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Hot Rods How to infill lettering in metal?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by casper50, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. casper50
    Joined: Aug 4, 2013
    Posts: 202

    from alaska

    I have the plates off of my 55 Pontiac rocker covers that are polished aluminum with Pontiac Strato Streak embossed on them. The letters are very very shallow. They were filled with black paint from the factory. Is there a way to redo it? I've tried filling with paint and both wiping off excess when wet and sanding off excess when dry with 2000 grit. Isn't working. 20200619_052043_1592572891526_resized.jpg 20200619_052102_1592572890366_resized.jpg
    dana barlow likes this.
  2. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,458

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Contact your local pinstriper.
    Theres also the method of getting a syringe and a "spinal needle" (any size will do) suck some paint in and carefully fill the area by injecting paint onto the surface.

    OR, do the best you can, let it dry, then use your wet paper on a HARD backing board so it cant reach the recess,
  3. casper50
    Joined: Aug 4, 2013
    Posts: 202

    from alaska

    The problem with wet sanding is the letters are so shallow even with a steel backer it takes out paint. No pinstripers around here. I've been looking to have some wheels pinstriped for 2 years now. The sign painters that I've contacted won't touch a job this small. I'm beginning to believe that I'll just have to leave it all polished.
    dana barlow likes this.
  4. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,452

    from Quincy, IL

    @casper50 ......I don’t know if this suggestion will solve your problem, but do some research on ‘silk screening’......

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  5. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,108


    damn, beat me to it by a minute. I'm pretty sure most of these type things were pained with silk screen.

    I got to do it in printing class in high school...but these days, T shirt shops often do it, and they use computers to make the screen, so if you get friendly with one, they might help you out.
  6. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,888

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Most sign shops that still has some one that actully paints*,can do it. A lot of sign shops do every thing by computer,real painting is becoming a lost art.
    But really,those are small enough to send out an get back by UPS . You said no one near by can !
  7. harpo1313
    Joined: Jan 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,871

    from wareham,ma

    paint it , let it tack up , then slowly wipe with lac thinner.
  8. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,646

    from New York

    A sign shop might be able to laser cut a sticker made from vinyl. It might be tedious because the lettering is very thin in places, but it might work.
  9. rc57
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 501


    Cover fully with masking tape, cut out letters with Exacto knife, spray.
  10. 62SY4
    Joined: Oct 30, 2009
    Posts: 54

    from Boston, Pa

    Try to borrow or purchase a paasche flow pencil. It works like a fountain pen with a trigger.
  11. wheeldog57
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 1,689


    I would try Testors model paint and a narrow brush. A steady hand and some patience should make for decent results. Let us know how you make out, good luck!
    brEad and loudbang like this.
  12. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,815


    1. Tape of as much of the outside areas you can.
    2. Spray paint with desired color. Very light coats so you don't "flood the zone".
    3. Wrap clean panty hose around you index finger and dip it in thinner or reducer compatible with the paint you used. Don't let it drip onto your paint. Then, lightly wipe away excess paint after it becomes tacky. Wipe only in one direction, Don't go back and forth.
    4. Use a fresh clean piece of panty hose for each "wipe".

    Panty hose has no lint so it works good. These hubcaps were done using that method.
    I used acrlylc enamel spray paint.
    May take a couple of tries till you get the knack. IMG_0060b.jpg
  13. texasred
    Joined: Dec 3, 2008
    Posts: 1,063

    from Houston

    Fine tip paint pen from Hobby Lobby or Michaels crafts store
    loudbang and lothiandon1940 like this.
  14. onetrickpony
    Joined: Sep 21, 2010
    Posts: 426

    from Texas

    Or maybe use Scotch Tape or clear packing tape so you can see the letters below.
    bchctybob, rc57 and blowby like this.
  15. Vin-tin
    Joined: Feb 1, 2009
    Posts: 89


    Would a guy who restores license plates be able to do it?
  16. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,955

    The Shift Wizard

    Let us know if you ever get it figured out. I have some vintage steamship plaques I plan to use in my '50 panel truck that I'm attempting to refurbish the lettering. Some of them are etched fairly deep and are a walk in the park. But a couple have the merest hint of depth and are kicking my butt. For my next try, I might use a single edge razor blade for a squeegee, one letter at a time.......


    Re: Pinstriping wheels........
    Years ago, I would see a pinstriping 'tool' in the old J.C. Whitney catalog. It was like a cigar sized paint reservoir with a little felt wheel tip. I always wanted to try raising the rear axle on jack stands, letting the wheels rotate in gear. and simply hold the 'striping tool' in position to lay down a steady, consistent stripe.
    I never did it, but in my mind, it works perfectly. :p
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,372


    C7257D6E-28EF-4B91-9B30-4C7FF043BEA5.jpeg E378A744-8A2D-40C8-9AEE-ECDCA8A50732.jpeg

    it’s called a beugler
    Works well

    don’t think it will work for this.

    paint pen, masking tape,patients is what you need.
    kidcampbell71 and lothiandon1940 like this.
  18. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,955

