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Pinstriping Thoughts and Qs

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by C9, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. Used to fool around with striping when I was 17 and stayed at it for a couple years.

    Designs weren't too bad, but the big trick was pulling a good line.

    After watching some good pinstripers at a few car shows the last few years the light dawned that one of the biggest secrets is paint viscosity.
    Thinning the paint in other words.

    Something you have to learn mainly for ease of pulling a line, but also because the paint thickens up every time you open it.
    I'm finding it works pretty well to get the paint out onto the pallette - a thick, slick papered magazine works well, many womens mags are printed on quality paper and let's face it, not many of us are going to sacrifice our Hot Rod mags.
    Better ask first though, sometimes the gals are saving an old mag as a reference etc.

    Once the paint is on the pallette I like to lay the lid on the can right side up and thin the paint with turpentine from an old and clean tuna can about 1/4 full.

    I did run some experiments on overly thinned and not thinned at all paint on a primered trunk lid.
    Thin will give you a line that will run where the brush first touched down.
    Un-thinned, the line starts overly thin and doesn't flow out very well.

    Overly thinned will give you a brush that droops too much when you lift it off the pallette.
    Not enough thinner is hard to tell from "just right" because the brush doesn't droop much and neither does the perfectly thinned paint.

    If you're not sure it seems to help to lay down a line on the clean area of the magazine page and take note of what it looks like at the start.

    One thing I tried this time around was using a Stabilo pencil.
    I have one in white and one in blue.
    Blue seems to make a more visible pattern if the cars base color will allow that.

    This small re-interest in striping due to my pal (CK) getting his good looking 46 Ford striped a few days back.

    We saw the stripers, signs etc. on our way back from Viva Las Vegas the previous Saturday and it looked like pretty good work.

    So we drove out in both his car and my roadster - he wanted company since he'd just put his engine back together and was a bit worried since this would be the first out of town trip with it.

    We had a nice breakfast and I went out first to take a look at how things were going.

    I found a small, not very artistic nor well done pattern on the nose of the car and figured the striper was letting it dry a bit before applying an additional color.

    Not so the kid said, he was all done.

    What I think happened here was we saw some nice striping done by a very experienced guy and he let the "apprentice" do it.

    So aside from that little misadventure I got to thinking about the big blank trunk lid on my 32.
    A little striping there would be nice and I figured at the least I could do better than the kid had done.

    Thinking too was I better practice a while so I don't really screw things up.

    To that end I figured my slightly faded 89 Ranger 4x4 would be a good canvas to practice on.

    Thinking back to CKs 29 roadster that had some really nice striping on it, I realized the striper had laid out a 1" grid pattern and ran his lines over that.
    Struck me as a good idea.
    I've always been bugged by assymmetrical lines within a symmetrical pattern and the lines should go a long way toward helping.

    I did use the blue Stabilo pencil to lay out a triangular pattern with a couple more and steeper angled triangular lines inside the base triangle.
    I added a couple of horizontal lines to help as well.
    And in retrospect I should have laid some more horizontal lines down.

    Regardless, it didn't come out too bad. A few good lines, most ok, some not so swift and a touch of poor symmetry in a few places, but all in all it'll work.

    The pattern . . . a ten footer for sure, but I'll do some more in the next few days and if there's some improvement I'll stripe the 32s trunk lid.

    One thing I've seen done was laying out the pattern, curves and all with the Stabilo and then simply laying lines over the Stabilo lines.
    It works I guess, but doesn't seem right to me.

    If any of you are thinking of trying this, give it a shot.

    You-Tube has a bunch of interesting videos and you'll pick up a lot of info.
    Pay particular attention to the brush angles used on straight lines and curves.
    Search for "pin striping."

    The paint I used was One-Shot.
    Wish I would have used it as a kid, we all used Sherwin-Williams 4 hour enamel then and it worked ok, but the One-Shot seems to work better.

    Thinner was Turpentine.

    Brush was a Mack 00 - I also have an 0 - both with blue ferrules.
    Great brushes in my opinion.

    I have a few green ferrule Macks and have never been too happy with them.
    They're the ones you find in many auto-paint supply stores.
    Surprisingly you can find striping brushes in some stationary stores.
    I used to have some Grumbachers I liked until I loaned them to a friend and he 'trimmed' them.
    Same guy I loaned a nice Holley 4 bbl to just so he could get home.
    I got it back "all tuned up" and running like shit.
    Never loaned him anything after that.

    A few questions:

    Drying time on One-Shot?
    We gave it an hour before driving down the highway with CKs freshly pinstriped car.
    Semed to work ok and it's one of those gotta do it deals.

    Anyway, I laid some lines down with Process Blue (a One- Shot color) and let it dry 24 hours before laying down some white One-Shot.
    Worked ok and what I'm wondering here is how long should you wait before running one color over the top of another one?

    Tomorrow the third color goes on.
    Debating right now between red or purple.

    Red, white and blue is always a good combo.
    The Ranger is metallic silver and has a purple, blue & black graphic down the side.
    Probably go for the purple here, but on the 32 it'll get red, white and blue.
    Only colors on the car are black except for the red calipers and tan interior.

