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Thread: Top coat on fabric - need advice

  1. #1

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    Top coat on fabric - need advice

    I don't spray urethanes - but know that they produce really nice finishes. The Ar Tech, Aerothane, and Ranthane finishes are usually drop-dead gorgeous.

    My problem is paint matching. Delfleet "Essential" was recommended, and so we tried it, mixed by presumably professionals for a match, and sprayed by the "local pros". I put eighty hours in one wing, bringing it up to pretty good standards through Poly Tone Insignia White, with appropriate sanding.

    The result, after the "pros" shot the Delfleet, was a pastel shade of yellow, only semi-close to the original Aerothane color (which was sprayed over silver) and really bad orange peel.

    The local pros say that my problem is "single-stage" paint, and state that, for $1500, they can fix it with two stage paint.

    I am personally uneasy about two stage paint over fabric, especially now that I have what appears to be a thick coat of urethane over my fabric work. We have a pile of $ invested; the uncovered wing alone was close to $20K.

    My current recommendation is to go back to plan A, assemble the aircraft, and fly it up to Teresa at Art Craft. She says she can fix it.

    Disregarding any STC discussions, I need opinions on this "two stage" idea.

  2. #2

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    I used base/clear one time on a light fabric airplane. It worked fine, but I would not do it again. I cannot think of any advantage over the single stage urethanes. I sure don’t see how it would help your current situation. I guess I don’t understand why you didn’t have them spray Aerothane again. I use a fleet finish by Azko Nobel on non-fabric airplanes and my old cars. Single stage, works good.

    I think you need a different paint shop.

  3. #3

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    The reason I did not spray Aerothane is that they changed all their colors since this aircraft was assembled. I have never been able to simply purchase a matching color from Stitts. Closest I could come was 140 Orange Yellow. And I have had lousy luck mixing yellows - there is an auto paint outfit in National City that has a computer match setup, and they can come really close, but they only do acrylic enamel and sell a clear coat to match it.

    My personal Cub is Ford Commercial Yellow, and there is no way to match it other than to have the guys in National City make spray cans. I think the problem started when chromium was eliminated from pigments. Transferring Randolph from Carlstadt was some of the problem, since their colors no longer match, either.

    And don't get me started on white! Wanna know how many shades of Juneau White there are?
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  4. #4
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Yellows are super fun to match. Each coat will yield a different color, and the white under is likely whatís screwing up the color, if the other was sprayed over silver. On metal different color primers will get you a different shade of yellow.


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  5. #5

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    I am not saying its a good idea, but I bet that the shop could now tint to match your paint, as it must be pretty close now. I guess I understand why they are suggesting base/clear. They can adjust the base until its perfect and tgen finish with clear. That would be better than continuing to add thick coats of single stage.

    I just hate to think how thich this is going to be when you get done.

  6. #6
    Richgj3's Avatar
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    The aircraft paint shop at my airport has excellent results with Delfleet. Not sure if they have ever used it as a top coat on fabric but that shouldn’t make a difference.

  7. #7
    Mauleguy's Avatar
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    I have used that same paint back in 2005 on one of my cubs (Delfleet "Essential"). It was amazing how well it covered, it was recommended to me because it was suppose to be more solids then the newer paints available at that time. I tried another yellow, can't remember who's but I was on my 4th coat and I could still see the silver on one of the tailfeathers. That is where I decided I needed something different, it only took 2 coats with the Delfleet and it was a good finish. Maybe they have changed the formula. I was impressed with the coverage for sure. I think over time it gets a little brittle but I think a lot of the urethane paints do.

  8. #8

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    I had Deltron on my Howard. Similar to DelFleet.


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    As I understand it, the Delfleet would have been just fine if they had thinned it with the proper reducer. And shame on me for not double- checking the color mix.

    So it is possible that Teresa's crew will wet-sand, mix the proper Delfleet, and return to us a beautiful aircraft. I was just trying to avoid the expense of flying the thing up to Santa Maria and leaving it there. Besides, now it is cold, and an open cockpit biplane can cause frostbite.

  10. #10

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    By the way, I sprayed Delstar on my J3 in my driveway in 1981 (acrylic; six bucks a gallon). It was over butyrate. It still looks pretty good. No orange peel. Shines like a diamond. Fatigue cracks are starting to show along the stringers.

  11. #11

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    Delfleet shoots real nice, but Iíve never used it on fabric and I wouldnít- I doubt itís flexible enough long-term. Although youíll probably be fine in a hangar and fairly stable climate. Bob, the guys at consolidated (poly/Randolph) can custom match any color in aerothane or ranthane. Iíve had them do it a couple times and they absolutely nailed it both times, including a metallic. Way better than the local auto guys with their computer/camera matching. The consolidated guys actually spray out a test and compare it to your sample until itís perfect. The above rules about yellows (primer color, #of coats) still apply, though.