    The Shift Wizard

    I've had some luck laying paint on raised lettering with hard, rubber rollers, but it's a totally different deal filling indents. Someone who restores multi-color, chrome emblems might be a possibility. They will at least have the paints and brushes, and know all the tricks.
  19. Stooge
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 406


    if farming it out to a lettering/ pinstriper isnt available, ( I dont know how it is in Alaska) A little can of enamel (1shot, alpha enamel, hobby shop testors, etc), if its an exterior piece, i would also be inclined to add a little enamel hardener, and a couple small and skinny hobby shop brushes/ liners and fill them in, and clean up the edges with a Q-tip and some mineral spirits. Its going to be a pain with how shallow the leters are, but definitely do-able if your crafty, or know someone who is, (kid, spouse, etc)
    blowby likes this.
  20. I cleaned the surface the stainless hub caps that has the indent and spray painted the area, of course there is going to be over spray but I let them sit about a half hour and then take a cloth and wrap it around my finger then dip it in paint thinner and lightly wipe the excess paint off, it takes a little time but it does a good job.

    I have also done the same thing with the OFC plaque and the hamb tag topper.HRP


    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
    VANDENPLAS and lothiandon1940 like this.
  21. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 4,710

    from Oregon

    Easy as a tube of wheel bearing grease. Carefully spread grease on the surface either with a thin cloth or a small artists brush especially around the letters. Spray paint onto letters and let dry. Apply as many coats as you like , letting each coat dry. When final coat is dried , take a light cloth and wipe grease off. You can use a light cleaner but wiping off a coupe of times should do the trick. I used to do it all the time on body tags , embossed letters/ designs.
    Irish Mike, AHotRod and bchctybob like this.
  22. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,551


    Yeah, if you're a Doctor!;)
  23. greybeard360
    Joined: Feb 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,465


    Mask around the areas and use vaseline or a light bearing grease to cut in the edges...... easier to manipulate than regular wheel bearing grease. Let the paint totally dry..... and not in the sun. Vaseline will melt in direct sunlight. Once dry, pull the tape and clean the residue off.
    Slopok likes this.
  24. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,551


    Vaseline works well and is much cleaner.
  25. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 2,213


    K-Y jelly works for masking too and it’s water soluble. Never mind the look you get from the old lady at the checkout stand.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    David Gersic and VANDENPLAS like this.
  26. casper50
    Joined: Aug 4, 2013
    Posts: 202

    from alaska

    I'll try the Vaseline trick guys. Thanks.
  27. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,452

    from Quincy, IL

    Why Bob, you ‘ol devil! :eek:

    Ray :D
    hotrodjack33 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  28. Hi guys.
    I don’t tend to post my opinions about stuff on this forum as there are thousands of fellas out there who know a damn sight more about American iron than me, but I might be able to help with this....

    About 15 odd years ago I used to work for a sign company who engraved brass plates.

    If you want your plate with a mirror finish, sort that out first using the right metal polish.

    First make sure there is no polish or dirt in the lettering, then using some unthinnned fast drying paint (we used cellulose, not sure what you can get now in America?), fill the text in by squeegeeing with a piece of card that has a nice straight edge (card shouldn’t scratch the plate and you can chuck it away afterwards!).....hold the card at an angle to the text so it doesn’t fall into the lettering and scrape away the paint.
    When the paint is dry, find a clean washer that’s at least an inch in diameter but with the smallest hole possible (the more surface area the better....we used to use an old 10p piece with one side sanded and polished....but not the side with the Queen on it as that would be illegal and you’d find yourself in the Tower of London doin’ a stretch!)
    Next, get a piece of thin material, like the sleeve off an old t-shirt (obviously someone else’s!). Put the washer/smooth coin onto the material, pull the edges over the washer and twist them together until the material on the face of the washer gets really tight. Wet the face (of the washer/cloth) with thinners (not too much, as you don’t want thinners running everywhere) and keeping the washer flat and the material twisted tight, rub it over the plate to remove the paint off the plate. Initially you will have to move the washer to a different position in the cloth as it removes the paint, just add some more thinners to the material after twisting it tight.
    If your using a washer, it will probably be best to have the side with the curved edges facing the plate.

    Once the paint has fully cured, depending on the paint, I imagine you should be able to give the plate a final light polish?!

    We used to use this method all the time with great results, especially on new plates. Old, well polished plates tend to have more of a curved lip to the letters, so sometimes the paint has less of a sharp edge.

    Hope this helps!


  29. casper50
    Joined: Aug 4, 2013
    Posts: 202

    from alaska

    These letters have curved edges and are very shallow but wide. So it's easy to hit the middle of some of the letters.
  30. Am I right in guessing that the width of the text at its widest point to be about 1/4”?

    If this is the case, as long as you can squeegee some paint into each letter you should be able to remove the excess, as long as you keep the cloth twisted tight around the washer. It might pay you to use the thinnest material you can lay your hands on, so it can’t catch the centre of the letters.
    Keeping tension on the cloth is key.

    kidcampbell71 and loudbang like this.

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