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Customs Is Satin or Semi-Gloss Paint Dead??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dimebag, Sep 17, 2020.

  1. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,888



    Satin finish is a pretty common sight in So Cal. It started off with the high dollar extra paint scheme on new European sporty type cars. Then gradually it filtered down to wraps and actual paint jobs for the look and lower maintenance on any cars/trucks. We have all seen them on various cars. The original extra paint colors were called "ice" as it did not look shiny. It looked like a satin finish that glistens, but is not shiny, like gloss.

    If you listen to several people talking about satin finish paint jobs, it is kind of funny. The talk is that the satin paint could look like a regular primer paint job with a high sheen buffing surface. So, any primer paint would give the base paint. Then give it a wax buff.


    It all depends on your own taste and of course, cost. Try the primer paint on a wagon or metal surface and then buff it. Maybe that is all you need. Sometimes it is better to wait until you have saved money to do any custom touches to your car. We have seen some odd ball additions on some old cars here on the HAMB, just to save some money for a pro to complete the job. Any short cuts of that nature will obviously bring on the critics and chuckles.

    IMHO, your start should be with experimenting, by painting the wheels and making it look good enough to drive without spending too much money on stuff. Once that happens, it will be noticeable and now buff your paint. It might surprise your anticipating look of satin. Wheels and tires will make your car look nicer instantly. Forget period correct, start with low cost paint and small hubcaps.

    But, if you need to see more of a Suburban that has one of the nicest paint jobs, here are a few more shots.

    upload_2020-9-19_4-27-48.png upload_2020-9-19_4-28-2.png
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
    Elcohaulic and TomT like this.
  2. Barrelnose pickup
    Joined: Aug 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,170

    Barrelnose pickup

    Satin has its place, just as different wheels , engines , styles and everything else about this lifestyle we choose to live.
    I like satin , metal flake and gloss , but it doesn’t really matter what I like though aye.
    Driver50x and TomT like this.
  3. I just finished a big woodworking project that required a dead-flat clear finish. I wanted catalyzed urethane for durability but read everywhere that true flat is virtually impossible in urethane. Most require a flattening agent additive that doesn't work very well. Decided to try Summit Racing satin clearcoat. It is fantastic! it is not satin, it is dead flat which was perfect for my purpose. Bonus, it only costs $63/gallon where most paints cost the national debt nowadays. Directions say it come out more satin with thicker coats but I didn't try that.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,870


    I've always seen semi-gloss or satin paint on a car as "faux primer". I think of it the same way I think of "faux patina".

    Real primer on a car, before it gets it's coat of gloss paint, is just fine, of course.
    36cab, dana barlow, Ned Ludd and 6 others like this.
  5. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 6,871

    from Nicasio Ca

    What makes paint glossy or flat anyway? I mean either can be buffed to a mirror finish.. There must be gloss additives or flat additives. Must have to do with light reflection.

    I thought about flat or semi gloss when I was doing the bodywork and figured I'd never get it straight enough for gloss. But I persevered and got it straight enough for gloss...white. :)
  6. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 5,729

    A Boner

    Here is a pic of a Hot Rod Flatz brand paint that the owner didn’t like after it was painted. He cut and buffed the Hot Rod Flatz paint and it looks absolutely fantastic!
    blowby, alanp561, Tman and 3 others like this.
  7. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,998


    ^^^^^^ a before photo would be interesting if you have one !
    alanp561 likes this.
  8. Mike Colemire
    Joined: May 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,236

    Mike Colemire

    My 33 plymouth sedan is going to be satin black. I know it's been done over and over again but I don't care.
  9. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,148

    Marty Strode

    For me it's a year/body thing, 48 and older can wear flat or satin and look fine due to the shape. Envelope bodied cars with lots of flat area, require shine, just my opinion.
    alanp561 likes this.
  10. Shadow Creek
    Joined: May 14, 2014
    Posts: 215

    Shadow Creek
    from Summit, TX

  11. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,998


    Thanks for posting the before shot. I much prefer the cut and polished version in post 36.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  12. Terrible80
    Joined: Oct 1, 2010
    Posts: 778


    Just an observation: when a trend starts the 1st few I see are cool and different. After that yawn.

