf power coat that he has seen. He admitted that he could start trying odd mixes, but without some way to guide the experiments, it could eat-up a lot of material and probably not be that likely to get anywhere (large patterns like that are apparently just not the forte of power coats).
     
  24. gcalex

    gcalex Karting

    Aug 16, 2010
    75
    Actually, with all the off-the-shelf paints I have tried, more heat tends to result in finer wrinkles; presumably, because a thin skin forms very fast, and as the paint beneath starts to gas-out, and fine wrinkle starts to set in.

    At lower temps, a thicker skin seems to have time to form before the paint beneath starts to shrink a lot, and that thick skin tends to want to make large wrinkles.

    I even did an experiment where I shot late at night, and let the paint dry/cure in something like 40F-50F temp. Wrinkles were almost comically large.
     
  25. swift53

    swift53 F1 Rookie
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    For what it is worth, we have achieved a 'hammer tone' on garden furniture, with silicone spray
    mixed in with regular paint as here, no hammer tone paint available.

    In what ratios, I do not remember, but did some minor experimentation, got great results,
    and that would not be beyond a guy with a can of VHT and some silicone. Just a few bucks, and a little time.

    Experimentation that yields achievement is tops, when mixed in with a dab of imagination :)

    Regards, Alberto
     

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