    I cleaned the Rangers hood front with Simple Green.
    No worries about wax here, the little truck sat out in the Las Vegas sun the last four years and only got washed.
    (I bought it new in 89, son-in-law had it for four years and I got it back in November 2007. Kinda cool to once again have a 4x4 with all the places we have to explore out here.)

    I'm wondering if Simple Green is harsh enough to clean the wax off the 32's trunk lid?

    I was surprised to hear the stripers who did CKs car cleaned the wax and many bugs from the short trip off with lacquer thinner.

    We have a very good pro painter in our Saturday morning donut gang and he tells me that lacquer thinner is commonly used for that purpose.
    When I mentioned I had acrylic lacquer on the 32 he strongly advised against using lacquer thinner on it.

    I did hit the local paint shop for some wax remover, but for $28. a gallon, including tax, I'm not gonna buy a gallon, use a teacup and let it collect dust.
    I'da bought a quart for under $10., but they tell me wax remover doesn't come in quarts.

    Can anyone recommend an acceptable substitute?

    I'm guessing that several scrubbings with Simple Green or dish washing detergent may do the trick if there isn't a good substitute for wax remover.
  2. I touch on most if not all these points in my "How-To-Pinstripe" book , you hit it right on the head , Paint Viscosity is most important. Sorry I'm not trying to plug the book, but so many newbie pinstripers quit from lack of knowledge and the book has helped them.
  3. The book is very good.AJ also has several good videos on Youtube.
    Most people i know use two cups,one for paint,the other for Reducer;
    and constantly adjust the consistency of the paint,on the pallet,as they work.
    After a while,it becomes second nature.
  4. Stabillos are perfectly acceptable to paint over,but sometimes they leave scratches.

    The Staedtler Omnichrom pencils also wash off with water,
    but don't turn to mush in hot weather,and don't seem to scratch.

    "Wax Pencils" and "China Markers" are not suitable to paint over,
    because paint doesn't stick to wax.

  5. Available at art stores and the like?

    Darn, now I'll have to drive down the hill where all those distracting casinos are.

    Probably next week . . . the Laughlin River Run with it's gazillion and a half Harleys is on.
    Cool event even if you do go there with a four wheeler.

    Then again, some Harleys have four wheels....

  6. Definately not as easy to find as Stabillos.

    Omnichrom 108-0 is White,
    Omnichrom 108-3 is dark Blue.

    I got mine from
  7. If you can make a few bucks selling books that share your knowledge, more power to you. This is America. I watched your videos and really enjoyed watching you work.
    In the old days, all the paint companies used the same formulas for what they used to call bulletin enamels. Same colors and the same formulas.
    Sherwin williams, Ronan, One shot, Glidden all had bulletin colors.
    That was before vinyl and craftsmen actually painted bulletins.
    Bulletins were painted and billboards had lithographed sheets applied to them.
    I never used lacquer thinner for anything except thinning lacquer.You can screw up someone's car very quickly with lacquer thinner.
  8. 2-TONED
    Joined: Jan 31, 2005
    Posts: 1,683


    oooh man i thought i was the only one who used these?! i jumped right off my seat when i saw that name!!
    im down to a couple 'nubs' & ive hunted all over for more of these pencils.
    ill take a box of blue ill send the money directly & a bonus if someone can get me some!!

    OH YEAH great post by the way!
  9. I bought a quart of PPG DX-330 Wax and Grease Remover
    almost 10 years ago,so it is available in smaller quantities.

    PPG makes more than one,the different number
    relates to how aggressive it is.

    Definitely better than Mineral Spirits for prepping surfaces.
  10. joeybsyc
    Joined: Nov 8, 2006
    Posts: 808

    from PA

    Hey AJ, I have your book! OK...actually it's not even mine, a good friend of mine, Bob Hovanek(who I think you know) let me borrow it to get me started with striping... I'm definitely a beginner, but I've learned a ton from it, and definitely plan to get my own copy very soon! Anyone who's just starting out and wants to learn some of the basics can definitely pick up a ton by just sitting down and reading it, then picking up a brush and giving it a shot.
  11. strike a poser
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 399

    strike a poser
    from Salinas,CA

  12. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,440

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    You know, a few years back a respected member here was nice enough to loan me a couple of unmolested Grumbachers. I've tried using them now and then over the past few years but could never able to get them to turn as well as the others I have. And I have other brushes I can pull long lines with.

    So they have been living in my brush box this entire time. Every time I use, clean, and oil my favorite brushes I'll put a couple of extra drops of oil on each of them. (Sapphire brush oil) They are a pretty neat conversation piece when I'm working but they only come out of the box once a year - give or take - when I take them out to fully clean and re-oil them.

    Believe you told me "No real hurry, send them back when you're done with them." or something similar. Well I think I'm done now. I've misplaced your address though.

  13. That wasn't you I was talking about with the Grumbachers.:)
    If you like them, keep them.
    With my compliments.