    Sent from my LG-TP450 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    alanp561 likes this.
  13. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 5,729

    A Boner

    Side by side. Either way...a nice Hot Rod!
    028F96BF-E7E1-4E88-9040-5B23D6AFABC5.png 83D61E80-B846-47F6-AB8F-69014F8C9EE3.png
    Shadow Creek, loudbang and clem like this.
  14. Dapper Dan
    Joined: Apr 19, 2009
    Posts: 17

    Dapper Dan
    from Australia

    I say do what you like & can afford to do - if a $20k paint-job floats your boat, do it ....... if the very thought of that gives you a migraine, just "run what ya brung" ..... and enjoy the trip! ;)
  15. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,907


    My Son is building a very high dollar OT car...having it done professionally and is going with a semi gloss black..
    At first I thought...yuk, but after seeing it painted I really like it a lot..
    I am building a '49 Ford Club Coupe, and considering a semi gloss color also.
    So hey, if you like it, go for it...
    Elcohaulic likes this.
  16. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,073

    Ned Ludd

    I'm reminded of a guy I used to work for, who wanted the look of '50s Brazilian brutalist off-shutter concrete on a high-end residential project. There was an elevated freeway on piers behind the office, and that had been cast that way to shuttering made of cheap pine planking. It was pure Oscar Niemeyer; it pegged the look exactly. When I pointed it out I was told, noooo! the planking needed to be spruce imported from Scandinavia at great cost, and then sandblasted to bring the grain out. As I recall that wall was demolished and rebuilt twice before it was considered OK. All that to get the look of an elevated freeway pier.

    Satin paint is a bit like that: a lot of trouble to get the look of primer, to such an extent that it looks wrong if it actually is primer. Not necessarily bad, though.

    I also remember the survival/ratbike thing which was big in European custom motorbikes in the '90s. It was all about it being accessible and affordable, a bit on the edges of society, scroungeable, findable, riggable; practical, durable, serviceable; radically DIY. Matt black was part of that. Now I see matt black wraps on BMW X7s and it's more than all wrong: it's cynical, even treasonable; a slap in the face of the bikers who revived moribund Urals with XT500 parts. (Though I also like my wife's reaction. She wants to write on the cars with chalk. Why else would they be finished like blackboards?)

    That said I would like to see matt finishes used on a car in a way that references neither work-in-progress primer nor post-apocalyptic matt black; perhaps like the way Hoopers used something akin to wallpaper on the flamboyant Docker Daimlers of the early '50s. There is a world of possibility in printed commercial-graphic wrap materials, perhaps in very coarse matts, used in combination with gloss paints. Whether that could produce anything HAMB-appropriate is another question.
    Nostrebor likes this.
  17. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    from Alabama

    This is just me....
    When I see a big roof two tone sedan of that era whether it be a Biscayne, Impala, big Fairlane, Galaxie or some other make....I think Grandma and groceries. If it's a Ford, in anything that resembles police colors, I think Barney Fife. .

    On the other hand a 2 door sedan of that period in a solid color, nice black walls 15" or even 14" meats, a slight rake, a big or hopped up engine and dog dishes....That's the look I like. Think 409 Biscayne or 390 Interceptor Fairlane or Galaxie.

    As far as paint. I prefer a slightly subdued finish, that looks like period paint rather than plastic.
  18. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,671


    I'm still of the mindset that the ultimate goal should always be shiny paint. If your car is unfinished or in-progress, and you want to make it one color, then a primered or satin finish is fine with me. But the end goal should be finished, shiny paint. The issue I see is where guys go through all the leg work to do good, straight bodywork, then paint the car a flat color to give it the "rat" look. I'm not into it.