  12. #12
    Formandfunction's Avatar
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    Base clear is designed for a hard surface. If you base clear anything hard enough to hold a finish it will outlast us. Well it will if you use the high end clearcoat anyway. Base clear on fabric can't handle the shrink/stretch and flex because it's just not designed for that. The newest and strongest single stage is polyurethane.
    Hard to know what is actually in paint because they call four different things urethane including acrylic urethane.
    But to answer your question no, I wouldn't use Base clear but anything a paint shop can mix in that they can also mix in a high end enamel. Enamel might dull up a bit after years but a quick rub down can solve that. Plus enamel is flexible.
    If you're painting something nice and new polyurethane is the bees knees.
    Last edited by Formandfunction; 11-08-2022 at 07:02 AM.

  13. #13
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Cub Crafters and Aviat used Delfleet for years on their products over Polyfiber at CC and over nitrate/butyrate at Aviat. Covers well and wears well over time. Unfortunately it is no longer available.
    Steve Pierce

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    I buy Delfleet Essential routinely here. Different than what you’re talking about, Steve?

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    First, thanks for the input. I am now convinced that we need either Aerothane or Randthane, and that two stage processes are out. Tomorrow I will have a knowledgable mechanic begin the wet sanding process.

    Randolph says they mix by eyeball. They also said the guy who does it is busy, and the wait time can be "months?"

    But most interestingly - they hinted that when Randolph was purchased by Consolidated, they did not get the color formulae in the deal! No wonder . . .

  16. #16
    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak49flyer View Post
    I buy Delfleet Essential routinely here. Different than what youíre talking about, Steve?
    I have read that CubCrafters used to use PPG DUHS but changed to Delfleet Evolution. I think I have one of the last FX-3 painted with DUHS.

  17. #17

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    Yeah I’ve had to wait a few weeks for a mix, but it’s always been worth it- perfect match and the right paint for the job...

  18. #18
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    I had a late friend who had a Cherokee with orange peel finish. He wet sanded the entire airplane with 1200 (I think it was 1200) grit sandpaper. A very labor intensive job, yet the result met his desires.
    N1PA

  19. #19
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak49flyer View Post
    I buy Delfleet Essential routinely here. Different than what you’re talking about, Steve?
    I looked for an old can and all I found was the new stuff, I didn't realize it was Delfleet as well but says Delfleet Evolution. I didn't realize there were different variants of Delfleet.
    Steve Pierce

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  20. #20

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    You have Two Issues... color match plus orange peel issue. If Consolidated can fix the color match, will the Orange Peel be fixed?

    My orange peel problem was an issue that involved viscosity of the paint being shot by the gun I was using. Orange Peel is due to what the industry calls a lack of Stretching or Leveling of the paint. Tribal Knowledge told me to change guns, and thin the paint so a Ford #4 Viscosity Cup emptied in 26 seconds. Other issues that cause it are PSI of air at the gun, Gun Settings, space between the surface and the gun when shooting, maybe even humidity and air temp.

    I practiced on a mockup, then painted a belly pan that is not very visible to prove and test our problem solving.

    I sanded the Orange Peel down with 320 grit until the shiny low spots of the Orange Peel were gone, then re-shot. If all the sport are not removed your waisting your time. Stewarts likes a 320 grit surface. I doubt 320 grit is universal, but is not doubt faster than 1000 grit to remove the defects. Move to finer grits after dimples are gone. Your paint manufacturer might give you advice.

    The areas I fixed have the best finish. Slight, but noticeable.

    https://www.bernardoecenarro.com/en/...fect-in-paint/
    Last edited by bcone1381; 11-09-2022 at 07:59 PM. Reason: improve clarification

  21. #21

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    Thanks. We are about halfway through the sanding process. I am not shooting urethanes, and was relying upon the skill of those who do. We are planning to have it smooth down to 400 grit, and then off to Art Craft. I know they know how to mix and shoot.

    We will probably be using Aerothane, but that may be up to the pros at Art Craft.

    Just for curiosity, what is the difference between Delfleet Essential and Delfleet Evolution?

  22. #22
    Formandfunction's Avatar
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    Essential is the lower grade offering but ppg makes good paint so I wouldn't call it cheap. Evolution is premium paint and has higher solids count/more uv blockers in it.
    Thanks ak49flyer thanked for this post

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