    They laid a few - amateurish - stripes on a few cars from back in the day.
    Funny how much business you get when you do it for free.:confused:

    Besides, I figure you can put a Holley together . . . or leave it alone.

    I was up at my pals shop yesterday, we got to talking striping and he dragged his stuff out.
    He's got a couple Beuglers he's used to run some straight lines that were left on the cars, but all he ever did with the Grumbachers he has is fool around.

    The brush part is longer on his - same era brushes - than the trimmed short ones are on the ones you have.
    That's why they can't swing a corner or make a very long line.

    Better be careful flinging that "respected" word around though....:D

  14. I appreciate the "heads-up."

    Went to the bookstore and got a copy of your book yesterday.
    Haven't had a chance to do more than look a few pages over, but am going to try to read some of it this evening.
    Looks good so far.

    Striping . . . just what I need, another hobby.;)

    Busy now,


    restoring an old Winchester 22,

    trying to find time to get some stuff done on the 31 on 32 rails roadster project,

    rewrite a book,

    And most difficult of all . . . ducking out on the time honored Honey-Do list of Sweeties....:D
  15. Ranunculous
    Joined: Nov 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,466


    Hello all,
    Where do you all get your One Shot?
    The local paint store I used to buy from went out of business...
  16. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,440

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oh I knew you weren't talking about me. I actually remember that story from when you let me borrow them. Maybe they will behave better next time around... or I could just save them to do my free work with? :)

  17. SinisterCustom
    Joined: Feb 18, 2004
    Posts: 8,269


    I like to stripe, but don't consider myself a "pinstriper", but I've noticed some colors "pull" nicer than others, must be the pigments in the darker colors....

    I have blue and green ferrell Mack brushes and actually prefer the green.....
  18. The 1-Shot site has a list of dealers.
    Or you can order online,from places like and Bearair.
  19. It's probably covered, but how do some of you guys do the long line bit?

    I was able to make it all the way down the hood sides of my Ranger, but had to take a step over and get re-positoned.
    There's a little blurb in the line where I stopped.
    Kinda like when a welder running TIG on a frame has to stop and restart due to the limitations of his hand-span.

    I'm guessing you stop, lift the brush, maybe reload and start again.

    I agree with Sinister Custom, the Process Blue does seem to pull a smoother line than does the white.

    Poor little Ranger, it's been through a lot.
    Already has what the 4x4 gang calls "Arizona Pinstriping."

    (Big long scratches from going next to the brush on overgrown trails.)

  20. Bulletins?
  21. Bulletins are what most people call Billboards. In the old days, large road signs that were painted were called Bulletins. Billboards were large metal signs that had lithographed sheets pasted on them instead of being painted. Over the years, all large signs began to be called billboards.
    So, Bulletins are painted and Billboards large signs with pasted sheets.
    Nowadays, the bulletin boards are large vinyl printed sheets stretched over the sign. Very few painted bulletins anymore.
    This post talked about the paints and back in the day, paint companies made the basic colors and paint formulas to industry standards, and these were called bulletin colors.
  22. SinisterCustom
    Joined: Feb 18, 2004
    Posts: 8,269


    On long lines, I'll sometimes use fine line tape.....and when stopping in mid line to reload, I will overlap @ 1", starting out thin and getting to line thickness within that 1".
  23. Ranunculous
    Joined: Nov 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,466


    Thanks Unkl Ian,
    I didn't know if One Shot sold direct or not?
    I'd like to go with the larger cans and most suppliers sell those little "baby food" sized things.

  24. Thanks.

    Your original post about paint formulas was interesting.

    I stumbled onto the Sherwin-Williams 4 hour enamel by accident.
    Worked just fine for us, but after seeing Sign Painters use One-Shot I felt we were perhaps lacking in the paint dept.

    Visiting a sign shop was part of getting a name onto the side of our cars.
    A short-lived fad - couple of years anyway - that proved to be very interesting vis a vis the names selected by the owners.

    There were quite a few amateur pinstripers back in the ol home town back in the day, but none of them did letters or signs.
    So we went to the pro's and were a touch amazed at how fast they could letter a name on a car.

    My pals 49 circa 1958.
    He went into the Army and I bought the car.
    Owned a bunch of 50's, but this is the only 49.

  25. Dang, you must be as old as I am.

  26. No,I don't think they sell direct.
    8oz cans are their biggest seller.

    Look in the local Yellow Pages under Sign Supplies.
    Should be able to get 1-Shot in Pint and Quart sizes.

  27. Maybe . . . doesn't make any difference, there's always somebody older . . . and younger.

    A few years back Carps noted that I kept calling the gals in my stories young women.

    His comment?
    "Hell, to him they're all young women...."
  28. Ranunculous
    Joined: Nov 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,466


    Hey Unkl Ian,
    Thanks for the info!
  29. Red Stabillos tend to stain on White surfaces.
    Most people use White Stabillos on dark surfaces,
    and Blue on light color surfaces.

    I've got a dark Gray Stabillo(almost Black) that works very well.

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