    And FWIW, I've owned both shiny and primered cars, and I can say without a doubt, the shiny cars are much easier to maintain and keep presentable. A good BC/CC job especially, though same holds true for single stage, can be waxed, wiped off, and cut and buffed back. There is some protection for the paint. Flat or primer you have no such ability, and after a while, the car just begins to look filthy. Pass.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
    36cab, loudbang, alanp561 and 3 others like this.
  19. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,604

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    shine it or go home

    I had a crappy not quite shiny paint job on my old truck. It looked bad so I cut and buffed it shiny. Even though it was white, it showed how bad the body work was. So I cut it down with comet and bleach and a scuff pad. It didnt show off the bad bodywork as much, but wouldnt stay clean for anything.
    Stripped it down and did new paint, shiny of course. Much better.
    36cab, Ned Ludd, olscrounger and 3 others like this.
  20. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,344


    eyes .............left
  21. Even OEMs and SEMA builds have been doing satin finishes for the last few years. I would say its trendier than ever. I see late model SUVs and dailies around town all the time
  22. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,046

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    YES,at lest I hope so.

    1950 n 60s shiny was King an what every one liked,no one thought primer was anything but preparation for shiny, Prime was not a good look.
    Some were around the 1970s,there seemed to be some lazy hot rod n custom guys with little history idea of what they were doing,just made up BS about how it was,but was not.
    I started seeing some that had the screw up idea primer was a finish{ idea formed from,"O-boy I don't need to work that hard ,have a made up excuse".
    Then there was the guy that did paint job wrong ,that came out dull,so crappy paint that needs redoing! "O-boy I don't need to work that hard"< is in head,but tells every one; He loves looks of flat look. So it starts being the trend,not how it was but how newer guys would like it to be=so they have excuse not to work hard. Plus for some to say,shiny cost too much/when the fact is cost is not at all the prob.
    Work is.
    I see a flat or dull car,I still can like what work was done so far,but is unfinished and may be just getting ready for shiny,or the owner actually thinks is finished?= It's his car,OK. However if he is trying to be like the 50s n 60s, do shiny or you missed the 50s n 60s boat. Dull just looks like a faded or failed paint too me. If one is not trying to look like 50s n 60s,do anything you like,but don't say it's like it was done then. Like your own,just don't label it wrong an have fun.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  23. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,518


    I hope so!:D
    36cab, da34guy, olscrounger and 2 others like this.
  24. Butch M
    Joined: Oct 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,540

    Butch M

    oh yeah i love semi and flat 55 2.jpg
  25. dsiddons
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,429

    from Indiana

    Satin is tits

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  26. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,344


    :mad: :mad: :mad:!!!!!!!
  27. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 430


    Saw a new OT Tesla today with a satin paint job, so I guess that everything old is new again. BTW, my Grandpa had a '61 Ford Fairlane years ago, was garage kept for years. What a beautiful car that was! I especially liked the way the trim was integrated with the door handles, and the chrome cover that you swiveled to get at the trunk lock.
  28. ...or you can shiny clear-coat it...
    Jim's Stude runnin 9=19-20 003.jpg Jim's Stude runnin 9=19-20 004.jpg
    Butch M likes this.
  29. I painted my merck. with Rustoleam Flat Black so when
    it Rains its Shinny/

    Just my 3.5 cents

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
  30. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,935


    Opinions: OK
    Satin black is played out for me, due to so many of them lookin BAD, uneven, streaky etc.

    Use enamel automotive paint, add a flattening agent to any color if you want or make it shiny. Use a solid color, shoot it from a gun. Single stage - solid color, you can do a panel at a time.
    Enamel was a go-to paint for years for OEM and resto, not every project needs base/clear and the cost involved. Enamel is "safer" than urethane and its reasonably priced.

    Rustoleum- I use it a lot, Im not bashing. Why use the absolutely lowest quality paint available on a car paint job? We're talking the difference of 100-200 to buy budget automotive enamel.

    I like tcpglobal. They will add a flattener to any paint in their resto line. You dont have to only choose from hot rod flats. I ordered a quart of urethane with a flattener recently for interior panels - Low sheen dash paint.

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